How to order free rapid COVID tests from the US government?

With the rise of the Omicron variant, we’ve been asked to use COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to ensure we don’t spread the virus to our friends and family. However, long queues at COVID testing stations and high prices for home kits – when you can find them – have proven very difficult to follow through on this recommendation.

To alleviate this situation, the US federal government has created a website where you can order four free rapid test kits per household per month. While the site was scheduled to open officially on Wednesday, January 19, it started getting names and addresses a day early.

Placing your order is extremely simple. You will not need to provide a credit card or any other financial information.

  • go COVIDTests.gov.
  • Tap the button that says “Order Free Tests at Home.”
  • If for some reason you don’t see the button, you can go directly to the USPS site (which is where the button will send you) at: special.usps.com/testkits.
  • Enter your name, email address (if you want to be notified) and shipping address.
  • Click the green “Check Now” button – you’re done!

The USPS form to order free rapid tests is very simple.

The USPS form to order free rapid tests is very simple.

So far, we haven’t received any reports of issues with the site itself, but (predictably) it’s pretty popular. (According to site analytics.usa.govAs of 14:00 on Tuesday, January 18, over 700,000 people had already visited the website.)

If you’re having trouble accessing the Internet or having trouble placing an order, there’s now a phone number: 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).

Kits should ship within 7-12 days from the end of January. Until then, we’re still on our own when it comes to rapid testing.

Note: Some apartment residents report having trouble ordering if someone else in their building has already done so:

If this happens to you, there have been a number of suggested solutions, including putting your apartment number on the same line as your street address, putting your apartment number on the second address line, or using a word (“suite” or “apartment”) instead of a square sign. None of this has been confirmed; We’ll let you know if we hear anything more. In the meantime, if you’re having trouble, you can try the above-mentioned 800 trick.

Update Jan 18 at 2:45 PM ET: Updated to add information about potential problems with ordering from an apartment.

January 21, 11:30 ET Update: Updated to include support phone number.

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