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Updated on January 10, 2022: Added general testing question #13.

See rapid test-related questions.

See travel-related questions about testing.

General testing questions

  • Insurance card, if you have insurance. If you have insurance, please provide this information and the lab will bill them. You will not be charged for the test. You do not need to have insurance or a doctor’s note to schedule a test.
  • A well-fitted mask. As a healthcare facility, masks are required at all indoor and outdoor testing locations regardless of vaccination status.
  • Testing is available regardless of your citizenship/immigration status. Photo ID is not required.

Anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested as early as possible regardless of vaccination status.

You should get tested if you are exposed to someone who has COVID-19 (within 6 feet of the person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period):

  • If fully vaccinated seek testing 3 or more days after exposure. If symptoms develop within 14 days of exposure, isolate and consider retesting. If symptoms develop within 14 days of exposure, isolate and consider retesting.
  • If unvaccinated seek testing immediately. If you test negative, continue to quarantine and seek testing again 5-7 days after last exposure, or immediately if symptoms develop during quarantine.

Find detailed Isolation and Quarantine guidance here.

For testing guidance on domestic and international travel, see the Travel page on CDC's website.

There are many options in King County to get a COVID-19 test:

  1. Start with your healthcare provider. If you have health insurance, schedule a test with your doctor. If you have symptoms or a known exposure, your healthcare provider is required by law to get you a test.
  2. Free testing sites operated by King County – These locations are open to anyone and offer free COVID-19 testing regardless of immigration or insurance status. Advance appointments are strongly recommended to avoid long wait times or being turned away.
  3. Self-testing, also known as at-home or rapid tests, are available over the counter and offer results within 15-30 minutes. See self-test options here.

Testing is free at any of the King County and Seattle sites listed on the COVID-19 testing page. If you have private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, please bring that information and the lab will bill them. If you do not have coverage, you will not be charged for the test. You do not need to have insurance or a provider's note to schedule a test.

If you get tested at your doctor's office, a private clinic, or a hospital, there may be administrative costs associated with your visit. However, the test itself is free.

There is a cost for rapid self-tests. Costs for a self-test may vary depending on the store you purchase from. They are available at pharmacies, retail stores and online. The cost for a rapid self-test is higher if performed on site through a rapid test facility. See more information about rapid self-testing.

We encourage everyone to register online before going to a testing site. Find the complete list of locations and hours here. To register for a test, select the "Make reservation online" link below your preferred testing location. 

If you have difficulty registering, call the King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977, option 3, (open 7 days a week, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.). If you need an interpreter, please tell us in English what language you need.

To find out more about vaccine appointments, visit kingcounty.gov/vaccine.

When you take a test, you will be given instructions on how to check your results online. Results are usually available within 72 hours.

If you need a test for travel, it is not guaranteed you will get results within 72 hours or that the results will meet the specific requirements for all countries.

Once the specimen is sent to the lab, King County does not have control over the time it takes to process. You are encouraged to start checking your results after 24 hours. All of King County's test sites use an online results portal.

If you need a rapid test for travel, see travel-related questions below for a list of sources.

Most of King County’s sites offer both drive-through or walk-up testing unless otherwise noted in their listing on this page. Please check the location listing before you go.

You can get tested at any King County COVID-19 testing site even if you don't have symptoms. Find a list of King County testing sites here.

Priority testing is given to those with symptoms or immediate risk for COVID-19. Advance appointment recommended. Test results may take up to 72 hours and are not guaranteed.

Other testing options

If you need a test for an event, travel or other non-urgent need, rapid self-test kits can be purchased at a pharmacy, retailer, or online, or you can have the test performed at a facility that specializes in rapid testing. See a list of rapid testing facilities here (FAQ #3). Check with your event, organization, or travel destination to find out what type of test they will accept.

A reminder to get tested immediately if you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status.

All King County-operated sites perform molecular/NAAT tests using anterior nasal swabs. These are the swabs that go part way up the nasal cavity. Examples of molecular tests/NAAT tests are PCR and TMA. The type of test performed will vary by location.

