COVID-19 and New Zealand: National lockdown and more in effect
New Zealand is battling the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, just like most other countries around the world. At the time of writing, New Zealand has entered a four-week lockdown. During this lockdown, all New Zealanders have to stay at home.
Below we’ll summarise all the important information to know about the lockdown as well as other measures that New Zealand have taken to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Four-week lockdown, but not for essential services
New Zealand’s lockdown began at midnight on Wednesday, 25 March. For now, the lockdown is set to continue for four weeks but it may last for longer.
During the lockdown, New Zealanders have to stay at home with the exception being those working in essential service businesses. These are businesses in industries such as food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support.
Furthermore, New Zealanders returning from overseas during the lockdown will have to quarantine in airport hotels or motels if they did not have anywhere to self-isolate in the city they arrive in.
Prime Minister Ardern has received praise for how she’s handled the pandemic thus far, specifically for providing clarity and compassion at a time when it’s sorely necessary.
New Zealand borders have closed to almost all travellers
New Zealand has closed their borders to all travellers during the lockdown, except for New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, residents with valid travel conditions and their immediate family.
These immediate family members, which include partners, spouses, legal guardians and dependent children under the age of 24, must have a valid visa or NZeTA and travel with the New Zealand citizen or resident family members on the same flight to New Zealand.
Australian citizens and permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand can also return to New Zealand.
All travellers must isolate themselves for 14 days upon arrival, either at home or at an airport hotel or motel as discussed above.
Entry restriction exceptions
Immigration New Zealand are making exceptions to the border closure on case-by-case basis for:
- Humanitarian reasons.
- Health and other essential workers.
- Citizens of Samoa and Tonga for essential travel to New Zealand.
Immigration New Zealand has advised that those with a valid visa who think they may be eligible for an exception should contact their airline.
All INZ’s overseas office are closed
Unfortunately, all of Immigration New Zealand’s overseas visa processing offices have closed for the foreseeable future. Moreover, INZ only have skeleton staff in New Zealand and their only priority is dealing with COVID-19 requests. INZ are prioritising responses based on the government’s direction and are only intended for exceptional cases.
See the Immigration New Zealand website for more
Immigration New Zealand has a page on their website dedicated to their coronavirus response. You’ll find all the latest restrictions and measures on this page. See it here.
If you have an urgent immigration query, you can still contact Immigration New Zealand by using the following numbers:
- Outside New Zealand: +64 9 952 1679
- Within New Zealand: 0508 225 288