Emergency allocations of managed isolation vouchers

Information on this page can be attributed to a managed isolation and quarantine spokesperson.

Places in managed isolation are often limited due to high demand. There is a very restrictive emergency allocation criteria and this is a last resort option with a very high threshold. It is important to note that people still need to complete their 14 days managed isolation.


All applications for emergency allocation places in managed isolation are assessed on a case by case basis, against a set criteria. There is no guarantee that a person who fits within these categories will receive an emergency allocation as it depends on the numbers of applicants and available places. The reality is there remains a finite capacity within the MIQ system.

There are currently 350 rooms per fortnight set aside for those who need to travel urgently. We will review this number over time to ensure it is sufficient to accommodate travel which is genuinely urgent while not compromising the operational safety of our 31 facilities.

These decisions are not easy ones to make and we are sympathetic to the distressing situations people applying for an emergency allocation are in. However, we need to balance each individual application with our critical work to ensure the safety of all New Zealanders and the limited available capacity in managed isolation facilities by sequencing beds as they become available. MIQ also needs to prioritise the applications to ensure they reflect the most urgent and time-critical situations.

To be eligible for an emergency allocation, the travel must be time-critical, the applicant must be legally entitled to enter New Zealand and they must be willing to travel within seven days of making their application. Evidence will be required to support all applications to ensure a fair and consistent process. 

It is for this reason MIQ asks returnees applying under category 2e for a letter from a medical practitioner outlining the close relative’s terminal medical condition and an indication of life expectancy. MIQ acknowledges this information is sometimes not easily able to be established and understands that people with terminal illnesses such as cancer can have a significant range in their prognosis, ranging from weeks to months or even years.

However, in order to facilitate the most urgent visits while our facilities are full, we do need to ask this difficult question.

We encourage everyone looking to return to New Zealand to regularly check the online allocation system because we are regularly returning vouchers to the system as people’s plans and international airline schedules change.

Last updated: 29 July 2021