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

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 12th, 2022 3:23 pm
Newbie
Nov 13, 2021
7 posts
12 upvotes
luxurytravel wrote: Which of the two facilities did you find easier to deal with? Are any of them open on the weekends or only on weekdays?
They were both easy to deal with, Curative was a slightly faster process since there wasn’t any lineup whatsoever but the turnaround isn’t as reliable for an overnight trip. They both have multiple locations and you just have to click around their sites to find the specific hours for each location.

Regardless, both were in and out within 15 mins of getting to the test site. I’d go back but use only UW.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jul 15, 2005
7888 posts
1662 upvotes
Toronto
For those that were able to get testing done at Walgreens, do you have to book an appointment or can you just drop in?
I'm trying to book a time slot but it doesn't allow me to proceed since I don't reside in US (no option to select province instead of state).
Deal Addict
Sep 17, 2011
3787 posts
593 upvotes
trixR4kids wrote: For those that were able to get testing done at Walgreens, do you have to book an appointment or can you just drop in?
I'm trying to book a time slot but it doesn't allow me to proceed since I don't reside in US (no option to select province instead of state).
U have to pre book appointment...use the state u plan to be tested in
Member
Oct 27, 2012
381 posts
331 upvotes
Shwa
trixR4kids wrote: For those that were able to get testing done at Walgreens, do you have to book an appointment or can you just drop in?
I'm trying to book a time slot but it doesn't allow me to proceed since I don't reside in US (no option to select province instead of state).
book online and use hotel address. It doesnt matter what time you show up for your test as long as its pre booked.
Jr. Member
Mar 25, 2010
134 posts
93 upvotes
Ottawa
City: Atlanta
Date: Nov 9, 2021
Lab: CVS
Type: PCR Test
Time taken: 11:50
Cost: Free
ID/documents: Accepted Ontario Drivers license
Time: 30 hours but they don't actually email you to notify, you have to log back into the health portal and check.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Apr 26, 2004
12479 posts
2722 upvotes
Mississauga
wt1909 wrote: They were both easy to deal with, Curative was a slightly faster process since there wasn’t any lineup whatsoever but the turnaround isn’t as reliable for an overnight trip. They both have multiple locations and you just have to click around their sites to find the specific hours for each location.

Regardless, both were in and out within 15 mins of getting to the test site. I’d go back but use only UW.
Thank you for the info. I'm going to Seattle in a couple weeks and have an appointment already booked with UW Med's Harborview location for a Friday morning (I'm leaving on the Monday). Do you think booking a Curative appointment for the same day would be overkill?
Newbie
Nov 13, 2021
7 posts
12 upvotes
Talamasca wrote: Thank you for the info. I'm going to Seattle in a couple weeks and have an appointment already booked with UW Med's Harborview location for a Friday morning (I'm leaving on the Monday). Do you think booking a Curative appointment for the same day would be overkill?
When I went, I personally avoided using the Harborview location as on their website there seems to be extra specific rules/different procedures with their Harborview and Northwest locations under the "How billing for your COVID-19 test works" section and it saying "Note that UW Medicine providers can only access test results from Harborview Medical Center and UW Medical Center – Northwest." on their website. Just thought I'd share my thought on that.

