If you’re planning an upcoming trip to one of the countries where Americans can travel, you’ll probably need to do a PCR test for travel. Yet, with all the new testing options and the Omicron variant, it’s not always clear which RT-PCR test for international travel you need.
It can be confusing, but this guide will tell you where to get a PCR test for travel in the USA, as well as the different types of tests. You’ll also learn about newer testing options like at-home kits and mail-in PCR Covid tests for travel.
I’ll tell you now that if you prefer testing on your own, you’ll want a mail-in test, like this FDA-approved kit from Amazon ($39.99) or an at-home test that’s approved for travel, such as this one from Ellume ($35). You’ll receive your results quickly without having to go to a clinic or drive-thru testing site.
Of course, depending on your timeline, destination, and vaccination status, you may need to get the test another way, so let’s dive into all the possible options!
- In-person COVID tests for travel
- Mail-in PCR Covid tests for travel
- At-home PCR tests for travel
- Best U.S. airports to get a Covid test before your trip
- Do travelers need to do PCR testing if they’re vaccinated?
Before we start, it’s worth noting that free coronavirus tests typically apply to testing for medical purposes. If you’re getting a test solely for traveling, your insurance may not cover it, but this is something you must look into on a case-by-case basis.
Which Covid test do you need for travel abroad?
If you’re looking for a PCR test for international travel, you’ll see these two tests quite often: the PCR test and the antigen test. Currently, the FDA recommends the molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which is the gold standard of accepted COVID-19 travel clearance tests, as well as the most accurate and widely available.
Recently, antigen tests have become more widely available, although they still tend to be less accurate than the standard PCR tests. If you’re confused about the antigen test vs. PCR, you’re not alone!
PCR test for travel
In a nutshell, the PCR detects active coronavirus infections. It’s the official COVID-19 travel clearance test and the most common NAAT test. According to the CDC, if you’re re-entering the U.S., you must have proof of a negative COVID-19 NAAT test taken within 3 days of departure. Alternatively, you can provide evidence of recovery from COVID-19 within the last 90 days. Acceptable NAAT tests include PCR, RT-PCR, LAMP, and TMA, among others.
Most countries open for tourism require the PCR test for entry, so this guide will focus on where to get a PCR test for travel. Of course, you should check your specific destination to see all the entry requirements, especially with the current Omicron variant situation.
Antigen test for travel
While the PCR can detect an active Covid infection, the antigen test only checks for specific viral proteins. The CDC accepts proof of a negative antigen test taken within 3 days of departure if you want to enter the U.S. However, other countries may have different testing requirements. For example, antigen tests aren’t accepted for entry into Canada, so you need to check the specific requirements of your destination country.
Buy travel insurance before getting your fit to fly certificate!
It’s always a good idea to have insurance coverage for travel. Many tourists paid large out-of-pocket expenses during lockdown back when COVID first hit. Now, over two years into the pandemic, many countries require visitors to have some kind of travel insurance.
However, the main reason why we recommend enrolling in coverage before getting a pre-trip COVID test is that in case the test comes back positive and you need to cancel your travel plans, you will get refunded for the trip expenses.
We have Heymondo and highly recommend it since, in addition to covering COVID treatment and quarantine, if you test positive for COVID before your trip, you’ll receive reimbursement for the cancellation and related travel expenses.
5% OFF your travel insurance
Where to get an in-person Covid test for travel near you
Most likely, you’re going to need a PCR test for travel before you embark on your trip. Depending on where you live in the U.S., you may have many testing locations near you or just a few.
This section will help you find where to get a PCR test for travel near you, based on the most common nationwide and local centers.
COVID-19 test for travel – Nationwide (United States)
Currently, there are a handful of major companies and labs offering in-person COVID-19 travel clearance tests. Here is an overview of the best places to get a PCR test for travel in the U.S.
1. CVS PCR testing for travel
CVS has over 4,800 testing locations across the United States offering molecular PCR/NAAT tests and rapid-result tests. While its MinuteClinics accept all major insurance, if you want to get a CVS Covid test for travel, you’ll have to select the self-pay option. The total cost is $139, and you can get a fit-to-fly certificate from CVS at no added cost.
