Travel

Free / Cheap / Quick - Covid PCR / NAAT test in U.S. cities for Canadians returning to Canada

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 12th, 2022 3:23 pm
[OP]
Member
Mar 4, 2003
440 posts
117 upvotes
Newmarket

Free / Cheap / Quick - Covid PCR / NAAT test in U.S. cities for Canadians returning to Canada

Did a search and didn't see a similar thread started, so I thought this could be a valuable resource for Canadians who are travelling these days, and wish to avoid paying $200+ for return tests.
To keep this current and valid, please only post first hand experience. The more recent, the better.

Let's try this format:

City:
Name of lab/organization:
Type of tests available:
Cost:
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual):
Tips/Tricks:
Link:

By now we all know about Walgreens / CVS / Rite-Aid, as coverage for most of the U.S., so let's leave that out, and try to be more city-specific. Let's help each other out!

I'll start.

City: New York, NY

Name of lab/organization: LabQ

Type of tests available: PCR

Cost: Free

Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): 24hrs stated - actual was 12hrs.

Tips/Tricks: Pre-register on website and receive a QR code (use U.S. address). Scan that code at one of the mobile testing vans, get swabbed, and good-to-go. If you fail to pre-register, you'll still have an opportunity at the van.

Link:
https://labq.com/covid-mobile-testing/
448 replies
Newbie
Jun 8, 2019
87 posts
70 upvotes
Mississauga, Ontario
City: LA, California
Lab: CVS pharmacies (book through CVS website)
Type of test:PCR
Cost: Free
Time: 25-28 hours (5 family members took test at same time, results spread out over a few hours)
When used: beginning of Sept.
Tips: Need to book a few days in advance (bookings go fast so make sure you know when the next 24 hours of time slots show up online, and plan to book accordingly). Canadian passports accepted as ID when you show up at pharmacy. When booking it asks for US ID - I entered my Canadian driver's license # and selected a US state at random. Over 18 can access test results through a portal - under 18 you will need to call a number and get test results from an automated phone service (record the call as proof for travel).
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 6, 2010
9933 posts
1880 upvotes
Montreal, QC
City: Los Angeles
Name of lab/organization: Curative
Type of tests available: PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): 24-72h. Hit and miss, one time it was 24h, the other it was 72h.
Tips/Tricks: It's a self-serve/walk up test so it's a good supplement if you're unsure the other ones will arrive. They have lots of openings compared to most sites I've found. They also have locations in San Francisco and Seattle.
Link: https://curative.com/

City: Seattle, WA
Name of lab/organization: University of Washington
Type of tests available: PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): 24h-48h. I got mine in less than 24h.
Tips/Tricks: They have multiple locations. I've tried Harborview and University District. Harborview is a bit more thorough in that if you say travel purpose they'll double check the name with your passport/ID. Note UW is also a Trusted Partner for Hawaii if for some reason you decide to be in Seattle before going to Hawaii (with the land border now open this may be a scenario?). Note that you may have to subscribe to MyChart depending on the location but it's pretty painless of a process.
Link: https://www.uwmedicine.org/coronavirus/testing
Deal Addict
Oct 21, 2006
1075 posts
583 upvotes
City: Bay Area
Name of lab/organization: Walgreens
Type of tests available: PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): 48h-72h (Although there are horror stories of results becoming available after 72h. Use at your own risk)
Tips/Tricks: Appt slots become available a couple of days before the target date
Link: https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/covi ... ty_testing

- Drive-thru testing
- Bring ID (passport or DL)
- There are other free testing centres (some by Google) but they want to use your personal data in consideration for free testing
Member
May 27, 2008
452 posts
377 upvotes
Toronto
Did not work:
City: Las Vegas
Date: Oct 15 2021
Lab: CVS pharmacies – 4490 Paradise Road – Las Vegas
Type of test: Molecular lab PCR/NAAT
Cost:
Tips: We booked out a couple weeks in advance (bookings go fast so make sure you know when the next 24 hours of time slots show up online, and plan to book accordingly). We used our hotel as home address, and skipped the driver’s license piece. When 2 in our group showed up to the location and handed them over their ON Drivers license they said there weren’t eligible as Canadians and referred them to:

Worked - but incurred cost:
City: Las Vegas
Date: Oct 15 2021
Lab: Elite Medical Center 150 E Harman Ave Las Vegas NV 89109 702-546-0911
Type: PCR Test
Cost: $250USD
Time: Same day – actual results were within 6 hours.
Tips: Take walk in apts. Use this as a backup/backup plan. Though there are cheaper options – i.e Resorts World for $199 same day - https://rapidtesting.us/?utm_source=res ... h_wellness

