UK TB Screening


The purpose of TB screening is to detect presence of acute pulmonary TB in those individuals who are applying to travel and stay in the UK for over 6 months. Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person. It mainly affects the lungs, it can affect any part of the body, including the tummy (abdomen), glands, bones and nervous system.

The categories of screening are as below:

  1. Adults
  2. Pregnant women
  3. Children under 11 years old

Screening for ADULTS will include:

Screening of adults will include all of the following:

  • A symptom screening including any history of recent contact with a case of active pulmonary TB
  • A physical examination where clinically indicated
  • Chest X-ray (CXR)

Screening for PREGNANT WOMEN will include:

  • A symptom screening including any history of contact in the previous year with a case of active pulmonary TB
  • A physical examination where clinically indicated
  • A Chest X-Ray in the second (13-26 weeks of pregnancy) or third trimester (29-40 weeks of pregnancy) if the applicant consents.
  • During pregnancy there is a risk of radiation to the unborn baby, particularly in the first trimester so the applicant has 3 options:
  1. Postpone the Chest X-Ray and TB clearance until after delivery
  2. Sputum testing which is based on negative cultures from 3 sputum samples
  3. Continue with Chest X-Ray with double shielding

Screening for CHILDREN UNDER 11 YEARS OLD will include:

  • A symptom screen
  • A history of contact within the previous year with a case of active pulmonary TB
  • A physical examination

Where a child has symptoms or signs of active pulmonary TB, or history of previous TB, or history of recent contact with a case of active pulmonary TB, then the child is required to have EITHER a Chest X-Ray or 3 sputum samples OR gastric lavage (on 3 occasions) for laboratory examination.

Criteria for sputum examination (all applicants)

Where the Chest X-Ray is suggestive of either active or old pulmonary TB, 3 sputum samples will be taken. Additionally, sputum samples will be taken for individuals with signs and symptoms of pulmonary TB or pregnant women who do not wish to have Chest X-Ray.

Applicants are required to provide 3 early morning sputum specimen on consecutive days for microscopy and culture which must be provided within 7 days of the initial assessment, results of which can take upto 8 weeks to be finalized.

CONSENT for Screening

All applicants must complete a consent form and sign it before the screening process starts. The consent form documents the agreement (or otherwise) of the applicant to proceed with TB screening in accordance with the UK protocol and for the purpose of his/her UK visa application. Consent is only valid if the applicant or his/her parent/guardian signs the form after sufficient explanation of the screening process.

Please be informed that any relevant personal information collected during the assessment process, including health records and Chest X-Ray may be shared with UK immigration authorities, the UK Department of Health, Public Health England and the UK National Health Service (NHS).

Complete process at Medical Center is detailed below:

  • Identification / Registration including document verification, counselling and consent
  • Consultation with panel physician
  • Chest X-ray- if normal, clearance certificate issued
  • Chext-Ray, if abnormal (suggestive of TB), Sputum analysis and culture x3. If negative, clearance certificate issued. If positive, will be referred for TB treatment.
  • Chest X-Ray abnormal (other than TB), refer to healthcare provider, after which clearance certificate will be issued.

Important Notes:

  • Appointment to be taken before visiting medical facility.
  • Certificate to be collected by the applicant themselves
  • Applicant has to be present themselves and advised to come alone and / or only with legal guardian as applicable.
  • Children to be accompanied by parent(s)/legal guardian
  • Please provide complete address in the UK

Documents required

  • Please bring valid identification which contains your photograph such as a passport, national ID card or Refugee Asylum Seeker Card
  • X2 photocopies of the valid passport & original passport.
  • X3 passport-size photographs, on a white background with neutral expressions
  •  Complete previous medical record including X-ray if any previous history of TB
  • Old medical certificate if applicable

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