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: 05-08-2020.
Is there coronavirus in New Zealand?
Yes. On 4 August 2020, there were 1,555 confirmed coronavirus infections in New Zealand and 22 people had died. As no new cases have been detected for some time, the government of New Zealand has officially declared the country free of coronavirus in early June. On June 9, the measures taken by the government have thus been scaled down to level 1, but for now the travel ban remains in place to stop further spreading of the virus as much as possible. Mid-June, coronavirus was detected in two foreigners who had travelled to New Zealand to visit a dying family member. Since then, new infections have been detected.
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 there is currently a travel ban 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 which allow for travel to New Zealand with a special permit, such as people with essential jobs, or people visiting for pressing reasons (such as dying family members). It is not yet known how long the travel ban will last, but it is expected that this will be at least for another four weeks. Starting 14-5-2020, visa applications for New Zealand are currently processed in the normal way and with normal speed, but aside from the mentioned exceptions, Europeans currently cannot travel to New Zealand until at least 19 September 2020.
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. This includes travellers with a valid visa. The NZeTA variant of the visa is the most applied for visa type for tourists and has a validity term of two years. Coronavirus has resulted in the visa no longer being useable at this time. Strictly speaking the validity has not expired, however, and the visa can be used as normal as soon as the danger of coronavirus has passed. If you possess a valid NZeTA and plan to travel in a year’s time, you like won’t 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 be in effect for several more months. Expectations are that the entry ban for commercial flights will last until at least 19 September 2020. What is certain is that the ban on mooring in a New Zealand port for cruise ships will apply at least until 1 September. 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
- 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
- Everyone must keep track of where they have been and who they have been in contact with
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.