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Updated 21 January 2021
After months of dormancy due to the raging pandemic, the travel industry is gearing up for a return to small normalcy with borders reopening, easing of quarantine requirements, and the creation of travel bubbles. Travellers around the world are now keen to find out if, when and where they can travel abroad. One country that’s been on many travel wishlist is New Zealand. Can anyone travel to New Zealand now? What important things do travellers need to know if they are planning to fly to New Zealand?
Who can travel to New Zealand?
New Zealand is amongst the very few nations that have lifted almost all COVID-19 related restrictions in the country after reporting none to negligible new positive cases in the past few days. As per New Zealand’s Ministry of Health website, Auckland is at Alert level 2 whereas the rest of New Zealand is Alert level 1 on the government’s four-tier virus alert system.
Starting effect from 25 January 2021, passengers from all countries travelling to New Zealand (except Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands), need to have a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing. This is already a requirement for travellers from the UK and US.Testing on day 0 (first day) of arrival into New Zealand is now required unless you’re arriving from Australia, Antarctica or some Pacific Island nations.
Travellers to New Zealand from all countries, except eligible travellers from the Cook Islands, must complete a 14-day stay in managed isolation or quarantine. You are legally required to obtain a Managed Isolation Allocation system voucher confirming your place in a managed isolation facility before boarding a flight. Travellers coming from the United Kingdom or United States must also have a negative COVID-19 test result.
Travellers eligible to come here without first requesting to travel are:
- New Zealand citizens and permanent resident visa holders
- the partner or dependent child of a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and your visa is based on this relationship
- a diplomat who holds a post in New Zealand
- Australian citizens or permanent residents ordinarily resident in New Zealand
- Eligible travellers from the Cook Islands
- Resident visa holders
Travel for a critical purpose
The government has temporarily kept its border closed to all travellers arriving from other countries to help stop the spread of COVID-19. However, travellers arriving in New Zealand for critical purposes are still allowed. They will have to request for approval by filling a form and submitting a fee.
The form can only be used for one of these critical reasons:
- critical health worker
- humanitarian reasons
- Tongan or Samoan national requiring essential travel to New Zealand
- partner or dependent child of student or work visa holder
- partner or dependent child of a New Zealand citizen or resident
- legal guardian of a New Zealand citizen or resident
- Australian citizen or permanent resident that normally resides in New Zealand
- replacement cargo ship crew
Additionally, you may also make a request to travel to New Zealand should you are in a genuine and stable relationship with a New Zealand citizen or resident.
Transiting through New Zealand
If you are transiting through New Zealand to another country, you have to apply for a transit exemption:
- Transit less than 24 hours – Remain at the airport and do not enter New Zealand
- Transit between 24 – 72 hours – You will have to spend your transit time in a managed isolation facility
- Transit longer than 72 hours – You will need to stay in managed isolation and will need to apply for an exemption.
Do I need to quarantine if I travel to New Zealand?
Every person who arrives in New Zealand will be tested for COVID-19 and will have to undergo a 14-day managed isolation (if they have no symptoms) or a hotel/healthcare quarantine (if they have symptoms).
For isolation, each individual has to register on the Managed Isolation Allocation System before travelling to New Zealand to secure their place in the isolation facility. The voucher that is issued by the isolation facility has to be presented at the airport to board a flight.
Some of the cost of managed isolation/quarantine is borne by the New Zealand government while the other has to be shared by the individual.
Are there flights to New Zealand now?
There are international flights available on Wego to Auckland airport in New Zealand. Domestic flights have also been resumed by the government for you to travel within the country. Travellers taking flights to New Zealand are required to mandatorily wear a face mask and a face shield, and ensure social distancing at all times.
New Zealand travel bubble news & dates
After numerous delays and setbacks, as of 16 October 2020, New Zealanders can now travel to New South Wales and the Northern Territory via the trans-Tasman travel bubble. While Kiwis may travel to select destinations in Australia without necessitating quarantine, New Zealand has yet to open up its borders to Australia due to the recent surge of coronavirus cases in several of its states. As it stands, Australians do not currently enjoy the privilege of being able to visit New Zealand. Furthermore, New Zealanders are still being officially advised to avoid overseas travel and will still be subjected to quarantine upon their return.
New Zealand is also being pressed by Fiji to move forward with the implementation of the ‘Bula Bubble,’ which may see the resumption of regular travel between Fiji and New Zealand.