New Zealand will speed up its reopening plan by three months © Shutterstock
New Zealand will speed up its reopening plan by three months © Shutterstock

New Zealand is opening borders ahead of schedule in April and May

TripFalcon March 22, 2022

Last Update: 2022-03-22 00:22:28

New Zealand is continuing to speed up its border reopening plan by allowing Australians to visit from April, followed by much of the rest of the world in May.

New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced on Wednesday that from 11.59pm on Tuesday, April 12, fully vaccinated Australians would be permitted to visit.

Two-and-a-half weeks later, at 11.59pm on Sunday, May 1, fully vaccinated people from some 60 visa-waiver nations, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Ireland, Canada, Japan, Germany and more, can travel to New Zealand.

The initial reopening plan had scheduled those reopening dates in July.

Then in October, as initially planned, New Zealand's borders will fully reopen to visitors from anywhere in the world and normal visa processing will resume.

"Closing our border was one of the first actions we took to stop COVID-19 two years ago. It did the job we needed. But now that we’re highly vaccinated and predicted to be off our Omicron peak, it’s now safe to open up," Ardern said.   

New Zealand entered the first phase of its reopening plan on February 27, permitting fully vaccinated New Zealanders living in Australia to return home to visit friends and family.

A week later, the government moved on to step two of its reopening plan; allowing New Zealanders living anywhere in the world, as well as skilled international workers and those eligible for the working holiday visa, to travel to New Zealand.

New Zealand entry rules: tests and vaccination

Vaccinated arrivals no longer have to self-isolate on their arrival, but anyone over the age of two will continue to test for COVID-19.

Travelers need to take a pre-departure test. Upon landing in New Zealand, they'll be given three rapid antigen tests at the airport to take home. One for use on day one of their arrival, one for use on day five or six, with one extra, the third test, for backup.

Arrivals who return a positive result will be required to take a PCR test at a community testing station so that New Zealand can keep tabs on any emerging variants and isolate cases as needed.

Those who are not fully vaccinated will be required to undergo mandatory quarantine at a government-run center.

To be considered fully vaccinated, arrivals must have completed the primary course of a vaccine schedule. That generally means they've received at least two doses, or in the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, one dose. A booster is not required for entry at this stage.

Border cases have been decreasing in February, both in number and as a proportion of arriving travelers, according to the government.

New Zealand is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world with 94% of the population fully vaccinated and 92% of those over 18 now eligible for a booster.

“I am proud that New Zealand is a country which is able to provide a safe place for tourists to return to due to our strong health response to COVID-19," Ardern said.

“We know that traveller numbers will be below pre-COVID levels for awhile and tourism globally will take time to rebound, but today’s announcement means were we’re ready to go, so haere mai welcome back."

Source: lonelyplanet