COVID-19 update for visitors and tourists in New Zealand

Published: 21 March 2020

Everyone travelling in New Zealand should consider returning home as soon as they are able to.

How to get home

As the global situation changes, and more borders closer, it will become harder to travel. 

International flights are still operating in and out of New Zealand but you should start organising your trip home as soon as you can. 

Before you head home, you should: 

  • Check your home country’s border restrictions
    • you may be required to self-isolate when you get home, so it’s best to check it out now. Embassies will be able to help you with that.
  • Check any stopover country border restrictions
    • you may find that you are not allowed to transit via certain countries. Embassies will be able to help you with that.
  • Contact a travel agent to talk about your travel requirements
    • Even if you didn’t book your travel through a travel agent, they will be able to let you know what is happening with your flight, or how to book a flight.
  • Check your flights
    • Use airline and airport websites to check your flight. Airline schedules have been disrupted so check that your flight is going ahead as scheduled.
  • Book a flight before turning up to an airport
    • Airline staff at airports are very busy trying to assist travellers, make sure you book your flight before you turn up to the airport. Do not turn up at the airport more than 3 hours prior to departure.

If you are unable to return home immediately – check your visa

We are sympathetic to individuals who are currently in New Zealand and are unable to return to their home at the moment.  Individuals who are currently in New Zealand are able to apply for a further visa, which will be assessed on a case by case basis against immigration instructions, taking into account the current COVID-19 outbreak and any relevant travel restrictions.

If you now wish to work while in New Zealand because your situation has changed, please ensure you have the correct visa. You can apply for a new work visa while you are in New Zealand. More information can be found on the Immigration New Zealand website(external link).

Temporary Accommodation for self-isolation 

If you are required to self-isolate and you need support to find suitable accommodation, the Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS), run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is working with other government agencies to assist people to find suitable accommodation. TAS is providing assistance to those who are unable to self-isolate in their own homes or are travellers visiting New Zealand and do not already have suitable self-isolation accommodation arranged.

To register your details, please call 0508 754 163.

After registering your details, you will be contacted by a temporary accommodation staff member who will assess your needs and work with you to help you find suitable temporary self-isolation accommodation. There is a cost for temporary accommodation and TAS will work with each individual or household who uses the service on how to meet this cost.

If you're a New Zealand citizen or resident on a low income or benefit, contact Work and Income to see if you're eligible for support(external link).

More information and updates can be found at https://temporaryaccommodation.mbie.govt.nz/covid-19/(external link)

Together we can slow the spread

All of us have a role to play in stopping further spread of COVID-19. Fundamental to New Zealand's response is not putting yourself or others at risk if you are unwell – don't be out in public if you are sick.

Now is the time to be even more vigilant. Everyone can help by ensuring good health etiquette – washing hands for 20 seconds and drying them well, sneezing into your arm, and not touching your face.

If you have been required to self-isolate in New Zealand, you must follow this requirement. It’s important to your health, and the health of all Kiwis and visitors. If you have any questions about what to do regarding this, please contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453. More information on how to self-isolate can be found on the Ministry of Health website(external link).

New Zealand is here to help you

This is a stressful time for everyone, but we are here to help you wherever we can. 

If you’re not sure what assistance may be available, don’t know who to contact for help or if you would just like more information, visit covid19.govt.nz or call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997.

It’s normal to feel distressed, but if you feel you are not coping, it’s important to seek help. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737. This service is free, available 24/7 and gives you the chance to talk with a trained counsellor.

Last updated: 29 March 2020