Aviation border health

Air travel poses some unique problems for controlling the international spread of disease. When large numbers of people are able to move quickly around the world, disease can spread easily – beyond the travellers to those they come into contact with after the flight.

Aircraft arriving in New Zealand from overseas are subject to health entry requirements. These relate to potential public health risks, such as ill health among passengers or crew, or the presence of animals or insects that may carry diseases (eg, rodents or mosquitoes).

The primary aim of these requirements is to prevent the international spread of disease or other public health risks.

Passengers arriving on aircraft in New Zealand need to fill out a Passenger Arrival Card (New Zealand Customs Service website). This contains information required by the various New Zealand government agencies, including health authorities. Copies of the card are provided on arriving aircraft.

There are also requirements on aircraft departing New Zealand, so that diseases and public health threats are not exported from New Zealand to another country.

COVID-19 and aviation travel

Additional aviation-related requirements have been imposed to contain and control the spread of COVID-19. See COVID-19: Aviation sector for more information.

Anyone travelling to New Zealand by air must complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration prior to check-in and flying to New Zealand. This includes citizens and permanent residents, children, and transit passengers passing through New Zealand to another country even if they do not plan to stay in New Zealand. It also includes New Zealanders returning to the country from short holidays.

Travellers are then 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.

For more information, and resources to help you complete the process, visit the New Zealand Traveller Declaration website.

COVID-19 advice for travellers is also available.

The following information is more generic in nature and not specific to the COVID-19 response.

In this section

  • Flights coming into New Zealand must notify health authorities of any conditions on board the plane that could pose public health risks (eg, infectious diseases). New Zealand legislation imposes a number of requirements relating to arriving international aircraft. This includes regular scheduled aircraft and those more ad hoc or unscheduled aircraft. Read more
  • New Zealand legislation grants health authorities a range of powers relating to arriving international aircraft. Read more
  • Information on international aviation agencies, and what guidance they provide on reducing the spread of infectious disease and other public health threats Read more
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