COVID-19: Travellers

Information for people travelling, entering or leaving New Zealand.

Last updated: 11 May 2022

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New Zealand’s borders are reopening to all tourists and visa holders from 11:59pm 31 July 2022. This includes the maritime border, which will also be reopening to foreign-flagged vessels, including cruise ships, on July 31. Travel requirements will be announced as they are confirmed.

Since 1 November 2021, non-NZ citizens (including permanent residents) who don’t meet the COVID-19 vaccination requirements have not been able to enter New Zealand, apart from in some very limited circumstances. 

Residence class visa holders, including Australian Citizens ordinarily resident in New Zealand, not vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to enter New Zealand on flights departing after 11:59pm NZ time 5 May.  From 11:59pm NZ time 5 May, when the class exemption goes into effect, a manual process will be used to approve Traveller Declarations made by unvaccinated people in these groups.  From 13 May, travellers in this group will be able to do their Traveller Declaration online. 

Travellers from visa-waiver countries and those with valid visitor visas who meet the COVID-19 vaccination requirements, can  travel to New Zealand. Most travellers are required to complete two RATs tests after arriving. 

Travellers from Samoa, American Samoa, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands are required to carry out two COVID-19 tests after arriving in New Zealand.  

Travellers flying into New Zealand need to apply for and receive a travel pass through the New Zealand Traveller Declaration website, before boarding their aircraft. Declarations already made through the Nau Mai Rā website will no longer be accepted, travellers in this group should reapply for their travel pass through the New Zealander Traveller Declaration site. 

For New Zealanders currently overseas

Most travellers must complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration and be issued a travel pass before flying to New Zealand.

You need to show your travel pass when you check-in at the airport, and to Customs when you arrive in New Zealand. It can be printed out or saved on your mobile device.

The information you provide will be used to let you know what you need to do when you arrive in New Zealand: such as self-test on arrival or enter quarantine-free.

Travel passes already issued through the Nau Mai Rā website will no longer be accepted.  The holders of passes issued through Nau Mai Rā should to apply for a new travel pass through the New Zealand Traveller Declaration site.  

Please consider the following in the 14 days before departure:

  • Avoid going to high-risk events such as parties, social gatherings or crowded places
  • Avoid contact with COVID-19 cases or contacts of cases
  • Stay home as much as possible to limit exposure to other people.

Doing these things will help reduce the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and bringing it home with you.

Check the SafeTravel website for the latest advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


Pre-departure COVID-19 tests

Most travellers must have a negative COVID-19 test to enter New Zealand. See Border controls to view who is eligible to enter New Zealand.

Evidence of a negative Covid-19 result can be from either of the following tests:

  • PCR test: taken within 48 hours of boarding international flight to New Zealand
  • Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) or LAMP tests: taken within 24 hours of boarding flight to New Zealand (please note that RATs can also be known as lateral-flow tests (LFTs), lateral flow devices (LFDs), and Antigen Rapid Tests (ARTs).

Please note your pre-departure test must be taken no more than 24 hours (for RAT/LFT/LRD/ART or LAMP tests ) or 48 hours (for PCR tests) before the scheduled departure of your first international flight to New Zealand. If you spend more than 72 hours in another country while on your way to New Zealand, you should take your test in this country instead, within 24/48 hours of the scheduled departure time of your next international flight. See the Unite against COVID-19 website for details.

If you've received a COVID-19 vaccination, you will still need to take a pre-departure test. You will need your test result to complete your travel declaration.  


Evidence required for pre-departure tests

All PCR or RT-PCR tests must be processed by a laboratory/company recognised in the country of origin as authorised or accredited to conduct tests.

The evidence of your negative pre-departure test may be in paper or digital form. It must be in English or accompanied by a certified translation into English.

All PDT test results must contain the following information:

  • the full name of the person tested the date of birth and/or their passport number of the person tested
  • date and time the COVID-19 test was conducted
  • test type (PCR, RAT/LFD/LFT/ART or LAMP)
  • the result of the test
  • name of testing laboratory/company where the test was processed (if a PCR test was conducted)

If a RAT or LAMP test was conducted, the evidence should include the test result, and:

  • Either the name of the health professional (for example, a medical practitioner, nurse, or pharmacist) that supervised the test, including either a letterhead or stamp confirming the supervisor’s name, occupation and employer;
  • Or the name of the pharmacy, laboratory, healthcare entity, telehealth service, community-based or airport-based testing station that supervised the test.

RAT/LFD/LFT/ART or LAMP tests may be supervised in person or remotely.

Always remember to check the requirements of other countries you are going to be transiting through. They may have requirements that are different to what New Zealand requires.

You are responsible for the costs of your own pre-departure tests.