The CVS PCR test for travel produces results in 1-2 days and is the most accurate test available. You can go here and enter your zip code to find a MinuteClinic near you. You’ll have to answer some pre-screening questions to see if you’re eligible for a test, and appointments are required.
2. Passport Health
Passport Health is a nationwide travel medicine and immunization provider offering RT-PCR tests for international travel at most of its clinics.
Passport Health has locations in most states, excluding Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. You can check for clinic locations that provide PCR tests for travel here.
Keep in mind that Passport Health focuses on individuals who need to get a coronavirus test before traveling for work or school and, due to increased demand, appointments are limited, so you should schedule your test as soon as possible.
3. Walgreens PCR tests for travel
Walgreens’ COVID testing for travel is offered in partnership with the PWNHealth network and LabCorp. On their website, they note that these tests are available at no cost to eligible individuals who meet the CDC criteria (individuals who present COVID symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.)
Three tests are available: the PCR test, the rapid NAAT test, and the rapid antigen test. The rapid NAAT test produces results within 2 hours, while the PCR results arrive within 2 days. You can check here to find additional information and a location near you. You can also request a Pixel by LabCorp at-home PCR test for travel on the Walgreens website (available at no cost for eligible travelers.)
*Note: Walgreens doesn’t provide an official fit-to-fly certificate, but an email with the result of the test. This is valid for traveling to some national and international locations.
QuestDiagnostics is another nationwide lab that offers PCR tests for international travel. The lab does active infection swab tests and antibody blood tests. You’ll have to talk to your doctor to see if you’re eligible for the PCR test. If you are, you can choose between an in-person test or an at-home testing kit.
The in-person test costs $119 and yields results in 1-2 days. You can take it at any of the over 2,200 QuestLab locations across the country. The in-person tests aren’t available in several states, so check for a location near you here.
The at-home PCR test for travel is a 2-pack rapid antigen test kit and costs $70. Quest Labs will FedEx the kit to you, along with a prepaid overnight label. You’ll take the nasal swab test with telehealth proctor supervision and receive your results in 15 minutes.
Currently, QuestDiagnostics doesn’t provide travel clearance certificates.
5. Rite Aid
Rite Aid pharmacies throughout the U.S. have partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide rapid PCR tests for travel and antigen tests.
You can get a same-day appointment at a Rite Aid drive-thru pharmacy, and mail-in kits and at-home tests are also available. In-person drive-thru results arrive in 2-5 days via email. Those who do the mail-in test will receive a free overnight return shipping label and get their results within 2 days of their sample arriving at the lab.
Through its partnership with HHS, the drive-thru and mail-in PCR COVID tests for travel are free with or without insurance. You can find more info and pharmacy locations here.
6. DMCovid-19 Test
DMCovid-19 Test, LLC is now partnering with doctors’ offices throughout the country to provide Covid-19 travel clearance tests. House call service by a local physician is available in the contiguous U.S., although result turnaround times vary.
DMCovid-19 Test has over a dozen clinic locations offering curbside testing in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington. Some locations offer rapid PCR and antigen results in 1-3 hours.
The RT-PCR tests are CLIA-certified and cost $219 for next-day results and $299-$349 for same-day results. You can find more information and specific locations here.
7. Urgent care centers
Another option if you’re looking for travel clearance COVID testing near you is to check the urgent care centers across the country. Some provide fit-to-fly certificates, while others do not. You can look up ‘urgent care’ in your city and check out the clinic’s website for more details about PCR tests for travel.
Keep in mind that most urgent care centers and hospitals are preoccupied with helping people with COVID-19 symptoms, so this is one of the last options we recommend. There are more convenient ways of getting a coronavirus test for travel purposes, such as the companies above.
Best nationwide labs to get a quick in-person PCR Covid-19 test for travel
Below, you can see which pharmacies and labs offer PCR tests and certificates for travel, as well as prices and turnaround times for results.
