Travel

Free COVID-19 Tests In The USA (To Enter Canada)

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  • Jan 13th, 2022 2:17 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 29, 2017
3759 posts
2412 upvotes

Free COVID-19 Tests In The USA (To Enter Canada)

For those returning from USA to Canada this may be a nice way to save mandatory COVID testing fees.
Overview of the free COVID-19 test tip
In short:

Free COVID-19 tests are widely available in the United States
They are available in almost every state (we list the websites below)
Residency or citizenship is not required (even if they ask for an ID/address)
Insurance is not required (even if they ask if you have it)
You don’t need to be Canadian either, it’s really for everyone
I’ve done it myself 3 times (and countless Canadian readers have too)
But there are important things to know about free COVID-19 tests in the USA:

Canada accepts PCRs but also NAATs, which provide results much quicker
Results from the free PCRs take longer to receive (but PCRs are easier to find)
You must book online in advance (usually no walk-ins)
Choose an appointment close to the 72-hr limit and book as early as possible
Appointments often open just days before
This works since April but double check here before your trip (we’ll keep this updated)
And I have a step-by-step below, but here are the essentials to know about the process:

Simply use any US address if they ask for one (they don’t check)
Use your Canadian driver’s license if they ask for ID (it’s just to ID you)
Our favorite option is Walgreens for free NAATs with same-day results
More info and credit: https://flytrippers.com/getting-covid-1 ... canadians/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/free-t ... -1.6242844
23 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 18, 2017
1479 posts
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Vancouver, BC
While these are nice tips, you really need to be both financially and logistically prepared to handle unforeseen issues as a traveler.

If your test result comes back inconclusive you need to be prepared to shell out USDs to pay for quicker results as your expected return date is now closer than before.

You also need to prepare for possibility of you testing positive (for whatever reason) and now have to book last minute accommodation and stay put and quarantine.

Then if you’re a gainfully employed individual, you’ll need to tell your employer that you’re stuck in quarantine and make arrangements to either work remotely from the hotel or take more time off before you’re able to return to work.

This is my understanding of the nuance of traveling to the US these days. If you are planning to travel, you need to prepare for worst.


If I’m wrong then please correct me.
Don't request PMs in your signature - Mods
Deal Addict
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Oct 25, 2001
3154 posts
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Toronto
This sounds like the opening mission instructions for Mission Impossible 8.
RFD OG 20+ years
Deal Fanatic
Jan 12, 2005
5115 posts
1736 upvotes
Mississauga
There's tons of threads about this already. This needs to be merged or locked.
Deal Guru
Dec 20, 2003
11471 posts
887 upvotes
Ottawa
Agreed; this is not a hot deal, this is for the Travel forums, or news, with the CBC post about it yesterday.
- Absolute
Deal Guru
Dec 20, 2003
11471 posts
887 upvotes
Ottawa
vancityguy0 wrote: While these are nice tips, you really need to be both financially and logistically prepared to handle unforeseen issues as a traveler.

If your test result comes back inconclusive you need to be prepared to shell out USDs to pay for quicker results as your expected return date is now closer than before.

...

If I’m wrong then please correct me.
No, you're correct - and as the news article mentioned, there is no guarantee that you'll get results. If you're flying, the only guarantee is the $250 USD RT-PCR test at a US airport (or some have a $200 USD Rapid NAAT test), that gives you results in 30 minutes.

Just shelled out the $250 USD myself at Newark last night, as I couldn't risk not getting results back within 24 hours for a short turnaround, and two other people were there all angry that it had been 48 hours and they had no PCR results, but were flying out in a few hours (they tested at at pharmacy), and now had to shell out the $250.
- Absolute
Deal Addict
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Mar 30, 2004
4681 posts
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Durham Region
vancityguy0 wrote: You also need to prepare for possibility of you testing positive (for whatever reason) and now have to book last minute accommodation and stay put and quarantine.
If you test positive and are a Canadian citizen, you can still re-enter Canada via the land border but obviously are legally obligated to quarantine at home when you arrive.

But for air travel, correct, no bueno on re-entry by air until 14 days after your test.
Member
Mar 2, 2011
422 posts
73 upvotes
Gloucester
CorSter wrote: If you test positive and are a Canadian citizen, you can still re-enter Canada via the land border but obviously are legally obligated to quarantine at home when you arrive.

