It took nearly two years of living through the Covid-19 pandemic to get free at-home tests. Now, every household in the United States can request eight more free tests—including US territories and military addresses. Each household can request up to three times in total, so if you only got the initial four, you can now fill out the form twice.
If you need a test right now, we have a guide to finding the best at-home tests and have outlined the process of ordering and taking tests below. Also, see our guides to the best N95 masks and other reusable masks we like. You can follow the rest of our Coronavirus coverage here
Updated May 2022: You can now request eight more tests per household. We’ve updated this guide with info.
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- How to Order Tests
- If You Need a Test ASAP
- Common Problems When Using the Site
- What About Free Masks
- Vaccinations and Boosters
Head directly to the United States Postal Service’s Covid-19 page. If you go through CovidTests.gov, on the front page you should see “Order Free At-Home Tests” in a blue bubble. Clicking that redirects you to the right USPS page. There, you’ll fill out your name and address. Include your email address so you can get shipping notifications. Once you’ve filled in your address, click the green “Check Out Now” button to the right. Don’t worry, it’s completely free, including shipping. Only one person per household should place a request.
If you’d rather place an order by phone or you know someone who doesn’t have access to the internet, like an elderly relative, you can call the helpline at 1-800-232-0233. Be warned that you will probably be on hold for a while. Don’t call the USPS, as no one you speak to will be able to place orders on your behalf.
The last tests we ordered took several weeks to arrive, so we recommend ordering them now and keeping them on hand until you need one. This batch will arrive in two packages. There’s no guarantee as to what brand you’ll be getting, and you can’t choose, but the site does say these are FDA-authorized at-home rapid antigen tests—I personally received the iHealth tests we recommend.