If you are needing a PCR test for school, work or other reasons, the following King County-operated sites perform molecular PCR tests exclusively: Federal Way, Renton, and Tukwila/White Center.

See the full list of King County-operated testing locations.

Please allow up to 72 hours for results.

AN (Anterior Nares) swabs are used at all test sites. Self-swab sites include Angle Lake, Bellevue College, Enumclaw and Renton. Swabs performed by clinical staff are available at the Auburn, Federal Way and Tukwila testing sites.

Organizations should create their own testing policies. Check with your organization to find out what type of test they will accept.

King County endorses any type of COVID-19 test administered by a testing provider. Testing providers are required to use FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 tests. Public Health does not endorse the use of antibody tests to diagnose current infection, in accordance with current CDC guidance.

People who have recently recovered from COVID-19 (within 90 days since a positive test) should use an antigen/self-test and not a NAAT/PCR/TMA test. NAAT tests are sensitive enough to pick up viral material up to 90 days after infection and could give an inaccurate result.

For more information on COVID-19 tests and the pros and cons of each see Accepted types of COVID-19 tests.

For more information on COVID-19 tests accepted for return to child care, see "What types of tests can be allowed to return to child care?".

Any type of COVID-19 test administered by a testing provider can be used. Testing providers are required to use FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 tests. The negative result must be within the past 72 hours.

Rapid self-tests used without the supervision of a testing provider will NOT be accepted.

(Some examples of types of FDA-approved or authorized include: PCR, TMA, NAAT, molecular, antigen, and lateral flow. This is not an exhaustive list.)

Some sports are considered high risk for spreading COVID-19, such as water polo, indoor wrestling, basketball and cheer. To reduce the risk of transmission for competitive school-based sports teams, athletes are required to test for COVID-19 three times weekly, including on the day of competition, with a rapid antigen test. Informed consent is required. See full guidance for school-based sports. See full guidance for school-based sports.

Rapid self-testing questions

Both are tests for COVID-19and collected via a nasal swab. Antigen self-tests, sometimes called a “rapid test” or “home test,” detect components of the virus whereas molecular tests, such as PCR or TMA tests, detect genetic material of the virus.

Antigen tests are not performed in a laboratory. They are quicker, resulting in 15-30 minutes. Molecular PCR tests are performed in a laboratory and take up to 72 hours to result.

You can purchase an antigen self-test kit at pharmacies, retail stores and online or you can have it performed on-site at a facility that specializes in rapid testing.

Antigen self-tests can be less sensitive (meaning more likely to get a false negative or positive test), but their quick results can help separate those from having a positive result from those that don't and decrease transmission. PCR tests are very sensitive (meaning less likely to have a false positive or negative result) and are often referred to as the "Gold Standard" even though it may take longer to get the results.

Learn more about the different types of COVID-19 tests and the pros and cons of each.

No. King County-operated test sites do not offer rapid testing of any kind, including antigen testing.

You can purchase a self-test kit at pharmacies, retail stores and online, or you can have the test performed on-site at a facility that specializes in rapid testing.

Note: Be sure to check which of these two types of rapid tests is required for your upcoming travel or event.

The following facilities provide COVID-19 testing that specializes in rapid tests. These sites are not affiliated with Public Health – Seattle & King County. Please visit their website for location, hours and cost information:

Yes. While any type of COVID-19 test is accepted, rapid testing is well suited to requirements for sports as results are provided in 15 minutes, which allows coaches and teams to make immediate decisions about an athlete’s ability to compete that week. See more information about school-based requirements for sports on the Self-testing page.

Travel-related questions

Travel can increase the chance of spreading and getting COVID-19 especially for unvaccinated individuals. Most states do not require a test, but individual states and countries have their own COVID-19 guidelines, and requirements change frequently. Do research before you go.

Guidance for unvaccinated

If you are unvaccinated, we recommend limiting travel at this time. If you must travel while unvaccinated, get tested 1-3 days before you travel and keep a copy of your test results in case you are asked for them. Do not travel if you test positive or have not received your results yet.

