News report | | 25-03-2022 | ±2 minutes reading time

The government of New Zealand has announced plans to move up the dates for the reopening of borders. Travellers with an NZeTA will be able to travel to New Zealand from May 1, 2022.

Previous dates

Earlier this year, Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern revealed a roadmap that outlined the stages of the reopening of borders. According to these stages, travellers with an NZeTA were not allowed to travel to New Zealand again until July. The schedule was met with much criticism, especially from the New Zealand tourism industry, as many people thought that these dates were too far apart. Despite the fact that New Zealand has largely controlled COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has been very reluctant to loosen the restrictions. Critics accuse Prime Minister Ardern of being too cautious, despite New Zealand’s low infection rate. Currently, only New Zealand citizens, fully vaccinated Australian citizens and travellers with a border exception can enter the country.

Early border reopening

The New Zealand government is now partially satisfying the requests of the tourism industry. The roadmap for the reopening of borders is now as follows:

  • Starting from March 16, fully vaccinated Australians will be welcome again
  • Starting from May 1, fully vaccinated travellers from visa-free countries and holders of a valid visa will be welcome again
  • Starting from October 1, fully vaccinated travellers with a visa from other countries will be welcome again

Travellers from visa waiver countries can therefore travel to New Zealand as early as May 1.

New Zealand further relaxes COVID restrictions

In the run-up to the reopening of borders, the New Zealand government has further relaxed its national COVID regulations. Full vaccination and face masks are no longer required to enter stores. The 100-person limit for outdoor gatherings will be dropped, and the limit for indoor gatherings will be raised from a maximum of 100 to a maximum of 200 people.

NZeTA required for visa-free travels

Since October 1, 2019, travellers covered by New Zealand’s visa-free travel regulations must apply for a NZeTA visa to be able to enter the country. The NZeTA is not officially a visa, but it works similarly. It can be applied for online before departure, and once approved, it is electronically linked to the traveller’s passport. Therefore, there is no need to visit the embassy or the consulate. A NZeTA visa is valid for two years, and it can be used for an unlimited number of trips to New Zealand. Each stay in New Zealand can last a maximum of three months.

Tourists travelling to New Zealand must pay a special tourist tax called the “International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy” (IVL). The proceeds are entirely used to support sustainable tourism projects in New Zealand. The IVL fee is included in the total price of the NZeTA visa.