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Frequently Asked Questions

Who can order tests as part of this program?

Tests are available for every residential address in the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and overseas military and diplomatic addresses (APO/FPO/DPO).

How can I order tests?

Tests can be ordered online at COVID.gov. To place an order, all you need is your name and residential address. No ID, credit card, or health insurance information is required. You may also share your email address to get updates on your order.

If you have difficulty accessing the internet or need additional support placing an order, you can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to get help in English, Spanish, and more than 150 other languages – 8am to midnight ET, 7 days a week.

The Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is also available to specifically help people with disabilities place their orders. To get help, call 1-888-677-1199, Monday-Friday from 9AM to 8PM ET, or email DIAL@usaginganddisability.org.

For those who have questions about eligibility, the online ordering form, shipping, or delivery, you can contact the USPS Help Desk at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

Is there a limit to how many tests I can order?

Yes. To promote broad access, the program allows 3 orders of free at-home tests (16 tests total) per residential address.

Is this program only for single-family or individual living arrangements? What if I’m in a multi-family, multi-generational, co-living or other shared living arrangement?

This program is designed to offer broad access to tests for individuals and families across a number of living arrangements. Residential addresses known to have multiple unrelated families can order multiple tests.

In some limited cases, addresses may not be recognized as multi-family by USPS. This might result in an issue placing an order if another resident at your address has already ordered. If you believe you are running into this issue, you can file a service request or call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) to get the issue fixed.

In addition to this program, there are numerous other options to get tested for free, including over 20,000 free community-based testing sites, including pharmacies, across the country.

If you have health insurance through an employer or Marketplace, your insurance will also cover the cost of over-the-counter, at-home tests (up to 8 at-home tests per month for each person on your plan).

I live in an apartment building, college dorm, or other multi-unit setting, and the order form says tests have already been ordered for my address. How do I get my tests?

Residential addresses known to have multiple units can order multiple tests.

In some limited cases, addresses in multi-unit buildings where the units are not registered as separate addresses may not be recognized by the system. This might result in an issue placing an order.

Individual units in these cases can still order at-home tests. If you believe you are running into this multi-unit address issue, you can file a service request or call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) to get the issue fixed.

Can I have my tests delivered to a PO Box?

Yes. You may request tests to be sent to a PO Box, as long as it is registered as a residential PO Box.

For those with questions about special PO Box circumstances, you can call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

Can Americans living outside of the U.S. request these free tests?

Tests are available for every residential address in the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and overseas military and diplomatic addresses (APO/FPO/DPO).

Can I choose what type or brand of test I get?

All tests distributed as part of this program are FDA-authorized at-home rapid antigen tests. You will not be able to choose the brand you order as part of this program.

When will I get my tests and how will they be delivered?

Tests will be delivered in the mail through the U.S. Postal Service and will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering. All orders within the continental United States will be sent through First Class Package Service. Shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories, and overseas military and diplomatic addresses (APO/FPO/DPO) will be sent through Priority Mail.

Will I be able to track my order status?

Yes. There is an option for you to provide an email address to receive email notifications with shipping updates.

Once your order is shipped, you will receive an email with an estimated delivery date and a tracking number. You can track the status of your delivery on USPS.com.

All orders within the continental United States will be sent through First Class Package Service. Shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories, and overseas military and diplomatic addresses (APO/FPO/DPO) will be sent through Priority Mail.

Can I pick up my tests somewhere or have them held at my local Post Office instead of getting them shipped to my home?

No. This program is designed to send free tests to your home through the mail.

Who do I contact if I ordered my tests but they have not been delivered?

To get help with a delivery issue, please contact USPS.

Will my tests come with instructions on how to use them?

Yes. Tests will have instructions on how to use them.

When should I use my tests?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you take an at-home test:

  • If you begin having COVID-⁠19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or
  • At least 5 days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-⁠19, or
  • When you’re going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-⁠19 vaccines.

For more on when to use at-home tests, see the latest CDC self-testing guidance.

My CareStart COVID-⁠19 Home Antigen Tests are about to expire. Do I really need to use them so soon?

No, CareStart COVID-⁠19 Home Antigen Tests are good for 3 months after the expiration date on the box.

The FDA is allowing CareStart COVID-⁠19 Home Antigen Tests to add 3 months to the expiration date on their box. This means that boxes that expire on:

  • March 2022 are actually good until June 30, 2022
  • April 2022 are actually good until July 31, 2022
  • May 2022 are actually good until August 31, 2022

For more on the extension of the CareStart COVID-19 Home Antigen Test expiration date, see the FDA's statement on the extension (PDF download)