Exemption for exceptional circumstances

Other than joining someone, medical or transit reasons, exemptions to completing managed isolation are only granted in exceptional circumstances.

Managed isolation is a critical part of keeping COVID-19 out of New Zealand. Everyone returning to New Zealand must complete 7 days of managed isolation. This requirement has been set because it allows us time to test people for COVID-19 and identify any cases before people enter the community. There are very few situations where we can safely allow people to leave managed isolation early.

The need to protect the New Zealand public from COVID-19 is our primary consideration.

Note: We cannot approve applications for exceptional circumstances until you are onshore in New Zealand. Please refer to the “When to Apply” section below.

Who can apply

Applications can be made by anyone who is in managed isolation. However, very few applications are approved due to the need to protect New Zealand from COVID-19.

Exemptions for exceptional reasons are approved only in rare circumstances

'Isolation' means that you must be completely separated from anyone who has not travelled with you, for 7 days after you arrive in New Zealand. Any contact that you have with another member of the community increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

If your situation is not exceptional, an application to leave managed isolation will not be granted.

We are unlikely to approve applications to:

  • attend a funeral or tangihanga where there may be multiple people gathered. This would create an unacceptable risk of potential COVID-19 transmission.
  • isolate in another location such as your own home, without an exceptional reason. Most situations, including health conditions and dietary requirements, can be managed safely within our facilities.
  • leave managed isolation without having a day-3 negative COVID-19 test result and a full health assessment.
  • be exempt from managed isolation because you have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Find out more about COVID-19 vaccines being used in New Zealand.
    Our COVID-19 vaccine rollout(external link) — Unite against COVID-19
  • people who have arrived from a high-risk country, as determined by Ministry of Health*

*The public risk assessment tool approved by the Director General of Health prevents decision makers from considering your request if you arrive from a country which the Ministry of Health considers is high risk. This applies even if you are granted an emergency allocation to travel to New Zealand for urgent reasons. 

How we assess an application

When making an assessment whether or not to grant an exemption from managed isolation or early or temporary departure from a Managed Isolation Facility (MIF), MBIE and health officials may take into account the following:

  • The results of any medical examination and COVID-19 testing that you have undergone while in the MIF
  • The length of time you have been isolating
  • The country you left from
  • The level of risk associated with the activity that you wish to participate in and the number of people they are likely to come into contact with
  • Letter of endorsement from receiving venue/facility (if relevant)

When to apply

You can apply once you arrive in New Zealand. You cannot be considered for release until you have returned a day-3 negative test result. An approval is not guaranteed at any time.

You cannot be considered for an exemption if you have arrived from a high risk country determined by the Ministry of Health. 

You will need to spend 7 days in managed isolation if your application is declined, and you should be prepared for that possibility before travelling to New Zealand.

How to apply

Get the information you’ll need ready

Information you will need:

  • the full name on the passport you use to enter New Zealand and check in to the facility
  • your date of birth
  • your passport number
  • your arrival details – either expected or actual date and time of arrival in New Zealand and the flight number
  • the city you’re arriving at and the country you left from.

For an exceptional circumstances exemption:

  • You will need a statement of your reasons for needing an exemption and why it cannot be delayed.
  • You must attach all supporting evidence to your application, such as medical evidence of a family member’s terminal illness.

Complete an online application form via the customer portal

Use the customer portal to apply for an exemption for exceptional circumstances:

  • click on the link below to sign up to create an account, including a login and password.
  • once you have logged in, you can fill out your exemption application form.

You can return to the customer portal via this page at any time to check on the status of your application, or resume a draft request that you have saved. Bookmark the link below for quick access to the portal to see your application.

You can also use this account to make a request on behalf of someone else.

Note: This customer portal login is different from your Managed Isolation Allocation System (MIAS) login details you use to book your voucher.

Apply for an exemption for exceptional circumstances(external link)

Guide to the customer portal

For the best experience use a modern browser like Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera or Safari.

If you need help registering, completing or submitting the form, email:


If you have queries once you have submitted your form, email:


What happens next

The purpose of managed isolation is to keep our communities safe from COVID-19, and given the public health risk, there is a high threshold for approving applications.

Applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis based on urgency. We’ll contact you to let you know the outcome of your application, or if we need more information.

Applications undergo strict assessments based on an evaluation of the public health risk and the risk associated with your individual circumstances, such as where you apply to go and how many people you might come into contact with.

If you are considered too high risk for spreading COVID-19, or it is deemed that the risk cannot be appropriately managed, your application will be declined.

The final decision on your application is made either by the Head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine or by the MBIE Deputy Chief Executive for Managed Isolation and Quarantine.

If your application is successful you will need to agree to a strict release plan. Travel will be provided with an approved escort, such as security or government personnel. Physical distancing from other people will be required, as will the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

If you have new information

If your application is unsuccessful but you now have new information that supports your application, you can resubmit it for assessment. Send your new information to IsolationExemptions@mbie.govt.nz.

Last updated: 21 November 2021