COVID Testing for All: USPS Expands Free At-Home Test Kits With White House Support – CNET

On Wednesday, the US Postal Service said it will start shipping free COVID tests to homes across the country once again. The new at-home tests are made possible by a $600 million investment from the White House that includes grants for 12 manufacturing companies that produce the tests. 

USPS has been shipping free COVID-19 tests since January 2022 and has previously delivered four rounds of tests, totaling 20 free tests for each household. The program was halted in September 2022 when it ran out of tests and funding, then restarted in December 2022 and stopped again after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency in May 2023.

Read more: Your expired COVID test kits might still be good. Here’s how to find out

The new free tests from USPS come at a time when COVID cases are rising, and as cases continue to climb this fall, more people are interested in protecting themselves and their families. Read on to learn how you can get free tests from USPS and other ways to get free COVID testing, treatment and vaccines.

For more, here’s what to know about long COVID, and here’s how to tell if it’s COVID, allergies or something else.

How does the USPS free COVID-19 test program work?

In January 2022, President Joe Biden announced the launch of, a website where households could order four free rapid antigen COVID-19 tests shipped by USPS. The site added four more free tests in March 2022, eight more in May 2022 and then a final four tests last winter. The new round of shipments will also include four COVID tests.

Unlike some complicated government applications, ordering free tests from the Postal Service is simple. It takes less than two minutes to complete a short form asking for your name and mailing address, and the tests ship in about a week or two. People without internet access or those who have trouble ordering online can request tests using a toll-free phone number — 800-232-0233.

The USPS will start accepting orders for this latest round of free COVID tests on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023.

How do I order free COVID-19 tests from USPS?

When USPS starts taking orders for COVID-19 tests on Sept. 25, you’ll only need to provide a few bits of information to get your 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 kits once the order process begins.

1. Visit You can also get there via

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.

When will my free COVID-19 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.

What are my other free COVID-19 testing options? 

Aside from the four free COVID tests from USPS, there are three main avenues to find free COVID-19 testing locations across the US: HRSA health centers, Test to Treat locations and ICATT testing sites. These options function similarly, but we’ll break down the specific steps to find your nearest free testing location.

HRSA health centers offer free COVID-19 testing

map of HRSA health center locations for COVID testing near Detroit

HRSA health centers offer free COVID-19 testing. 

HRSA/Screenshot by CNET

The Health Resources and Services Administration funds health centers across the US. At these HRSA health centers, you will be able to receive free COVID-19 testing. You can use HRSA’s locator tool to find a center near you.

First, select the language you would like to receive your results in. Then simply enter the location you wish to search into the box labeled Location. The locator also allows you to widen your search radius, so you can see all the options your area has to offer. 

Once you’ve found a center that works for you, click through to that particular location’s website and follow their specific instructions for obtaining a free COVID-19 test. 

Test to Treat locations have COVID testing and medicine

map of Test to Treat locations for COVID testing near Atlanta

The Test to Treat program makes COVID testing and therapeutics more accessible. 

HHS/Screenshot by CNET

Test to Treat is a federally funded health care initiative that provides more accessible COVID-19 care. This option differs from the others in this article as you can use the Test to Treat centers to receive both COVID testing and treatment for infections. Like the other COVID-19 free testing options,Test to Treat has a locator tool that you can use to find an eligible Test to Treat Center near you. 

The Test to Treat center locator works like the other COVID testing search tools. Enter your location into the search bar and the tool will display Test to Treat locations in your area. A sliding bar lets you resize the search radius to capture all of the Test to Treat centers within your area. 

Within the Test to Treat locator results, you’ll be able to see each location’s address, which COVID-19 therapeutics they offer and other special instructions you might need to know to get tested. 

Increasing Community Access to Testing provides COVID testing for the uninsured

a map showing ICATT COVID testing locations near Chicago

ICATT offers free testing to uninsured patients who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have recently been exposed.

CDC/Screenshot by CNET

Increasing Community Access to Testing, or ICATT, is another free testing program that you can use if you need access to free COVID-19 testing. However, ICATT works a bit differently than the other programs on this list. 

ICATT is specifically designed for uninsured patients who have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. However, anyone can get an ICATT test at one of the program’s locations, regardless of insurance status. If you are uninsured and you wish to be tested at an ICATT eligible site, you will not need to pay for your test. If you are insured, you might need to pay a fee. 

The ICATT locator tool works just like the other locator tools for free COVID testing — input your address or your ZIP code to find ICATT locations near you. There is a search radius adjuster in this locator to tweak your searches to capture the entire area that you want to search. 

Once you’ve found a location, follow your testing site’s steps for scheduling your appointment. 

How can I get free COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots?

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are an important protection against contracting or getting seriously ill from the virus. Since the CDC recently recommended updated COVID-19 booster shots for everyone 6 months or older, you might be wondering how to find free COVID-19 vaccines. 

If you don’t have insurance or a health provider, don’t worry. The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) website says, “COVID-19 vaccines are 100% free for every individual living in the United States.”

On Sept. 14, 2023, the Department of Health & Human Services launched the Bridge Access Program, which will continue to provide free vaccines to those who are uninsured though local health departments and HRSA centers. CDC has also partnered with “more than 20,000 retail pharmacy locations nationwide” to provide free vaccines by modifying the existing ICATT program mentioned above.

The Bridge Access Program will end in December 2024, but until then, you can be sure that you’ll be able to access free COVID-19 vaccines. 

For more, learn how your blood type could make you more susceptible to COVID and everything to know about the updated COVID-19 boosters.

Correction, Sept. 21, 2023: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information about the cost of vaccines for people without insurance. It has been updated with information about how people can get free vaccines.