Frequently Asked Questions
What is the status of the free COVID-19 test program?
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order an additional 4 free at-home tests beginning November 20. If you did not order tests this fall, you may place two orders for a total of 8 tests on COVIDTests.gov.
Is there a limit to how many tests I can order?
Yes, each household is eligible to receive one order of 4 free at-home tests beginning November 20. If you did not order tests this fall, you may place two orders for a total of 8 tests. To order your tests, visit COVIDTests.gov.
In addition to this program, there are numerous other options to get tested for free, including thousands of free community-based testing sites including pharmacies, across the country. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is also distributing free at-home tests to schools, nursing homes, community health centers, rural health clinics, food banks, and other community locations to ensure communities have widespread access to tests. Please contact a HRSA Health Center or Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) location near you to learn how to access low- or no-cost COVID-19 tests provided by the federal government.
I am blind or have low vision. How can I order free, at-home tests that are accessible?
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order an additional 4 free at-home tests beginning November 20. If you haven’t ordered COVID tests this fall, you may place two orders of 8 tests.
People who are blind or low vision can order tests that have been assessed by the National Institutes of Health as more accessible for the visually impaired. The Administration for Community Living explains how to order free tests for people who are blind or who have low vision.
My COVID-19 Home Tests have an expiration date that has passed. What should I do?
Most COVID-19 home tests have received expiration extensions from the FDA. Expiration dates are extended by the FDA only after extensive studies prove the tests still perform accurately.
To see if your COVID-19 test has an expiration extension, see the List of Authorized At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests. For additional COVID-19 Home Test information, visit the FDA At-Home COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests: Frequently Asked Questions.
How can I order tests?
Tests can be ordered online at COVIDTests.gov. To place an order, all you need is your name and residential address. No identification, 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 8PM ET seven 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.
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). You may also request tests to be sent to a P.O. Box if it is registered as a residential P.O. Box, if it is registered as a residential P.O. Box.
For those with questions about special P.O. Box circumstances, you can call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).
Can Americans who live 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. All orders within the continental United States will be sent through USPS Ground Advantage. Shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. territories, and overseas military and diplomatic addresses (APO/FPO/DPO) will be sent through Priority Mail.
What if I need a COVID-19 test right away?
In addition to this program, there are numerous other options to get tested for free, including community-based testing sites, including pharmacies, across the country. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is also distributing free at-home tests to schools, nursing homes, community health centers, rural health clinics, food banks, and other community-based organizations to ensure they have widespread access to tests.
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 USPS Ground Advantage. 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 come with 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.
Why should I take an at-home test?
If you test positive for COVID-19 and are more likely to get very sick, treatments are available that can reduce your chances of hospitalization and death. Don’t delay; to be effective, treatment must be started within five days after you first develop symptoms. Treatments for COVID-19 are widely available. If you test positive for COVID-19, talk to a doctor as soon as possible about treatment options.
Can I use an at-home COVID-19 test if it was left outside in freezing temperatures?
Since shipping conditions may vary, test developers perform stability testing to ensure that the test performance will remain stable when tests are stored at various temperatures, including shipping during the summer in very hot regions and in the winter in very cold regions.
However, test performance may be impacted if the test is used while it is still cold, such as being used outdoors in freezing temperatures or being used immediately after being brought inside from freezing temperatures. The stated performance generally assumes the test is being performed in an environment that is between 15-30⁰C (approximately 59-86⁰F). The specific conditions that were validated are included in the authorized Instructions for Use for each test.
To ensure appropriate test performance with a test that is delivered to you in below freezing temperatures, you should bring the package inside your home and leave it unopened at room temperature for at least two hours before opening it. Once the package is at room temperature, you may open it and perform the test according to the authorized instructions for use. For more information visit: At-Home COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests: Frequently Asked Questions.
Are there any costs for the government-supplied COVID-19 tests that are ordered through this program? Do I need to provide any Medicare or personally identifiable information.
All tests ordered through COVIDTests.gov are completely free. Recipients will not be asked to pay for the tests or costs associated with shipment of the tests.
The only information you need to provide is your name and mailing address. If you want to receive email alerts on the status of your tests, we also ask you to give us your email address. The U.S. Postal Service collects this information through its online ordering form.
To protect yourself or others from falling victim to any scams, be wary of answering phone calls or text messages from numbers you do not recognize. Do not give out your personal information, including banking information, Social Security number, Medicare information, or other personally identifiable information over the phone or to individuals you do not know.
Any calls, texts, or emails requesting any form of payment for tests ordered through COVIDTests.gov are fraudulent. Please help us stop fraud by reporting any incidents to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. If you think you have experienced Medicare fraud, use Medicare’s online resources to identify and report fraud.