The government of New Zealand has taken far-reaching steps against further spreading of the coronavirus, also with regard to the NZeTA visa for New Zealand. Are you planning to travel to New Zealand? Keep a close eye on the information on this page concerning the coronavirus and the NZeTA visa for New Zealand. Last update: 08-07-2021.
Is the coronavirus still present in New Zealand?
Yes. As of 7 July 2021, there were 2 765 known coronavirus infections and 26 deaths due to the virus in New Zealand. At the moment, the outbreak seems to be under control. After a corona outbreak in the Wellington region, to which the government responded with restrictions, level 1 of the COVID-19 contingency plan (level 1 is comparable to the Dutch level "vigilant") is again in force throughout New Zealand. Coronavirus infections are rare in New Zealand, and most of them involve foreigners who are allowed to travel to New Zealand with an exemption permit and who are diagnosed with the infection during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. Because they are still in quarantine, there is very little spread of COVID-19 to the general population.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has also led to far-reaching measures being taken in New Zealand
Can I currently apply for a visa for New Zealand?
Yes. Despite the current measures in place regarding the coronavirus, it is still possible to apply for an NZeTA visa. However, this is only useful for trips later this year or next year, as het travel ban will remain in place until further notice, despite the fact that New Zealand is virtually free of the coronavirus. This ban applies to all tourists and business travellers, but not to citizens of New Zealand, inhabitants with a permanent resident permit and citizens of Australia.
There are also exceptions which allow people with essential jobs, immediate family members of inhabitants of New Zealand (this includes partners, children up to 24 years of age and parents of children up to that age) or people visiting for pressing humanitarian reasons (such as dying family members) to visit New Zealand with a special permit ("Border Exception"). Inhabitants include not just citizens of New Zealand, but also people who can legally stay in New Zealand, people who are already in New Zealand, people working in crucial parts of healthcare and highly-skilled workers. If you want to travel to New Zealand despite the travel ban, you must apply for this special permit on the website of New Zealandʼs immigration service.
Requirements for travelling with an exception permit
Travellers who are allowed to fly to New Zealand with this special permit must provide a negative PCR test at departure, which cannot be older than 72 hours (keep in mind that these 72 hours start from the moment the direct flight to New Zealand departs and you should therefore include any potential transfer times). Travellers who stayed in Australia, most islands in the Pacific Ocean or Antartica do not need to be tested for coronavirus before departure.
People who have been in New South Wales (Australia) in the 14 days prior to their trip to New Zealand are, for the time being, not allowed to travel to New Zealand at all, even with a negative coronavirus test. This rule for travellers who have been in New South Wales and possibly other places in Australia where coronavirus infections have been detected will remain in place at least until 6 July.
Quarantine and isolation hotel
Commercial flights to New Zealand are very limited. Individuals that have received a special permit to travel to New Zealand must arrange a voucher online (room reservation) for a New Zealand isolation hotel and present it at check-in. On arrival in New Zealand, a coronatest is taken and during the quarantine period, a mandatory coronavirus test will be administered on day 3 and day 12. The ban on mooring at a New Zealand port for cruise ships will remain in place until further notice. Do you want to book a trip to New Zealand? Keep a close watch on the news and this page, so that you remain informed on developments.
Only travellers who have stayed in Australia, the Cook Islands or Niue during the 14 days prior to their trip to New Zealand are exempt from this quarantine requirement. Quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand (and New Zealand and these islands) is (again) possible. However, travellers from the Australian state of Victoria are subject to mandatory quarantine until at least 4 June. Travellers who have been in India, Brazil, Pakistan or Papua New Guinea in the 14 days prior to their trip to New Zealand are unable to travel to the country, due to their classification as high-risk countries. Only New Zealand citizens, their partners, their dependent children or parents of dependent children with New Zealand citizenship may travel to New Zealand from these countries (and only after a negative PCR test).
The ban on cruise ships docking in New Zealand ports remains in place until further notice. Do you want to book a trip to New Zealand? Keep an eye on the news and this page to stay informed of developments.
I already have an NZeTA visa, is it still valid?
Coronavirus has spoiled the plans of travellers that are planning to fly to another continent. This is no different with New Zealand. One of the coronavirus measures is a complete travel ban. This ban means that no tourists or business travellers can travel to New Zealand (except for people falling under the category "critical health worker" or "other critical worker"). This means that travellers with a valid visa also cannot enter the country. Exceptions are made for partners of inhabitants of New Zealand and for "critical health workers" and "other critical workers". These people must fill in an online form prior to their trip, the "Request for travel to New Zealand" form. If accepted, they will receive an invitation to apply for a specific visa type.
The NZeTA variant of the visa is the most applied for visa type for tourists and business travellers and has a validity term of two years. COVID-19 has resulted in the visa no longer being usable at this time. Strictly speaking the validity has not expired, however, and the visa can in all likelihood be used as normal as soon as the dangers of coronavirus have passed. If the validity of the NZeTA expires while the borders are closed, a new visa has to be applied for once the borders open again.
When will the coronavirus limitations be lifted?
Even though the coronavirus measures were relaxed on 9 June 2020, some measures, including the travel ban, are still in force. There is no certainty yet about the expiry date of these measures. There is a significant chance that the measures will remain in place for several more months.
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I am still in New Zealand, what should I do?
If you are unable to leave New Zealand, or if you have decided to stay in the country for some other reason, please note the following. Persons who cannot leave New Zealand due to international travel restrictions can apply for an Interim Visa in New Zealand itself since mid-September 2020. All RIVM guidelines that apply to Dutch citizens in their own country also apply to Dutch citizens in New Zealand. These include keeping your distance, avoiding social contact (especially with vulnerable people) and washing your hands frequently. In addition, the following coronavirus measures have been in place in New Zealand since early June:
- Travelling within New Zealand is fully permitted again, but wearing a mask is still mandatory in public transportation (incuding ferries) and on domestic flights. Additionally, in places where sufficient distance cannot be kept, such as stores, wearing a mask is strongly advised.
- Entering New Zealand is still forbidden - aside from a few exceptions - and those that can enter with a special permit must spend the first 14 days in quarantine
- You are still required to observe the health regulations. Take into account directions from local governments. Violating the hygiene regulations can lead to high fines.
- Everyone has been asked to download the NZ COVID Tracking App and to scan the QR codes in stores, public buildings and public transportation
New Zealand has severe penalties for foreigners who do not observe the coronavirus measures, up to and including detention and deportation for not meeting the visa requirements.
Will I be refunded the cost of my visa and booked trip?
If you already made costs for a trip to New Zealand which cannot go through due to the coronavirus, you likely cannot claim it anywhere. Many insurers will invoke the "force majeure" clause in their contracts which states that in cases like a pandemic, they do not need to pay. Furthermore, many tour operators and travel agencies do not have sufficient financial means to refund all of the booked trips. The immigration service of New Zealand does not refund the costs of (NZeTA) visas which cannot be used due to coronavirus. However, approved visas might still be used for a future trip.
Disclaimer: coronavirus has led to a lot of uncertainties and the situation in New Zealand changes daily. Despite consulting various sources the completeness and correctness of the information in this article cannot be guaranteed. For the most up-to-date information, also contact your airline, tour operator or travel agency.