New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced yesterday (May 10) that the reopening of New Zealand’s borders would be moved up from October up to the end of July.
According to the government website, from 23h59 on July 31, all visa categories including visitor and student visas will reopen for applications for travellers from anywhere in the world. Travellers must be vaccinated to enter New Zealand, and have evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken before departure.
According to the previously proposed border opening, New Zealand’s borders would only open to Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders in July. Full reopening of all visa categories was only set to commence in October.
In a more recent speech, Ardern said that the early opening of the borders would hopefully help to relieve urgent skills shortages, open up tourism and put immigration settings on a more secure footing, reports Times Live.
“We are building on our proven plan to secure New Zealand's economic future,” said Ardern.
A phased reopening of the borders had originally been announced, with clear definitions of who would be allowed to enter New Zealand at each phase and what the travel regulations for entering the country were.
From July 4, the following vaccinated people can apply to enter New Zealand and self-test on arrival: travellers arriving under the Accredited Employer Work Visa categories and travellers applying for a Work Visa in New Zealand.
Those who can currently enter New Zealand include:
1. Vaccinated and unvaccinated New Zealand citizens
2. Vaccinated and unvaccinated New Zealand residents
3. Vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents
4. Unvaccinated Australian citizens who live in New Zealand
5. Current temporary valid work and student visa holders, 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.
6. Up to 5 000 international students, for semester 2
7. Vaccinated travellers with a border exception
8. Vaccinated travellers on a working holiday scheme
9. Vaccinated travellers from countries who do not need a visa (visa waiver visitors)
10. Vaccinated travellers from other countries who already hold a valid visitor visa
11. Other vaccinated eligible travellers under current border settings
Current travel regulations pertaining to COVID for travel to New Zealand are:
1. Most travellers must be vaccinated to enter New Zealand. If you do not meet the vaccination requirements, you will not be able to enter the country. Those exempt from this restriction include those who:
are citizens of New Zealand
have a New Zealand residence class visa
are an Australian citizen living in New Zealand
are aged 16 years or under
cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, electronic or paper evidence from a health practitioner is required
are a refugee arriving in New Zealand for the first time
are a citizen of Afghanistan and are being evacuated
are arriving from Antarctica
have been granted a visa under the 2022 Special Ukraine Visa Policy; or are or were ordinarily a resident in Ukraine at any point on or after January 1.
2. Travellers must provide a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test. Those exempt are:
Children under two years old
Travellers from some Pacific countries, Afghanistan, the Ukraine and Antarctica
3. After entering New Zealand travellers must perform two rapid antigen tests on Day 0/1 and Day 5/6, and declare the results. All positive tests must be registered and followed up with a PCR test. Those exempt are both travellers from select Pacific countries and children under six months old.