COVID-19: Exemptions from New Zealand’s vaccination requirements for incoming travellers

Last updated: 1 August 2022

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Vaccination requirements

Most travellers arriving in New Zealand via the air border need to meet vaccination requirements for entry. This also applies to anyone entering New Zealand on a Category 2 (cruise or recreational) vessel.

Find out more about maritime sector requirements

You will need to have received a complete course of one of the vaccines approved for entry to New Zealand  before you depart for New Zealand. View the approved COVID-19 vaccines.

You should carry evidence of your vaccination with you as this will be checked by the airline/cruise operator before you depart for New Zealand and may be checked by Customs on arrival.

If you do not meet the vaccination requirements, you may not be allowed to board your aircraft or ship to travel to New Zealand. If you provide incorrect documentation there are fines and in some circumstances you may be deported.

You can access the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order 2021 and the Maritime Border Order on the NZ Legislation website.

Who doesn’t need to be vaccinated

There are groups of people who do not need to be vaccinated to travel to New Zealand. These groups are:

  • New Zealand citizens
  • New Zealand Resident Class Visa holders
  • Australian citizens ordinarily resident in New Zealand
  • children aged 16 years old or under
  • those who are travelling to New Zealand as part of the Refugee Quota Programme
  • citizens of Afghanistan who travel to New Zealand between 1 November 2021 and 12 December 2022
  • those who are not able to be vaccinated for medical reasons, and have a certificate from a medical practitioner.

Exemptions

If you do not fall into one of the exempt groups above, you may be able to get an exemption if you are travelling to New Zealand from a country with no or limited access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Please note that you cannot apply for an exemption more than three months before the day you intend to enter New Zealand.

Evidence required for an exemption

If you submit an application for an exemption you will need to also provide the following evidence:

  • your passport
  • your New Zealand visa.

How to apply for an exemption

To apply for an exemption, please complete the Exemption to Vaccination Requirements for Travel to New Zealand form

Next steps

Once you have submitted your application, the Ministry of Health will assess it.

How long will I need to wait for my application to be processed?

You must apply for an exemption to the vaccination requirement at least 5 working days before you depart for New Zealand.

We will seek to process your application within 5 working days. We may ask you for additional information regarding your application. If we do not hear back from you within 10 working days, your application may be closed.

If you have completed your application and provided all of the information we need to assess it, we will make sure you know if your application has been approved or declined before you arrive in New Zealand.

Remember, if we need more information from you to assess your application, it may take longer to process.

What happens if my application is approved?

If your application is approved, you will receive an email from us. The email will have an attachment confirming that your application for exemption has been granted. You will need to keep this exemption letter with you when you travel.

It’s important you check your emails regularly. This includes checking your ‘junk’ or ‘spam’ folders.

What happens if my application is declined?

If your application is declined, you will receive an email from us.

We peer-review all applications to check we have made the right decision. If you don’t agree with our decision, you can submit a new application and we will assess this and review the original application.

If your application is declined a second time and you still don’t agree with us, you can contact the Ombudsman and ask them to review our decision.

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