Royal Mail Priority Postbox: where is the nearest one for sending my Covid test sample – and what are they?

Here’s how to find your nearest Royal Mail priority postbox – and exactly how they work for sending back coronavirus test kits

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

If you’ve ordered a postal test, the process couldn’t be simpler. Your testing kit will arrive with a leaflet of information, which includes clear and detailed information on what exactly you will need to do.

While the test itself is relatively simple, sending your sample back can be tricky, as you need to find a ‘priority postbox’.

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So what is a priority postbox, and how can you find your nearest?

Here's everything you need to know.

What is a priority postbox?

The Royal Mail describes itself as a “key partner for the government's coronavirus testing programme.”

(Photo: Shutterstock)

"We are collecting completed test kits from priority postboxes or from homes as part of the government programme,” it’s said.

It’s likely you’ll be asked to post your completed coronavirus test kit to one of Royal Mail’s 35,000 specially selected priority postboxes. These can be identified by the NHS/Royal Mail sticker affixed to them.

If you are expecting your local postbox to carry such a sticker, but you arrive to find it does not, you can still use it, though Royal Mail requests you let them know by calling 0345 266 8038 Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm.

There's nothing else special from a visual standpoint about these post boxes other than their stickers.

How does a priority postbox work?

The idea behind priority postboxes is that the Royal Mail can use them to get completed test kits back to the NHS as quickly as possible.

Designating certain post boxes as priority ones can also help to reduce the number of post boxes that are used to collect coronavirus samples.

This means fewer postboxes come into contact with the virus, thus minimising the risk of spreading the infection.

Royal Mail says it has worked “in partnership with the Chief Medical Officer to ensure that the process is safe for our colleagues.”

How do I find my nearest priority postbox?

Details on how to find your nearest priority postbox are laid out clearly in the instruction booklet that arrives with your test kit.

But if you’re still having trouble, you will also be able to find your nearest priority postbox on the Royal Mail app or the Royal Mail website.

If you’re unable to access a computer or smart device, you can call 0345 266 8038.

This line is open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

For more information on the Royal Mail’s priority post boxes, head to the website