One of the most tightly sealed countries during the pandemic announced on that it will slowly be reopening to international travellers again.
New Zealand, which closed its borders to almost all foreigners in March 2020 and has had some of the strictest travel measures, laid out a five-step plan on Thursday to fully reopen to visitors by October 2022.
Step 1 — from Sunday, February 27 2022
The border opens to New Zealanders and other eligible travellers coming from Australia.
This means you can enter New Zealand and self-isolate if you:
are an NZ citizen, resident or otherwise eligible to enter NZ while the border is restricted
are fully vaccinated
have spent the previous 14 days in Australia or NZ
have had the pre-departure tests you need.
Eligible travellers from Nauru, Tuvalu and American Samoa can arrive in New Zealand without needing to self-isolate.
Step 2 — from Sunday 13 March 2022
The border opens to New Zealanders and other eligible travellers coming from anywhere in the world.
This means you can travel to New Zealand and self-isolate if you:
are eligible to enter the border while it is restricted, including if you have a border exception
meet health requirements, including being fully vaccinated and getting pre-departure tests.
Applications open for working holiday schemes and are extended for skilled workers
You can apply for some working holiday schemes. We are reopening them on a rolling basis and the time for individual schemes will be confirmed.
If you are a skilled worker it may be easier to be granted an ‘other critical worker’ border exception.
You are now eligible if you earn at least 1.5 times the median wage (NZD $84,240 a year or NZD $40.50 an hour) for roles longer than 6 months.
We no longer require ‘other critical workers’ who meet the 1.5 times the median wage bright line test to demonstrate that their skills are not readily obtainable in New Zealand.
The highly skilled family reunification border exception is aligned with the 1.5 times the median wage bright-line test for ‘other critical workers’.
Step 3 — from Tuesday 12 April 2022
The border reopens to:
temporary work and student visa holders currently outside New Zealand as long as they still meet their visa requirements
temporary work and student visa holders currently inside New Zealand to leave at any time and return from step 3 (where their visa conditions allow).
Up to 5000 international students can apply for a border exception to enter New Zealand. We hope most students can travel here in time to start studying in July. We will provide more details about eligibility and how to apply.
Workforce class exceptions and events, and government approved programme lists, will be extended and updated. Applications for border exceptions under these class exceptions will open or be extended.
We will provide more details about the scope of new border exceptions and updates to exceptions and government approved lists.
Step 4 — from July 2022
Our borders will open to:
Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and other foreign nationals travelling from Australia
visitors from visa-waiver countries
Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders
temporary visitor visa holders who are outside New Zealand, as long as they meet their visa requirements.