NZ Border Reopening: All You Need To Know

Mar 16, 2022
By Staff writer

NZ has recently announced the reopening of borders to international travellers after nearly two years.  If you have friends and family overseas planning to visit you or if you're planning to get a holiday out of the country, here are important steps to follow.

The opening will be in five stages:

Step 1

From February 27, 11:59 pm

The following fully vaccinated travellers coming from Australia can enter New Zealand without needing to self-isolate upon arrival:

  • New Zealand citizens and residents
  • Eligible travellers under current border settings
  • Was in Australia or NZ the previous 14 days
  • Underwent the required pre-departure tests

Note: Qualified travellers from Nauru, Tuvalu and American Samoa can also enter New Zealand without having to self-isolate

The following are still required to enter managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ):

  • Unvaccinated New Zealand citizens
  • People with medical certificates and vaccine exemptions
  • People who do not meet New Zealand's vaccination requirements but are qualified to enter New Zealand

Note: If travellers came from other countries prior to coming to Australia, they must spend 14 days in Australia before travelling to New Zealand.

You are eligible to enter NZ during border restrictions if you are:

  • A New Zealand citizen
  • A permanent resident or resident visa holder in NZ
  • An Australian citizen or holds a permanent residence visa where NZ is the primary place of residence
  • Those exempted from border restrictions or have a critical purpose reason to travel

A partner, dependent child, or parent of a dependent child who:

  • Is a visa holder based on their relationship to an NZ citizen or resident
  • Is travelling with a Kiwi or resident, or
  • Is ordinarily resident or citizen in NZ

Please note that you may be required to prove your eligibility at the airport. Make sure to fill out a Request to travel form to easily assess your travel eligibility.

Step 2

From March 4, 11:59 pm

The following fully vaccinated travellers can enter New Zealand from anywhere in the world and are no longer required to self-isolate or enter MIQ:

  • NZ residents and citizens
  • Eligible travellers under current border settings

From March 13, 11:59 pm

The following fully vaccinated people can enter New Zealand from anywhere in the world and are no longer required to self-isolate or enter MIQ:

  • Skilled workers earning at least 1.5 more than the median wage for roles longer than 6 months may be granted an 'other critical worker' border exception
  • Travellers on a working holiday scheme

The following are still required to enter managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ):

  • Those who do not meet New Zealand's vaccination requirements but are eligible to enter the country

Step 3 

From April 12, 11:59 pm

The following fully vaccinated travellers can enter New Zealand from anywhere in the world:

  • Current temporary work and student visa holders, including those currently offshore
  • New Zealand residents and citizens that choose to travel overseas and wish to go back
  • Up to 5,000 international students for semester 2 can apply for a border exception to enter New Zealand

Step 4

By July 2022

The following fully vaccinated travellers can enter New Zealand:

  • People coming from Australia.
  • Visa waiver visitors
  • Travellers from other countries who have valid visitor visas.
  • Travellers that are has an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)
  • Holds a temporary visitor visa who is outside New Zealand

For those who have a temporary visitor visa and are currently in New Zealand, you can leave and return any time as long as your visa conditions permits.

Step 5

By October 2022

All visa categories, including visitor and student visas, can enter New Zealand.

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What are the current health requirements?

You must meet the following requirements to be qualified: 

  • You must show a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test
  • You must meet all the vaccination requirements in NZ
  • You must do two rapid antigen tests (RATs) on Day 0/1 and Day 5/6 and declare your results 
    • All positive RATs needs to be registered and followed up with a PCR test

Are more students and expats going back to NZ?

For months, thousands of stranded Kiwis overseas have been trying to go back to New Zealand, but the country's strict border controls have barred them to do so. Now that rules are less strict and borders are gradually opening up, Kiwis are expected to come back to their homeland.

Meanwhile, up to 5,000 international students can apply for a border exception this July, just in time for the semester. More details about the eligibility and how students can apply will be provided soon.

Which countries can already visit NZ?

Any New Zealand citizen and resident in around 120 countries can now have isolation-free travel to the country. As for tourists, the Government is still working to make the reopening earlier than the currently planned date in July.

Which visas allow you to enter NZ?

Many visas let you visit New Zealand, including:


NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) allows travel to New Zealand as long as you get a visa from them before travelling.

COVID-19 Short-term Visitor Visa

COVID-19 short-term visitor visa is available for travellers who are genuinely unable to leave New Zealand because of COVID-19.

Visitor Visa

Individuals can visit New Zealand for up to 9 months, whether it’s for a holiday vacation, studying, or visiting friends and family.

Visa Waiver Visitor Visa

If you’re from a visa-waiver country, you can visit New Zealand for short periods without applying for a visa as long as you have an NZeTA visa.

Group Visitor Visa

If you’re travelling with a group for the same purpose and have prior travel arrangements, you can apply for a Group Visitor Visa.

Critical Purpose Visitor Visa

If you have a critical purpose for travelling to New Zealand, a critical purpose visitor visa allows you to travel to New Zealand even if the border is closed.

For a complete list and information, you may check the Immigration New Zealand website.

Consequently, if you're thinking of visiting other countries, you may also check the SafeTravel website for an up-to-date list of advisories and destinations.

I’m planning to visit/stay in New Zealand. How much is the average cost for a holiday?

It’s essential to know how much you should be saving up for the trip for easy budgeting. For students and expats, the average monthly costs can range from $3,000 to $4,000 for rent, utilities, groceries, internet, and transportation. 

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