More than a month ahead of schedule, New Zealand has announced it is no longer requiring COVID-19 tests predeparture. The new measure went into effect on June 21.
“The challenges predeparture tests pose to visitors are now no longer outweighed by the public health benefits. Factors such as the availability of and cost of getting a test are increasingly becoming a barrier for people intending to travel here, especially as other countries wind back testing availability or the requirement for a test on entry themselves,” the New Zealand government said in a press release on its COVID-19 response site.
The country had originally intended to remove the requirement for travelers to have a predeparture test by July 31. “But with cases continuing to decline despite over 387,000 arrivals since borders reopened, there is evidence this measure can now be lifted,” the government stated.
While New Zealand has removed the testing hurdle for entry, it isn’t fully flinging open the doors just yet.
Requirements still in place to enter New Zealand
People age 16 and above seeking to travel to New Zealand are still required to be fully vaccinated (though those who are just transiting through do not). To be considered fully vaccinated, travelers must have had the original full course of doses. So for vaccines approved in the United States, that means two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Booster shots are not a requirement for entry.
Additionally, travelers will be asked to take two COVID-19 tests once they’ve landed in the country—one on the day of arrival and another on day five. Those tests can be self-administered rapid antigen tests, and the results must be reported to the government. If either is positive, travelers must then get a PCR test. The government notes that the in-country testing is meant to detect and understand any new strains of the virus arriving at the border. Those who test positive must self-isolate for seven days.
Travelers are also still required to fill out the New Zealand Traveler Declaration before departure. The questionnaire asks for passport information, proof of vaccinations, flight details, travel history (for the prior 14 days), and contact details.
New Zealand’s decision to drop its pretravel testing requirement comes a little more than one week after the United States lifted its COVID-19 testing requirement for all international arrivals.