8 more at-home COVID-19 tests are available from the government, but they can’t be used for travel

May 18, 2022

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Americans can order up to eight at-home rapid COVID-19 tests per household at no cost as of this week, marking the third test rollout from the U.S. government.

Unfortunately, these tests don’t meet the requirements outlined by most travel entities and countries with travel restrictions. However, you can use the tests for peace of mind and convenience purposes before your trip.

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To order these tests, go to covid.gov/tests and click on “Order Free At-Home Tests,” as illustrated below.

screenshot of covid government website
(Screenshot from covid.gov)

From there, enter your contact and shipping information, before selecting “Check Out Now.”

Screenshot from the U.S. government coronavirus website
(Screenshot from covid.gov)

Upon placing your order, you should receive a confirmation via email from the United States Postal Service. The email will explain that the eight tests will be mailed in two packages of four tests, so be sure to look out for confirmation and tracking details related to each package. This process takes a matter of minutes.

Related: How to save money on pricey rapid COVID-19 PCR tests

screenshot of usps order
(Screenshot from USPS)

If you haven’t ordered tests from the U.S. government before, you can submit up to three orders per household, since this is the third opportunity to obtain free tests via the government. This will give you a total of 16 tests.

The White House initially distributed 500 million tests on Jan. 14, declaring that families were eligible to order up to four at-home tests in both January and February.

Bottom line

These tests are not suitable to use when traveling to countries that require incoming passengers to submit negative predeparture testsInstead, these tests from the government can be used for peace of mind — such as in the days leading up to a big trip.

Travelers can use other at-home tests to fulfill a country’s testing requirements. There are a variety of at-home proctored tests available for travelers, including Abbott’s BinaxNow COVID-19 Home Test and Ellume’s COVID-19 Home Test.

Be sure to consult COVID-19 entry and exit rules for specific countries, as outlined by the U.S. Embassy and other government officials.

Related: Your guide to at-home COVID-19 tests for international travel

Featured photo by Angus Mordant/Bloomberg/Getty Images.

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