For more information and frequently asked questions about pre-departure testing requirements, visit the Unite against COVID-19 website.

Flight delays, cancellations or test results delayed

If your negative test result does not arrive in time

If your negative pre-departure test result does not arrive in time for you to complete your New Zealand Traveller Declaration, you can reschedule your flight.  However, it can only be rescheduled within 24 hours of the original flight departure time, otherwise the PDT will be invalid.  The date and time of the original test must not be more than 72 hours before the new departure time of the rescheduled international flight to New Zealand.  If rescheduling your flight takes your test beyond 72 hours, you will need a new PDT.

Cancelled or delayed flights

If your flight is cancelled and re-booked for departure within 24 hours of the original flight, you can rely on a negative result from a pre-departure test taken in anticipation of your earlier flight. The date and time of the original test must not be more than 72 hours before the new departure time of the re-booked international flight to New Zealand.

If your flight is delayed for a period of less than 24 hours from the original departure time, you can rely on a negative result from a pre-departure test taken in anticipation of your earlier flight. The date and time of the original test must not be more than 72 hours before the new departure time of the rescheduled international flight to New Zealand.

If your flight is delayed (and rescheduled) or cancelled (and rebooked) more than 24 hours after the original departure time, travellers must undertake a new pre-departure test (and return a negative result). This is because the test would have been taken more than 72 hours before the new departure time and will be invalid.  

Travellers should keep proof of the details of their original flight, to present to airline staff and Customs officers if required.

Exemptions from pre-departure testing

There are three exemptions to PDT requirements:

1. Children under the age of 2 years don’t need a pre-departure test

2. If there is a medical reason why you cannot have a pre-departure test, you need to have this in writing from a health practitioner. The certificate needs to state that the health practitioner (or overseas qualified medical practitioner, health protection officer or medical officer of health) has:

  • examined you within 72 hours before departing for New Zealand
  • confirmed that you have a particular physical or other need that made it inappropriate to have a COVID-19 test, and
  • confirmed that you do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

3. If you're travelling from these countries, you're exempt from pre-departure testing:

  • American Samoa
  • Cook Islands
  • Federated State of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Nauru
  • Niue
  • Republic of the Marshall Islands
  • Samoa
  • Soloman Islands
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu
  • Afghanistan (if you are a citizen and you are being evacuated)
  • Ukraine (if your travel to New Zealand is your first trip as a holder of a visa granted under the 2022 Special Ukraine Visa Policy; or if you are or were ordinarily resident in Ukraine at any point on or after 1 January 2022).

Your pre-departure test is positive 

Usually, if your pre-departure test is positive, you won’t be able to board your flight. However, if your pre-departure test is positive, but you believe this is because of a historic COVID-19 infection, you need to see a medical practitioner who will examine you for current symptoms of COVID-19.

If they are confident you do not currently have a COVID-19 infection, you will need them to provide:

  • a medical certificate that notes the date of your positive test (the test needs to have been taken within 48 hours of your first international flight, if it is a PCR test, and within 24 hours of your first international flight, if you’ve completed a Rapid Antigen Test); and
  • your test results
  • documentation stating that they consider you as no longer being infectious with COVID-19.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last three months, you may return a positive test even if you are no longer infectious. To avoid being unable to get an appointment with a medical practitioner, we recommend you book the examination well in advance of your test.

You should also check with your airline about any regulations they may have in place regarding past COVID-19 infections.

Read the relevant Gazette notice:

Find out more at: Exemptions to pre-departure testing requirements – Unite Against COVID-19.


Entering New Zealand under the Quarantine-Free category

New Zealand law allows travellers flying to New Zealand from four Pacific countries to enter under the ‘Quarantine-Free Travel (QFT)’ category, if they meet normal immigration requirements, and if those travellers fly directly to New Zealand (i.e. without stopping or transiting anywhere else on the way).

These countries are:  

  • Niue* 
  • Nauru 
  • Niue 
  • Tokelau 
  • Tuvalu 

*Currently, direct scheduled flights are only available from Niue, meaning travellers from Nauru, Tokelau and Tuvalu are not usually able to enter New Zealand under the QFT category, unless they are travelling on a direct charter flight. 

QFT travellers can enter the community straight away, and are not required to have completed pre-departure testing.

Non-New Zealand citizens must be vaccinated to arrive under the QFT category. This requirement includes New Zealand residents. 

Travellers must fly direct to New Zealand from a QFT country to be eligible for QFT entry.

To enter New Zealand under the QFT category, the travellers must come directly from their QFT country. If the traveller transits through a country that is not on the list above (whether they disembark from the aircraft or not), the traveller no longer meets the requirements to travel under the QFT category. For example, if someone travels from Tokelau by sea to Samoa, and then flies from Samoa to New Zealand, that person is not eligible to enter New Zealand on the QFT pathway.  

