COVID-19 – Border controls

The latest border control measures relating to COVID-19.

This page was last updated on 28 March 2020.

Quarantine and self-isolation facilities

All travellers entering into New Zealand are required to self-isolate for 14 days from arrival to New Zealand.

The Ministry of Health is using multiple facilities in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. There are two purposes for these.

Specific facilities are being used for a small number of people who are unwell when arriving in New Zealand. These people are in isolation and are unable to leave the facilities.

Separate facilities are being used for people who are well. Many of these people were already travelling back to New Zealand prior to Alert Level 4 beginning and have been affected by changes to how New Zealand operates such as being unable to use public transport. These people are housed in these facilities while they work through arrangements which might allow them to travel to their own bubble safely. While in these facilities, they are able to go for a walk, but will need to limit contact with others. They must also not use essential services such as supermarkets, dairies and pharmacies.

The Government has announced further border measures restricting entry to New Zealand.

Only New Zealand residents and citizens (and their children and partners) are permitted to enter New Zealand. 

This includes the Realm countries (the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau), Australian citizens and permanent residents ordinarily resident in New Zealand, airline and marine crew.

There will be some exceptions, on a case by case basis, for example for essential health workers, humanitarian reasons, and others.

See below for more information.

Cateory Countries / coverage
Category 1A:
Cannot travel to New Zealand
All countries
Category 1B:
Can travel to New Zealand but must self-isolate for 14 days
People to whom Category 1A does not apply:
  • New Zealand citizens and residence class visa holders (including the Realm - the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau),
  • The partner, legal guardian or any dependent children travelling with a New Zealand citizen or residence class visa holder,
  • Australian citizens and permanent residence class visa holders ordinarily resident in New Zealand, and
  • People subject to regulation 25 of the Immigration (Visa, Entry Permission, and Related Matters) Regulations 2010, which includes air and marine crew. 
  • Diplomats accredited to New Zealand and currently resident in New Zealand.

** Air and vessel crew

  • Air crew (including repositioning crew) need not self-isolate if they follow the advice for aircrew.
  • Vessel crew must self-isolate on the vessel for 14 days until after they had departed from the last overseas port. Shore leave is not permitted during the self-isolation period. If the crew need to interact with border or port staff they should follow the advice on personal protection for border staff. (See Border Advisory 20 March 2020.)
Category 2: Can travel to New Zealand and must self-isolate for 14 days if unwell No countries

New Zealand passenger arrival measures

Every passenger entering New Zealand will be screened for COVID-19 on arrival.

Passengers will be disembarked in small groups and met by Government officials at the gate.

When passengers disembark the plane health officials will discuss self-isolation and transport arrangements and answer any questions passengers may have.

If passengers have a domestic transit flight, they will not be allowed to connect to that flight.

If a passenger is symptomatic on arrival, they will be tested and placed in an approved isolation facility for 14 days

If a passenger is not symptomatic on arrival, they will be asked to explain their plan for self-isolation and transport arrangements to that place

Self-isolation or low-level quarantine requirements

All people entering New Zealand must self-isolate for 14 days from arrival.

If passengers have no suitable plan in place for self-isolation, they will be placed in local low-level quarantine accommodation, which has been approved for isolation for 14 days. They will be transported there directly from the airport.

If passengers are placed in managed accommodation for the 14 day low-level quarantine isolation period, further information will be provided on what will happen after that, including planned transport through domestic flights.

If passengers have a suitable self-isolation plan and transport arrangements, they will be escorted to their transport. They will also be checked on by Police within 72 hours to ensure you are in self-isolation.

A suitable plan must meet all of the following nine criteria.

  • You have not been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • You don’t have COVID-19 symptoms;
  • You have not been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting test results;
  • You haven’t been in close contact with someone with suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days;
  • You have a suitable place to complete your self-isolation (private residence). You must not self-isolate with “at-risk people” (e.g. those over 70, those with medical conditions, pregnant women etc).  Further details on “at-risk people” available on the COVID-19 website.
  • Your self-isolation location (private residence) must be within five (5) hours’ drive from the airport;
  • You must reach your self-isolation location (private residence) within twelve (12) hours of arriving to New Zealand;
  • You will not use rental cars, lease cars, public transport (taxis, Uber, buses, trains, ferries, domestic flights etc) to travel to your self-isolation location (private residence);
  • You must use a private car to take you directly to this self-isolation location – either:
    • a self-drive private car already parked at the airport
    • a private car driven by someone living at your intended self-isolation location, e.g. someone within your “bubble” at the same address.  (Note that only the driver should travel to the airport to pick you up – i.e. no passengers from your intended self-isolation destination.)

Guidelines for travelling home to complete your 14 day self-isolation period:

  • Private cars: Please travel home from the international airport using the most direct route:
    • Acceptable: Private cars (self-drive or pick up by someone living at your intended self-isolation location)
    • Not acceptable: Rental cars, lease cars, public transport (taxis, Uber, buses, trains, ferries, domestic flights etc)
  • Hygiene: While moving through the airport and then driving home, please observe best hygiene practices, including covering your coughs and sneezes, washing your hands / using hand sanitiser; and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Read more on the self-isolation page.
  • Physical distancing: You must have no face-to-face contact closer than 2 metres with anybody except those in your private car (i.e. those living at your intended self-isolation location).
  • Feeling unwell: If you feel unwell please call Healthline immediately on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs).

Download the passenger factsheets

Information for travellers arriving in New Zealand

Wellbeing in self-isolation


Do air crew still have an exemption from self-isolation for 14 days?

Yes. Current arrangements remain in place for air crew.

Can passengers transit through New Zealand to a third country?

No. Transit through New Zealand has ceased from 2am Thursday March 26 2020. Passengers will not be allowed to board a plane to New Zealand unless they are eligible to enter the country.

Can a passenger connect to a domestic flight on arrival?

No.

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