<p>Milford Sound, New Zealand</p>

Milford Sound, New Zealand

New Zealand travel: Everything you need to know as country opens to British tourists from 1 May

After more than two years, tourists can finally return

Helen Coffey
Friday 29 April 2022 12:30
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From 1 May, New Zealand will finally lift the international travel ban that has been in place for more than two years.

Fully vaccinated British tourists will be allowed back into the country, along with travellers from 59 other “visa-waiver” countries, provided they abide by the entry requirements.

“We’re ready to welcome the world back,” said the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, of the long-awaited reopening.

But do you need to be vaccinated to visit? And what other Covid rules remain in place? Here’s everything travellers need to know.

What are the rules at the moment?

New Zealand kicked off a phased reopening from February, when it began letting citizens back into the country minus an onerous stint in hotel quarantine.

As of 13 April, vaccinated Australians have also been permitted entry.

At present, the following people can enter New Zealand from anywhere in the world and self-test on arrival:

  • Vaccinated and unvaccinated New Zealand citizens
  • Vaccinated New Zealand residents
  • Vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents
  • Current temporary work and student visa holders, with a valid visa who can still meet their visa requirements – this includes both visa holders currently offshore, and those in New Zealand who choose to travel overseas and wish to return
  • Up to 5,000 international students, for semester 2
  • Vaccinated travellers with a border exception
  • Vaccinated travellers on a working holiday scheme
  • Other vaccinated eligible travellers under current border settings

When are Brits allowed into New Zealand?

From 11.59pm on 1 May – that’s the date and time from which fully vaccinated British tourists and people visiting family and friends can begin to arrive.

Visitors from the other 59 countries which don’t require a visa (”visa waiver” visitors) will be allowed in from the same date, as will travellers from other countries who already hold a valid visitor visa.

Do I need to be fully vaccinated to visit New Zealand?

Yes. Only fully vaccinated international travellers will be allowed in. However, children aged 16 and under are exempt, as are those who can prove they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, plus New Zealand citizens.

To count as “fully vaccinated”, you must have had a full course of an approved Covid-19 vaccine – that means two doses of the vaccines administered in the UK (Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca) or one dose of a one-shot vaccine such as Johnson and Johnson.

You can have a combination of different vaccines if that combination is an approved course in the country you received them.

Do I need to take a Covid test to get into New Zealand?

Yes – several of them, in fact. Travellers to New Zealand will have to take three Covid tests: one before departure, another on entry and a third taken five or six days after arrival.

The pre-departure test can be a PCR administered no more than 48 hours before the scheduled departure of your first international flight to New Zealand; or a supervised rapid antigen or supervised LAMP test administered no more than 24 hours before the scheduled departure of your first international flight to New Zealand.

Travellers are then given two rapid antigen tests on arrival to be self-administered on day 0 or 1 and day five or six of their stay.

Children under six months do not need to self-test on arrival.

Passengers must also must meet the rules for the nation in which they change planes – there are no longer direct flights between the UK and New Zealand.

Do I need to quarantine?

Quarantine is no longer necessary for vaccinated travellers, provided their post-arrival Covid tests are negative.

If you have travelled to New Zealand for a holiday or other temporary stay and test positive after being there for seven days or longer, you need to:

  • Isolate for seven days
  • Source your own accommodation and pay for this (and meet your other costs)
  • Pay for your healthcare costs

What are the other entry requirements for Brits travelling to New Zealand?

Visitors must apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) prior to arriving in New Zealand, and pay NZ$35 ($18) for the International Visitor Levy.

What are the Covid rules on the ground?

New Zealand has been using a traffic light system; the entire country is currently classed as Orange. This means wearing a face mask on all public transport and domestic flights in New Zealand is legally required. Detailed guidance on face mask use, and the current traffic light setting, can be found on the New Zealand Government Covid-19 website.

For domestic flights within New Zealand, airlines may require you to show proof of a full Covid-19 vaccination status or a negative test result before boarding. The test must be taken no more than 72 hours before your journey.

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