Travel from NZ to the Cook Islands — quarantine-free travel

What to do before you travel, and how to keep yourself and others safe when you arrive in the Cook Islands.

Latest update — 24 January 2022

Quarantine-free travel from New Zealand to the Cook Islands began on 14 January 2022 (NZ time). 

There are currently no changes to the Cook Islands and New Zealand air borders. Travel Advisories will be issued if there are any changes.

All New Zealand travellers should monitor symptoms and locations of interest before travelling to the Cook Islands.

Read the latest updates on the Cook Islands border | covid19.gov.ck (external link)

How quarantine-free travel works

You can travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands without having to go into managed isolation or self-isolation when you arrive. This is called quarantine-free travel.

If you want to travel to Aitutaki or another island after you arrive in Rarotonga, check what you need to do:

Frequently asked questions about travel to the Cook Islands (external link)

Quarantine-free travel is available on commercial flights only.

You must meet some criteria

If you want to travel to the Cook Islands on a quarantine-flight as a visitor, you must meet the following criteria:

You must be fully vaccinated

You must be fully vaccinated. You can travel 14 days after you have completed your primary course — for most people, this is 2 doses. You do not need to have had a booster dose. At this stage, only people aged 12 and over can travel to the Cook Islands.

You must have evidence you are vaccinated. Make sure you get your International Travel Vaccination Certificate from My Covid Record — you cannot use your My Vaccine Pass for international travel:

International Travel Vaccination Certificate

If you cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons, apply for an exemption by emailing tmo.exemptions@cookislands.gov.ck

Get a pre-departure test

You must have evidence of a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test result. You must have had your test done and received your results no more than 48 hours before you depart.

Your test must be conducted by a Ministry of Health accredited laboratory (external link)

Your evidence can be an electronic or paper copy, but a text message will not be accepted.

Your evidence must have:

  • your name
  • your date of birth or passport number
  • the date and time the test was conducted
  • the name of the laboratory that carried out the test
  • the type of test carried out, and
  • the test result.

You must have been in NZ or the Cook Islands before you travel

You must spend the full 10 days before your date of departure in either New Zealand or the Cook Islands. This means you can travel from day 11 onwards.

Complete the travel declaration

You must complete the Cook Islands travel declaration no more than 96 hours before you depart New Zealand. Everyone travelling must complete the declaration, or have one completed for them.

Complete the travel declaration (external link)

You need to complete New Zealand's Nau Mai Rā travel declaration before you return. It is a good idea to complete it before you leave New Zealand for the Cook Islands, in case you have WiFi or other connectivity issues there.

Complete Nau Mai Rā travel declaration (external link) 

Meet immigration requirements

  • New Zealand passport holders can enter the Cook Islands as a tourist for up to 90 days, as long as they have 7 days validity remaining on their passports beyond their intended stay.
  • Australian passport holders can stay for up to 31 days, with 7 days validity remaining.
  • Everyone else can stay for up to 31 days, with 6 months validity remaining on their passports.

New Zealand passport holders can travel one-way — everyone else must have evidence of a return ticket or a ticket for another destination.

It is your responsibility to make sure that you meet the Cook Islands immigration requirements.

Frequently asked questions about entry requirements for the Cook Islands (external link)

Temporary visa holder in New Zealand

If you hold a temporary visa in New Zealand, you can travel to the Cook Islands quarantine-free as long as you meet the eligibility criteria and immigration requirements. Check that you meet New Zealand's immigration requirements to return to New Zealand.

Coming to New Zealand from the Cook Islands | immigration.govt.nz (external link) 

If you are not a visitor to the Cook Islands

There are some exceptions to these criteria for Cook Islanders, Cook Islands permanent residents, children of Cook Islands permanent residents and holders of valid Cook Islands issued immigration permits (other than visitor permits). 

Travel information for the Cook Islands | cookislands.travel (external link)

At the airport and while you are travelling

Wear a face covering on the flight and at the airports. If you do not have one, your airline will give you one. 

Before you depart

  • Health professionals may do random temperature checks and health assessments of travellers.
  • You will not be able to travel if you have COVID-19 symptoms. If you have pre-existing medical conditions that explain any symptoms you may have (for example, hayfever), make sure you bring a medical certificate as evidence of this to avoid being denied boarding.

COVID-19 symptoms

On the plane

  • If you feel unwell on the flight, your health will be assessed when you arrive in the Cook Islands.
  • You should be aware that you may need to meet any costs for quarantine or hospital care.

When you arrive

  • Your health may be assessed when you arrive.

What to do after you arrive

Keep yourself, your whānau and the communities you are visiting safe from COVID-19.

Follow the Cook Islands guidance

Find information on the Cook Islands Government website | gov.ck (external link)

Keep up healthy habits

  • Wash and sanitise your hands often.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Stay home or in your accommodation if you feel unwell. 

Keep track of where you have been

  • Carry your unique CookSafe QR Card with you and scan in to the places you visit. Register for your QR Card at Rarotonga International Airport or the Tourism Visitor Information Centre in town.
  • Download the CookSafe+ app and turn on Bluetooth tracing to keep track of the people you have been near. 

You can only turn on Bluetooth tracing in 1 contact tracing app at a time. Turn it on in CookSafe+ when you are in the Cook Islands, and turn it on in NZ COVID Tracer in New Zealand. You do not need to uninstall 1 app to be able to use the other. 

Get to know the Cook Islands system to keep everyone safe

The Cook Islands uses the COVID-19 Safe Framework. Make sure you know what to do.

About the COVID-19 Safe Framework  | covid19.gov.ck (external link)

Be prepared for travel disruptions

You are responsible for managing any disruption to your travel due to COVID-19.

  • Have a plan if your travel is disrupted. You will need to meet any costs, and government assistance is unlikely to be available. Your airline or travel agent should contact you if your travel is affected.
  • Get travel insurance, and check your policy will cover you for COVID-19-related disruption.
  • You may need to enter managed isolation when you return, and you may need to pay for your stay. Applications to waive payments will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
    Managed isolation and quarantine (external link) 

Temporary visa holders from New Zealand

If you are a temporary visa holder from New Zealand, check you have enough time on your visa to cover an extended stay in the Cook Islands. If border restrictions are put in place, you must have the right to enter New Zealand and hold a valid visa — you may need to apply for a Border Exception to return to New Zealand.

Register at SafeTravel

We encourage you to register your travel plans at SafeTravel.

Registering means the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), embassies and consulates can send you important travel information to help keep you safe and provide updates about emergencies.

Register at SafeTravel (external link)

Support for New Zealanders with disrupted travel plans

Consular officials can give you local advice and support, with the aim of helping you to help yourself. Consular staff cannot pay your hotel, travel or other bills, or provide advice about flight bookings.

If you need consular assistance, contact the New Zealand High Commission or Consulate closest to you or email CONS@mfat.govt.nz

For emergency consular assistance, call the consular emergency line on +64 99 20 20 20 if you are overseas, or 0800 30 10 30 if you are in New Zealand.

Travelling back to New Zealand

If you are travelling back to New Zealand, you must:

  • meet eligibility criteria and immigration requirements
  • complete the Nau Mai Rā travel declaration before you depart the Cook Islands, including New Zealand citizens and permanent residents. It is a good idea to complete Nau Mai Rā before you leave New Zealand for the Cook Islands, in case you have WiFi or other connectivity issues there.

Complete the Nau Mai Rā travel declaration (external link)

What to do before you travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand

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