Where to get a COVID-19 test for travel in Canada

Where to Get a Quick Covid-19 Test for Travel (in the USA)

If you're traveling this summer, check which travel insurance covers COVID-19 (test and treatment abroad). ALSO, NEW DELTA VARIANT!

If you’re planning an upcoming trip to one of the countries where Americans can travel, you’ll probably need to meet some kind of COVID testing requirement. Yet, with all the new testing options and the Delta variant, it’s not always clear which COVID test you need to travel abroad.

It can be confusing, but this guide will tell you where to get a COVID-19 test for travel in the USA, as well as the different types of tests. You’ll also learn about newer testing options like mail-in kits and at-home COVID tests that are approved for travel.

I’ll tell you now that if you prefer testing on your own, you’ll want a mail-in test, like these approved kits from Amazon ($39.99) or an at-home test that’s approved for travel, such as the one from Ellume ($50). You’ll receive your results quickly without having to risk exposure at 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!

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 pre-trip Covid test, 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 tests for travel, and the most accurate and widely available.

Recently, antigen tests have become more widely available, although they still tend to be more expensive than the standard PCR tests. If you’re confused about the antigen test vs PCR, you’re not alone!

same day result covid test for travel

Which Covid test do you need for travel abroad?

In a nutshell, the PCR detects active coronavirus infection while the antigen test only checks for specific viral proteins. Moreover, the PCR test is the official COVID test for travel and the most common NAAT test. Most states and countries open for tourism are requiring the PCR test for entry. Of course, you should check your specific destination to see all the entry requirements, especially with the current Delta variant situation.

For example, according to the CDC, if you’re re-entering the US, you must have proof of a negative COVID-19 NAAT or antigen 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.

Again, the testing requirements depend on where you’re going (antigen tests aren’t accepted for entry into Canada, for example).

buy travel insurance before getting your pre-trip COVID test!

Given the severity of the pandemic and the current situation with the Delta variant, it’s 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 a year 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.

That is only true if you get good travel insurance. To help you out, we have guides that compare travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage and the best domestic travel insurance (in the USA).

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.

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 US, you may have many testing locations near you or just a few.

Covid-19 test, cvs pcr test turnaround time

Where to get an in-person COVID test for travel near you

This section will help you find a PCR COVID-19 test 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 PCR COVID travel tests. Here is an overview of the most widely available options where American travelers can get a Covid-19 test for travel.

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 CVS MinuteClinics accept all major insurance, if you want to get a quick COVID test for travel, it’s considered a non-essential test, so you’ll have to select the self-pay option. The total cost is $139, and you can get a fit-to-fly travel certificate with your test at no added cost.

fit to fly certificate covid test for travel

The CVS PCR test 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, and it’s offering pre-travel testing for Americans at most of its clinics.

Passport Health has locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington D.C. 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 offers COVID-19 testing for American travelers, 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. To see if you’re eligible, you have to complete a quick screening survey and, if you’re eligible, you’ll be able to make your appointment.

antigen test bs pcr for travel

Three tests are available: the PCR test, the rapid antigen test (BinaxNOW), and the rapid diagnostic test (ID NOW). The Walgreens PCR test cost is generally $0, but in some locations, your insurance could be billed by LabCorp, so check this with your Walgreens location before your test. Many American travelers have gotten the ID NOW or PCR test for travel at Walgreens for entry to Hawaii and other international destinations like Aruba.

ID Now results take less than 24 hours, while PCR results arrive in 1-2 days. You can check here to find additional information and a location near you.

*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 Hawaii and other locations, but it might not be valid for all international destinations.

4. QuestDiagnostics

QuestDiagnostics is another nationwide lab that offers COVID tests for travel. The lab does active infection swab tests, antibody blood tests, and COVID-19 + flu 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.

same day pcr test for travel

The in-person test costs $119, and you can take it at any of the 2,200 QuestLab locations across the country (you can find a list here). The in-person tests aren’t available in Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, or Oklahoma. The at-home nasal swab kit costs $129, and Quest Labs will FedEx the kit to you, along with a prepaid overnight label. A $9.30 physician fee applies to both tests.

In-person test results take 1-2 days upon arriving at the lab, while at-home swab tests take 3-5 days. Currently, QuestDiagnostics doesn’t provide travel clearance certificates.

5. Rite Aid

Rite Aid pharmacies throughout the US have partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide rapid PCR and antigen tests.

