The government of New Zealand has taken far-reaching steps against further spreading of the coronavirus, also with regard to the NZeTA visa for New Zealand. Are you planning to travel to New Zealand? Keep a close eye on the information on this page concerning the coronavirus and the NZeTA visa for New Zealand. Last update: 15-09-2021.
Is the coronavirus still present in New Zealand?
Yes. As of 15 September 2021, there were 3.982 known coronavirus infections and 27 deaths due to the virus in New Zealand. Due to an outbreak of the highly contagious delta variant in Auckland, all of New Zealand went into level 4 lockdown on 17 August. Now that the number of infections is dropping again, the national lockdown, with the exception of Auckland, has been relaxed. Coronavirus infections are rare in New Zealand, and most of them involve foreigners who are allowed to travel to New Zealand with an exemption permit and who are diagnosed with the infection during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. Because they are still in quarantine, there is very little spread of COVID-19 to the general population.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has also led to far-reaching measures being taken in New Zealand
Can I currently 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 next year, as het travel ban will remain in place until at least early 2022, despite the fact that New Zealand is virtually free of the coronavirus. 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 people with essential jobs, immediate family members of inhabitants of New Zealand (this includes partners, children up to 24 years of age and parents of children up to that age) or people visiting for pressing humanitarian reasons (such as dying family members) to visit New Zealand with a special permit ("Border Exception"). Inhabitants include not just citizens of New Zealand, but also people who can legally stay in New Zealand, people who are already in New Zealand, people working in crucial parts of healthcare and highly-skilled workers. If you want to travel to New Zealand despite the travel ban, you must apply for this special permit on the website of New Zealandʼs immigration service.
Requirements for travelling with an exception permit
Travellers who are allowed to fly to New Zealand with this special permit must provide a negative PCR test at departure, which cannot be older than 72 hours (keep in mind that these 72 hours start from the moment the direct flight to New Zealand departs and you should therefore include any potential transfer times). Only travellers under the age of 2, and travellers who were in Antarctica, Norfolk (island) and most Pacific islands before travelling to New Zealand do not need to be tested for COVID-19 before departure.
Due to the outbreak of the highly contagious delta variant of the virus in Australia, New Zealand has temporarily halted the quarantine-free travel arrangement with Australia as of 23 July, for a period of at least eight weeks. This "travel bubble" had already been temporarily halted for Australian travellers from the states of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, but now applies to the whole of Australia. This means that travellers from Australia fall under the normal quarantine rules if they want to travel to New Zealand. They must also have a coronavirus test taken up to 72 hours before departure. There are quarantine-free flights to bring stranded New Zealand citizens back home, but those travelling to New Zealand from New South Wales are required to spend 14 days in quarantine (managed quarantine) on arrival. Travellers from Victoria must spend 10 days in self-quarantine.
Quarantine and isolation hotel
Commercial flights to New Zealand are very limited. Individuals that have received a special permit to travel to New Zealand must arrange a voucher online (room reservation) for a New Zealand isolation hotel and present it at check-in. On arrival in New Zealand, a coronatest is taken and during the quarantine period, a mandatory coronavirus test will be administered on day 3 and day 12. The ban on mooring at a New Zealand port for cruise ships will remain 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.
Only travellers who have stayed in the Cook Islands or Niue during the 14 days prior to their trip to New Zealand are exempt from this quarantine requirement. Travellers who have been in India, Fiji, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan or Papua New Guinea in the 14 days prior to their trip to New Zealand are unable to travel to the country, due to their classification as high-risk countries. Only New Zealand citizens, their partners, their dependent children or parents of dependent children with New Zealand citizenship may travel to New Zealand from these countries (and only after a negative PCR test).
The ban on cruise ships docking in New Zealand ports remains in place until further notice. Do you want to book a trip to New Zealand? Keep an eye on the news and this page to stay informed of developments.
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 is no 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. Exceptions are made for partners of inhabitants of New Zealand and for "critical health workers" and "other critical workers". These people 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 visa type. A transit is possible to a limited extent. The maximum transit time is 24 hours, and applying for a visa is mandatory.
The NZeTA variant of the visa is the most applied for visa type for tourists and business travellers 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 have passed. If the validity of the NZeTA expires while the borders are closed, a new visa has to be applied for once the borders open again.
When will the coronavirus limitations be lifted?
Even though the coronavirus measures were relaxed on 9 June 2020, some measures, including the travel ban, are still in force. On 12 August, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand would keep its borders closed for the rest of the year.
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I am still in New Zealand, what should I do?
If you are unable to leave New Zealand, or if you have decided to stay in the country for some other reason, please note the following. Persons who cannot leave New Zealand due to international travel restrictions can apply for an Interim Visa in New Zealand itself since mid-September 2020. All RIVM guidelines that apply to Dutch citizens in their own country also apply to Dutch citizens in New Zealand. These include keeping your distance, avoiding social contact (especially with vulnerable people) and washing your hands frequently. In addition, the following coronavirus measures have been in place in New Zealand since early June:
- Travelling within New Zealand is fully permitted again (with the exception of Auckland), but wearing a mask is still mandatory in public transportation (incuding ferries) and on domestic flights. Additionally, in places where sufficient distance cannot be kept, such as stores, wearing a mask is strongly advised.
- Auckland is currently in level 4 lockdown. This means that inhabitants can only go outside their homes for essential things.
- 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. Take into account directions from local governments. Violating the hygiene regulations can lead to high fines.
- Everyone has been asked to download the NZ COVID Tracking App and to scan the QR codes in stores, public buildings and public transportation
New Zealand has severe penalties for foreigners who do not observe the coronavirus measures, up to and including detention and deportation for not meeting the visa requirements.
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.