COVID-19: Travellers

Information for people travelling, entering or leaving New Zealand.

Last updated: 19 January 2022

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For New Zealanders currently overseas

If you are returning to New Zealand, 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 test

Most travellers to New Zealand must have a negative PCR or RT-PCR test within 48 hours of the scheduled departure of their first international flight.

You will need to have had both your COVID-19 sample taken and your result returned within 48 hours to board your flight to New Zealand. 

If you are required to provide a medical certificate because you are travelling from a country that is exempt from pre-departure testing requirements, you will also need to get this 48 hours before your flight.

Only a PCR or RT-PCR result will be accepted unless an exemption from pre-departure testing applies.

LAMP or antigen tests no longer meet the requirements for a pre-departure test to enter New Zealand.

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

You are responsible for the costs of your own tests.

Testing laboratories must be able to issue a dated report for you to show at check-in. It should have:

  • traveller’s name
  • traveller’s date of birth and/or their passport number
  • date and time the COVID-19 test was conducted
  • name of testing laboratory
  • test type
  • test result.

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.

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

Proof of negative result on arrival

On arrival in New Zealand travellers may be required to produce proof of a negative test result to an official at the airport during your passport processing.

A hard copy or electronic copy of the test result from an accredited laboratory will be acceptable documentation of a negative test.

Flight delays, cancellations or test results delayed

If you're travelling from these countries, you're exempt from pre-departure testing: Afghanistan, American Samoa, Antarctica, Belize, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, , Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Exemptions also apply to:

  • Children who are under two years of age (up to 24 months);
  • Individuals with past (recovered) cases of COVID-19 who have a positive test result taken less than 48 hours prior to the departure of the first leg of their flight, and a medical certificate showing that the individual is no longer considered by a medical practitioner to be infectious with COVID-19.
  • Travellers coming from 105 specified countries and jurisdictions where obtaining a PCR test may be difficult or impossible, can instead provide evidence of a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) or loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) test result.

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

Quarantine-free travel

New Zealand has quarantine-free travel (QFT) arrangements with Australia and a number of Pacific Islands. Quarantine-free travel is available by air (and only for specific designated airlines) and you must meet normal immigration requirements. 

For more information about QFT travel eligibility and requirements, visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

Travellers arriving from any country

The Government has announced temporary restrictions on travellers arriving in New Zealand as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

The restrictions prevent foreign nationals travelling from most countries from entering New Zealand. See Border controls for more information.

People who are exempt from the temporary restrictions are:

  • New Zealand citizens (including those from the three Countries of the Realm: Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands), permanent residents and their immediate family 
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents whose primary place of established residence is New Zealand (quarantine-free travel from Australia is currently suspended)
  • travellers from a quarantine-free travel zone
  • certain arrivals specifically exempted under the orders, for example, some aircrew. 

Pre-departure testing is required for travellers arriving in New Zealand from any country other than Antarctica and most Pacific Islands. See more information in the pre-departure testing section below.

All non-New Zealand citizen travellers who arrive in New Zealand via the air border must meet minimum vaccination requirements for entry. These requirements are that you have received a complete course of one of the listed COVID-19 vaccinations at least 14 days before you depart for New Zealand.

If you are a non-New Zealand citizen but do not meet the minimum vaccination requirements it may be possible to get an exemption in very limited circumstances. For more information visit Vaccination exemptions for non-New Zealand citizens traveling to New Zealand.

All travellers, except those from quarantine-free travel zones, arriving in New Zealand on a flight which departs from another country must go into a Managed Isolation or Quarantine (MIQ) facility for a minimum of 10 days (240 hours) from the date and time they arrive in New Zealand. Read more about the facilities.

While in a managed isolation facility all travellers will be tested for COVID-19. Testing typically happens on or around day 0/1 (arrival), day 3, day 5 and day 8/9 (prior to leaving the facility). 

Travellers from some countries/jurisdictions are exempt from day 0/1 testing because of the low risk of them having COVID-19. These include Antarctica, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Wallis and Futuna.

Travellers transiting through New Zealand

Information for travellers who will transit through New Zealand en-route to other countries is available on the Immigration New Zealand website.

For travellers leaving New Zealand

At the moment, the New Zealand Government advice is to not travel overseas, except to a very limited number of countries. Visit the SafeTravel website for more information.

If you do travel, some countries require travellers to confirm a negative COVID-19 test before they leave New Zealand. You can check the requirements of the country you are travelling to, by contacting their local High Commission, Embassy or Consulate in New Zealand. 

If you do need a COVID-19 test prior to departure, you can organise it through your primary care provider (general practice or GP). 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 to your country. 

It usually takes several days for test results to be available, but it could be longer, 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 test is positive, your GP will talk with you about what happens next. You will not be able to travel. 

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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