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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

“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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