The federal government is currently giving away four free rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests to every American household, and you can order yours now by visiting COVIDtests.gov, an official U.S government website. Originally, this program and website were not supposed to launch until Wednesday, January 19, but the site is up and running a whole day early.
To help you get your tests as soon as possible, and learn a bit more background on this mass test distribution effort, we’ve put together a resource guide and FAQ below.
If you’re ready to order your free COVID-19 rapid tests, then head to the official government website to place your order now.
How to Order Your Free COVID-19 Rapid Tests
We’re pleased to share that ordering your free rapid tests from this government website is super easy. Head to COVIDtests.gov, hit “Order Free At-Home Tests” fill out your name and U.S address and hit enter. Afterward, you’ll receive an order number from the USPS. It’s a very simple process.
When Will the Tests Ship?
According to the website, there will be a lag in shipping. The tests will ship 7-12 days after you order them. The U.S. Postal Service will be handling the shipping and delivery of the tests through first-class mail. In the meantime, you can purchase rapid COVID-19 tests online.
What Kind of Test Is Available?
The tests available to order on the government website are rapid antigen tests meant to be taken anywhere, including at home, and are designed to give results in 30 minutes. There’s no lab drop off or send away necessary, and the test is not a PCR test. The tests work for both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, and work whether you’ve gotten all three COVID-19 vaccine doses or not.
According to the website, the tests are similar to those you can purchase over the counter at a drugstore or pharmacy. The website also has a guide for what to do if you test positive, as well as negative, and offers alternative testing resources if you need a test sooner than a few weeks from now.
How Many Tests Can I Order?
Every U.S. household can order a maximum of four tests to be shipped to their address. If you live alone, that means you can order four tests for yourself. Please keep in mind that it’s a limit of four tests per household, not per person. The administration is also planning to launch a call line for those who can’t access the website to help them place orders.
What If I’ve Already Bought Tests, Can I Get Reimbursed?
The federal government has said that beginning last Saturday, January 15, people with private insurance can seek reimbursement for tests they’ve purchased themselves. Alongside this announcement, the Biden administration also announced an additional 10 million COVID-19 tests are being set aside for schools nationwide to use each month.
You can learn more about the testing program and other COVID-19-related initiatives coming from the federal government on the White House website.
Do I Need To Enter a Credit Card To Order My Tests?
No, you don’t. All you need to enter is your name and address.
When Was This Program Announced?
On Friday, January 14, the Biden administration announced that Americans will be able to order free rapid COVID-19 tests from a national website starting on Wednesday, January 19, but the website just launched a day early. If successful, this test distribution program will fulfill a promise President Biden made before Christmas, when he said that his administration would purchase and make free 500 million rapid at-home coronavirus tests to Americans.
On Thursday, January 13, Biden announced his plans to purchase an additional 500 million tests, bringing the total number of tests available to 1 billion.
According to the briefing released by the White House last week, “Testing is an important tool to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Public health experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that Americans use at-home tests if they begin to have symptoms, at least five days after coming in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or are gathering indoors with a group of people who are at risk of severe disease or unvaccinated.”
COVID-19 Tests Update:
500M rapid, at-home tests will be available for order on January 19th online and will be mailed directly to American households for free.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 14, 2022
As the highly contagious Omicron variant of coronavirus spreads across the country, many Americans have struggled to access COVID testing. Many stores are sold out of rapid at-home tests, and some testing sites have struggled with long lines and delayed results.
The free COVID-19 test website is officially live, and you can order your free rapid COVID-19 tests now.