Emergency allocation requests

You can apply for an Emergency Allocation if you have been unable to book your preferred date in the Managed Isolation Allocation System and you meet our eligibility criteria.

Note: Spaces in managed isolation are currently limited due to high demand. An Emergency Allocation process exists for limited situations which require urgent travel to New Zealand within the next 14 days.

It is important to note that very few Emergency Allocation requests will be granted, so we encourage travellers to book in early to the Managed Isolation Allocation System as it is the most effective way to guarantee your place. Should you be granted an emergency allocation, you still need to complete 14 days managed isolation.

Why we allow emergency allocation requests

To ensure that we can enable urgent travel to New Zealand for people who meet the criteria, and have not been able to find a space in managed isolation through the Managed Isolation Allocation System.

Who can apply  

You can submit an emergency allocation request if you meet the following criteria:

  • you are legally entitled to enter New Zealand under our current border settings, and
  • your travel is time-critical (within the next 14 days), and
  • you have registered in the Managed Isolation Allocation System and have been unable to book an allocation for the date you require urgent travel, and
  • your circumstances fall within one of the 3 categories detailed below, and
  • you have attached evidence to support your application (see details below).

Note: For some emergency allocations, you must hold New Zealand citizenship or you must be a New Zealand resident[footnote 1] to be eligible to apply. Holding a temporary visa – including a critical purpose visa - means you will be ineligible to apply for most emergency allocation categories.  

Applications for an emergency allocation are a last resort option and the threshold is extremely high. There is no guarantee that a person who fits within these categories will receive an emergency allocation, as this will depend on the numbers of applicants and available places.

The 3 categories for applications for emergency allocation requests

Your circumstances must fall within one of these categories to be eligible for an emergency allocation request.

Category 1

1a) New Zealand citizens or residents:

i. requiring access to time-critical medical treatment for the applicant or their dependant, which has been scheduled in New Zealand and is unavailable or inaccessible in their current location; OR

ii. requiring access to time-critical medical treatment for the applicant, or their dependent, which is scheduled overseas and has been confirmed by a New Zealand medical specialist as being unavailable in New Zealand, and where timely return travel is unlikely to be possible if the person books through the Managed Isolation Allocation System; OR

iii. who are in a location or situation where there is a serious risk to their safety and their only option is to return to New Zealand, taking into account advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade where relevant;

OR

1b) Where urgent travel is required to ensure a child is provided with appropriate care and protection.

Category 2

2a) New Zealand citizens or residents who are required to provide critical care for a dependant person in New Zealand and need to travel urgently to do so; OR

2b) A person whose entry to New Zealand is time-critical for the purpose of commencing work that involves delivering a critical public or health and disability service, such as the clinical and direct provision of health services required to prevent serious illness, injury or death; or the maintenance of essential infrastructure or lifeline utilities whose failure would result in significant harm or disruption to a large number of New Zealanders; OR

2c) New Zealand citizens or residents, who are unable to legally remain in their current location and have no other option but to return to New Zealand; OR

2d) New Zealand and non-New Zealand citizens, where national security, national interest or law enforcement reasons require urgent travel to New Zealand, or return travel to New Zealand is required on the completion of national security, national interest or law enforcement duties overseas.

2e) New Zealand citizens or residents:

i. entering New Zealand to visit a close relative[footnote 2] who is living with a terminal illness or end-stage disease (with a life expectancy of six months or less), where timely travel is unlikely to be possible if the person books through the Managed Isolation Allocation System; OR

ii. who are living with a terminal illness or end-stage disease (with a life expectancy of six months or less) entering New Zealand to visit a close relative or to reside in New Zealand, where timely travel is unlikely to be possible if the person books through the Managed Isolation Allocation System; OR

iii. who are living with a terminal illness or end-stage disease (with a life expectancy of less than six months) who have travelled or are travelling to visit a close relative who resides overseas, where timely return travel is unlikely to be possible if the person books through the Managed Isolation Allocation System; OR

iv. who have travelled or are travelling to visit a close relative who is living with a terminal illness or end-stage disease (with a life expectancy of six months or less) and resides overseas, where timely return travel is unlikely to be possible if the person books through the Managed Isolation Allocation System.

