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You Can Get 8 More Free COVID Test Kits From the Government. Here’s How

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

The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that households can order a third round of free COVID-19 at-home rapid antigen tests via COVID.gov/tests. But this time is different. With the first two rounds, households received four test kits each time — this time, they’ll get eight test kits.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise again due to the highly transmissible omicron subvariants. Getting tested for coronavirus is still crucial, especially as mask mandates have been lifted across the US. 

“Today’s announcement underscores the Administration’s commitment to doing everything in our power to ensure the American people have the lifesaving tools they need so they are prepared for whatever comes,” according to the White House briefing.

It takes less than 2 minutes to order your tests. See below to find out how to get more 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 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 a hotline — 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 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.

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 kit arrive? 

Tests are typically sent out within 7 to 12 days of an order being successfully placed and are delivered by the USPS within one to 3 days of shipping.

COVID 19 test kit

iHealth COVID-19 rapid antigen tests are supplied for free via the US. Postal Service.


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 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 impacted 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.  

To ensure appropriate performance with a test delivered in freezing temperatures, bring the package inside and leave it unopened at room temperature for at least two hours before opening. 

“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,” according to the FDA site. 

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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