Results turnaround time
Official travel certificate
WHERE TO GET A COVID-19 TEST FOR TRAVEL IN THE UNITED STATES
* Only for eligible individuals (for medical purposes)
The list of U.S. labs offering these tests is growing every day, so we’ll keep updating it as new centers start testing for travel purposes.
Best places to get a Covid-19 test for travel – State by state
If you’re still unsure about where to get a PCR test for travel near you, here is a list of clinics in several states. If your state isn’t listed here, try checking for a local pharmacy like CVS. Also, some metropolitan areas have partnered with third-party companies like Curative to offer fast PCR tests for travelers.
- 1st Choice Phlebotomy Service does coronavirus testing for travel in Maricopa County and accepts most major insurance. Results come within 2-3 days.
- Banner Urgent Care conducts COVID tests for qualified individuals, with results in 2-3 days. Pricing varies.
- Saguaro Bloom does RT-PCR testing and fit-to-fly certificates in Scottsdale. The cost for next-day results is $149, while results in 1-2 hours cost $299.
- Worksite Labs in Phoenix conducts tests that meet most countries’ testing requirements. Most major insurance is accepted for the Standard test, which costs $90, and yields results within 24 hours. An Express option is available for $150 and produces results within 12 hours. There is also a Rapid option for $250, with results within 1.5 hours.
- Alcala Labs has pop-up testing sites across the state, with results in 2-4 days. They accept all major insurance and require it if you’re getting tested for travel purposes.
- COVIDCheck Today conducts RT-PCR tests in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County. The cost is $199 for 24-hour results, $249 for 6-hour results, and $349 for 2-hour results.
- Med2u Inc. does home and office visits across the Los Angeles metropolitan area for $200, with results in a day.
- Color does Covid-19 tests in the San Francisco area and has even partnered with United Airlines. The cost is $0 with insurance, with results in 1-2 days.
- TestWell in South Lake Tahoe, CA, and Reno, NV offers certified RT-PCR tests for travel. Same-day results are available for $149. You can file a claim with your insurance provider for reimbursement.
- COVID Testing LLC serves the Orlando area and provides PCR tests with 30-minute results for $195.
- OpenClear offers concierge services to homes, hotels, and offices in the Miami area, with results in as little as 12 hours. Tests start at $499.
- Physician Partners of America does home visits in the Tampa area, with results in 1-2 days. Major insurance is accepted; otherwise, tests cost $125 out-of-pocket.
- Quality Health Care Concierge provides rapid mobile Covid-19 testing in Boca Raton. The standard PCR test costs $225, with results in 24-48 hours; the rapid PCR costs $299, with results in 5-24 hours.
- Worksite Labs in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach conducts tests that meet most countries’ testing requirements. Most major insurance is accepted for the Standard test, which costs $90, and yields results within 24 hours. An Express option is available for $150 and produces results within 12 hours. There is also a Rapid option for $250, with results within 1.5 hours.
- ARCpoint Labs in Duluth offers PCR tests for $169 and RT-PCR tests for $249. Same-day appointments are available, and results arrive in 2-4 days or 24 hours for the rapid option. Insurance is not accepted.
- Covid Care Georgia offers free drive-thru COVID testing in Brookhaven, Dalton, Gainesville, and Lilburn. The cost is $0 with insurance, and results arrive in 2-4 days.
- The Georgia Department of Public Health does free COVID testing for residents with results in 2-3 days.
- Emerson Hospital serves Concord with free coronavirus testing for travel for those who are insured ($105 for self-pay.) Results come within 3 days.
- Holyoke Medical Group performs PCR tests at its Holyoke Medical Center drive-up testing site. Most major insurance is accepted, and the out-of-pocket price is $436. Results arrive within 24 hours.
- Tufts Medical Center in Boston conducts PCR tests with results in 1-3 days. Most major insurance is accepted, and the self-pay cost is $135.
- Central City Integrated Health does COVID testing by appointment Monday-Friday in Detroit. Major insurance is accepted, and results come within 3 days.
- Cherry Health offers drive-thru coronavirus testing in Grand Rapids, with results in 2-3 days. Major insurance is accepted, and patients don’t need a doctor’s referral.