2f) Citizens or residents of Pacific countries requiring access to time-critical medical treatment which has been scheduled in New Zealand that is unavailable in their own country, and accompanying clinical personnel or essential caregivers.

Category 3

3) New Zealand citizens or residents who have suffered the bereavement of a close relative within seven days of the date of application and urgently need to:

a) return to New Zealand where the close relative died in New Zealand; OR

b) travel to another country, and return to New Zealand, where the close relative died in that other country, including for the purposes of accompanying the body of the deceased to New Zealand:

  • where timely return travel is unlikely to be possible if the person books through the Managed Isolation Allocation System.

Applications will be prioritised depending on their category, as these reflect the most time-critical situations which may require travel to New Zealand. Category 1 applications will be given priority over Category 2 applications and Category 1 and 2 applications will be given priority over Category 3.

It is important to note that if you are granted an emergency allocation, you will still need to complete 14 days Managed Isolation on your arrival in New Zealand.

When to apply

You can apply for an emergency allocation before you travel to New Zealand.

Applications must be submitted within 14 days of your intended date of departure.

Applications for Category 3 must also be made within 7 days of the bereavement.

Types of applications that are not accepted

Unfortunately due to limited space, applications will not be approved for travel in the following circumstances as they do not fall within one of the 3 categories above:

  • Flight cancellation;
  • Economic activity such as commercial/business activity;
  • To be reunited with family;
  • To attend school/university or to complete any professional training course or qualification;
  • Applicants who have recently left NZ for personal reasons which are not covered by the categories and are seeking to return.

How to apply

If you meet the eligibility criteria detailed above you can submit your application. There are four steps to this process:

1. Complete your registration in the Managed Isolation System

Complete all passenger details in your individual or family group registration in the Managed Isolation Allocation System.

Managed Isolation Allocation System(external link)

2. Complete the Emergency Allocation Request form using the customer portal

Use the customer portal to apply for an emergency allocation:

  • 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 emergency allocation 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.

Guide to the customer portal

Request an emergency allocation to managed isolation through the customer portal(external link)

3. Provide evidence to support your application

You must provide the supporting evidence that is relevant to your situation:

Category 1a:

i) New Zealand citizens or residents with time-critical scheduled treatment in New Zealand, which is unavailable or inaccessible where you are

Required documentation: A letter from a medical professional confirming:

  • you have scheduled treatment in New Zealand, and
  • your treatment is time-critical, and
  • you cannot obtain or access the same treatment in your current location.

ii) New Zealand citizens or residents with time-critical scheduled treatment overseas which is unavailable in New Zealand

Required documentation: A letter from a New Zealand medical specialist who confirms that:

  • you have scheduled treatment overseas, and
  • your treatment is time-critical, and
  • the treatment is unavailable in New Zealand.  

iii) New Zealand citizens or residents with a serious risk to safety

Required documentation:

  • Evidence confirming you are in a location or situation where there is a serious risk to your safety and that your only option is to return to New Zealand, for example, court documents, police statement, or statement from social services agency, or
  • If an applicant is a New Zealand citizen who is being provided with consular assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) as an emergency case, we may take into account information from MFAT (where relevant)  regarding the risk and that your only other option is to return to New Zealand.

Category 1b: Urgent travel is required for a child

Required documentation: Evidence to support this application. For example, court documents, police statement, or statement from child protection agency.

Category 2a: To provide critical care for a dependant person in New Zealand

Required documentation: Evidence such as a letter from a treatment provider confirming that the care is critical, and confirming that there is no other care available (via family, or health/social services).

Category 2b: For delivering a critical public or health and disability service

Required documentation: Confirmation from the relevant DHB, Government department or Ministry that your entry and work is time critical AND evidence from your employer that you are entering New Zealand to commence work and the date you start your employment.