Non-QFT travellers from Niue, Nauru, Tokelau, and Tuvalu can still enter New Zealand and are not required to have a pre-departure test but must self-test for COVID-19 after arriving (on day 0/1 and day 5/6 after their arrival in New Zealand).   

This now includes travellers from countries from which it was possible to travel under the QFT category ― including Samoa, American Samoa, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands. 

For more information, visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website.


If you are unvaccinated or do not meet vaccination requirements

All travellers to New Zealand are recommended to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, before coming to New Zealand. Vaccination is the best way to protect you from becoming severely unwell if you get COVID-19.

Most non-New Zealand citizens who do not meet the vaccination requirements are not able to enter New Zealand — unless they are exempt or do not need to have proof of vaccination.

You do not need to have proof of vaccination if you are:

  • a New Zealand citizen
  • a New Zealand Resident Class Visa Holder 
  • an Australian Citizen ordinarily resident in New Zealand 
  • aged 16 years or under
  • a person who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons — you will need electronic or paper evidence from a health practitioner
  • a refugee arriving in New Zealand for the first time
  • a citizen of Afghanistan and you are being evacuated
  • arriving from Antarctica
  • travelling to New Zealand, and this is your first trip as a holder of a visa granted under the 2022 Special Ukraine Visa Policy; or if you are or were ordinarily resident in Ukraine at any point on or after 1 January 2022.

Vaccination requirements to enter New Zealand.

Vaccination exemptions

Some travellers may be able to get an exemption if they are travelling to New Zealand from a country with no, or limited access to COVID-19 vaccines.

You will need to apply to the Ministry of Health for an exemption, along with evidence of why you need one. The Director-General of Health will decide if you can get an exemption.

You can check to see if you qualify and apply for exemptions here: COVID-19: Vaccination exemptions for non-New Zealand citizens travelling to New Zealand.


Testing on arrival  

The testing on arrival pathway enables all eligible people to enter New Zealand and complete a Day 0/1 and Day 5/6 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and report the results using the link in the email that will be sent to you by the New Zealand Ministry of Health. If it is not possible for you to access email, call and leave a message with your result at (0800 432 010). If you test positive you must take a PCR test at a community testing centre or medical centre to confirm the result (this allows the Ministry of Health to monitor for any new variants of concern.)

All travellers (except for those entering quarantine-free and those under six months old) will have to complete a Day 0/1 and Day 5/6 Rapid Antigen Test after arriving in New Zealand.

They must also have completed a New Zealand travel declaration/hold a traveller pass (a travel pass issued through the New Zealand Travel Declaration).

More details can be found on Unite Against COVID-19.


Managed isolation and quarantine

Eligible travellers to New Zealand are no longer required to enter managed isolation and quarantine on arrival. However, there are some arrivals to New Zealand who may enter a Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facility in certain circumstances:

  • evacuees from Afghanistan
  • refugees, arriving in New Zealand for the first time
  • international aircrew
  • researchers and scientists recently arrived from Antarctica
  • mariners
  • arrivals from Ukraine entering under special visas.

Travellers transiting through New Zealand

Travellers can transit New Zealand but must meet the vaccination requirements. People transiting through New Zealand must also complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration. If a traveller wishes to enter New Zealand they will no longer be considered a transit arrival and will need to meet all entry requirements.  


For travellers leaving New Zealand

Travellers should visit the New Zealand Government’s SafeTravel website for general travel advice, as well as advice on travelling overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you do travel, some countries require travellers to confirm a negative COVID-19 test before they leave New Zealand. It is recommended that you check the requirements of the country you are travelling to before your departure.

If you do need a COVID-19 test before departure, you can organise it through your primary care provider (general practice, GP, pharmacy, or other providers of pre-departure tests for travel read more at: Pre-departure tests to enter New Zealand (covid19.govt.nz). They will tell you how much it costs and how to pay. Book a test once your travel plans are confirmed. The test needs to be taken as close as possible to when you will be travelling – check with your High Commission, Embassy or Consulate for the timing that applies for where you are travelling. 

If you need to have a PCR test, it may take more than 24 hours for test results to be available, so people need to ensure they don’t leave it too late, especially around the weekend. If your travel plans change to a later day than expected, a re-test and negative result may be required.

If the PCR test is positive, your GP will talk with you about what happens next.

If you need evidence of a negative RAT or LAMP test, this may need to be supervised by a health professional to confirm the test is negative.

Entry requirements may differ between countries, but you will probably need a hard-copy of your negative COVID-19 test result to present to check-in before boarding the plane. Your general practice or GP will be able to give this to you. You will also probably need to show the result to Customs/Immigration on arrival at your destination.

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