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New Zealand to axe predeparture COVID tests for travelers earlier than planned

June 16, 2022
3 min read
New Zealand landscape
New Zealand to axe predeparture COVID tests for travelers earlier than planned
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Travelers heading to New Zealand in the coming weeks will be pleased to know the country’s entry rules are changing.

From Tuesday, June 21, eligible travelers from around the globe heading to New Zealand won’t need to take a predeparture COVID-19 test to gain entry.

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Specifically, this new rule comes into effect for “travelers whose first international flight to New Zealand departs after 11:59 p.m. (NZT) on Monday, June 20,” according to its government’s website. Anyone arriving before this time will still need to arrange their predeparture test in order to get in.

Travelers planning to enter New Zealand still need to be fully vaccinated (with only a few exceptions to this rule, including those under the age of 16 and those who can prove they are medically exempt).

Additionally, visitors must take two lateral flow tests (LFT) — also called rapid antigen tests (RAT) — once they’ve landed, one on their first day and the other on day five/six, reporting any positive results.

Originally, these new rules were set to take effect on July 31 but were brought forward — as the NZ government’s Unite against COVID-19 arm explained: “The challenges predeparture tests pose to visitors are now no longer outweighed by the public health benefits.

“We’ve taken a careful and staged approach to reopening our borders to ensure we aren’t overwhelmed with an influx of COVID-19 cases.

Related: New Zealand welcomes tourists back after 2 years – here’s what it’s like to visit

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“Our strategy has worked and as a result, it’s safe to lift predeparture test requirements much sooner than planned… with cases continuing to decline despite over 387,000 arrivals since borders reopened, there is evidence this measure can now be lifted.

“Around 90% of international arrivals undertake their required testing once they are in the country, with only a 2-3% positivity rate. So we don’t anticipate a significant increase in border cases once the requirement is lifted.”

July will also usher in a few changes to New Zealand’s visa applications, further opening up the country.

Related: Already open to US travelers, New Zealand has more reopening plans for summer

From July 4, those with an Accredited Employer Work Visa or wanting to apply for a work visa will be allowed entry. Also, from 11:59 p.m. on July 31, “all visa categories including tourist, visitor and student visas will reopen for applications for travelers from anywhere in the world.”

Again, though, most people still need to be vaccinated in order to enter New Zealand.

For the full list of New Zealand’s current entry requirements, visit its government website here.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees