Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

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ALERT - COVID-19 - Do not travel overseas at this time. Due to the difficulty travellers are experiencing returning home, New Zealanders overseas need to take steps to stay safely where they are and shelter in place....Read more

ALERT - COVID-19 - Do not travel overseas at this time. Due to the difficulty travellers are experiencing returning home, New Zealanders overseas need to take steps to stay safely where they are and shelter in place....Read more

Advice for New Zealanders Overseas

The New Zealand Government moved New Zealand to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 on 11:59pm on Wednesday 25 March. For more information on what this means, visit the New Zealand Government’s dedicated COVID-19 website.

Advice for New Zealanders currently overseas

Do not travel overseas at this time. Transport and transit options to return to New Zealand have reduced significantly. Even booked flights may be cancelled.

We recognise that not all New Zealanders who want to return home are able to do so. New Zealanders who cannot return home for the time being should take steps to stay safely where they are.

The Government is committed to helping New Zealanders overseas where we can. But the international situation is complex and changing quickly, and some things are out of our control. Assisted departure flights should not be relied upon to get home.

If you require assistance, contact your closest New Zealand Embassy or High Commission, or call the consular emergency line on +64 99 20 20 20 (if overseas) or 0800 30 10 30 (in New Zealand). For more information on New Zealand border measures and isolation requirements on return to New Zealand, see the Immigration New Zealand and New Zealand Ministry of Health websites.

New Zealanders returning to New Zealand 

Isolation requirements

On 9 April 2020 the New Zealand Government announced further isolation requirements for all international arrivals into New Zealand.

  • All travellers entering New Zealand on flights which depart after 11:59pm, 9 April 2020 will be required to complete fourteen days of isolation in a managed facility (hotels). Under current border restrictions only New Zealand Citizens, Permanent Residents and their legal partners can enter New Zealand. This means no one arriving from overseas will be permitted to self-isolate at home.
  • Every passenger entering New Zealand will continue to be screened for COVID-19 on arrival.
  • If a passenger is symptomatic on arrival, they will be tested and placed in an approved quarantine facility for 14 days.
  • All other passengers will be placed in local managed isolation accommodation, which has been approved for isolation for 14 days. They will be transported there directly from the airport.
  • They will have regular contact with the government repatriation team who will coordinate all movement and welfare support
  • Appropriate isolation will be arranged in hotels by the New Zealand Government.
  • No end date has been set for managed isolation requirements when entering New Zealand.
  • Further information is available on the New Zealand Government’s dedicated COVID-19 website and the Ministry of Health website.

Current border measures

As of Thursday 19 March, most foreign travellers can no longer enter New Zealand. New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, residents with valid travel conditions and their immediate family (partner or spouse, legal guardian and dependent children under the age of 24) can still come to New Zealand. Immediate family members cannot travel by themselves. They must travel with the New Zealand citizen or resident family member on the same flight to New Zealand. Australian citizens and permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand can still come to New Zealand.

For further information regarding these border changes, visas and exemptions please read the information on the Immigration New Zealand website  or contact Immigration New Zealand on +64 9 952 1679 (outside New Zealand) 0508 225 288 (within New Zealand).

We are aware of some countries (including Thailand and Fiji) now requiring a recent medical certificate before boarding a plane to transit through their countries. Check with your airline for the most up-to-date information on travel requirements.

Staying safe wherever you are

If you are unable to return to New Zealand, we encourage you to take the following steps to stay safely where you are:

  • Follow the advice of local authorities. Be ready to comply with local isolation or quarantine requirements and to rely on the local health system. Find out how to access healthcare in case it becomes necessary to do so;
  • Take care to minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19 by following the advice of the World Health Organisation and New Zealand Ministry of Health;
  • Find suitable accommodation;
  • Make sure you have access to enough medication if you are overseas for longer than planned;
  • Keep your family and friends regularly informed of your plans and well-being;
  • Monitor local media for developments;
  • Be prepared for logistical and financial disruption. Make sure you can access money to cover emergencies and unexpected delays. New Zealanders facing financial hardship overseas should seek assistance from family or friends or contact their bank in the first instance. Check with your insurance provider to see if they can help;
  • Look after yourself – your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Stay in touch with your usual supports – family and whānau, friends and workmates, especially if you are self-isolating. Further tips can be found on the Government’s COVID-19 website .
  • Register on SafeTravel and keep checking the website for updates;
  • For more detailed country-specific advice, check the office travel advice of the US, UK and Australia too; and
  • Contact your nearest New Zealand Embassy or Consulate if you require consular assistance. Contact details are listed in each destination page on the SafeTravel. For urgent consular assistance after-hours please contact +64 99 20 20 20 (monitored 24 hours a day).

