There are a lot of reasons why you may need to get a COVID-19 test. You might have COVID-19 symptoms or were recently exposed, but the list also includes if you’re:

  • Attending an event or visiting a venue that requires a negative test before entering

  • Traveling to Hawaii or to a country where testing is required

  • Flying into the U.S. from another country

  • Undergoing an elective surgical procedure at a hospital that requires advanced testing

  • Attending a family gathering or social situation where everyone agrees to advanced testing

  • Unvaccinated and testing is required at your workplace

Fortunately, there are plenty of options for where to get a test.

But here’s the catch: demand is high, and at-home kits often sell out the day they hit the shelves. And most onsite testing options require an appointment, often making it difficult or impossible to walk in on the day you want to get tested. If your situation allows for it, plan ahead.

To help you prepare, we’ve laid out where to look for a COVID-19 test in the greater Philadelphia region, including where to get tested for free.

Note: There are multiple types of COVID-19 tests, and not all testing locations offer every option. Depending on your situation, you may need to get a specific type of COVID-19 test (PCR vs. rapid antigen, for example). Make sure to do some research in advance to make sure you’re getting the right test for your needs.

» READ MORE: COVID-19 testing at home is both possible and reliable. Here’s what you need to know.

Where to get a free COVID-19 test in Philly

CVS

Tests offered: Molecular (PCR), rapid PCR, and rapid antigen; testing availability varies by location

Price: Free for testing scheduled by appointment ($24-$125 for at-home test kits)

Turnaround time: 1-2 days for PCR, within a few hours for rapid tests

How it works: CVS has more than 4,800 testing locations nationwide that offer free onsite testing by appointment only. If you have insurance, you’ll be asked to provide your insurance card. If not, you may be asked for your Social Security Number or driver’s license/state ID in order to bill the federal program for the uninsured. In either case, you won’t be asked to pay any money out of pocket.

You can find a testing location near you at cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing. To schedule an appointment, you’ll need to fill out a questionnaire that includes questions about your risk of COVID-19 exposure and reason for requesting a test. Depending on availability, appointments can be made for the same day and up to 13 days in advance.

Some CVS locations also sell PCR and rapid antigen at-home kits. Be aware, many locations are currently sold out; call your local CVS to check availability or visit CVS’s online shop, where you can enter your zip code to check availability at nearby stores. You can also get a kit shipped to you, when in stock.

» READ MORE: Symptoms of COVID-19, flu, common cold, and allergies can overlap. How to tell the difference.

RiteAid

Tests offered: Molecular (PCR) and Transcription-Mediated Amplification (TMA), by appointment; at-home rapid antigen

Price: Free for testing by appointment (prices for at-home test kits vary by store)

Turnaround time: 2-5 days for drive-thru tests, up to 2 business days for mail-in tests, 15 min. for rapid antigen

How it works: Free testing is available at RiteAid drive-thru locations by appointment only for people ages four and older. You must arrive in a car. To find a location near you, visit riteaid.com/pharmacy/services/covid-19-testing. RiteAid partners with Project Baseline by Verily, a life sciences research organization, to administer COVID-19 tests. To book an appointment, sign up through Project Baseline, (you will need a Gmail address or to create one). You have to provide your age, gender, home address, contact information, recent travel history, current health status, vaccination status, and any known exposure to COVID-19. At your appointment, you’ll need to show identification.

Some RiteAid locations also sell at-home antigen kits. These often sell out fast once they hit the shelves; call your local RiteAid to check availability. Due to high demand, you’re limited to one kit per order.

» READ MORE: Full list of places in the Philly region where you need to show proof of vaccination (so far)

Walgreens

Tests offered: Molecular (PCR), Rapid Diagnostic, and rapid antigen

Price: Free for testing scheduled by appointment ($24-$125 for at-home test kits)

Turnaround time: time varies for PCR (generally 1-2 days from when the lab receives your testing sample), less than 24 hours for Rapid Diagnostic, 15 min. for rapid antigen

How it works: Free COVID-19 testing is available at more than 6,000 drive-thru Walgreens locations for people ages three years and older. You must arrive in a car, and you’re required to show a valid state ID or driver’s license. If you have insurance, you’ll need to show your insurance card at your appointment and the lab may bill your insurer. Whether you’re insured or not, you won’t be asked to pay any money out of pocket.

To find a testing location near you, visit walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing. To book an appointment, complete a questionnaire that includes details about your age, gender, contact information, current health status, and any known exposure to COVID-19.

Some Walgreens locations also offer PCR and rapid antigen at-home kits for purchase. Many local locations are currently sold out; call your local Walgreens to check availability. You can also check availability or buy kits at Walgreen’s online shop.

