The government of New Zealand has taken far-reaching steps against further spreading of 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: 07-01-2021.
Is the coronavirus still present in New Zealand?
Yes. On 6 January 2021, there were 2,188 confirmed coronavirus infections in New Zealand and 25 people had died. At the moment, however, the outbreak appears to be under control and New Zealand has been in level 1 of the Covid-19 emergency plan since 7 October 2020. While there are still a few coronavirus infections, these almost exclusively concern foreigners who entered the country with a special permit, and with whom the infection was found during the quarantine period. As they were still quarantined, there was no risk of spreading the virus to the 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 has the virus under control. 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"). If you want to travel to New Zealand despite the travel ban, you must apply for this special permit on the website of New Zealand's immigration service.
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. If you possess a valid NZeTA and plan to travel in a year’s time, you likely will not need to apply for a new one.
When will the coronavirus limitations be lifted?
The majority of the measures implemented by the government of New Zealand regarding coronavirus have been in effect since 20 March 2020. Although these measures were relaxed on 9 June, some of them, including the travel ban, remain in effect. There is no certainty regarding the expiry date of these measures. Keep in mind that there is a substantial chance that these measures will remain in effect for several more months. Commercial flights are very limited, and persons that have received a special permit to travel to New Zealand must present a voucher of their New Zealand isolation hotel in order to check-in. 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 be 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.
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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 decided to stay in the country for another reason, keep the following in mind. Starting mid-September, persons that are unable to leave New Zealand because of international travel limitations can apply for a bridging visa themselves. All guidelines of the DHSC that apply to British citizens in the UK also apply to those abroad. These include keeping sufficient distance from others, avoiding social contact (especially with vulnerable people) and regularly washing your hands. Additionally, the following coronavirus measures have been in effect in New Zealand since early June:
- Travelling within New Zealand is fully permitted again, but you are still advised to wear a mask in public transportation (including ferries) and in places where you cannot keep sufficient distance, such as stores. In public transportation (including airplanes) to, in or through Auckland, wearing a mask is mandatory. Masks are also mandatory on domestic flights throughout New Zealand.
- 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 Tracking App and to scan the QR codes in stores, public buildings and public transportation
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 won’t need to pay out. 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.