New Zealand Reopens Borders to Visa-Waiver Countries

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New Zealand has reopened its borders to international visitors from over 60 visa waiver countries.

Arrivals must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and meet all other entry requirements.

The move is step 4 of New Zealand’s 5-stage reopening plan. The policy aims to fully reopen the country’s borders by late 2022, after more than 2 years of a complete travel ban for foreigners.

New Zealand has maintained one of the world’s strictest travel bans, which has been largely successful at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The population of about 5 million has seen about 933,000 cases of the virus, and 707 deaths—much lower than comparable nations.

Citizens of eligible countries can now enter New Zealand for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began—a much-needed step for New Zealand’s tourism industry, as well as overseas travelers who have been eagerly waiting to visit.

The easing of restrictions also means friends and family can reunite, and international business trips can resume. Stuart Nash, New Zealand’s tourism minister, said:

“People haven’t seen each other for a long, long time—family and friends,” he said. “We have also, of course, got international business people [who] are able to reconnect, and they are coming back.”

Nash, who greeted international arrivals at Auckland international airport, commented on the number of nationalities that can now travel to New Zealand under the new measures.

“Today marks a milestone for visitors from our key Northern Hemisphere markets in the USA, UK, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada and others, who can now jump on a plane to come here.”

Final Steps of New Zealand’s Reopening System

New Zealand’s 5-step reopening plan started at the end of February 2022, with New Zealand citizens able to return home from Australia. Since then, the country has gradually eased its restrictions for New Zealanders around the world, as well as international students, and qualified workers.

The current stage will now permit visitors from visa-exempt countries to enter New Zealand, with a full reopening of the country’s borders by October 2022.

The initial program aimed to open to visa waiver tourists in July 2022. After the success of initial stages, the change has been brought forward 2 months earlier.

Who Can Enter New Zealand Now?

Citizens of over 60 visa waiver countries can now travel to New Zealand. This includes individuals from Canada, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the USA.

These individuals must meet all COVID-19 requirements and follow the standard immigration policy for their nationality.

What do visa-exempt travelers need for New Zealand?

To travel to New Zealand under the visa waiver program, passengers must obtain a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority—the NZeTA.

This travel document allows visa-exempt nationals to enter New Zealand without a visa.

Arrivals must also have all mandatory COVID-19 documents. This includes a vaccination certificate showing fully vaccination against the virus, a negative test result before departure, and further coronavirus tests on arrival.

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