Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 9 June 2022, 10:24 NZST
  • Still current at: 6 December 2022

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COVID-19

If you are planning international travel at this time, please read our COVID-19 related travel advice here, alongside our destination specific travel advice below.

Do not travel

Do not travel to Myanmar due to ongoing civil unrest and armed conflict (level 4 of 4).

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Myanmar

Post Closure
Due to unprecedented operational pressures, New Zealand has temporarily withdrawn staff from its Embassy in Myanmar. Full consular services in country are unavailable until further notice.

New Zealanders who require emergency consular assistance should contact the 24/7 Consular emergency line on +64 99 20 20 20 or the Yangon embassy personnel on +95 9 269 810 965 or Yangon.Office@mfat.govt.nz

Civil unrest/political tensions
On 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military assumed control of the country and declared a state of emergency. This has led to a significant increase in the level of violence, with many deaths and injuries. Night time curfews and bans on public gatherings have been imposed across the country. Curfews and restrictions on movement may be imposed at short notice, in addition to those already in place, Martial law is in place in some parts of Yangon. Expect an increased security presence country-wide.

Following the military take-over, there has been widespread political violence throughout Myanmar. While most clashes occur between non-state armed groups and the Burmese security forces, it has resulted in both military and civilian casualties. There is an extreme risk of politically motivated violent extremism. The location and intensity of the attacks are often unpredictable. New Zealanders in Myanmar are advised to keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities and exercising vigilance in public places.

Protest activity in Myanmar is common and there is a high threat of violent protests. Security forces have been using lethal force against protestors across the country, which has resulted in numerous arrests and casualties. In response to the use of lethal force by security forces, some protestors have implemented self-defence measures while others have gone further and adopted an aggressive posture during protests. New Zealanders should avoid any and all demonstrations or public gatherings due to the high risk of them turning violent.

There have been widespread detentions, including of foreign nationals. There is a risk of arbitrary detention or arrest. There have been ongoing disruptions to internet platforms (including social media), as well as wider internet and telecommunication networks. Other basic services, including electricity, ATMs and public health services have also been disrupted. The political situation remains unpredictable. Heightened civil unrest and armed conflict is expected to continue. We recommend complying with any instructions issued by the local authorities, including any curfews. It is also important to keep your family and friends informed of your well-being. Monitor the media for any developments that may affect the security situation.

In the past, there has been politically-motivated violence on or around public holidays such as Armed Forces Day (27 March) and Martyrs Day (19 July). On significant anniversaries, such as the anniversary of the coup (1 February), the 8 August 1988 uprising, and the September 2007 protests, you should expect an increased security presence in Yangon and elsewhere.

Terrorism
Since the military takeover in February 2021, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) use and violent attacks have progressively increased throughout the country. While most IEDs and attacks have targeted Myanmar’s security forces or government officials, the threat to the public is significant. New Zealanders in Myanmar are advised to keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities and exercising vigilance in public places.

There have been a large number of small scale bombings and shootings targeting government buildings, police stations and businesses associated with the Government or its supporters in cities and rural areas, which have resulted in injuries and sometimes death. Further incidents cannot be ruled out. New Zealanders in Myanmar are advised to be security conscious in public and crowded places.

Ethnic tensions
Myanmar has experienced prolonged internal conflicts involving a number of ethnic and non-state armed groups. This has become more widespread since the military takeover. Despite several ceasefire agreements signed since 2015, the threat of armed conflict between rival ethnic armed groups as well as between ethnic armed groups and the military forces remains an ongoing threat in some places.

The security situation in all ethnic border states remains volatile and unpredictable.

There are sporadic but increasing outbreaks of armed violence between military forces, ethnic armed groups, and militias in Sagaing, Magway, Chin, Kachin, Karin, Kayah and Shan States. There is an ongoing threat from improvised explosive devices and unmarked landmines in conflict areas. In November 2019, a foreign tourist was killed by a landmine while travelling outside of Hsipaw township in Northern Shan State.

Active fighting between government forces and a local ethnic armed group in Rakhine State continues. These clashes sometimes result in the death or injury of civilians, security forces, and non-state armed fighters. Although an informal ceasefire was agreed between the Rakhine State-based Arakan Army (AA) and the Government in November 2020, the ceasefire has been increasingly under threat since and hostilities could break out with little notice.

Border areas/crossings
There are a limited number of legal land crossing points into Myanmar, and these are subject to closure without notice. Permission to cross these borders may be required in advance through a separate process to a visa application. Travel restrictions placed by the Myanmar government apply for most border areas. We advise New Zealanders against attempting to cross any border illegally or enter restricted areas without the appropriate permission from Myanmar authorities.

General travel advice
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social/cultural traditions in Myanmar to avoid offending local sensitivities and potentially breaking the law. Shorts and sleeveless tops will cause offence when visiting Buddhist religious sites. It is illegal to preach or hand out religious material without written approval or ‘insult religion’ including mistreating images of Buddha.

We advise against taking photographs of any protests, demonstrations or government or military installations, as this could result in arrest and/or detention. This includes the use of drones.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty.

Travellers visiting Myanmar have experienced difficulties accessing their money. Myanmar remains a predominantly cash-based society and although credit and debit cards are increasingly accepted in major tourist areas some cards do not work.

New Zealanders travelling to Myanmar are advised to check with their bank before travelling to confirm that your debit, credit or ATM cards will allow them to withdraw cash or make payments in Myanmar. You should take enough cash (US dollars in pristine condition) to last throughout the duration of your stay in Myanmar. Visitors should keep abreast of the latest regulations concerning foreign exchange and the use of foreign currency in local businesses.  

Myanmar does not recognise dual nationality. This limits your access to New Zealand consular assistance. Travellers should read our advice on dual citizenship here.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Myanmar should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Myanmar are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips


The New Zealand Embassy Yangon, Myanmar

Street Address No. 43 (C), Inya Myaing Road, Shwe Taung Kyar (2) Ward, Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar Telephone +95 1 230 6046 Alternate Telephone +95 1 230 5805 Fax +95 1 230 5805 Email Yangon.Office@mfat.govt.nz Web Site www.mfat.govt.nz/myanmar Hours Mon-Fri 0830-1230, 1330-1630 hrs Consular - legal and Notarial service: by appointment, Monday to Friday

See our regional advice for South East Asia

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New Zealand Embassy Myanmar

Street Address
No. 43 (C), Inya Myaing Road, Shwe Taung Kyar (2) Ward, Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar

Telephone: +95 1 230 6046

Alternate Telephone: +95 1 230 5805

Fax: +95 1 230 5805

Email: Yangon.Office@mfat.govt.nz

Website: www.mfat.govt.nz/myanmar

Hours: Mon-Fri 0830-1230, 1330-1630 hrs Consular - legal and Notarial service: by appointment, Monday to Friday

Related advice from other countries

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