If you’re looking for a PCR test for travel near you and you live near a Rite Aid, this could be a good option. 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 COVID tests are free with or without insurance. However, Rite Aid’s testing does not meet Hawaii travel requirements. 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 PCR testing for travel. House call service by a local physician is available in the contiguous US, although result turnaround times vary. DMCovid-19 Test has 9 clinic locations offering curbside testing in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and Washington DC.

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

There are urgent care centers across the United States offering COVID-19 testing for American travelers. 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.

Covid-19 test, antigen test result time

Covid-19 test for travel – nationwide (United States)

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 pre-flight COVID-19 tests and fit-to-fly certificates.

 

Price

Results turnaround time

Walk-in/Drive-thru

Official travel certificate

CVS

$139

2-3 days

Both

Yes

Passport Health

$200

3 days

Both

Yes

Walgreens

$0*

3 days

Drive-thru

No

QuestDiagnostics

$129

1-2 days

Both

No

Rite Aid

$0*

2-5 days

Drive-thru

No

DMCovid-19 Test

$219

1-24 hours

Drive-thru

No

WHERE TO GET A COVID-19 TEST FOR TRAVEL IN THE UNITED STATES

* Only for eligible individuals (for medical purposes)

The list of labs offering COVID-19 testing for travel in the US is growing every day, so we’ll keep updating this list as new centers start testing for traveling purposes.

Best places to get a Covid-19 test for travel – State by state

Here is a list of available nationwide clinics to help you get quick COVID test results for travel. 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.
  • Alcala Labs has pop-up testing sites across the state, with results in 2 days. They accept all major insurance and require it if you’re getting tested for travel purposes.
  • Med2u Inc. does home and office visits across the Los Angeles metropolitan area, with results in a day. The cost is $200 but travel fees may apply.
  • Color does most of the 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.
  • Physician Partners of America do home visits in the Tampa area, with results in 3-5 days. Major insurance is accepted; otherwise, tests cost $125 out-of-pocket.
  • OpenClear offers concierge services to homes and offices in the Miami area, with results in as little as 12 hours. Tests cost $499.
  • COVID Testing LLC serves the Orlando area with same-day and next-day results. The cost is $35 ($115 without insurance) for next-day results and $75 ($155 without insurance) for same-day results.
  • Covid Care Georgia offers free COVID testing in Atlanta and Dalton, with results in 2-4 days. Everyone is welcome regardless of insurance coverage, although fees apply.
  • 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 days or 2 hours for the rapid option. Insurance is not accepted.
  • Illinois Department of Public Health does COVID testing for travel purposes at the Arlington Racetrack in Arlington Heights, with results in 2-3 days. Most major insurance is accepted, but out-of-pocket costs may apply.
  • The IDPH has mobile sites serving the Chicago area at Lincolnwood Town Center, with results in 2-3 days. Most major insurance is accepted, but out-of-pocket costs may apply.
  • Emerson Hospital serves Concord with free coronavirus testing for travel for those who are insured. Results come within 2-3 days.
  • Holyoke Medical Group does COVID tests and accepts most major insurance. The out-of-pocket price for the uninsured is $436. Results arrive within 3 days.
  • 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.
  • Cherry Health offers 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, with results in 2-3 days. Major insurance is accepted.
  • Pediatrics Urgent Care offers coronavirus tests for travel in South Jersey for $65 if uninsured. Results come within 2-3 days.
  • Urgent Medical Care and MRI in Jersey City, New Jersey does RT-PCR tests. Travelers who need documentation can get results in an hour or less. The out-of-pocket cost is $250 (insurance not accepted)
  • The City of Newark has a list of free Covid testing sites specifically for Newark residents.
  • CareCubehas five locations for COVID testing for travel in Brooklyn and the Bronx, with results in 12-24 hours. Tests cost $200, but CareCube accepts most major insurance.
  • OpenCleardoes 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 expedited RT-PCR test results in less than 24 hours; most results come back between 6 to 10 hours. The test costs $115 with insurance and $190 without coverage.
  • Greensboro Health Department does COVID tests for travel at its Wendover location, with results in 2-3 days. The cost is $199 without insurance.
  • NeighborHealthoffers COVID testing for those who qualify, with results in 3 days. Pricing varies depending on insurance.
  • StarMed Healthcare does PCR testing with results in 1-3 days. Most major insurance is accepted, or you can do the self-pay option ($199).
  • PrimaryOne Health does free COVID tests for travel on Wednesdays and Fridays in Columbus, with results in 2-3 days. The test requires pre-screening to determine eligibility status.
  • Euclid Hospital has partnered with the Cleveland Clinic to offer drive-up and on-site testing, with results in 1-2 days. The center requires pre-screening to determine eligibility status.
  • WellNow Urgent Care does PCR tests in Cleveland and Columbus with same and next-day results. The cost is $0 with insurance, and the self-pay option is $150 plus the cost of an urgent care visit.
  • Sayre Health Center has partnered with Penn Medicine to offer free COVID testing for travel with results in 2-3 days. Testing is free for the insured and uninsured.
  • MedExpress has several locations in western PA. Most major insurance is accepted, although the co-pay ranges from $119-$139. Results come in 2-3 days.
  • 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. The cost is $200.
    • Covid Drive-Up does drive-through COVID testing for travel in San Antonio and Austin, with results in 1-2 days. Tests range from $159-$300.
    • MD Family Clinic – Highway 30 offers drive-thru and walk-in COVID testing in Dallas, with results in 2-3 days. Pricing varies depending on insurance coverage.
    • 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.
  • Discovery Health MD does tests at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton near the Seattle Airport, with results in 24 hours. The cost is $279.

