New Zealand announces phased plan to reopen borders to travellers
After being unable to see each other in person for nearly two years, New Zealanders and their family overseas finally have a date for when the country’s borders will start to reopen.
The government’s phased plan was announced in a statement by the Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins on 24 November:
Step 1: Fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible international travellers – Travel to New Zealand from Australia
The first phase of the border reopening kicks off on Sunday, 16 January 2022.
During this phase, fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and residence-class visa holders and other travellers eligible under New Zealand’s current border settings will be able to travel to New Zealand from Australia. The requirement is that travellers must have been in Australia or New Zealand 14 days before travelling.
Step 2: Fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible international travellers – Travel to New Zealand from all other countries
From 13 February 2022, fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and residence-class visa holders and other travellers eligible under New Zealand’s current border settings will be able to travel to New Zealand from all other countries except Very High-Risk countries.
Step 3: All fully vaccinated international travellers – Travel to New Zealand
All fully vaccinated international travellers will be able to travel to NZ from 30 April 2022 onwards, with the re-opening staged over time.
This phase of the plan is what New Zealanders and their families are looking forward to most!
“A phased approach is the safest approach”
“Closing our border was one of the first steps we took to keep our country safe from COVID-19 and it’ll be the last thing we open up, following our transition into the traffic light protection framework system and lifting of the Auckland boundary.”, Minister Hipkins said in his statement.
He continued, saying, “We always said we’d open in a controlled way, and this started with halving the time spent in MIQ to seven days.[…]In the end, we’ve done what we’ve always done, and that is to follow expert advice – which continues to show us the border is our biggest risk for new cases.”
“A phased approach to reconnecting with the world is the safest approach to ensure risk is carefully managed. This reduces any potential impacts on vulnerable communities and the New Zealand health system.” Minister Hipkins concluded.
MIQ requirements for travellers
Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and travellers no longer have to spend time in Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) from the 16th of January 2022.
That doesn’t mean New Zealand is going to take any chances with its citizens’ safety. Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and travellers not required to go into MIQ will still need:
- a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test,
- proof of full vaccination,
- a passenger declaration about travel history,
- a day 0/1 test on arrival, and
- spend seven days in self-isolation and
- a final negative COVID-19 test before entering the community
Travellers who aren’t fully vaccinated, but still permitted to enter New Zealand under the current border setting, will continue to enter MIQ upon arrival for seven days, followed by three days of home isolation. This requirement will also apply to travellers from Very High-Risk countries.
Follow us on social media for reminders as the border reopens
Eager to reunite with your family in New Zealand? Follow us on either Facebook or LinkedIn where we’ll post reminders about the phases of the border reopening. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any immigration assistance.