Guidance for fully vaccinated

If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to get tested before you travel unless your destination requires it. You must still wear a mask while traveling.

Guidance for international travel

For international travel, all persons arriving in the US, regardless of citizenship or vaccine status, are required to have a negative test done within 72 hours of arrival. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days of arrival to the US, you must have documentation of your positive test. The free testing sites in King County and Seattle cannot provide documentation or signatures certifying your results, but when you retrieve your results online, you will find a printable document that shows the results were processed by a certified lab.

Priority testing

Priority testing will be given to those with symptoms or who have been exposed to COVID-19. King County-operated sites are intended to serve communities disproportionately affected by COVID 19 or who cannot access a COVID-19 test through their regular healthcare provider.

Many private health clinics will provide testing with travel documentation for an additional fee.

There are options at the Port of Seattle for travel testing specifically. To find out more about these options, please visit COVID-19 Testing and Travel Requirements | Port of Seattle (portseattle.org)

King County testing sites are intended to test people who are at risk of having COVID-19 due to having symptoms or have been exposed to a COVID-19 case, and they are meant to serve communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID‑19 or have less access to healthcare. King County testing sites cannot guarantee the return of your test results in time for your intended travel but are available to anyone seeking a test.

King County does not have any partnerships with any airlines. 

People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States. While the CDC says it is safe to do so, they still discourage non-essential travel as it can contribute to the spread of COVID-19, which is still moderate-to-high in most of the country.

  • Check with your health care provider or a private health clinic. Many private health clinics and health care providers will provide testing with travel documentation for an additional fee.
  • Home self-tests, or rapid tests, are available for purchase in retails stores, pharmacies and online and offer results within 15-30 minutes. Check with your travel destination to see if home self-tests are accepted.
  • Check the following sites for rapid testing options if you need a test result in time for travel or other non-urgent need.

Please note that these sites are not affiliated with Public Health – Seattle & King County. Public Health cannot make recommendations for private testing options.

There are private companies and providers specializing in travel testing.  There are options at the Port of Seattle for travel testing as well.  To find out more about these options, please visit COVID-19 Testing and Travel Requirements | Port of Seattle (portseattle.org)

Our testing sites only offer whether COVID-19 was "Detected" or "Not Detected," along with the person's name, date of birth, test type, and date tested. King County testing sites are not intended to screen travelers. All King County tests are performed by accredited laboratories but if the above information does not satisfy your destinations needs then you would need to get testing done elsewhere.

If you need a test to travel, it's not guaranteed that you will receive a result within 72 hours of departure.

For more travel requirements and recommendations, visit CDC website for International Travel During COVID-19.

Domestic travel

If you are fully vaccinated and are returning from domestic travel, you do not need to quarantine. You should monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Get tested right away if you develop symptoms.

If you are unvaccinated and returning from domestic travel, you should test 3-5 days after your return AND self-quarantine for 7 days. If you decide to not test, you should self-quarantine for 10 days.

If you have fully recovered from COVID-19 in the last 3 months, follow guidance for those that are fully vaccinated.

For what types of negative COVID-19 tests are acceptable, see question #12 above.

For full guidance on domestic travel, see the CDC website.

International travel

Starting December 6, all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before travel to the United States.

If you are fully vaccinated and you are returning from international travel, you do not need to quarantine. You should get tested 3-5 days after your return and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Get tested right away if you develop symptoms.

If you are unvaccinated and returning from international travel, you should test 3-5 days after your return AND self-quarantine for 7 days. If you decide to not test, you should self-quarantine for 10 days.

If you have fully recovered from COVID-19 in the last 3 months, follow guidance for those that are fully vaccinated.

For what types of negative COVID-19 tests are acceptable, see question #12 above.

For full guidance on international travel, see the CDC website.

For passengers traveling from the United States, a copy of a 'Certificate of Accreditation' issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) program is usually acceptable.