NZ Has Announced the Roadmap to Reopening Its Borders to Australia (and the World)
But don't get too excited just yet — there are still a few rules when you return home.
Kiwis who are desperately missing that feeling of boarding an international flight have been given some light at the end of the tunnel: the Government has revealed when and how the country's borders will begin to lift for international travel next year.
Earlier in 2021, Aoetearoa and Australia had a brief international travel bubble, which allowed Kiwis and Aussies to fly back and forth between the two countries without quarantine.
A subsequent outbreak of the Delta strain of COVID-19 in New Zealand's community forced the country into lockdown, where Auckland has remained for over three months, and all travel bubbles were put on hold. Any travellers into the country have been required to spend two weeks in MIQ isolation facilities, to stop the spread of COVID in the community.
But in a press conference on Wednesday, November 24, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced many Kiwis could prepare to bid farewell to MIQ, as restrictions are set to lift — slightly — for vaccinated New Zealanders and those who hold NZ visas early next year.
A three-step plan has been proposed to allow Kiwis into the country sans MIQ to begin with, before opening up to other international travellers later in 2022.
Here's how it's going to work.
From Monday, January 17 next year, fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other eligible travellers (such as visa holders) will be able to return to New Zealand from Australia, without a two week stay in MIQ facilities. This means Kiwis can travel to Australia, however briefly, and avoid MIQ on their return. However they'll need to self-isolate for seven days after returning to Aotearoa, and must provide a final negative test before entering the community.
From Monday, February 14 next year fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other eligible travellers (such as visa holders) will be able to return to New Zealand from all other countries and also avoid an MIQ stay — except after travelling to countries deemed "very high risk".
Note that the VHR classifications for Indonesia, Fiji, India, Pakistan and Brazil are to be removed in early December, 2021. The same safety precautions as above will be taken: they'll need to self-isolate for seven days and must provide a final negative test before entering the community.
From Saturday, April 30, all other fully vaccinated international travellers will able to enter the country, without an MIQ stay. This might be staggered on visa levels, Hipkins added during his press conference. The requirement to self-isolate and provide testing upon return will be assessed during this period, but it's expected this will be probably be in place throughout May.
So, if you don't mind a week's isolation at home afterwards, you can start booking that holiday to the Goldie next year. You might need that week to recover, anyway.
More information about the international travel three-step plan, and Hipkins' full statement can be found on the New Zealand Government website.
Published on November 24, 2021 by Sarah Templeton