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New Zealand lifts the last of its Covid-19 travel restrictions: what you need to know

The National logo The National 01/08/2022 Sophie Prideaux

Almost two and a half years after New Zealand closed its borders in response to Covid-19, the country has lifted the last of its travel restrictions.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the final stage of the nation’s phased reopening, which began in April, was completed on Sunday, with the country now fully “open for business”.

The final phase of New Zealand’s reopening strategy means that travellers from non-visa waiver countries, such as India and China, will be able to enter, alongside those visiting on student visas and entering via cruise ship.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country would be lifting the last of its travel restrictions. Getty Images © Provided by The National New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country would be lifting the last of its travel restrictions. Getty Images

Announcing the news in a speech at the China Business Summit on Monday, Ardern said it was an “enormous moment” for New Zealand, which implemented some of the strictest Covid-19 restrictions in the world.

“It’s been a staged and cautious process on our part since February, as we, alongside the rest of the world, continue to manage a very live global pandemic, while keeping our people safe,” she said.

“New Zealanders are hosts. Manaakitanga [hospitality] streams through our veins and we open our arms to tourists and students, including from China, which prior to 2020 was New Zealand’s largest source of international students, and second-largest source of tourists.

“For those looking to make their journey here, haere mai, we welcome you.”

Australians were the first to be allowed to re-enter the country from April 12, while restrictions for vaccinated visitors from countries with visa waiver arrangements, including the UAE, the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, Japan and Singapore, were lifted on May 1.

Here’s what you need to know before travelling to New Zealand

Do you need to be vaccinated?

Most people entering New Zealand must be vaccinated against Covid-19. You will need to provide evidence of vaccination or proof of exemption by uploading the correct documents on your New Zealand Traveller Declaration form, which will be requested upon check-in at your departure airport, as well as by customs when you arrive in New Zealand.

New Zealand citizens and residency visa holders do not need to be jabbed to enter.

Arriving in the country without meeting the vaccination requirements could result in a fee of NZ$1000.

Do you need a PCR test to enter?

As of June 20, passengers are no longer required to take a pre-departure PCR test before arriving in New Zealand. However, on arrival, foreign visitors will be given two rapid antigen tests — one to take on the day of arrival and one on day five or six.

All test results, whether positive or negative, must be reported and travellers will receive instructions via email on how to report their results.

If the result is positive or invalid, you must self-isolate at the place you are staying and get a PCR to confirm the result.

If the PCR is positive, you must self-isolate for seven days, however, If the PCR comes back negative, you do not need to continue to isolate.

What is the Traveller Declaration form?

All those arriving in New Zealand via air must complete the New Zealand Traveller Declaration. Upon completion, you will be issued a New Zealand Traveller Pass, which you will need to show at customs and various venues during your trip.

Visitors are advised to fill out the form as soon as possible ahead of their trip. The form can be found at travellerdeclaration.govt.nz.

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