Worked - Free
City: Las Vegas
Date: Oct 16 2021
Lab: Walgreens – 6101 W Lake Mead Blvd (about 8 miles away from the strip)
Type: PCR Test
Cost: Free
Time: 34 hours (test taken Sat noon, results received Sunday evening)
Tips: This was a day before booking hence the location being far out. Used our hotel address. Took a cab and they allowed everyone to test on one pass though our appts were different by 45mins between 5 people. ID wasn’t confirmed on the spot.
Last edited by 93srvman on Oct 28th, 2021 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Moderator
User avatar
Sep 21, 2004
11101 posts
6066 upvotes
Calgary
City: NYC
Name of lab/organization: CVS
Type of tests available: PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): 1-2 days. Actual 24-28 hours.
Tips/Tricks: CVS appointments can be booked weeks in advance. After the self swab, CVS will send a link to create an account in their MyChart account. Your COVID result will be available in the MyChart website. You need to be in a vehicle to take the test.
Link: https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing

City: NYC
Name of lab/organization: Walgreens
Type of tests available: PCR, ID Now (rapid PCR test but only in limited locations).
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): 1-2 days. Actual 30-34 hours.
Tips/Tricks: Walgreens appointments can be booked only two days in advance. Walgreens will send a link to the external lab website once your result is available. You need to be in a vehicle to take the test.
Link: https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/covi ... ty_testing
Member
Feb 18, 2009
456 posts
377 upvotes
Toronto
93srvman wrote: Did not work:
City: Las Vegas
Date: Oct 15 2021
Lab: CVS pharmacies – 4490 Paradise Road – Las Vegas
Type of test: Molecular lab PCR/NAAT
Cost:
Tips: We booked out a couple weeks in advance (bookings go fast so make sure you know when the next 24 hours of time slots show up online, and plan to book accordingly). We used our hotel as home address, and skipped the driver’s license piece. When 2 in our group showed up to the location and handed them over their ON Drivers license they said there weren’t eligible as Canadians and referred them to:

City: Las Vegas
Date: Oct 15 2021
Lab: Elite Medical Center 150 E Harman Ave Las Vegas NV 89109 702-546-0911
Type: PCR Test
Cost: $250USD
Time: Same day – actual results were within 6 hours.
Tips: Take walk in apts. Use this as a backup/backup plan. Though there are cheaper options – i.e Resorts World for $199 same day - https://rapidtesting.us/?utm_source=res ... h_wellness

City: Las Vegas
Date: Oct 16 2021
Lab: Walgreens – 6101 W Lake Mead Blvd (about 8 miles away from the strip)
Type: PCR Test
Cost: Free
Time: 24 hours
Tips: This was a day before booking hence the location being far out. Used our hotel address. Took a cab and they allowed everyone to test on one pass though our appts were different by 45mins between 5 people. ID wasn’t confirmed on the spot.

I'm reading that some pharmacies are counting next day as next business day.
Did you do your Walgreens test on a Friday or on Thurs?
Member
May 27, 2008
452 posts
377 upvotes
Toronto
wild_warren wrote: I'm reading that some pharmacies are counting next day as next business day.
Did you do your Walgreens test on a Friday or on Thurs?
We took it Sat @ 12:30pm and received results Sunday @10:30pm I'll update my post to correct the time.
Member
Jun 4, 2013
440 posts
477 upvotes
GTA
City: Atlanta (suburbs)
Name of lab/organization: myGenomics
Type of tests available: COVID-19 NAAT RT-PCR Saliva Test
Cost: $75 USD
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): 24 hours
Tips/Tricks: Do it on a weekday if possible as weekend pricing is $25 more
Link: https://www.mygenomics.com/booking-cale ... d-testing/
Sr. Member
Nov 28, 2017
799 posts
808 upvotes
City: Las Vegas
Date: Sep 29, 2021
Lab: Worksite Labs ( Orleans Casino parking garage)
Type: PCR Test
Cost: $90 USD
Time: Same day – actual results were within 8 hours. 90 dollar rate is for results within 24 but took 8. They have a higher rate for a quicker guarantee. Worksite website also shows location in many other US cities
Tips: Appointment is prepaid. Have heard of some people being able to walk up but better to book.

