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New Zealand Will Require 72 Hour Covid Test For Entry

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One of the few success stories of the pandemic, New Zealand has seen the 7-day average for its daily cases remain a single-digit number for the past few months. It has achieved this feat due to its quick responses to any local outbreaks and firm border control policies – with the country set to introduce a further travel restriction next week when it mandates testing prior to arrival.

Here’s a look at this new rule for travelers hoping to visit New Zealand, the exceptions to the rule and other systems that New Zealand has in place.

auckland plane wing new zealand

Current Restrictions On Travel To New Zealand – What Travelers Should Know

As is the case with most countries around the world, travel into New Zealand is highly restricted at present. Their borders are all-but closed, with travelers only allowed to enter for a critical purpose, and entry is subject to prior approval. Some travelers do not need to request to travel beforehand, such as citizens, permanent residents, partners and dependent children.

At present – whilst this is due to change – travelers from the US and the UK must have a negative test result for Covid-19 prior to departure, a rule that came into effect on January 15th. The tests must be PCR/RT-PCR, LAMP or antigen tests, and must be taken at a laboratory that is recognized in the country of origin as accredited to conduct such tests.

new zealand plane window shore

All travelers – except those arriving from the Cook Islands – must then complete a 14-day stay in managed isolation or quarantine. Travelers must ensure they have a Managed Isolation Allocation system voucher prior to boarding their flight, as this confirms their place in an isolation facility. Travelers will be unable to board their flights without this voucher.

Pre-Departure Testing Changes – Which Travelers Does It Apply To?

New Zealand is set to add more countries to the list of those whose travelers must test prior to departure. From 11:59 PM on Monday 25th January, all travelers seeking entry to New Zealand must have a negative test result returned within 72 hours of their first scheduled international flight.

emerald lake new zealand

The exceptions to the rule are those flying from Australia, Antarctica, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna. Travelers from these locations can continue to travel to New Zealand without needing a test beforehand.

Australian’s Exempt – Here’s Why

Australia, the largest landmass closest to New Zealand, has seen its citizens exempt from the pre-departure testing requirements. New Zealand’s Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins has stated that this is because Australia and the other Pacific Islands that are exempt do not have enough cases of the virus to necessitate the need for the test. Australia’s 7-day average of cases stands at only 13, as the country continues to work quickly and decisively whenever any clusters or flare-ups are spotted.

skyline of brisbane by the river

New Zealand and Australia’s effectiveness at tackling the virus has seen the two countries establish a travel bubble between the two countries. Travelers can fly from New Zealand to three destinations in Australia – Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – with the need to quarantine. However, those who make the trip must quarantine once they have returned to New Zealand. Should the two countries continue to reduce the spread of the virus in their borders, it’s likely that the travel bubble system will expand to include more quarantine-free destinations.

New Zealand: Queenstown Airport (ZQN)

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


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