Exemption for exceptional circumstances

You can apply for an exemption from managed isolation if you have an exceptional personal circumstance. We need to balance this with the need to protect the New Zealand public from COVID-19.

Managed isolation is an important part of keeping COVID-19 out of New Zealand. We know some of you may be facing exceptional circumstances and may want an exemption. We need to balance your circumstances with the need to keep COVID-19 out of our communities, and we can’t allow any undue health risk.

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

Who can apply

You can apply for an exemption for exceptional circumstances for reasons such as:

  • visiting a dying relative
  • other exceptional circumstances that will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Exemptions for exceptional reasons are approved only in rare circumstances

Exemptions for exceptional circumstances, such as to visit a dying relative, are only approved when the health risk has been assessed as being low and can be managed. In most cases, such exemptions are approved for a temporary period and you will need to return to the managed isolation facility to complete your 14 days.

Because of the serious public health risk involved, it is unlikely approval will be granted to attend a funeral or tangihanga where there may be multiple people gathered. This would create an unacceptable risk of potential COVID-19 transmission.

If an application is successful, you will need to agree to a strict release plan that sets out where you will visit, and for how long. You must agree to adhere to the conditions of your release plan before an exemption can be granted. This will include keeping 2 metres apart from family and loved ones.

This could mean the time you spend with family and loved ones is monitored with less privacy than you expected. You should think about whether you are comfortable with this before you apply.

How to apply

We encourage you to apply you as soon as you are aware of your situation. This allows more time for your application to be assessed.

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, why it cannot be delayed, plus any supporting evidence.
  • If you are applying to isolate in a place other than a managed isolation facility, you will need to submit a detailed plan on how you propose to complete your 14 days of without coming into contact with others.
  • You will need to provide details of your transport arrangements to get to your place of isolation, how you will organise any supplies you may need, and what you will do in case of an emergency.
  • For applications to visit a terminally unwell family member, you will need to supply medical evidence of their illness.

Complete an online application form

Apply online if you believe you have exceptional reasons to be considered for an exemption.

Apply for exemption for exceptional circumstances(external link)

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If you need help completing the form or for any other enquiries please email IsolationExemptions@mbie.govt.nz.

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 and within 5-7 working days. 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.

Generally, a negative day 3 and day 12 COVID-19 test and a full health assessment are needed in order to consider an exemption application.

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: 10 September 2020