Quarantine-free travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand

You can travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand without having to go into a managed isolation facility.

Quarantine-free travel information in Cook Islands Māori

Information in Cook Islands Māori about quarantine-free travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand.

Teretere Noʻoʻanga ʻAkapaeʻanga-kore mei te Kūki ʻĀirani ki Aotearoa | Quarantine-free travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand

What is quarantine-free travel

You can travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand without having to go into a managed isolation facility when you arrive. This is called quarantine-free travel.

Currently, quarantine-free travel is only available one way, from the Cook Islands to New Zealand. The Government is preparing for quarantine-free travel from New Zealand to the Cook Islands, but there is no date for this yet.

Quarantine-free travel is available by air only.

Who can travel quarantine-free to New Zealand

If you're travelling quarantine free from the Cook Islands to New Zealand, normal immigration rules apply.

Most travellers from the Cook Islands are likely to be New Zealand or Australian citizens, who do not need a visa or New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).

If you need a visa to enter New Zealand, you will need to apply for one. You must be in the Cook Islands when you apply.

If you already have a valid visa or NZeTA, you do not need to apply for a new one.

Apply for a visa or NZeTA (external link)

If you want to travel onwards to another international destination

Quarantine-free travel is available from the Cook Islands to New Zealand. If you’re from the Cook Islands and you wish to continue your journey beyond New Zealand, you will need to check the relevant entry requirements of your onwards destination.

You must meet some conditions

If you’re in the Cook Islands and want to travel to New Zealand quarantine free, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You have not been overseas outside New Zealand and the Cook Islands in the past 14 days.
  • You must maintain physical distance (as much as possible) from anyone in the arrival airport who did not arrive from the Cook Islands.
  • You must wear a face covering while in the arrival airport.
  • There are no reasonable grounds, as determined by a suitably qualified health practitioner, to suspect you may have COVID-19. This may include:
    • having had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days
    • having any COVID-19 symptoms, and
    • waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

What to expect when travelling to New Zealand

At Rarotonga International Airport

Departures from Rarotonga International Airport will be similar to how they have been operating recently, including having a pre-departure health check.

During your flight

You will need to wear a face covering on your flight.

You will get information about using the NZ COVID Tracer app, when to wear face coverings, practising good hygiene and what to do if you feel unwell while in New Zealand.

At Auckland International Airport

You will be asked some health questions on your passenger arrival card.

New Zealand officials will do random temperature checks on arrivals from the Cook Islands.

If you feel unwell before or during your flight to New Zealand

If you feel unwell at Rarotonga Airport, a health professional will assess you. They will advise the airline whether you should travel. Airlines can refuse to board unwell travellers if they need to.

If you feel unwell during your flight to New Zealand, normal ‘sick’ traveller protocols will apply. A health professional will assess you when you arrive in New Zealand. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you and your travelling companions may need to go into a quarantine facility for 14 days.

If you feel unwell during your stay in New Zealand, stay where you are and call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.

How Cook Islands travellers are kept separate from people arriving from other countries

Auckland International Airport uses a Safe Travel Path to make sure arrivals from the Cook Islands do not come into contact with arrivals from other countries.

The Safe Travel Path gives Cook Islands arrivals exclusive use of the international terminal for 3 hours. No other flights will arrive 90 minutes either side of scheduled arrivals from the Cook Islands.

All parts of the Safe Travel Path are deep cleaned before being used by arrivals from the Cook Islands.

You will be escorted off your plane, and you will follow a dedicated path through the terminal. This path will be clearly marked.

You will use dedicated border processing lanes, baggage claim carousels and baggage trolleys. These will be blocked off when not being used by Cook Islands arrivals.

The public arrivals hall will have barriers blocking off exits used by arrivals going into managed isolation facilities.

Have a plan if your travel is disrupted

You will be responsible for managing any travel disruption due to COVID-19. You should have a plan for what to do if your return to the Cook Islands is delayed, or if you have to enter isolation when you return. 

What to do when you arrive in New Zealand

If you’re travelling to New Zealand quarantine free from the Cook Islands, there are a few things you need to do to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19.

Practise good hygiene

Wash your hands often with soap, or use hand sanitiser. Cough and sneeze into your elbow.

Keep track of where you’ve been

Download and use the NZ COVID Tracer app. Scan QR codes wherever you go, so we can let you know if there has been an outbreak where you have been.

Turn on Bluetooth tracing in the NZ COVID Tracer app.

Download NZ COVID Tracer

If you will not use the app, keep track of where you’ve been with pen and paper, and sign paper registers when you visit places like shops.

Keep track of:

  • where you went
  • when you went there — date and time
  • who you met.

The NZ COVID Tracer booklet will be available when you arrive.

Wear a face covering

Wear a face covering on all flights in New Zealand. If you do not have one, your airline will give you one.

Depending on the Alert Level, you may also need to wear a face covering on public transport and in places where physical distancing is not possible.

Face coverings at different Alert Levels

If you are unwell

If you feel unwell, stay where you are and call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.

Get to know the Alert Levels

Make sure you know what to do at different Alert Levels. You can find information on this website.

About the Alert Level system

Travelling back to the Cook Islands

Currently, quarantine-free travel is only available one way, from the Cook Islands to New Zealand. The Government is preparing for quarantine-free travel from New Zealand to the Cook Islands, but there is no date for this yet.

The Cook Islands Government must approve all people who want to travel to the Cook Islands. To get approval to travel, you must:

  • be eligible to travel to the Cook Islands
  • have a negative COVID-19 test result 72 hours before your scheduled departure
  • tell Te Marae Ora of your negative result and ask for approval to travel, and
  • complete the exit health clearance process at Auckland International Airport.

Who can travel to the Cook Islands, and conditions you must meet (external link)

You can also email the Cook Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration at immigration2@cookislands.gov.ck

If you’re from the Cook Islands and you’re already in a managed isolation facility

This announcement does not affect you if you are already in a managed isolation facility. You will still need to complete your 14 days.

Resources for Cook Islands travellers

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