Curative appointments seem to be very easy to do as well, the one reason I did mine was if the UW Medicine came back inconclusive then I'd be screwed in crossing the border at my intended time. I think UW's turnaround is good enough that if it did come back inconclusive then you would have enough time to go again - but there really is no guarantee, so I'd rather be safe than sorry especially on a trip.
Deal Expert
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Jan 12, 2017
18650 posts
5442 upvotes
Scarberia
jookid wrote: book online and use hotel address. It doesnt matter what time you show up for your test as long as its pre booked.
My trip is late January 2022..can I book Walgreens test in December or too early? Tia
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Member
Oct 27, 2012
381 posts
331 upvotes
Shwa
mikka2017 wrote: My trip is late January 2022..can I book Walgreens test in December or too early? Tia
Might be too early. I booked my test a couple days before. I think the covid test rule for land border crossing might be changed by then anyway.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 9, 2012
4121 posts
701 upvotes
Toronto
Vako636 wrote: Step 1: For now research all Walgreen and CVS locations. Careful, as not ALL of them do COVID tests.
Step 2: Google Labs that do COVID test and try to find the cheapest. In Orlando I found a test for 120$ US guaranteed 72 hours for travelling.
Thank you!
Member
Jun 4, 2013
263 posts
268 upvotes
GTA
I have a feeling that the days of free testing for Canadians vacationing in the U.S. paid for by the U.S. government are coming to an end soon. It's just a hunch.
Member
Aug 19, 2015
281 posts
235 upvotes
Ajax, ON
muscan wrote: I have a feeling that the days of free testing for Canadians vacationing in the U.S. paid for by the U.S. government are coming to an end soon. It's just a hunch.
Could be the case, BUT you should still have a back up plan. I wouldnt rely on the FREE test, potentially not having it in TIME and miss out on the flight. Then you need to reschedule(potential fee) more hotel stay till the new flight.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
6926 posts
3518 upvotes
Ottawa
muscan wrote: I have a feeling that the days of free testing for Canadians vacationing in the U.S. paid for by the U.S. government are coming to an end soon. It's just a hunch.
That might be the case but really, it's a drop in the bucket; the US has 10X the population and how many Canadians are actually travelling to the US and getting tests? It might end up being 1-2% of the total tests are for Canadians. I don't see them making a change because of that.
Deal Addict
Aug 18, 2003
1916 posts
897 upvotes
YVR
jookid wrote: I booked ID Now at Walgreens in Dunkirk NY. Got my results emailed to me an hour after the test. Total time to take the test at the drive thru is like 5 mins. Heading back to [...] Canada today.
this was on sunday?

and to anyone else...is there any delay/time difference on weekend testing vs weekday testing at walgreens? faster during the week? thx
To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.
Member
Oct 27, 2012
381 posts
331 upvotes
Shwa
Charles wrote: this was on sunday?

and to anyone else...is there any delay/time difference on weekend testing vs weekday testing at walgreens? faster during the week? thx
This was on Thursday last week.
Jr. Member
Dec 28, 2010
114 posts
90 upvotes
Ottawa
City: LA, California November 12, 2021
Name of lab/organization: WorksiteLabs
Type of tests available: NAAT RT- PCR
Cost: $90
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): Guaranteed results within 24 hours; actual results received in 10 hours.
Booked two weeks in advance, samples were taken at drive-through facility just outside LAX airport. (9800 South Sepulveda Blvd.).

City: LA, California November 11, 2021
Name of lab/organization: Free test at Santa Monica Pier .... walk-up - cheek swab. Actual lab performing processing was "Wilshire Clinic"
Type of tests available: RT- PCR
Cost: Free, plus they gave out soft drinks and candy! Were not the least bit concerned that we were from Canada.
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): Stated 24 hours, but admitted sample wouldn't be delivered to lab until 4:30 PM. Actual results in 28 hours from sample, within 24 hours of lab receiving samples.


There were multiple stands for free Covid testing all over LA: Venice Beach, at least 3 in KoreaTown, Hollywood&Vine, etc... (but the processing might be done by different labs, so can't comment of how quickly results would be returned)
Deal Addict
Aug 18, 2003
1916 posts
897 upvotes
YVR
jookid wrote: This was on Thursday last week.
thanks...btw did walgreens ask you for "Your medical and pharmacy benefit insurance card"? it mentions it on the info page for the test
To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.
Newbie
May 2, 2010
10 posts
16 upvotes
Canada
City: Niagara Falls, NY (November 12, 2021)
Name of lab/organization: Walgreens
Type of tests available: PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): Stated <72 hours, actual 60 hours
Tips/Tricks: None. Clerk just verbally asked for name and DOB.

City: Rochester, NY (November 13, 2021)
Name of lab/organization: Walgreens
Type of tests available: NAAT (ID NOW), also PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): Stated <24 hours, actual 30 minutes for NAAT
Tips/Tricks: None. Clerk actually asked for ID. Ontario driver's licence sufficed.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 30, 2004
4412 posts
1759 upvotes
Durham Region
City: Budd Lake, NJ
Name of lab/organization: LabQ
Type of tests available: PCR
Cost: $0
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): 24 hours, got result in 15 hours
Tips/Tricks: Budd Lake location has lab on site, expect slower turnaround time if tested at a mobile site
Link: https://labq.com/covid-mobile-testing/
Member
Oct 27, 2012
381 posts
331 upvotes
Shwa
Charles wrote: thanks...btw did walgreens ask you for "Your medical and pharmacy benefit insurance card"? it mentions it on the info page for the test
Nope, they didn't even ask us for ID. Just our name and phone number

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