- Central Jersey Urgent Care does COVID testing every day in Ocean Township, Somerset, and Howell. Major insurance is accepted for the standard PCR test, with results in 2-3 days. Same-day travel PCR tests yield results in 1 hour and cost $165 (not covered by insurance.)
- Pediatrics Urgent Care offers rapid and PCR testing for travel in South Jersey for $65 if uninsured. Results come within 2-3 days.
- The City of Newark has a list of free walk-in and drive-thru Covid testing sites specifically for Newark.
- Urgent Medical Care and MRI in Jersey City, NJ does RT-PCR tests. Travelers who need documentation can get results in 30 minutes. The out-of-pocket cost is $250 (insurance not accepted)
- CareCube has several locations for COVID testing for travel in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens with results in 8-10 hours. Tests cost $225, but CareCube accepts most major insurance.
- Medical Offices of Manhattan in New York City offers PCR tests with results in 2-3 days for $100, and most major insurance is accepted.
- OpenClear does home and office visits in the New York area as well as Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, with results in as little as 12 hours. Tests cost $499.
- Venistat Mobile Labs in New York, New York offers RT-PCR tests with results within 12-24 hours. The test costs $180 without insurance coverage.
- BetterMed Urgent Care – Charlotte does PCR testing with next-day results at various locations in Charlotte. The cost is $269 and includes a patient medical evaluation.
- Greensboro Health Department does COVID tests for travel in Greensboro and High Point, with results in 3-4 days. You can also request a Pixel by LabCorp at-home testing kit for $119.
- NeighborHealth offers COVID testing for those who qualify, with results in 3 days. Pricing varies depending on insurance.
- Euclid Hospital has partnered with the Cleveland Clinic to offer drive-up and on-site testing, with results in 2-3 days. The center requires pre-screening to determine eligibility status. Tests start at $125 if you’re paying out-of-pocket.
- PrimaryOne Health does free COVID tests for travel on Mondays and Wednesdays in Columbus, with results in 2-3 days. The test requires pre-screening to determine eligibility status.
- WellNow Urgent Care does PCR tests in Cleveland and Columbus with results in 24-48 hours. The cost is $0 with insurance, and the self-pay option is $150.
- Curative offers Covid testing in Pittsburgh with a turnaround time of 1-2 days. There aren’t any out-of-pocket costs when billed to insurance or an eligible federal aid program.
- Frontage Laboratory in Exton (35 minutes from Philadelphia) offers COVID-19 tests for travelers with same-day turnaround times (about 6 hours.) The cost is $203, although your insurance may reimburse you.
- MedExpress has several locations in eastern PA and Delaware. Most major insurance is accepted, and the test costs $149-$249 out-of-pocket. Results come in 2-3 days.
- Sayre Health Center has partnered with Penn Medicine to offer free walk-up COVID testing for travel with results in 2-3 days. Testing is free for the insured and uninsured.
- Vybe Urgent Care has over 10 locations in the Philadelphia area and does RT-PCR tests with same-day results. The cost is $135 without insurance, plus any lab fees.
- Any Lab Test Now has various locations in Houston that do PCR testing with results in 2-3 days. The cost is $199, or you can have it paid for by insurance or an eligible federal aid program.
- Ayass BioScience Drive-thru does RT-PCR tests for travel in Frisco for $120, with same-day results if your sample is collected before 2:00 pm.
- Covid Drive-Up does drive-thru COVID testing for travel in San Antonio and Austin, with results in 1-2 days. Tests range from $159-$300.
- Curative has PCR testing locations in Houston with a turnaround time of 1-2 days. There aren’t any out-of-pocket costs when billed to insurance or an eligible federal aid program.
- Curative is conducting Covid testing in Arlington and the Washington, D.C. area with a turnaround time of 1-2 days. There aren’t any out-of-pocket costs when billed to insurance or an eligible federal aid program.
- McLean Pharmacy offers self-administered RT-PCR tests for travel. The cost is $45 for results in 2-3 days; $150 for next-day results; and $299 for same-day results.
- Discovery Health MD does COVID tests in Bellevue, Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma. Next-day RT-PCR tests cost $176, while rapid PCR tests cost $206 with results in 30-90 minutes.
