COVID-19: Applying for an early vaccine for travel overseas

If you need to travel overseas from New Zealand and meet specified criteria, you can apply for an early COVID-19 vaccine.

Last updated: 19 August 2021

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You can apply for early access to the vaccine if you must travel overseas from New Zealand on or before 15 November 2021. You'll need to apply at least eight weeks before you travel.


Who can apply for an early vaccine

You can apply for early vaccine access if the main reason you need to travel overseas from New Zealand is:

  • to access critical medical care that is not available in New Zealand for yourself or your dependant
  • to visit an immediate family member who is dying
  • to attend a funeral or memorial service
  • to provide critical care and protection for a dependant (eg, your child)
  • to protect the safety and security of New Zealand’s right to govern itself
  • for Government-approved humanitarian efforts as part of New Zealand’s commitments to foreign aid, international disaster responses or supporting Pacific and Realm countries' recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • to participate in major international events where travel is necessary to represent New Zealand
  • for nationally significant trade negotiations
  • for business
  • to reunite with family
  • to attend a school or university.

Overseas travel that won't be considered

We won't consider applications for early vaccine access if you're travelling overseas:

  • to a country or zone that New Zealand has approved for quarantine-free travel
  • for recreational or leisure travel.

Criteria you must meet

Before applying, you must:

  • be 12 years old or over
  • have a flight booked on or before 15 November 2021
  • be able to be fully vaccinated before departure
  • be able to provide supporting evidence for all requirements, including evidence of your confirmed flight booking with departure details and destination(s).

If you don't meet the criteria

If you don’t meet the criteria, it doesn’t mean you can’t travel. You just won’t have early access to the vaccine.


Apply for an early vaccine

You should submit your application at least eight weeks before you travel. This allows enough time to process your application and get the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine six weeks or more apart. This is the recommended clinical guidance to align with international vaccination programmes and evidence regarding dose gaps and reduced incidence of adverse reactions. If your travel is urgent, you can request to receive the two doses a minimum of 21 days apart.

We aim to process all applications within 5 working days and we will let you know the outcome of your application. Working days are Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. This does not include public holidays.

To apply, you’ll need to:

  • meet all the criteria.
  • provide evidence of your confirmed flight booking with your departure details and destination(s) (for example, a flight itinerary).

Answer these questions to get started

Before you can apply for early access to the COVID-19 vaccine, you'll need to answer these questions.


Getting vaccinated before you travel

If you are approved for early vaccine access, we will provide information regarding the next steps for you to book your appointments. You'll need to book two appointments to receive two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The standard gap between doses is six weeks or more.

Returning to New Zealand

Even if you're vaccinated, you'll still need to complete 14 days in managed isolation and quarantine when you return to New Zealand.

Managed isolation and quarantine – Unite against COVID-19


If your application is declined

You can reapply if your application is declined and you have new information that you think may change our decision.

If you still decide to travel

If you don’t meet the criteria for an early COVID-19 vaccine or your application is declined, you can still travel. However, international travel is not recommended at this time.

Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas – Safetravel

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