What to do before you travel to NZ — pre-departure testing

Approved test results and certificates, finding a testing location and what to do if your flight is cancelled or delayed.

Approved test results and certificates

Approved pre-departure test results

The Ministry of Health has confirmed the following types of tests are acceptable for all countries except Australia and very high risk countries by the New Zealand Director-General of Health:

  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (NAAT), which includes PCR, RT-PCR and TMA, or
  • LAMP, or
  • antigen test (they may also be referred to as viral antigen tests).

Approved tests if you're travelling from Australia

While travellers from Australia usually do not need to get pre-departure tests, sometimes during a travel pause or suspension the New Zealand Government requires travellers to get pre-departure tests.

If travellers from Australia are required to get pre-departure tests, they must get PCR or RT-PCR tests.

Approved tests if you're travelling from a ‘very high risk’ country

The Government has created a new ‘very high risk’ country category that will significantly reduce the number of people with COVID-19 flying to New Zealand.

All travellers from very high risk countries must have evidence of negative nasopharyngeal RT-PCR (PCR) test from an accredited laboratory. The test must be taken within 72 hours of departure.

Restrictions on travel to New Zealand from very high risk countries (external link)

Testing laboratory results

All tests must be processed by a laboratory recognised in the country of origin as authorised or accredited to conduct tests.

If you choose to take an at-home COVID-19 test, it must be processed by a laboratory recognised in the country of origin as authorised or accredited to conduct tests.

Testing labs must be able to issue you a dated report for you to present.

It should have:

  • traveller’s name
  • traveller’s date of birth and/or passport number 
  • date and time the test was conducted
  • name of testing lab
  • test type
  • test result.

Either a hard copy or an electronic copy (email/text message) of your negative test result, or a Fit to Fly Certificate, will be accepted. A text message will be accepted only if it includes an image of the laboratory result form.

Hold on to all documents and treat your negative test results and Managed Isolation voucher with the same importance as your passport — you may be asked to show these as you transit and on arrival in New Zealand.

You should also check the requirements of other countries you are going to be transiting through. They may have requirements that are different to what New Zealand requires.

Learn more about the Ministry of Health testing requirements (external link)

Medical certificates

If you are unable to take a test for medical reasons you are required to provide a medical certificate.

Fit to Fly certificates

A Fit to Fly Certificate will be accepted as proof of pre-departure testing documentation if it is consistent with both the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order requirements and the subsequent Gazetted requirements regarding pre-departure testing. Acceptable Fit to Fly Certificates must contain the following six elements:

  1. Name of person tested
  2. Date of birth of person tested and/or the passport number of the person tested
  3. Name of the laboratory at which the COVID-19 test was processed
  4. Written confirmation from the laboratory of the result of a COVID-19 test
  5. Written confirmation of:
    1. the date on which the COVID-19 test was conducted, and
    2. the time at which the COVID-19 test was conducted — if necessary to establish that the COVID-19 test was undertaken within the 72-hour period before the person’s journey beginning due to the date of the test
  6. Written confirmation of the type of test that was conducted

If your test result record does not provide this information, you may be prevented from boarding the aircraft. Please ensure this information will be provided to you by your testing facility when you get tested.

Find a testing location overseas

You can get tested at a range of airports, or from private laboratories.

We recommend you select a test provider carefully, to make sure you can get tested and get your results in time for your flight departure.

United Kingdom

United States

Testing locations in other countries

You should contact the local health authority of the country that you are in for information about COVID-19 testing locations and booking arrangements (if available). Most health authorities advertise COVID-19 testing locations on their websites.

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.

A positive test result means you may not be able to travel

If you test positive, you may not be able to board your flight. You should postpone your travel and follow local public health advice.

If you choose to travel at a later date when you have recovered, you will be required to get a medical certificate within 72 hours from the time of departure that confirms that you had a positive COVID-19 test but have now recovered.

If your negative test result does not arrive in time

If your negative test result does not arrive in time for your flight, you can reschedule your flight for no more than 24 hours later, even if this takes your test beyond the 72 hours before the scheduled time of your first flight.

Cancelled or delayed flights

You must have a negative pre-departure test within 72 hours of your flight.
 
If your flight is delayed or cancelled, you can still use your negative pre-departure test if:

  • your flight is delayed by less than 24 hours, or
  • your flight is cancelled and then re-booked to depart within 24 hours.

You need to keep a record of your original scheduled flight to show to airline staff and Customs officers.

Costs for pre-departure testing

Travellers are responsible for testing costs.

Support for New Zealanders with disrupted travel plans

You should work with airlines to rebook your flights, and contact Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) about your placement.

Contact Managed Isolation and Quarantine about your placement

MIQ is working hard to accommodate travellers that might be impacted by the new testing requirements. If you are impacted by the pre-departure testing requirements you should work with your airline to rebook your flights and contact MIQ for information about your MIQ placement.

Contact MIQ about your placement (external link)

Consular assistance

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

For emergency consular assistance, call +64 99 20 20 20 if you’re overseas, or 0800 30 10 30 if you’re in New Zealand.

What happens after you arrive in New Zealand

What happens after you arrive in New Zealand, like presenting your test results to officials and getting a day 0/1 test when you enter a managed isolation facility.

After you arrive in New Zealand — pre-departure testing

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