- Providence Urgent Care conducts COVID testing for travel throughout Washington, with results in 24-72 hours. Pricing varies.
Best places to get a mail-in Covid-19 test for travel in the U.S.
If you live far from one of the main labs that offer PCR tests for travel, or you don’t want to risk possible exposure to the virus by visiting a lab, consider a mail-in test.
More and more companies are offering mail-in PCR Covid tests for travel, although they don’t all have the same authorization. So, it’s a good idea to check if your airline has a testing partner, but in the meantime, here are some possible options:
- Amazon has an FDA-authorized mail-in PCR COVID test for travel, which you can buy here for $39.99. Upon receiving your RT-PCR test kit, register it online at AmazonDX.com. After taking your sample, send it back to Amazon’s CAP-accredited lab using the included pre-paid next-day shipping label. The lab will send you the results and documentation within 24 hours of receiving your specimen. This at-home PCR test is valid for domestic travel within the U.S. and many international destinations.
- DxTerity Covid-19 Test Collection Kit is CLIA-certified and FDA-authorized for emergency use. This $95 test yields results in 24-72 hours. Once you receive the kit, register it online, collect a swab sample, and send it to DxTerity’s lab for physician authorization. Your kit, which you can buy here, comes with a pre-paid shipping label. Most major insurance providers offer reimbursement for the test.
- EmpowerDX is another option and costs $100 here. The RT-PCR test has FDA emergency use authorization and is airline-approved. After collecting your swab sample, you must send it to the company’s CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited lab using the free overnight return shipping label. You’ll get your lab report and results within 48 hours of your sample arriving at the lab.
- The COVID Consultants have sputum and nasal mail-in PCR Covid tests for travel, both for $199. Clients can expect results within 24 hours of the specimen returning to the lab. Depending on where you live, the clinic can overnight a kit to you, complete with a prepaid FedEx overnight shipping label. The testing kits are FDA-approved and accepted by major travel authorities in the U.S., Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
- Pixel by Labcorp can mail you an FDA-authorized COVID testing kit, although it requires a pre-screening survey to determine eligibility. The kits are sent via FedEx, and you should get yours within 2 days. Once you send back your sample, you should receive your results in 1-2 days. Those who are taking it for non-essential travel will have to pay the out-of-pocket cost of $119.
- EverlyWell offers a mail-in testing kit for $109, with digital results in 24-48 hours. The lab is open Monday-Friday and will receive your kit within 2-8 days. Itemized receipts for insurance reimbursement are available.
- Vault Health provides at-home PCR tests for travel for $90. You’ll have to perform the self-test during a Zoom call with a health professional before sending it back to the lab. Results take 12-48 hours after arriving at the lab.
- Azova offers several mail-in PCR COVID tests for travelers. Each option requires video observation via Zoom. The RT-PCR test kit is FDA-approved for international and domestic travel from the U.S., costs $115, and produces results within 72 hours. Azova also sells the Lucira LAMP test ($89), which recently got FDA authorization for entry into the U.S., and yields results within 30 minutes.
- LetsGetChecked has a mail-in PCR test for $109. It’s an RT-PCR/TMA analysis (an accepted NAAT test) that produces results within 24-72 hours of arriving at the lab. Along with your results, you’ll receive a fit-to-fly certificate and an official lab report.
- Med2u Inc. sells an at-home Covid test for $200, plus $39 for shipping. The kit comes with a priority overnight return label, which you’ll use to send your sample back to the lab. You’ll get your test results and lab report within 12-14 hours upon arriving at the lab.
- ImmunitiRx is another company with a mail-in PCR Covid test for travel. It has FDA Emergency Use Authorization, and ImmunitiRx can give you a QR code of your results. The kit costs $225, and you can return your sample to the lab using the included pre-paid overnight box. You’ll get your results within 24-36 hours.
- Carbon Health can ship you an at-home COVID test kit via FedEx Overnight for $145. You’ll send it back with the included overnight label and receive your results in 72 hours.
- ADL Health can mail you a $169 COVID testing kit within 48 hours. Follow the instructions to collect your sample, then send it back in the enclosed packaging. You’ll get your results in 1-3 days.