 

Best places to get a mail-in Covid-19 test for travel in the US

If you live far from one of the main labs that offer COVID tests for American travelers, or you don’t want to risk possible exposure to the virus by visiting a lab, consider a mail-in test.

Mail-in Covid test, pcr same day results near me

Best places to get a mail-in Covid-19 test for travel in the US

More and more companies are offering mail-in COVID tests for traveling purposes, although they don’t all have the same authorization. For instance, some tests are part of Hawaii’s trusted testing partner program, while others are not. 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 COVID-19 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 US (except Hawaii) and many international destinations.
  • The DxTerity Covid-19 Test Collection Kit is CLIA-certified and FDA-authorized for emergency use. This $99 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 $99 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 an in-home COVID test for traveling. It costs $199, and 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 mails in at-home COVID testing for travel, and the results come within 3 days. Those who are taking it for non-essential travel will have to pay the out-of-pocket cost of $119. It’s partnered with LabCorp and is also FDA-authorized. Eligibility requires a pre-screening survey.
  • 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 in about 5 days. Itemized receipts for insurance reimbursement are available, although the kit isn’t available in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, or Rhode Island.
  • Vault Health provides at-home COVID tests for travel for $119. 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 24-48 hours.
  • Azova offers several mail-in COVID tests for travelers. Each option requires video observation via Zoom and produces results within 72 hours. The RT-PCR test kit is FDA-approved for international and domestic travel from the US (including Hawaii) and costs $115. Azova also sells the Lucira LAMP test ($89), which recently got FDA authorization for entry into the US and Hawaii.
  • OnSite Safe has rapid PCR tests for travel with results in 48 hours or less upon arriving at the lab. The kits start at $128.
  • LetsGetChecked has a pre-flight Covid-19 test for $89. It’s a TMA analysis (an accepted NAAT test) that produces results within 24-72 of arriving at the lab. Along with your results, you’ll receive a fit-to-fly certificate and an official lab report.

Home COVID tests accepted for travel

Some countries are also accepting at-home COVID tests. 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 these criteria:

  • 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, including the name of the lab or clinic, the type of test, and the specimen collection date.

This at-home testing option is very convenient for Americans traveling abroad since they’ll need to get tested before re-entering the US. 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.

Home COVID tests accepted for travel ellume

Home COVID tests accepted for travel

If you intend to use these at-home COVID tests to travel abroad, first confirm that your destination also accepts them.

Ellume by Azova

Ellume was one of the first companies to offer at-home Covid testing, and it even partnered with Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines. It’s approved for domestic and international travel if you pay for the kit and video observation ($50here. Simply download the Ellume app, take the test with video supervision, and get your results in 15 minutes.

BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test

Abbott’s BinaxNOW at-home COVID test is CDC-approved for entry into the USA. The kit comes with 2 tests, which Abbott recommends using to test yourself 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. You can buy a 6-pack for $150 here.

Best US airports to get a Covid test before your trip

More and more US 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.

Airport Covid test, 24 hour pcr test near me

Best US airports to get a Covid test before your trip

Moreover, XpresCheck has partnered with several major US airports to offer walk-up PCR tests and appointments. Rapid NAAT tests ($200) and RT-PCR tests ($250) have a turnaround time of about 1 hour. Standard PCR tests have a turnaround time of 2-4 days and cost $75. Insurance is only accepted for lab fees.

