COVID-19: Vaccination exemptions for non-New Zealand citizens travelling to New Zealand

Last updated 22 November 2021

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Vaccination requirements

From 1 November 2021, all non-New Zealand citizen travellers who arrive in New Zealand via the air border will need to be fully vaccinated. This also applies to anyone transiting in New Zealand before travelling to another country.

You will need to have completed a full course of one of the approved vaccinations at least 14 days before you depart for New Zealand.

You will need to declare on your application for an MIQ voucher that you are fully vaccinated and should carry evidence of your vaccination with you as this will be checked by the airline before you depart for New Zealand and by Customs when you land in New Zealand.

If you are not vaccinated you will not be allowed to board 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 (No 2) Amendment Order (No 11) 2021 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:

  • children under 17 years old
  • workers from Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa travelling under one-way quarantine-free travel arrangements for Recognised Seasonal Workers. This will also include workers from the Solomon Islands where these workers have received at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccination
  • 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

In some limited cases it may be possible for non-New Zealand citizens to get an exemption to this vaccine requirement.

You can apply for an exemption to the vaccination requirements but only if you have an MIQ space booked and:

  • you are travelling with a New Zealand citizen before 12 December 2021 who is your:
    • spouse, civil union partner or de facto partner
    • child
    • parent (if you are 17 years old)
    • sibling from the same parent (if you are 17 years old)

or

  • you have mainly lived in a country for the last six months where there is no, or limited, vaccination access.

Definitions

De facto partner

Someone that you have been in a committed relationship with for at least three years. You should be able to provide evidence of this such as joint ownership of a house or joint banking accounts. 

Child

In relation to any person, means a child under 18 years of age who is not married or in a civil union and who is dependent on that person, whether or not the child is a child of that person.

Parent

In relation to a dependent child, means a person on whom the child is dependent. 

Evidence required for an exemption

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

  • If you are travelling with a New Zealand citizen, you will need to include evidence of:
    • your passport
    • your New Zealand visa
    • the passport of the New Zealand citizen you are travelling with
    • your relationship to the New Zealand citizen (for example, a birth certificate, marriage certificate or joint account)
    • your confirmed MIQ booking
  • If you have mainly lived in a country for the last six months where there is no, or limited, vaccination access, you will need to include evidence of:
    • your passport
    • your New Zealand visa
    • your confirmed MIQ booking.

If you are travelling from a country that has a quarantine-free travel arrangement with New Zealand, you will not need to provide evidence of a confirmed MIQ booking to be eligible for an exemption.

How to apply for an exemption

To apply for an exemption, please answer the questions below to check your eligibility and apply.

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 we have made a decision you don’t agree with, 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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