Who is an eligible traveller for New Zealand’s 2022 travel opening?

Tucked away in the corner of the world, Aotearoa has always been a somewhat elusive destination that has required most travellers to endure hours of flying and multiple layovers to get here.

When the pandemic hit, this reputation was only strengthened as New Zealand became infamous for having some of the strictest borders measures in the world.

It makes sense then, that when Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced plans to ease these measures and enable MIQ-free travel, people were desperate to know if they made the cut.

The three-phase approach

On November 24, Hipkins announced a three-phase approach that would allow certain groups to travel in and out of New Zealand.

From January 17, 2022, fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible travellers can travel from Australia without needing to go through MIQ. Instead, they can self-isolate for seven days.

From February 13, fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible travellers can return to New Zealand from all other countries and self-isolate.

Finally, from April 30 onwards, all fully vaccinated individuals can travel to New Zealand.

At a glance, phase three seems clear; if you’ve had two jabs, you can travel in and out of New Zealand.

What seems a little less obvious, is who is included in phases one and two.

Who is included in phases one and two of New Zealand's reopening?

According to a Covid-19 Group spokesperson, ‘fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible travellers’ can be separated into three groups:

-New Zealand citizens
-Residence-class visa holders
-Other travellers eligible to enter New Zealand under current border settings

The question then becomes, who is currently eligible to enter New Zealand under the border settings?

Who is an 'eligible traveller'?

Immigration New Zealand states that those able to come to New Zealand without needing special approval include:

– New Zealand citizens and permanent resident visa holders
– The partner or dependent child of a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, if your visa is based on this relationship
– Australian citizens or permanent residents who ordinarily live in New Zealand
– Eligible travellers from the Cook Islands and Niue
– A diplomat who holds a post in New Zealand

Partners and Children

The Covid-19 spokesperson went on to clarify the protocol for Kiwis and their partners and children.

“New Zealand citizens and residence class visa holders and their partners and/or dependent children arriving from Australia from January 17 2022, and other countries from February 14 2022, will not have to go into MIQ,” they said.

“If an Australian partner can currently book a MIQ spot without having to apply for an exemption, then no MIQ will be required.”

A ‘dependent child’, according to Immigration New Zealand, must be younger than 20 if they have a temporary visa, or younger than 25 if they have a resident visa.

If this is the case, said the Covid-19 Group spokesperson, they can follow the same path as their parents, which means no MIQ is needed.

Australian citizens or permanent residents who live in New Zealand

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you will be included in phases one and two.

Aussies hoping to use this as a loophole are out of luck as you will need to provide documentation proving New Zealand residency at check-in. This could be proof of tax residency, property utility bills or proof of employment and will be analysed by Immigration New Zealand before you can board the flight

Critical exceptions

Australians who do not fit the above categories may be still be considered eligible if they have a reason to travel that Immigration New Zealand deems ‘critical’. See the Immigration New Zealand website for the full list.

For more information on border entry requirements, visit Immigration New Zealand’s website, or the Unite Against Covid-19 website.

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