Check out some airports with COVID-19 testing for American travelers below.

XpresCheck has a COVID testing site at Terminal E International Arrivals at Boston Logan Airport. Standard PCR tests cost $75 without insurance and yield results in 2-3 days. Rapid tests cost $200 without insurance and have a turnaround time of 15 minutes.

Select American Airlines flights are eligible for pre-travel Covid-19 test options. Travelers can go to a CareNow Urgent Care center for a PCR test ($150) or do an on-site test at DFW International Airport ($249) for results within 15 minutes.

An XpresCheck testing site is open at Denver International’s Concourse B for ticketed passengers. Standard PCR tests ($75) and RT-PCR tests ($200) are available to travelers with a boarding pass. The standard turnaround time is 2-3 days, while rapid results arrive within 15 minutes.

Simple Laboratories is doing PCR testing at O’Hare’s Bus Shuttle Center for $145 with results in 1-3 days. To get tested, individuals will need proof of flying (boarding pass) or airport employment.

Clarity Lab Solutions has partnered with LAX to offer COVID-19 testing with results in 24 hours. The tests cost $150 and are available at the Tom Bradley International Terminal and Terminal 2 and 6 Arrivals.

XpresCheck offers walk-in and by-appointment PCR tests at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The standard PCR test costs $75 and has a turnaround time of 2-3 days. The RT-PCR test costs $200 with results in 15 minutes. Most major insurance is accepted.

In partnership with Family Rehab, Inc., Miami International Airport offers standard PCR tests for $79 with results within 40 minutes. RT-PCR tests are available for $179 with results within 15 minutes.

BayCare is working with the Tampa Airport to conduct preflight coronavirus tests for travel for $150, and results take about 48 hours.

Discovery Health MD offers PCR testing to inbound and outbound passengers at Seattle-Tacoma Airport’s central auditorium. Tests cost $250 with same and next-day results.

XpresCheck started offering COVID-19 testing for American travelers at JFK Airport. The testing facility is in Terminal 4 at pre-security. PCR tests cost $75, with same-day results.

SF Intl Airport employees and United Airlines passengers going to Hawaii can get tested at the International Terminal. Tests cost $250 and they’ll receive the results within 48 hours, but they have to book in advance. Moreover, the airport teamed up with Dignity Health–GoHealth Urgent Care to extend testing to nearby locations.

Newark Airport has an XpresCheck COVID test for travel at Terminal B pre-security. The PCR test costs $75, with same-day results.

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 protocols. Some countries ask travelers for a PCR preflight coronavirus 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.

Your best bet is to carefully research the entry requirements for tourists at your destination and plan accordingly.

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 USA, 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.

Be sure to check our updated list of countries open for tourism to see current requirements at your destination.

Best tips to get rapid PCR testing for traveling Americans

  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, try a mail-in Covid test to avoid exposure to others. Amazon 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. Or plan what you’d have to pay out-of-pocket.

6. Double-check the testing protocol with the airlines 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 countries that are open to tourism and entry restrictions here.

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 US

If you still have some questions about getting a quick COVID-19 test to travel in the United States, check the FAQ 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 kit 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 antibody 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 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. Tests can range from $100-$400.

A few major clinics offer COVID-19 tests for travel in the US, 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 tests for travel like EverlyWell or Pixel, and some airlines have COVID testing sites at US international airports.

At-home COVID-19 tests are only acceptable if they meet these CDC requirements:

  • They’re viral antigen or NAAT tests
  • They are FDA-authorized for emergency use
  • They involve video supervision

According to the CDC, you don’t need a PCR test for travel if you’re crossing state borders in the US and you’re vaccinated. However, if you’re traveling back to the US from abroad, you must provide proof of a negative RT-PCR test within 3 days of departure, even if you’re fully vaccinated.

Conclusion

I hope you feel better prepared to get a PCR COVID-19 test for 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 here our comparison chart of best travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage (testing and treatment.)

If you have any other questions about where to get a covid-19 test for traveling in the USA, leave a comment, and I’ll help as much as I can.

Official sources for traveling during Covid-19

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COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

2 thoughts on “Where to Get a Quick Covid-19 Test for Travel (in the USA)

  1. Pierre says:

    Where can I get a pre-flight Covid test in Spokane, WA ? I am not an American citizen so no insurance. I pay for it…
    Flying back to Europe Spokane-Los Angeles-Paris, need a test of less than 72h before departure.
    Thanks

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