When you should get a test

You may need to get a test if you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, if you have been at a location of interest or are a contact of a case, if you are travelling, or if you fall under mandatory testing.

COVID-19 tests are free

COVID-19 tests are free. You do not need to be a New Zealand citizen or resident. This includes if you:

  • are told to get a test by a health official
  • have symptoms
  • come under mandatory testing, for example, if you work at the border or are a contact of a confirmed case
  • require a test for domestic travel.

You will not have to pay for your care if you test positive.

You may need to pay for a test if it is to enter another country or for surveillance testing by the business sector, which is outside the mandatory requirements.

Testing after vaccination

Even if you have had your vaccination, you still need to get tested for COVID-19 in the following situations.

If you are unwell

If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms you should get a test. If you are unsure, a health professional can let you know.

Call:

  • Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453
  • your doctor or nurse, or
  • your iwi health provider.

COVID-19 symptoms

Where to get tested

If you are a contact of someone with COVID-19

You may need to get a test depending on what type of contact you are.

If you are a Close Contact, you will need to get a test.

If you are a Casual Contact, you do not need to get a test unless you develop symptoms.

Close Contacts

Casual Contacts

If you have been at a location of interest

Check the locations of interest on the Ministry of Health website and follow the instructions on what to do.

Locations of interest in New Zealand — health.govt.nz (external link)

If you have been at a location of interest at the date and times specified  and it says to get a test, you must follow this advice.

You can call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing and isolating.

By calling Healthline, people who have been at locations of interest are logged into the contact tracing system. This means you can get your test results back faster.

You can also record your visit to a location of interest online. If you record it online, you do not need to call Healthline. Contact tracers will call or email you and let you know what you need to do.

Record your visit online (external link)

These instructions are outlined in section 70 orders | health.govt.nz (external link)

If you are a secondary contact

You do not need to get a COVID-19 test, unless you are asked to by public health officials or you develop COVID-19 symptoms. You may need to stay at home while your contact gets a test.

Secondary contacts

Testing for travel

Domestic travel

Some transport providers, such as Air New Zealand and Cook Strait ferry operators, may require you to show your My Vaccine Pass or a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding. The test must be taken within 72 hours before your journey.

Free rapid antigen tests (RATs) are available at selected community pharmacies from 15 December 2021 to 31 January 2022.

The tests will be available for travellers from any part of New Zealand who:

  • are unvaccinated, and
  • are over the age of 12 years and 3 months, and
  • do not have COVID-19 symptoms, and
  • need a negative test result to travel with a transport company.

Children under 12 years and 3 months do not need to get tested or have a My Vaccine Pass.

If your RAT is positive

You will need to get a follow-up PCR test from your doctor or a community testing centre.

Where to get tested

International travel

Testing requirements for international travellers 

You may need a negative COVID-19 test result to travel to New Zealand or other countries.

If you are travelling to New Zealand

Most travellers to New Zealand must have a negative PCR or RT-PCR test within 48 hours of their scheduled departure of their first international flight. 

You still need a test even if you have been vaccinated for COVID-19. 

Learn more about pre-departure tests to enter New Zealand

If you are travelling from New Zealand to another country 

You can check the requirements of the country you are travelling to, by contacting their local high commission, embassy or consulate in New Zealand. 

Steps to get a pre-departure COVID-19 test

Testing for work

Some people are required to undergo regular testing due to the risk associated with their work. This includes the risk of getting COVID-19 as well as potentially spreading it to others.

For example, healthcare workers and border workers. Your employer will tell you if you need a test.

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