The government of New Zealand has taken far-reaching steps against further spreading of coronavirus, among other with regards to the NZeTA visa for New Zealand. Are you planning to travel to New Zealand? Keep a close eye on the information about coronavirus and the NZeTA visa of New Zealand on this page. Last update: 01-10-2020.
Is there coronavirus in New Zealand?
Yes. On 30 September 2020, there were 1,848 confirmed coronavirus infections in New Zealand and 25 people had died. As no new cases had been detected for some time, the government of New Zealand officially declared the country free of coronavirus in early June. However, mid-June coronavirus was detected in two foreigners, who had travelled to New Zealand to visit a dying family member, which in turn led to a number of new infections. Currently, New Zealand is under the level 1 Covid emergency plan, and in and around Auckland this has even been scaled up to level 2 of the emergency plan (which has a total of 4 levels). However, no more restrictions apply to gatherings, funerals and tangihanga (funeral rituals of the Maori).
Coronavirus (Covid-19) has also led to far-reaching measures being taken in New Zealand
Can I apply for a visa for New Zealand?
Yes. Despite the current measures in place regarding the coronavirus, it is still possible to apply for an NZeTA visa. However, this is only useful for trips later this year or next year, as a travel ban is currently in place. This ban applies to all tourists and business travellers, but not to citizens of New Zealand, inhabitants with a permanent resident permit and citizens of Australia. There are also exceptions, such as people with essential jobs, or people visiting for pressing reasons (such as dying family members), after acquiring a special permit. It is not yet known how long the travel ban will last. It currently lasts until 19 September, but it is expected that the travel ban will be extended until at least 31 October.
I already have an NZeTA visa, is it still valid?
Coronavirus has spoiled the plans of travellers that are planning to fly to another continent. This isn't any different with New Zealand. One of the coronavirus measures is a complete travel ban. This ban means that no tourists or business travellers can travel to New Zealand (except for people falling under the category "critical health worker" or "other critical worker"). This means that travellers with a valid visa also cannot enter the country. "Critical health workers" and "other critical workers" must fill in an online form prior to their trip, the "Request for travel to New Zealand" form. If accepted, they will receive an invitation to apply for a specific type of visa. The NZeTA variant of the visa is the most applied for visa type for tourists and has a validity term of two years. Covid-19 has resulted in the visa no longer being usable at this time. Strictly speaking the validity has not expired, however, and the visa can in all likelihood be used as normal as soon as the dangers of coronavirus has passed. If you possess a valid NZeTA and plan to travel in a year’s time, you like will not need to apply for a new one.
When will the coronavirus limitations be lifted?
The majority of the measures implemented by the government of New Zealand regarding coronavirus have been in effect since 20 March 2020. Although these measures were relaxed on 9 June, some of them, including the travel ban, remain in effect. There is no certainty regarding the expiry date of these measures. Keep in mind that there is a substantial chance that these measures will remain in effect for several more months. The ban on commercial flights applies until at least 19 September 2020 (but it is expected that it will last until at least 31 October), and the ban on mooring at a New Zealand port for cruise ships will be in place until further notice. Do you want to book a trip to New Zealand? Keep a close watch on the news and this page, so that you remain informed on developments.
I’m still in New Zealand, what do I do?
If you do not succeed in leaving New Zealand, or if you decided to stay in the country for another reason, keep the following in mind. If your visa expires between 1 April and 9 July, it will automatically be extended free of cost until 25 September. All guidelines of the DHSC that apply to British citizens in the UK also apply to those abroad. These include keeping sufficient distance from others, avoiding social contact (especially with vulnerable people) and regularly washing your hands. Additionally, the following coronavirus measures have been in effect in New Zealand since early June:
- Travelling within New Zealand is fully permitted again, but you are required to wear a mask in public transportation (including ferries)
- Entering New Zealand is still forbidden -aside from a few exceptions- and those that can enter with a special permit must spend the first 14 days in quarantine
- You are still required to observe the health regulations, which includes washing your hands and coughing or sneezing in your elbow. You must also maintain a safety distance of 2 meters from others due to the level 2 coronavirus measures. In places where this is not possible, you are required to wear a mask.
- Everyone has been asked to download the Tracking App and to scan the QR codes in stores, public buildings and public transportation
- In Auckland, there are limitations in place for gatherings, funerals and tangihanga (a specific Maori funeral ritual)
Will I be refunded the cost of my visa and booked trip?
If you already made costs for a trip to New Zealand which cannot go through due to the coronavirus, you likely cannot claim it anywhere. Many insurers will invoke the "force majeure" clause in their contracts which states that in cases like a pandemic, they won’t need to pay out. Furthermore, many tour operators and travel agencies do not have sufficient financial means to refund all of the booked trips. The immigration service of New Zealand does not refund the costs of (NZeTA) visas which cannot be used due to coronavirus. However, approved visas might still be used for a future trip.
Disclaimer: coronavirus has led to a lot of uncertainties and the situation in New Zealand changes daily. Despite consulting various sources the completeness and correctness of the information in this article cannot be guaranteed. For the most up-to-date information, also contact your airline, tour operator or travel agency.