Why pre-departure testing is necessary
The Government has been monitoring overseas developments and is concerned about high rates of infection and new variants of the virus and their potential to spread more rapidly. This additional measure reduces the risk of infected travellers on international flights infecting other travellers.
When you need a pre-departure test
The Government now requires all travellers to New Zealand (except those from exempt locations) to have a COVID-19 test taken and a negative result returned within 72 hours of their first scheduled international flight.
If you are planning to travel to New Zealand soon, it is a good idea to work out how you will be able to get your pre-departure test results within 72 hours of your departure.
Contact your airline for more information about flights and any pre-departure requirements.
When you do not need a pre-departure test
Some people are exempt from the pre-departure testing requirements.
Children under 2 years of age (24 months)
Children under 2 years of age (24 months) do not need to take a pre-departure test. Children over the age of 2 (24 months) will need evidence of a negative pre-departure test.
Travellers from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific islands
Locations included are Antarctica, Australia, the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Travellers from locations where required pre-departure testing standard is not available
Locations included are Albania, Belize, Dominica, Kenya, Laos, Montenegro, Myanmar, Slovenia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
These locations are exempt as they are unable to provide pre-departure testing for travellers to the standard required by New Zealand.
Instead, travellers from these locations must obtain a certificate from a medical practitioner (including a person who is registered or licensed as an equivalent health professional overseas). This needs to be obtained no more than 72 hours before the journey begins confirming they do not have symptoms which indicate that they are likely to transmit COVID-19.
Travellers need to produce this certificate when requested by the following:
- a health protection officer;
- a staff member or representative of the relevant air carrier;
- an immigration officer; or
- an enforcement officer;
All arrivals from these locations are still required to complete 14 days in managed isolation. They are also subject to day 0/1, day 3 and day 12 testing during their stay
If you cannot take a test due to medical reasons
If you cannot take a test due to medical reasons, you will need to see a medical practitioner within 72 hours of your departure.
They will examine you for symptoms of COVID-19. If they are confident you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, they will need to provide you a medical certificate stating you cannot take a test due to medical reasons but do not have symptoms. This will be accepted as meeting the pre-departure testing requirements.
If you have previously recovered from COVID-19, but test positive
If you have a positive pre-departure test, but believe this is because of a historical COVID-19 infection, you need to see a medical practitioner who will examine you for current symptoms of COVID-19. If they are confident you do not currently have a COVID-19 infection, you will need them to provide a medical certificate with the date of your previous positive test (if applicable) and documentation stating that they consider you as no longer being infectious with COVID-19.
It may take time to get an appointment, so if you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 3 months, book your medical examination in advance of receiving your test results.
You should also check with your airlines about any regulations they may have in place regarding past COVID-19 infections.
If you have had a COVID-19 vaccine
If you have received a COVID-19 vaccination you will still need to take a test.
If you return a positive result, you will need a medical certificate verifying that you are not infectious with COVID-19.
You should factor this into your timings, and check with your airlines on any regulations they may have in place regarding vaccinations.