New Zealand Is Opening Its Borders To Australians Earlier Than Expected, Here’s Everything To Know

By Jessica Best

Update: Wednesday 16 March, 2022

Some more big travel news this morning as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes a shock border announcement: vaccinated Australians will basically be able to travel to New Zealand, without needing to quarantine from 11:59pm (local time) on April 12, 2022.

The new border opening is set to align with many school holidays across Australia. Australian travellers will just need to have proof of vaccination and also test negative before jetting of to New Zealand.

The new border opening date of April 12, now puts vaccinated Australian travellers (previously pinned for July) into New Zealand's "stage 3" group with visa holders.

Update: Thursday 3 February, 2022

Okay people, big news. New Zealand has announced it will reopen its borders in a series of stages from February 27.

Its a pretty major move that will see New Zealand open its borders for the first time since prime minister Jacinda Ardern implemented snap border closures in 2020 (bar a temporary travel bubble with Australia).

The stages will see New Zealand's borders open first to vaccinated Kiwi citizens and visa holders from Australia. Next,  it will allow the aforementioned individuals back from other parts of the world and finally, all other vaccinated vistors. All will still need to self-isolate at home for 10 days rather than go through New Zealand's complicated quarantine management system known as MIQ. Unvaccinated travellers will still need to go through the MIQ process.

So, what are the main stages to know about?

Stage 1

From 11:59pm, 27 February 2022—fully vaxxed New Zealand citizens and visa holders can enter New Zealand from Australia. They will just need to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival. 

Unvaccinated travellers will need to continue to enter New Zealand's MIQ system.

Stage 2

From 11:59pm, 13 March 2022—fully vaxxed individuals as listed below can enter New Zealand from anywhere in the world. They will just need to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival.

Those eligible:

  • New Zealand citizens and residents 
  • Other eligible travellers under current border settings.
  • Skilled workers earning at least 1.5x the median wage.
  • Travellers on a working holiday scheme.
  • Partners and dependent children of New Zealand citizens and residents, provided they meet the usual visa and vaccination requirements. A family group does not need to travel to New Zealand together. 

Stage 3

From 11:9pm, 12 April 2022—the following fully vaccinated people can enter New Zealand from anywhere in the world and self-isolate upon arrival: 

  • Current offshore temporary visa holders with a valid visa who can still meet their visa requirements.
  • Up to 5,000 international students for semester 2

Stage 4

From July 2022—the following fully vaccinated people can enter New Zealand and self-isolate upon arrival: 

  • All travellers from Australia
  • Visitors from countries who do not need a visa (visa waiver visitors) 
  • Travellers arriving under the Accredited Employer Work Visa categories

Step 5

From October 2022—all visa categories will reopen in October 2022, including visitor and student visas.

For more information on New Zealand's borders reopening, head here.

Read on for the best bucket list list experiences in New Zealand.

Image credit: Casey Horner

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