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titleSource: New Zealand Goverment /


Border restrictions

New Zealand’s borders are currently closed to almost all travellers to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

On this page

Border entry restrictions

The New Zealand borders are closed for all but critical travel — protecting public health in New Zealand is paramount. The travel ban applies to all arrivals into New Zealand whether by air or sea.

New Zealand citizens and residents

You have a legal right to come home if you are:

  • a New Zealand citizen
  • a New Zealand resident with valid travel conditions.

You do not need approval from Immigration New Zealand before travelling.

Advice if you are planning to travel to New Zealand(external link)

Limited exceptions

There are a small number of limited exceptions to the ban on travelling to and entering New Zealand. These exceptions apply to people who:

  • already hold a temporary New Zealand visa
  • don’t have a New Zealand visa.

If you’re not a New Zealand citizen or resident you legally must get approval from Immigration New Zealand before travelling to New Zealand.

List of exceptions from Immigration New Zealand(external link)

There are also exceptions for some vessels. These include cargo ships, fishing vessels unloading catch and ships coming from Antarctica.

Guidance for the maritime sector from the Ministry of Health(external link)

Managed isolation and quarantine

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, people who do arrive in New Zealand legally must complete at least 14 days of managed isolation or quarantine at an isolation facility. Returnees will also be tested for COVID-19 during their stay. 

About managed isolation and quarantine, and what to expect(external link)


Leaving New Zealand

Many borders around the world are closed to people who are not citizens and permanent residents of that country.

Advice if you are planning on leaving New Zealand 


Transiting through New Zealand

The New Zealand Government has transit arrangements with a number of countries to make it easier for each country’s citizens to get home. 

Transit agreements that say who may transit through New Zealand are published by Immigration New Zealand. 

We recommend you also check if you need to apply for a transit exemption from managed isolation.

Transit arrangements from Immigration New Zealand(external link)

Exemptions from managed isolation(external link)




New Zealand is at COVID-19 alert Level 4, which includes severe restrictions on travel to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand by reducing contact between people to the bare minimum and stopping all but essential travel. The restrictions do not apply to workers and operators involved in the delivery of essential goods (as defined in essential services list on the COVID-19 website) by road and rail freight. If there are non-essential goods blocking the movement of essential goods, then the non-essential goods can be moved to storage elsewhere. At this time, the distribution of non-essential goods is not permitted. Restrictions to do not apply to all personnel involved in the movement of freight by ship, internationally and domestically, when undertaking an essential service.  This includes the operation of ferries (e.g. the Cook Strait ferries) to move essential freight and essential workers.  Non-essential goods at a port be transported, only if: 1)if essential workers are already located at the port for the purpose of dealing with essential goods; and 2) if the movement of non-essential goods at the Port does not impact on the movement of essential goods or  the delivery of essential services at the Port; or 3) if the movement of non-essential goods are required to create space for essential goods and the movement of essential goods within the port and across the supply chain. In this instance, the non-essential goods are classified as essential for the purposes of moving them to an alternative storage facility.


titleSource: WCO/New Zealand Customs Service


New Zealand is taking strong action to contain the spread of Covid-19 and announced
measures on 16 March, which require all travelers to New Zealand, with the exception of
travelers from specific island countries, to self-isolate for a period of 14 days upon their arrival.
This action will help to protect New Zealanders from this pandemic.

However, even as we take action to preserve the health of our nation, New Zealand is taking
steps to ensure the continued flow of goods across our borders. To keep sea freight routes
open these border measures do not apply to cargo ships or marine crew. We are keeping the
border open for international supplies and our customs officers continue to be available to
facilitate the timely movement of goods across our border.

The leadership of the WCO at this time is critical in order to mitigate the impacts on supply
chains, and to ensure that critical supplies for medical, humanitarian and subsistence needs
continue to be available throughout the global community.

Further information:

titleRemarks from the International Road Transport Union