Visa News

What You Need to Know About NZ Border Restrictions

Think you are eligible to travel to NZ during the pandemic? With NZ border restrictions in place, entry into the country remains limited. Learn more here.

20/09/20213 min read
What You Need to Know About NZ Border Restrictions

Think you are eligible to travel to NZ during the Covid-19 pandemic? With strict border restrictions still in place, the number of travellers allowed to enter the country remains limited. Here is everything you need to know about the NZ border restrictions, including what to expect upon entry to New Zealand.

Who Can Travel to NZ?

The NZ border is currently closed to most travellers who are not citizens or residents of New Zealand. However, there are a few exceptions in special circumstances.

Special Exemptions & Pathways

Critical health workers, partners, and dependants may be eligible to travel to New Zealand upon request. In any other circumstance, you must have a critical purpose to qualify for travel. In exceptional circumstances, those travelling for humanitarian reasons may also be allowed to enter NZ.

If you believe you fall under one of these categories, it is important to understand that there are no guarantees when it comes to travel exemptions. We recommend speaking with a licenced immigration adviser to assess your eligibility. A licenced adviser will provide details about immigration policy changes and how they affect you, including important work visa information.

Travel Bubbles & Quarantine-Free Travel

Travel bubbles allow quarantine-free travel between two countries in an agreement. In July, New Zealand’s travel bubble with Australia was suspended. With outbreaks now occurring in both countries, it is not likely the travel bubble will open again any time soon. The Cook Islands travel bubble has also been suspended due to the recent Delta outbreak in New Zealand, and this bubble will not reopen until there is zero community transmission for at least 2 weeks and most of the NZ population is vaccinated. However, travellers from the Island of Niue are currently allowed to travel to NZ without quarantine.

The Managed Isolation Process: What to Expect

If you are legally allowed to travel to NZ, there are a few things you’ll need to prepare for before booking your flight. New Zealand has one of the strictest managed isolation processes in the world, and travel procedures are entirely different now compared to pre-pandemic.

All international arrivals in NZ are legally required to undergo 2 weeks of managed isolation in an approved facility. Travellers must book their place in an approved facility prior to their flight and present their voucher to confirm the booking. Returnees arriving from high-risk countries such as the U.S or the U.K must have proof of a negative Covid test before flying.

When you arrive in NZ and check-in at the airport, you will be transported directly to your isolation unit. Anyone staying in managed isolation is required to take two Covid tests over the course of their stay. If both tests show negative results, you will be allowed to depart after two weeks and enjoy New Zealand. The best source for up to date MIQ information is from the NZ government who manage and allocate isolation/quarantine bookings.

When Will Restrictions be Lifted?

There has been a lot of speculation about when NZ border restrictions will be lifted. As of now, there is no date announced and the future remains uncertain. What we do know, is that restrictions will remain in place until at least the end of the year. Lifted border restrictions will likely depend on the success of New Zealand’s vaccination rollout going forward.

Need advice? We are here to help

We know immigration is complex and challenging, especially during this uncertain period. At Malcolm Pacific Immigration, our goal is to make the process easier and stress-free. Our expert immigration advisers in NZ are readily available to provide trustworthy advice about travelling during the pandemic. Get in touch today for assistance.

Latest Updates

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The Green List

From September 2022 people holding job offers in a small number of occupations may apply for residence. Some occupations are a direct pathway to residence and others require a period of two years or longer before applying.

There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Establishing if an overseas qualification matches the NZ equivalent qualification before applying is paramount for success.

Read more here.

16 May 22

Work Visa Categories Closing

The work visa categories set to close are:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
  • Work to Residence (Talent – Accredited Employer)
  • Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage)
  • Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa (closed October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa.
10 Feb 22

Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022

  • February 13. Fully vaccinated Kiwis plus certain other travellers entering NZ from the rest of the world* can skip MIQ.
  • April 30. The border starts a phased reopen to fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
  • April 30. The Productivity Commission reports back to the government on immigration settings.
  • May 9. Applications open for mandatory Employer Accreditation.

*Excludes high-risk countries.

16 Dec 21