Personal travel across an Alert Level boundary

Personal travel between Alert Level areas is strictly limited to stop the spread of the virus.

Latest update — 5:30pm on 24 September 2021

Getting a test before travelling from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2

Most people aged 12 and over need to get a test before permitted personal travel from the Alert Level 3 area to the Alert Level 2 area. You do not need a test when travelling out of the Alert Level 2 area. The testing requirement applies to travel by land and air.

If you travel into an Alert Level 3 area for a medical appointment (including vaccinations), and then leave to return home, you do not need a test when leaving the Alert Level 3 area.

Check whether you need to get a negative result 72 hours before travel, a test 7 days before travel, or if you do not to get tested at all:

Getting tested when crossing the boundary

Travel is restricted across the Alert Level boundary

Personal travel across an Alert Level boundary is strictly limited. These Alert Level boundaries are an important way to manage the risk of the virus spreading, so we keep our loved ones and communities safe

The current permitted reasons for travel are different from the last time we had Alert Level 3 and 2 boundaries. As we learn more about COVID-19, our guidance and advice can sometimes shift. The Delta variant is a more infectious strain of the virus, and this requires us to change our public health response.

You may only travel across the Alert Level boundary if that travel is permitted. You should make sure you carry acceptable evidence that you are permitted to cross the boundary.

Travel into and out of Northland

Travelling into and out of Northland is a little more difficult while it shares a boundary with Auckland.

Find out more about travelling into and out of Northland

Getting tested when crossing the boundary

From 11:59pm on Friday 24 September, most people aged 12 and over need to get a test before permitted personal travel from the Alert Level 3 area to the Alert Level 2 area. You do not need a test when travelling out of the Alert Level 2 area. The testing requirement applies to travel by land and air.

There is an exception for people who travel into Auckland for a medical appointment (including vaccinations), and then leave to return home. They do not need a test when leaving Auckland.

The evidence you need to carry depends on the reason for your travel. Some people also do not need to be tested.

Check the list of permitted travel on this page. It will tell you:

  • whether you need to be tested
  • how long before your travel you need to be tested, and
  • what evidence you need to carry — including whether you need evidence of a negative result or just evidence you have been tested.

Please note that you cannot get a saliva test for personal travel across the boundary.

Download summary of testing requirements

Download a table that summarises the testing requirements for personal travel out of the Alert Level 3 area.

Permitted personal travel — testing requirements to cross boundaries out of the Alert Level 3 area [PDF, 122 KB]

Permitted travel across Alert Level boundaries

The following reasons for personal travel are permitted.

If your personal travel is permitted

If your personal travel across the boundary is permitted, you are already allowed to cross the boundary. You do not need to apply for an exemption to travel.

You just need to make sure you have acceptable evidence to travel.

Find examples of acceptable evidence in the permitted travel section on this page. You must also have a form of photo ID.

Travel safely

If you are travelling to an area at a lower Alert Level, make sure you follow safety precautions if you stop, such as:

  • wearing a face covering
  • maintaining 2 metres physical distance from others
  • regularly washing or sanitising your hands.

Remember to keep a record of where you have stopped, using the NZ COVID Tracer app or a physical record.

If your personal travel is not permitted

You must check if your personal travel across the boundary is permitted.

If your reason for personal travel across a boundary is not already permitted, the Director-General of Health may grant individual exemptions to the restrictions.

If your reason for travelling is not permitted, you need to apply for an exemption. Before applying for an exemption, you must be sure that: 

  • your need to travel across the boundary is urgent and cannot be delayed, and
  • there is no one else (who does not need to cross the boundary) that can attend the event or perform the activity for you.

However, exemptions are granted only in exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis, and only where this is consistent with the public health response to COVID-19.

To apply for an exemption for personal travel across an Alert Level boundary please visit the Ministry of Health website. 

Apply for an individual exemption (external link)

Travelling across the boundary for business reasons

If you want to cross the boundary for work or business reasons, you or your employer will need to check if your reason for travelling is permitted.

Business travel across an Alert Level boundary

Travel within an Alert Level area

The information on this page is about personal travel permissions when crossing a boundary.

Find information about permitted movement within your Alert Level area:

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