At-home COVID-19 travel clearance tests
Some countries are also accepting at-home PCR tests for travel. For example, the United States is now allowing at-home COVID-19 tests with remote supervision. For the test to be valid, it must meet this criteria from the CDC:
- The test must be a viral antigen or NAAT test (PCR, LAMP, TMA, etc.)
- Tests must have FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)
- The test must involve video observation by an approved health practitioner or proctor. The practitioner must file a report for the patient that confirms their identity, the name of the lab or clinic, the type of test, and the specimen collection date.
- The airline must be able to confirm the patient’s identity and test result details and, if requested, present this documentation to U.S. officials at the port of entry.
This at-home testing option is very convenient for Americans traveling abroad since they’ll need to get tested before re-entering the U.S. With these at-home tests, they can simply pack the kit with them in their luggage and get self-tested before their flight back to the States.
If you intend to use these RT-PCR tests for international travel, first confirm that your destination also accepts them.
At-home PCR tests for travel (NAAT)
- Abbott’s BinaxNOW at-home COVID-19 test is CDC-approved for entry into the U.S. A 6-pack testing kit costs $150, and Abbott recommends testing yourself at least twice, with at least 36 hours between swabs. You’ll have to take the test with video observation through the NAVICA app, and you’ll get your results in 15 minutes.
- Detect Covid-19 Test sells an $85 PCR test for travel, along with the Detect Hub that reads your nasal swab sample and provides the result in 1 hour. You’ll also need the Detect Verified voucher (available here for $20) to have a video observation session to certify the test.
At-home antigen tests for travel
- Ellume by Azova was one of the first at-home PCR tests for travel to become available. It’s approved for domestic and international travel and is partnered with Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines. For $35, you get the test kit and video observation via the Ellume app while you take the test. You’ll get your results in 15 minutes.
- Qured sells an antigen COVID test for $35 that produces results in 2 hours. The test is supervised over video by a Health Advisor, which is compliant with CDC guidelines. While the test has FDA Emergency Use Authorization, it’s only accepted by VeriFLY-affiliated airlines, so check with your airline before purchasing.
- Reliant Health Services provides a rapid antigen test that has FDA Emergency Use Authorization and CDC approval for flights to the U.S. The test gives you results in 10 minutes, and you’ll take it in a telehealth session with supervision. It costs $69 per test or $99 for a 2-pack.
Best U.S. airports to get a Covid test before your trip
More and more U.S. airports are doing pre-flight Covid-19 tests. However, each airport has specific policies, and turnaround times can cause delays in your trip. Even so, this could be a viable option if you’re arriving at the airport a day or two before your flight.
Some hotels now offer on-site testing, but most of these resorts are in the Caribbean, and it’s not a good idea to assume your hotel will have a test waiting for you.
That said, you can find XpresCheck kiosks offering walk-up PCR tests and appointments at several major U.S. airports. Rapid NAAT tests ($200) and RT-PCR tests ($250) have a turnaround time of about 1 hour. Standard PCR tests cost $75 and have a turnaround time of 2-4 days. Insurance is only accepted for lab fees.
Depending on the airport you’re going through, Worksite Labs is another option. Its NAAT RT-PCR tests are approved for travel to many countries and are available at SFO Airport, LAX, JFK, Sheraton Portland Airport, Seattle Airport, and Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. The Standard PCR test ($90) yields results in 24 hours; the Express test ($150) shows results in 12 hours, and the Rapid test ($250) gives you results in 1.5 hours. There is also an antigen test ($75) that produces results in 30 minutes.
Check out some airports with PCR tests for U.S. travelers below.
XpresCheck has a COVID testing site at Boston Logan Airport, at Terminal C (Departures) and Terminal E (Arrivals.) Standard PCR tests cost $75 without insurance and yield results in 2-3 days. Rapid tests cost $250 without insurance and have a turnaround time of 60 minutes.
Simple Laboratories is doing rapid and PCR testing at O’Hare’s Bus Shuttle Center for $128 with results in 2-4 days. To get tested, individuals will need proof of flying (boarding pass) or airport employment.