Please note that in some cases the ability of the New Zealand Government to provide consular assistance may be limited due to restrictions on movement and other services.

Financial Assistance for New Zealanders in Australia

  • The Australian Government has announced that New Zealanders working in Australia are among those who can qualify for Australia’s “JobKeeper payment”, a new wage subsidy scheme.
  • We recommend New Zealanders check with their employer to see if they are eligible for the payment, which will be paid directly by employers.
  • It may be helpful for New Zealanders to alert their employers to their visa status. New Zealand citizens receive a subclass 444 Special Category Visa on entry to Australia unless they are Australian permanent residents or citizens, or have applied for another kind of Australian visa.
  • Self-employed New Zealanders who may be eligible should register their interest in the scheme with the Australian Tax Office.
  • Further information is available from the Australian Tax Office .

Advice for New Zealanders transiting through Australia

We understand from the Australian Government, that New Zealand citizens, residents and immediate family who wish to transit Australia on their way home to New Zealand are subject to both Australian Federal and State Government requirements.

At the Federal level, the Australian Border Force are permitting transits of up to 72 hours for New Zealanders, requiring transits of more than eight hours to leave the airport. We are aware of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoris State Governments' having 14 dats mandatory quarantine requirements for those arriving from overseas.

However, the New Zealand Government does not provide advice on the immigration requirements of other countries, which can be subject to change quickly. Travellers are strongly encouraged to monitor the Home Affairs website and liaise with their travel agent/airline/insurance provider for up-to-date information.

Given the strengthened border measures in New Zealand and Australia, travellers should allow extra time for check in given the likely requirement for non-Australian passport holders to be individually checked for permission to transit Australia en route to New Zealand. This permission will likely involve reference back to head office for confirmation and so may take time given current call volumes.

Advice for New Zealanders considering overseas travel

The New Zealand Government is advising that New Zealanders do not travel overseas at this time due to the outbreak of COVID-19, associated health risks and travel restrictions. There may be a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 overseas. You may come in contact with more people than usual, including during long-haul flights and in crowded airports. Health care systems in some countries may come under strain and may not be as well-equipped as New Zealand’s or have the capacity to support foreigners.

COVID-19 and travel disruptions

Overseas travel has become more complex and unpredictable, and many countries are introducing entry or movement restrictions.  Most flights to New Zealand have ceased. A number of these border restrictions apply to New Zealanders, including those seeking to transit through these countries or territories to New Zealand, as well as those arriving via cruise ship. These are changing often and quickly. Your travel plans may be disrupted. You may be placed in quarantine or denied entry to some countries.

If you still wish to return to New Zealand, consult the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website and the immigration website of the relevant country before you travel for more information on border restrictions. For information on Australian border restrictions, visit the Australian Home Affairs website. As border restrictions continue to change, sometimes with little or no notice, check these websites regularly.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not provide immigration advice for entry to other countries and territories. The border authorities of the country or territory you are travelling to determine your eligibility for entry.

Information on cruises

All cruise ships which have sailed from a foreign port have been banned from entering New Zealand ports until 30 June.

New Zealanders are advised not to travel overseas at this time, including on overseas cruises. The virus can spread quickly on board cruises due to the close contact between passengers. Some cruise ships have been put into quarantine, and countries have denied entry to ports, which can have significant consequences for travellers.

If you choose to continue your plans for a cruise despite our advice, and you're concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on your plans, contact your travel agent or cruise operator for specific information. Check the Australasia website of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) , which outlines the protocols they put in place for the health and safety of cruise passengers and crew in response to COVID-19.  All CLIA member cruise lines are required to implement these protocols.

For further travel advice and information about COVID-19, please see our COVID-19 web page here.

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