Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

COVID-19 and international travel

This COVID-19 travel advice applies to all international travel, in all destinations. If you are planning international travel at this time, please read this advice alongside our destination specific travel advisories.

In line with step two of the Government’s 5-step plan to re-open New Zealand’s borders, at 11:59pm on Friday 4th of March 2022, we removed the SafeTravel global ‘Do not travel’ advisory and returned to issuing destination-specific travel advisories.

While our borders have reopened for fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens, it is important to remember that international travel is different now. Travel has become more complicated and there are additional things you need to think about when planning your trip overseas.

Although many countries now have increasingly high vaccination numbers, any country could continue to experience a sudden outbreak of COVID-19. This may include the emergence of new variants of concern, which may lead to the sudden imposition of strict travel restrictions or health measures that could impact upon your travel plans, and your travel insurance. If you’re heading overseas, it’s important you think about the risks of contracting COVID-19 in your destination. This may mean that you have to remain overseas for longer than you had planned, which may have financial implications for you. We recommend that all New Zealand travellers make contingency plans in case disruptions mean you need to support yourself overseas for longer than you planned.

All travellers also need to be aware of the requirements for returning to New Zealand. You can read more about that on the Unite Against COVID-19 website here.

We advise that New Zealanders overseas follow local health advice and use basic hygiene measures to minimise the risk of exposure. The Ministry of Health provides useful information about protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.

Vaccination

We encourage all New Zealanders to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before travelling anywhere overseas. You may need to show proof of vaccination as a condition of entry to many destinations. Some countries and territories may also require you to show proof of vaccination to access venues/services. Make sure you obtain your International Travel Vaccination Certificate before you travel.

You’re at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 if you’re unvaccinated. Sudden outbreaks of COVID-19 pose an increased risk to you, particularly in destinations with low vaccination coverage. Health services can also be difficult to access in these circumstances.

Other countries border requirements

While many countries and territories have opened up their borders to tourists again, border requirements may be different for each destination. These requirements may also change at short notice, so before you go, it’s important that you are well informed about the requirements for each of the destinations you are travelling to. This includes checking border requirements for the countries you’re visiting or transiting through, and COVID-19 testing and vaccine requirements of airlines and other transport providers.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade cannot provide immigration advice about entry, transit or exit requirements for other countries and territories. The border authorities of the country or territory you are travelling to determine your eligibility for entry. Consult the official website or the nearest embassy/consulate of your country or territory of destination to find out about any border controls that may apply to you, before travelling.

Travel insurance

 Obtaining comprehensive travel insurance is more important than ever. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.

We understand that some travel insurance policies may cover some COVID-19-related claims. However, it’s really important to check the details of your travel insurance as this varies from provider to provider. Your travel insurance may be affected by COVID-19 and may not necessarily cover travel disruption or medical expenses, particularly in the event your travel is disrupted due to government imposed restrictions. New Zealand travel insurance providers usually don’t cover travel to countries or territories set at SafeTravel’s highest travel advisory level “Do not travel” (level 4 of 4), and there may be limited cover for destinations set at “Avoid non-essential travel” (level 3 of 4).

Contact your travel insurer if you have questions or concerns about whether you are covered by your insurance policy for any potential COVID-19 related expenses. We also recommend that you clearly understand how sudden changes to the international travel environment might affect your cover. You also need to ensure that you meet any compulsory insurance requirements put in place by airlines and other transport providers, as well as the border authorities at each of your destinations.

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