Collinson has opened Covid-19 testing centers at DFW Airport at Terminal D (D7, D22, and D40.) Pre-departure tests produce results within 1 hour. The Rapid Antigen costs $79; the Rapid Molecular (NAAT) costs $199, and the RT-PCR costs $249.
Select American Airlines flights are eligible for pre-travel Covid-19 test options at various CareNow Urgent Care centers. Rapid tests cost $99, with results in 15 minutes.
An XpresCheck testing site is open at Denver International Airport’s Concourse, Level 2, and Jeppesen Terminal, Level 5 for ticketed passengers. Standard PCR tests cost $75 without insurance and yield results in 2-3 days. Rapid tests cost $250 without insurance and have a turnaround time of 60 minutes.
XpresCheck started offering PCR tests for travel at JFK Airport in Terminal 4, Level 1. Standard PCR tests cost $75 without insurance and yield results in 2-3 days. Rapid tests cost $250 without insurance and have a turnaround time of 60 minutes.
There are two Clarity Mobile Ventures testing labs at LAX offering PCR tests for travel. One is across from Terminal 6, and the other is in the Tom Bradley International Terminal (Arrivals.) PCR tests cost $125, with results within 24 hours ($175 for priority results in 3-5 hours.) Rapid PCR tests cost $199, with results in 90 minutes. You can also get an antigen test for $80, with results in 1 hour.
In partnership with Family Rehab, Inc., Miami International Airport offers COVID-19 testing on the ground level of its Arrivals Terminal, between gates 10 and 11. Antigen tests ($79) and RT-PCR tests ($179) are available, with results in 20 minutes.
Newark Airport has an XpresCheck testing site at Terminal B, Level 3, and Terminal C, Level 1. Standard PCR tests cost $75 without insurance and yield results in 2-3 days. Rapid tests cost $250 without insurance and have a turnaround time of 60 minutes.
XpresCheck offers walk-in and by-appointment PCR tests at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport at Terminal 4, Floor 3. Standard PCR tests cost $75 without insurance and yield results in 2-3 days. Rapid tests cost $250 without insurance and have a turnaround time of 60 minutes.
Discovery Health MD offers PCR testing to inbound and outbound passengers at the Southcenter location next to Seattle-Tacoma Airport. RT-PCR tests cost $176 with next-day results; rapid RT-PCR tests cost $206 for results in 50 minutes.
There is also an XpresCheck testing site at the Main Terminal. Standard PCR tests cost $75 without insurance and yield results in 2-3 days. Rapid tests cost $250 without insurance and have a turnaround time of 60 minutes.
Dignity Health–GoHealth Urgent Care is doing PCR tests for travel at SFO’s International Terminal, Level 3. RT-PCR tests cost $275, with results in 1 hour, while rapid molecular (NAAT) tests cost $225, with results in 15 minutes.
A Worksite Labs testing site is located at the International Terminal (Departures.) The Standard PCR test ($90) yields results in 24 hours; the Express test ($150) shows results in 12 hours, and the Rapid test ($250) gives you results in 1.5 hours. There is also an antigen test ($75) that produces results in 30 minutes.
XpresCheck has a COVID-19 testing center at Terminal 3 (Arrivals.) Standard PCR tests cost $75 without insurance and yield results in 2-3 days. Rapid tests cost $250 without insurance and have a turnaround time of 60 minutes.
When should you get a PCR test for travel?
If you check our list of countries that are open for tourism, you’ll see that each place has its distinct traveler protocols. Some countries ask tourists for a PCR travel test 48 hours before arrival. Others want tourists to take the test 2 days before departure, while others have deadlines ranging from 72 hours to 5 days.
Do travelers need to do PCR testing if they’re vaccinated?
Many countries no longer require a PCR test for travel if you’re fully vaccinated. However, this depends on your origin and destination.
For example, for travel within the U.S., the CDC’s testing requirement is waived for fully vaccinated travelers. However, if you travel abroad, on your way back you will need to get a pre-trip COVID test, regardless of your vaccination status or if you have a vaccine card/passport.