This is the cheapest Vegas one that I know of (unless you count the pharmacy "free" ones, which I don't ... for roughly the same reason I don't count soup kitchens among my favourite bargain meal deals)
Deal Addict
Aug 14, 2019
2630 posts
1286 upvotes
93srvman wrote: Worked - Free
City: Las Vegas
Date: Oct 16 2021
Lab: Walgreens – 6101 W Lake Mead Blvd (about 8 miles away from the strip)
Type: PCR Test
Cost: Free
Time: 34 hours (test taken Sat noon, results received Sunday evening)
Tips: This was a day before booking hence the location being far out. Used our hotel address. Took a cab and they allowed everyone to test on one pass though our appts were different by 45mins between 5 people. ID wasn’t confirmed on the spot.
I think this is the best option and should be made a sticky. I don't understand why a few people feel this option is beneath them and would rather pay $90+ USD to get a test at a more “glamorous” facilty, lol.
Jr. Member
Nov 23, 2014
147 posts
441 upvotes
Richmond, BC
sheyenne wrote: I think this is the best option and should be made a sticky. I don't understand why a few people feel this option is beneath them and would rather pay $90+ USD to get a test at a more “glamorous” facilty, lol.
Because they don't eat at the soup kitchen, duh?
Member
Feb 18, 2009
456 posts
377 upvotes
Toronto
hahaty wrote: Because they don't eat at the soup kitchen, duh?
And of all places, come on RFD and make that slight about free testing at pharmacy. 🤡
Deal Guru
User avatar
Apr 26, 2004
12659 posts
3042 upvotes
Mississauga
I just want to clarify the timing in terms of the 72 hour thing. They count it by the time printed on the receipt right? So if the printed time is Wednesday at 12pm but you don't get the results emailed to you until 2pm that day, the results are only valid until Saturday at 12pm, correct?
Member
Jun 4, 2013
440 posts
477 upvotes
GTA
sheyenne wrote: I think this is the best option and should be made a sticky. I don't understand why a few people feel this option is beneath them and would rather pay $90+ USD to get a test at a more “glamorous” facilty, lol.
I still am at a loss as to why anyone thinks they should be able to get a FREE test for leisure travel. Suck it up and fork over the money. You got to go on VACATION. It's not like you're being tested because you were exposed at work or have a sick family member.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 6, 2010
9933 posts
1880 upvotes
Montreal, QC
sheyenne wrote: I think this is the best option and should be made a sticky. I don't understand why a few people feel this option is beneath them and would rather pay $90+ USD to get a test at a more “glamorous” facilty, lol.
Walgreens is quite difficult to book (they only release availability 48h in advance) so while it is definitely a good option (free + typically quick results), it's always better to have more options than not.

There's also an account here on RFD that the ID-NOW results didn't come back on time to travel despite almost everyone getting them within an hour or two.
Sr. Member
Nov 28, 2017
799 posts
808 upvotes
sheyenne wrote: I think this is the best option and should be made a sticky. I don't understand why a few people feel this option is beneath them and would rather pay $90+ USD to get a test at a more “glamorous” facilty, lol.
It has nothing to do with glamour.

The us subsidizes tests for americans to try to control their local spread, through pharmacies as they are equipped, everywhere, and subsidized to be made free so no one who thinks they might be sick finds an excuse not to get tested.

It is for us residents. The places that dont check id dont check because they are ill trained or lazy or dont care, not because you are eligible.

If that doesnt bother you, fine. But it is good to know about the tests for travellers for people who are bothered by it.
Member
Feb 18, 2009
456 posts
377 upvotes
Toronto
uber_shnitz wrote: Walgreens is quite difficult to book (they only release availability 48h in advance) so while it is definitely a good option (free + typically quick results), it's always better to have more options than not.

There's also an account here on RFD that the ID-NOW results didn't come back on time to travel despite almost everyone getting them within an hour or two.
Walgreens is quite difficult to book (they only release availability 48h in advance) so while it is definitely a good option (free + typically quick results), it's always better to have more options than not.

Walgreens is not difficult to book if you do it in advance.
They have spots 4 days in advance. I booked my NAAT for Nov 5 (first two appointments of the day right when the slots opened up 3AM EST/12AM PST)

My backup option is the paid one.
Jr. Member
Dec 7, 2009
180 posts
22 upvotes
Edmonton
City: Las Vegas, 1101 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89104
Name of lab/organization:Walgreens
Type of tests available: NAAT/PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): within 24 hrs, but got the NAAT after 5 hours
Tips/Tricks: No tricks, just pull up in drive thru and show ID
Link: walgreens.com

City: Warrenton, OR
Name of lab/organization: Walgreens
Type of tests available: PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): 24-48 hours, got result around 36 hours
Tips/Tricks: None
Link: walgreens.com
Newbie
Feb 26, 2020
15 posts
12 upvotes
pirus wrote: City: Las Vegas, 1101 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89104
Name of lab/organization:Walgreens
Type of tests available: NAAT/PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): within 24 hrs, but got the NAAT after 5 hours
Tips/Tricks: No tricks, just pull up in drive thru and show ID
Link: walgreens.com

City: Warrenton, OR
Name of lab/organization: Walgreens
Type of tests available: PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): 24-48 hours, got result around 36 hours
Tips/Tricks: None
Link: walgreens.com
When did you get tested in Vegas? Been hearing about 4 days turnaround time for Walgreens.

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