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Free At-Home COVID Tests: You Have 1 More Day Left to Order

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For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

You don’t have much time left to get your free at-home COVID-19 test kits before the US federal government ends its program. USA Today first reported on Aug. 26 that the decision was made due to a limited supply of tests. This comes just as the fall season approaches and as students start the new school year.

The US Postal Service has also updated its page for at-home COVID tests with an announcement that says the “order for free at-home COVID-19 tests program will be suspended on Friday, September 2, 2022.”

The last day to order free COVID tests is Friday, Sept. 2.


USPS/Screenshot by Peter Butler/CNET

In January, the government launched CovidTests.gov, a website that let households order four free rapid antigen COVID-19 tests shipped by the US Postal Service. The site added four more free tests in March, and then another eight more in May. 

If you haven’t received any tests, you can still get all 16 free tests. You’ll need to act quickly, but it only takes two minutes to order your tests. See below to find out how to get test kits, when they’ll arrive and what to do if you have problems. 

How to get free COVID-19 tests

You only need to provide the US Postal Service with a few bits of information to get your free test kits. You won’t be asked to provide any credit or debit card details, as both the tests and the shipping are free. Here’s how to get your free test kits. 

1. Visit special.USPS.com/testkits. You can also get there via covidtests.gov.

2. Enter your contact details and shipping information.

3. Click Check Out Now.

4. Verify that your information is correct and select Place My Order.

All orders will be shipped via First Class Package Service.

People who can’t access the website or who have trouble ordering online can call 800-232-0233 to order their free tests.

How can I track my order?

Once you place your order, you should receive a confirmation email. When your package ships, you’ll receive email notifications providing you with shipping updates, including a tracking number and estimated delivery date. Note that for the third round, you’ll receive two packages that’ll likely arrive on different days, so look for two confirmation emails with your tracking numbers.

Once you receive it, you can either click the tracking link or copy and paste the tracking number into the Postal Service’s website’s tracker.

Covid-19 at home rapid test kit

More free COVID-19 test kits are coming.


Sarah Tew/CNET

How many test kits can I get? 

According to the USPS, each residential household is eligible for three rounds of free at-home rapid antigen COVID-19 tests, for a total of 16 kits.

Only one person per address will be able to place an order for the free tests, even if you have multiple people living in your home. 

Can I choose which brand test I get? 

No, there isn’t an option to choose which brand of test you will receive. All tests are rapid antigen tests authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, like iHealth.

When will the test kits arrive? 

Tests are typically sent out within seven to 12 days of an order being successfully placed and are delivered by the USPS within one to three days of shipping.

COVID 19 test kit

iHealth COVID-19 rapid antigen tests are supplied for free via USPS.


Angus Mordant/Getty Images

What if I haven’t received my first or second batch of test kits?

The USPS says its site has had some difficulties recognizing certain residential addresses, especially apartment buildings, multifamily homes and residences connected to commercial properties. 

If you have had issues placing an order, you can file a service request online or call the USPS Help Desk at 800-ASK-USPS.

Is it OK to use a test kit that was left outside?

According to the FDA, manufacturers have ensured that the tests remain stable at various temperatures, “including shipping during the summer in very hot regions and in the winter in very cold regions.”

But a test may be damaged by being left outdoors in freezing temperatures or being used immediately after being brought inside from freezing temperatures. 

The ideal temperature to store rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits is between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The FDA has warned about the effect of extreme heat on COVID tests, saying that, “long exposure to high temperatures may impact the test performance,” but also recommends simply confirming the test line on the kit. 

“As long as the test line[s] appear as described in the instructions, you can be confident that the test is performing as it should,” the FDA site says.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.


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