Be sure to check our updated list of countries open for tourism to see current requirements at your destination and when to take a PCR test for travel since countries can require a COVID test result anytime between 1-5 days of arrival.
Best tips to get rapid PCR testing for traveling Americans
Keep these tips in mind as you find and schedule your rapid PCR test for travel:
1. Plan to ensure you get results at the right time. Too early, and the result may not be accepted at your destination. Too late, and you won’t have the results in time for your trip.
2. If you don’t want to run the risk, schedule your PCR test for travel with different labs so you can have the Covid test results ready before your trip.
3. If you can, do a mail-in PCR Covid test for travel to avoid exposure to others. Many Amazon test kits are cheap and accepted in many countries (RT-PCR.)
4. Stick to the molecular PCR test for the most accurate results. This is also the test most countries require to have a valid fit-to-fly COVID certificate.
5. Check ahead to see if your insurance covers the test. Otherwise, plan what you’d have to pay out-of-pocket.
6. Double-check the testing protocol with the airline(s) you’re traveling with. Some airlines offer airport tests, while others don’t.
7. Check if your destination requires a negative test to travel, as well as which type of test and if they require an official fit-to-fly COVID-19 travel certificate from the lab. You can check the countries that are open to tourism and entry restrictions in our guide.
8. Look into a pop-up site if you’re in a pinch.
9. Be prepared to present the proper paperwork. The travel clearance certificate for COVID-19 must be presented on paper in most countries, and only a few accept digital certificates.
10. Budget enough time to quarantine before your flight, if necessary.
FAQ – Where to get a COVID-19 test for travel from the U.S.
If you still have some questions about getting a COVID-19 travel clearance test in the U.S., check the FAQs below or leave a comment, and I’ll be happy to help.
The molecular PCR test detects the presence of genetic material related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19.) This is an entry requirement in many countries for American travelers.
Those who are experiencing COVID symptoms or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 should get tested. Moreover, if you plan to travel, be aware that most countries require a negative PCR test to accept travelers.
You can find a clinic near you to get an in-person test for travel (CVS, Walgreens, etc.) or order a mail-in PCR Covid test for travel from one of the clinics that offer this service.
Most countries require a travel clearance certificate. However, not all clinics provide this certificate, so double-check the clinics near you.
Most countries require the molecular PCR test, not the antigen or rapid test. Each country has different entry requirements, so you should check with the country you’re visiting before your trip.
It depends on where you’re going. Some countries require tourists to take the test 2 days before arrival, while others want travelers to get tested 72 hours before departure. Check here for the current guidelines at your destination.
Pricing varies depending on your insurance coverage. Keep in mind that many insurance companies won’t cover a non-essential test, so plan accordingly for out-of-pocket costs. PCR tests for travel can range from $100-$500.
A few major clinics offer COVID-19 travel clearance testing in the U.S., including CVS, Walgreens, Passport Health, Rite Aid, and QuestDiagnostics. There are also many clinics operating at the state level.
Also, some labs offer mail-in PCR Covid tests for travel like EverlyWell or Pixel, and some airlines have COVID testing sites at U.S. international airports.
At-home PCR tests for travel are only acceptable if they meet these CDC requirements:
- They’re viral antigen or NAAT tests (PCR, LAMP, TMA, etc.)
- They are FDA-authorized for emergency use
- They involve video supervision by a health practitioner or proctor who files a patient report with your identity, type of test, specimen collection date, and lab/clinic name.
According to the CDC, you don’t need a PCR test for travel if you’re crossing state borders in the U.S. and you’re vaccinated. However, if you’re traveling back to the U.S. from abroad, you must provide proof of a negative RT-PCR test within 3 days of departure, even if you’re fully vaccinated.
I hope you feel better prepared to find an RT-PCR test for international travel after reading this article.
Remember to plan accordingly and follow proper safety precautions before, during, and after your trip. Getting travel insurance with Covid-19 is also a good practice wherever you go, so check out our comparison chart of the best travel insurances with COVID-19 coverage (testing and treatment.)
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If you have any other questions about where to get a PCR test for travel near you, leave a comment, and I’ll help as much as I can.