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COVID-19 and international travel
This COVID-19 travel advice applies to all international travel, in all destinations. If you are planning international travel at this time, please read this advice alongside our destination specific travel advisories.
In line with step two of the Government’s 5-step plan to re-open New Zealand’s borders, at 11:59pm on Friday 4th of March 2022, we removed the SafeTravel global ‘Do not travel’ advisory and returned to issuing destination-specific travel advisories.
While our borders have reopened, it is important to remember that international travel is different now. Travel has become more complicated and there are additional things you need to think about when planning your trip overseas.
Although many countries now have increasingly high vaccination numbers, any country could continue to experience a sudden outbreak of COVID-19. This may include the emergence of new variants of concern, which may lead to the sudden imposition of strict travel restrictions or health measures that could impact upon your travel plans, and your travel insurance. If you’re heading overseas, it’s important you think about the risks of contracting COVID-19 in your destination. This may mean that you have to remain overseas for longer than you had planned, which may have financial implications for you. We recommend that all New Zealand travellers make contingency plans in case disruptions mean you need to support yourself overseas for longer than you planned.
All travellers also need to be aware of the requirements for returning to New Zealand. You can read more about that on the Unite Against COVID-19 website here.
We advise that New Zealanders overseas follow local health advice and use basic hygiene measures to minimise the risk of exposure. The Ministry of Health provides useful information about protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.
We encourage all New Zealanders to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before travelling anywhere overseas. From February 28, 2024, International Travel COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates will no longer be available for New Zealanders travelling overseas, as most countries have now lifted their COVID-19 vaccination entry requirements.
There are alternative vaccination records available if people need them for international travel purposes as some countries and territories may still need you to show proof of vaccination.
The My Health Record web portal enables users to generate a record of all their vaccinations, including their COVID-19 vaccinations, and print these if needed.
Travellers are encouraged to check the vaccination entry requirements of their destinations before travelling.
You’re at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 if you’re unvaccinated. Sudden outbreaks of COVID-19 pose an increased risk to you, particularly in destinations with low vaccination coverage. Health services can also be difficult to access in these circumstances.
Other countries border requirements
While many countries and territories have opened up their borders to tourists again, border requirements may be different for each destination. These requirements may also change at short notice, so before you go, it’s important that you are well informed about the requirements for each of the destinations you are travelling to. This includes checking border requirements for the countries you’re visiting or transiting through, and COVID-19 testing and vaccine requirements of airlines and other transport providers.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade cannot provide immigration advice about entry, transit or exit requirements for other countries and territories. The border authorities of the country or territory you are travelling to determine your eligibility for entry. Consult the official website or the nearest embassy/consulate of your country or territory of destination to find out about any border controls that may apply to you, before travelling.
Obtaining comprehensive travel insurance is more important than ever. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.
We understand that some travel insurance policies may cover some COVID-19-related claims. However, it’s really important to check the details of your travel insurance as this varies from provider to provider. Your travel insurance may be affected by COVID-19 and may not necessarily cover travel disruption or medical expenses, particularly in the event your travel is disrupted due to government imposed restrictions. New Zealand travel insurance providers usually don’t cover travel to countries or territories set at SafeTravel’s highest travel advisory level “Do not travel” (level 4 of 4), and there may be limited cover for destinations set at “Avoid non-essential travel” (level 3 of 4).
Contact your travel insurer if you have questions or concerns about whether you are covered by your insurance policy for any potential COVID-19 related expenses. We also recommend that you clearly understand how sudden changes to the international travel environment might affect your cover. You also need to ensure that you meet any compulsory insurance requirements put in place by airlines and other transport providers, as well as the border authorities at each of your destinations.
Before you go:
- Read our travel advice for each of the destinations you plan on travelling to. Our country specific advisories provide an essential source of information about other safety and security risks while travelling overseas
- Register your travel plans on SafeTravel so we can send you important information following an emergency
- Visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website and make sure you understand New Zealand’s entry requirements for when you return
- Obtain your International Travel Vaccination Certificate and understand how your vaccination status might affect your travel
- And finally, take out comprehensive travel insurance and check your travel insurance policy carefully to see what’s covered, particularly in the event your travel is disrupted due to unexpected government imposed restrictions