Travelling home during an Alert Level change

Advice for travelling in, out and through an Alert Level 3 area to return to your primary residence.

Travelling in, out and through an Alert Level 3 area to return home

Leaving an Alert Level 3 area to return home

You can leave an Alert Level 3 area to return to your primary residence. This applies to people travelling in private vehicles or on public transport. This also includes going to the airport to catch a flight home.

You must carry the following evidence:

  • Proof of residential address, which has both the person’s name and address on the document (for example, utility bill, bank statement) — electronic documents are acceptable.
  • Drivers must have photo ID (driver’s licence).
  • Passengers should have photo ID, unless it is not reasonably practicable (for example, because they are a minor).
  • Proof of travel, such as your flight tickets, is helpful.

Returning to your home in an Alert Level 3 area

You can return to your primary residence in an Alert Level 3 area if you are currently outside the boundary. This applies to people travelling in private vehicles or on public transport.

You must carry the following evidence:

  • Proof of residential address, which has both the person’s name and address on the document (for example, utility bill, bank statement) — electronic documents are acceptable.
  • Drivers must have photo ID (driver’s licence).
  • Passengers should have photo ID, unless it is not reasonably practicable (for example, because they are a minor).

Travelling through an Alert Level 3 area to return home

You can travel directly through an Alert Level 3 area to return home. You should plan your journey so you do not need to stop in an Alert Level 3 area. 

For example, if you are in Hamilton and your primary residence is in Whangārei you can drive through Auckland at Alert Level 3, without stopping, to return home.

You must carry the following evidence:

  • Proof of residential address, which has both the person’s name and address on the document (for example, utility bill, bank statement) — electronic documents are acceptable.
  • Drivers must have photo ID (driver’s licence).
  • Passengers should have photo ID, unless it is not reasonably practicable (for example, because they are a minor).

Driving home

Check our map for Alert Level boundaries and police checkpoints

Use our Alert Level boundaries map for the specific boundary lines and for the locations of the police checkpoints.

Alert Level boundaries map

Use Journey Planner to plan your trip and monitor delays

Before you depart, make sure you plan your trip using the latest travel time information, traffic cameras, and updates on delays, roadworks and road closures on Waka Kotahi’s Journey Planner.

Use Journey Planner (external link)

Be prepared for possible delays

Police checkpoints will be in place at key locations at the Alert Level 3 boundary, so plan for the possibility of long delays in an out of an Alert Level 3 area:

  • Take enough food and water for the whole family, including pets.
  • Take bathroom breaks wherever possible as there may be delays in areas where bathrooms are not available.
  • Be patient. Everyone is experiencing the same delay as you are.

Apply for permissions when required

Travel in, out and through an Alert Level 3 area is strictly limited. You can return to your primary residence but travel for other reasons is limited and you may need to seek additional permission to complete travel across Alert Level areas.

Flying home

At Alert Level 3 flying is permitted for the purpose of returning to your primary residence, with no plan to leave, or as part of essential work.

Check with your airline

Your airline will advise you if your flight or travel plans are impacted by any Alert Level changes. This includes cancellations. Airline contact centres may be receiving a high volume of calls, so check your airline’s website for more information before you call.

Head to the airport early

There may be increased traffic on the roads, possibly affecting public transport. Check Journey Planner for the latest traffic information and make sure you allow enough to get to the airport.

Use Journey Planner (external link)

Follow Alert Level 3 restrictions at the airport

Airports will also be under Alert Level 3 restrictions. This includes:

  • physical distancing at the airport
  • all passengers will be required to wear a face covering on all flights
  • lounges may be closed and inflight food and beverage services may be suspended.

Apply for permissions when required

Travel in, out and through an Alert Level 3 area is strictly limited. You can return to your primary residence but travel for other reasons is limited and you may need to seek additional permission to complete travel across Alert Level areas.

What to do when you return home

When your home is in an Alert Level 3 area

If you have returned to your home in an Alert Level 3 area you must follow Alert Level 3 restrictions.

Information about Alert Level 3

When your home is outside of an Alert Level 3 area

If you visited an Alert Level 3 area and have returned home, you should follow all of the relevant Alert Level requirements in your area.

You only need to isolate if you have been to a location of interest.

Find the locations of interest (external link)

However, if you have recently been in an Alert Level 3 area and develop any potential COVID-19 symptoms, you must isolate immediately and contact your doctor or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to common illnesses such as a cold or influenza. You may have one or more of the following:

  • a new or worsening cough
  • fever (at least 38˚C)
  • shortness of breath
  • a sore throat
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • loss of taste and/or smell.

Remember, it's better to act with caution than be complacent about COVID-19.

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