Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 testing
Updated on April 12, 2021 (updated question #10 regarding travel requirements).
Anyone with a sign or symptom of COVID-19 or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should get a test. Contact your doctor to request a test.
If you do not have a doctor or they cannot provide a test, there are free testing sites at locations across King County. These sites are open to anyone, regardless of immigration or insurance status. Bring a photo I.D. and an insurance card if you have one.
Find the complete list of locations and hours. To register for a test, select the "Make reservation online" link below your preferred testing location.
This is to make reservations for **COVID-19 testing appointments only**. To find out more about vaccine appointments, visit kingcounty.gov/vaccine.
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.-7p.m.). If you need an interpreter, please tell us in English what language you need.
Testing is free at any of the King County and Seattle sites. 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.
Due to high demand, we encourage everyone to register online before going to a testing sites. 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.
When you take a test, you will be given instructions on how to check your results online. Results are usually available within 48 hours, though it may take up to 72 hours due to high testing demand. You are encouraged to start checking your results after 24 hours. All of King County’s test sites use an online results portal.
You can drive through or walk up to any of King County’s testing sites.
If you’ve been exposed to someone confirmed with COVID-19 but have no symptoms, it is best to get tested 5-7 days after exposure.
A reminder to get tested immediately if you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
Travel increases the chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. We recommend limiting travel at this time.
If you must travel, 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.
Most states do not require a test, but each states and countries have their own COVID-19 guidelines, and requirements change frequently. Do research before you go.
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.
Many private health clinics will provide testing with travel documentation for an additional fee.
Please note, as of January 26, 2021, all passengers traveling into the United States from a foreign country will be required to get tested no more than 3 days prior to flying. This includes U.S. citizens and residents. Travelers will need to show proof of a negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline prior to boarding. For more information about the CDC requirement, visit Testing and International Air Travel.
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.
Because of this, King County Open Access testing sites may not be the best for meeting the specific needs of people who require documentation of a negative test result in order to travel.
Additionally, King County testing sites cannot guarantee the return of your test results in time for your intended travel.
No. The King County test sites do not offer rapid testing of any kind, including antigen testing, at the sites.
Our testing sites only offer whether COVID-19 was "Detected" or "Not Detected," along with the person's name, DOB, test type, and date tested. King County testing sites are not intended to screen travelers.
If you need a test to travel, it’s not guaranteed that you will receive a result within 72 hours of departure. We recommend other testing options in these cases.
If you need more details, you may need to get testing at a private company specializing in travel, or at a provider's office. Discovery Health may be a good option, as they are familiar with requirements for different countries and help provide the necessary paperwork for each destination
For more travel requirements and recommendations, visit our travel page.
For passengers travelling 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.
- See documentation for UW lab (Auburn, City of Seattle sites) (if test done by them)