But for air travel, correct, no bueno on re-entry by air until 14 days after your test.
So if you're negative but unvaccinated, you're required to quarantine?
Deal Addict
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Mar 30, 2004
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Durham Region
pardesi_bhai wrote: So if you're negative but unvaccinated, you're required to quarantine?
if you are unvaccinated you have to quarantine. positive, negative, inconclusive, indecisive, anglophone, francophone, doesn't matter.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 5, 2008
16728 posts
11911 upvotes
Toronto
peli33 wrote: For those returning from USA to Canada this may be a nice way to save mandatory COVID testing fees.



More info and credit: https://flytrippers.com/getting-covid-1 ... canadians/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/free-t ... -1.6242844
this isn't new, and there are multiple threads about this already:

free-cheap-quick-covid-pcr-naat-test-u- ... a-2495545/

free-naat-tests-re-entry-us-into-canada ... y-2497225/
Member
Mar 2, 2011
422 posts
73 upvotes
Gloucester
CorSter wrote: if you are unvaccinated you have to quarantine. positive, negative, inconclusive, indecisive, anglophone, francophone, doesn't matter.
And if you're vaccinated and test positive, you're cool to do whatever you want?
Deal Addict
Mar 3, 2009
1609 posts
941 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
pardesi_bhai wrote: And if you're vaccinated and test positive, you're cool to do whatever you want?
No, as mentioned above. Vaccinated people that test positive cannot board an aircraft for 14 days.

If they enter via a land crossing they must isolate.
Member
Mar 2, 2011
422 posts
73 upvotes
Gloucester
dr_torch wrote: No, as mentioned above. Vaccinated people that test positive cannot board an aircraft for 14 days.

If they enter via a land crossing they must isolate.
Cool but I don't get one thing, if you're vaccinated and test negative, you're free to do whatever but if you're unvaccinated, you gotta quarantine regardless of your test.....so the hells the point of even taking a test for the unvaccinated??
Deal Addict
Mar 3, 2009
1609 posts
941 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
pardesi_bhai wrote: Cool but I don't get one thing, if you're vaccinated and test negative, you're free to do whatever but if you're unvaccinated, you gotta quarantine regardless of your test.....so the hells the point of even taking a test for the unvaccinated??
The rule is to enter Canada you need to produce a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours. So you need it to fly.

I guess if you rock up at the land border with a Canadian passport they went turn you away but there could be a fine for now following the rules.
Member
Mar 2, 2011
422 posts
73 upvotes
Gloucester
dr_torch wrote:
The rule is to enter Canada you need to produce a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours. So you need it to fly.

I guess if you rock up at the land border with a Canadian passport they went turn you away but there could be a fine for now following the rules.
I don't have a problem with the test, but one produces a negative test and then says now go isolate....like wtf? I'm talking land border here
Deal Addict
Sep 17, 2011
3833 posts
622 upvotes
pardesi_bhai wrote: I don't have a problem with the test, but one produces a negative test and then says now go isolate....like wtf? I'm talking land border here
I thought u had something backwards there for a min...then I went and read the Canadian government site... lmao
Wow is all I can say
Member
Mar 2, 2011
422 posts
73 upvotes
Gloucester
shushwap wrote: I thought u had something backwards there for a min...then I went and read the Canadian government site... lmao
Wow is all I can say
As if vaccination makes you invincible, yea let's hold the unvaccinated for 14 days while the vaccinated one can go around spreading it to whoever they come in contact with cause they did the right thing lololol miss the good ol times when there was some common sense still around
Sr. Member
Aug 31, 2012
682 posts
242 upvotes
Toronto
Bumping up to see if there is any new information. I am heading to the States this month and next. Have one option already but looking for others’ experiences.
Member
Mar 2, 2011
422 posts
73 upvotes
Gloucester
DealMoney7777 wrote: Bumping up to see if there is any new information. I am heading to the States this month and next. Have one option already but looking for others’ experiences.
I just got back from there, was a piece of cake getting a test. Google cvs pharmacy or Walgreen pharmacy covid test, will find many appointments around you. Just time it with your arrival and you'll be fine. Wherever you decide to get the test done, just go in and talk to them in person that how long are results coming back in. They write typically within 1-2 business days but good to talk to someone there to get a better understanding of how busy the location is.

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