COVID-19: Border controls

Border control measures for COVID-19 when entering New Zealand. This includes information on managed isolation and quarantine.

Last updated: 22 December 2021

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Who can enter New Zealand?

Only New Zealand residents and citizens (and their children and partners) can enter New Zealand. This includes:

  • 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
  • travellers from a quarantine-free travel zone (see Quarantine-free travel)
  • certain arrivals specifically exempted under the orders, for example, some aircrew.

Who can't enter New Zealand?

If you're from another country, you can't enter New Zealand. In some cases, you can apply for an exemption, eg, as an essential worker or for medical reasons.

Apply to Immigration for an exemption to the border closure


Managed isolation and quarantine

Managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) is a key measure to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 into our communities.

For international arrivals

Almost every person who arrives in New Zealand, other than those from a quarantine-free travel zone (unless directed), must stay in MIQ. From 2359 hrs Thursday December 23 2021 their stay will be for a minimum of 10 days (240 hours) from the date and time they arrive in New Zealand.

International arrivals will be tested a minimum of two and possibly up to four times, on day 0/1, day 3, day 5/6 and around day 8/9 (prior to departure).

Find out more: Detailed guidance on self-isolation

For community cases

For community cases going into MIQ, their stay will be a minimum of 10 days. They will be tested a number of times and there are specific release criteria.

For everyone in MIQ

Very few people are exempt from testing, e.g. those aged under 6 months or with conditions that do not allow testing. These decisions are at the discretion of the medical officer of health. In some circumstances a COVID-19 test may not be considered appropriate and a health assessment will be completed instead.

Find out more: Managed Isolation and Quarantine website

Securing a place in managed isolation

If you meet the criteria and are returning to New Zealand, the first step is to register on the Managed Isolation Allocation System. You should do this before you book your flight.

Secure your place in managed isolation

Entering and leaving a facility

As people arrive into New Zealand, they'll go to either a:

  • managed isolation facility (if they have no symptoms)
  • quarantine facility (if they have symptoms or are otherwise considered high risk).

If you become symptomatic during managed isolation you'll move to a quarantine facility. No exemption will be possible. Any close contacts may have to move with you.

Before leaving the facility, we'll do a final health check for every person. This is to confirm they have:

  • no COVID-19 symptoms
  • a temperature below 38 degrees Celsius
  • had a negative COVID-19 test.

Managing your data privacy in managed isolation and quarantine

Read the General Privacy Statement for Border Arrivals (pdf, 126.55 KB)

Read the Privacy statement for National Border Solution (the NBS) and Border Clinical Management system (the BCMS) (pdf, 95 KB)


Exemptions from managed isolation

In very exceptional circumstances, you may be eligible for an exemption from managed isolation. For most cases, if you're granted an exemption, you must still:

  • receive a negative result from a day three COVID-19 test
  • have a full health assessment before you can leave.

This is because of the increased public health risks in the early stages of isolation.

No exemption is possible from quarantine.

Find out more: Exemptions from managed isolation

International medical evacuations (Medevac)

If you're medically evacuated from overseas to New Zealand you'll go straight to the hospital on arrival, not to MIQ.

You'll need a medical evacuation exemption from managed isolation. The relevant DHB or medical facility can apply on your behalf using their process. This includes verifying that they will enable your self-isolation in hospital.

If you're discharged within 14 days, you'll need to complete the remaining time in a managed isolation facility.

If you can't stay at a facility for medical reasons

If you believe a managed isolation facility can't meet your medical or physical needs, you can apply for a medical exemption.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) manages these exemptions.

Apply for an exemption for medical reasons

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