» READ MORE: These are the Philadelphia performance venues and festivals that require proof of vaccination

Walmart

Tests offered: Molecular (PCR)

Price: Free ($19.88-$950 for at-home test kits)

Turnaround time: 1-2 days for PCR, 10-min. and up for at-home test kits

How it works: Walmart offers free COVID-19 testing for people ages two and older, through lab company Quest Diagnostics. Visit QuestCOVID19.com to find a location near you. To book an appointment, you’re required to complete a questionnaire that includes details about your age, gender, race, contact information, current health status, and any known exposure to COVID-19. Depending on availability, appointments can be made for the same day.

Walmart also offers PCR and rapid antigen at-home kits for purchase. Call your local Walmart to check availability, or visit Walmart’s online shop. Some tests can also be ordered online to be sent through the mail.

» READ MORE: Do you really need a COVID-19 booster shot? Experts disagree.

Community testing sites (community centers, primary care centers, health clinics, hospitals)

Tests offered: varies by location

Price: Free

Turnaround time: Time varies depending on location and type of test

How it works: There are a variety of community centers and medical centers that offer free onsite COVID-19 testing. Find available options in your area through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s “Find a Health Center” portal. You’ll need to call each health center to find out details about eligibility and scheduling an appointment.

The City of Philadelphia’s also has a permanent testing map. Again, you’ll need to call each location for further information. Some locations may limit testing to people who meet certain criteria, others may require a doctor referral, and some (drive-thru sites) require a car.

» READ MORE: I got my vaccine card laminated. Do I need a new one?

Where to get a paid COVID-19 test in Philly

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)

Tests offered: Molecular (PCR), rapid antigen, and rapid PCR

Price: $70 for rapid antigen, $130 for standard PCR, $249.99 for rapid PCR

Turnaround time: within 24 hours for rapid tests, 48-72 hours for PCR

How it works: Depending on where you’re flying, you may be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding your flight. (You should contact your airline for specific information about testing requirements, according to the U.S. Department of State, but most destinations that mandate testing require a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of travel.) To make this process easier, many airports are now offering onsite testing, paid out-of-pocket.

PHL has partnered with Jefferson Health to provide testing seven days a week (7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Appointments are not available or required, but you can pre-register at rrtesting.app/PHLAir. The testing site is located in Terminal E, prior to TSA. You must be traveling to or from the airport to get a test. When you show up, you must provide proof of travel (i.e. boarding pass, airline receipt) within three days or of recent arrival, and you must pay with a credit card. Jefferson doesn’t bill insurance, but you can try submitting your own claim to your insurance company for reimbursement.

You can get tested up to three days before your departure, or right before your flight, depending on the type of test that’s required at your destination. For more information about the testing process, visit rrtesting.com/phl.

Urgent Care (Vybe, MedExpress, American Family Care, etc.)

Tests offered: varies

Price: varies

Turnaround time: Time varies depending on location and type of test

How it works: Many urgent care centers, like vybe, MedExpress, and American Family Care (AFC), offer COVID-19 testing. Prices vary, and can range as high as several hundred dollars, depending on the location and type of test. Some urgent care companies have community testing sites, where you may be eligible to get tested for free. Others will bill your insurance if you’re insured, but you should check with your insurance company in advance to see if COVID-19 testing is covered.

To learn more, your best bet is to call your local urgent care center for information about availability, pricing, and which type of test is right for you. Note: Most sites do not accept walk-ins.

Amazon

Tests offered: Molecular (PCR) and rapid antigen; at-home testing kits only

Price: $36.99 and up

Turnaround time: 10 min. and up, depending on test type

How it works: Amazon sells a variety of at-home COVID-19 testing kits that you can buy online. Its best-seller is its direct-to-consumer Amazon COVID-19 Test Collection Kit DTC ($36.99), for people 18 and older. The kit includes an FDA-authorized PCR test along with prepaid shipping for you to send your testing sample to Amazon’s in-house laboratory. There are also a variety of options from third party sellers. View them all here.

Kroger

Tests offered: Molecular (PCR) and rapid antigen

Price: $23.99 for rapid antigen, $99 for PCR

Turnaround time: 15 min. for Abbott BinaxNOW, within 24-48 hours from when the lab receives your testing sample for PCR

How it works: Kroger offers two at-home testing kits, a direct-to-consumer PCR kit and a rapid antigen test from Abbott, a third party medical devices and health care company. The PCR kit can be purchased online and is designed for people ages 16 and older. It includes a prepaid envelope for sending your testing sample to a lab.

The rapid antigen kit is available online and also at Kroger pharmacies, when in stock. Kroger also offers onsite testing in some states (AZ, KY, OH, TN, CO, IN, GA, KS, VA). To learn more, visit kroger.com/health/pharmacy/covid-care.

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