Category 2c: Unable to legally remain in your current location

Visa expiry alone is not grounds for an emergency allocation to MIQ under this category. Applicants must have no other option but to return to New Zealand and provide evidence that:

  • they have attempted to extend or convert their Visa (e.g. From a working or student visa to a tourist visa) and these attempts have been declined by the visa issuing authority of the country they are in; and
  • for applicants who are citizens of any other country, an explanation as to why they are unable to legally return to that country rather than travelling to New Zealand.

Required documentation:  Evidence that you are legally unable to remain in your current location and have no other option but to travel to New Zealand including:

  • proof that your visa is expiring or expired
  • confirmation from the visa issuing authority from the country you are in that your visa cannot be extended or converted to another visa type.
  • If you have citizenship in any other country, you will need to provide evidence confirming that you are legally unable to return to that country rather than traveling to New Zealand.

Category 2d: For national security, national interest or law enforcement reasons

Required documentation: Evidence to support this application including a statement in support from the New Zealand Government.

Category 2e: To visit a close relative who is dying where timing is critical

(i) New Zealand citizen or resident visiting a close relative living with a terminal illness in New Zealand

Required documentation: A letter from your close relative's doctor, hospital or hospice that the close relative is living with a terminal illness or end stage disease, and their life expectancy is six months or less. Evidence of your relationship with the person you are visiting.

(ii) New Zealand citizen or resident living with a terminal illness visiting close relative in New Zealand or returning to live

Required documentation: A letter from your doctor, hospital or hospice confirming that you are living with a terminal illness or end stage disease, and your life expectancy is six months or less. Evidence of your relationship with the person or people you are visiting.

(iii) New Zealand citizen or resident with a terminal illness who has travelled, or is planning to travel to visit a close relative overseas

Required documentation: A letter from your doctor, hospital, or hospice that you are living with a terminal illness or end stage disease, and your life expectancy is six months or less. Evidence of your relationship with the person you are visiting. 

  • If you are applying under category 2e (iii) and are applying before you travel, your application must be made within 14 days of your intended departure from New Zealand.
  • If you are applying under category 2e (iii) and you have already travelled overseas, you must make your application within 14 days of your return home.

(iv) New Zealand citizen or resident who has travelled, or is planning to travel overseas to visit a close relative living with a terminal illness

Required documentation: A Letter from your close relative's doctor, hospital or hospice that the close relative is living with a terminal illness or end stage disease, and their life expectancy is six months or less. Evidence of your relationship with the person you are visiting.

  • If you are applying under category 2e (iv) and are applying before you travel, your application must be made within 14 days of your intended departure from New Zealand.
  • If you are applying under category 2e (iv), and you have already travelled overseas, you must make your application within 14 days of your return home.

Category 2f: Pacific nation citizens or residents travelling to New Zealand for time-critical medical treatment

Required documentation:

Evidence:

  • of a scheduled appointment date in New Zealand with a named treatment provider;
  • that you require time-critical medical treatment;
  • that the treatment is not available in your home country;
  • that you have the support of your government health agency or the New Zealand Ministry of Health;
  • that any accompanying clinical personnel is required;
  • that any caregiver travelling with you is essential (note your caregiver will need to enter managed isolation).

Category 3

a) New Zealand citizens or residents who have suffered a bereavement of a close relative in New Zealand

Required documentation:

Evidence:

  • confirming the relationship between you and your close relative, and
  • of the death of your close relative (eg the death certificate, a letter from a funeral director, or death notice) to show the date of application is within 7 days of the date of death.

b) New Zealand citizens or residents who have suffered a bereavement of a close relative overseas to travel overseas including to accompany a body back to New Zealand

Required documentation:

Evidence:

  • confirming the relationship between you and your close relative, and
  • of the death of your close relative (eg the death certificate, a letter from a funeral director, or death notice) to show the date of application is within 7 days of the date of death
  • confirming the arrangements for you to accompany the body back to New Zealand where relevant.

4. Submit your application

Submit your emergency allocation application using the online customer portal(external link)

You will receive an email within 1 working day (NZST) confirming your request has been received.

You can check the status of your application in the customer portal.

Due to the time-critical nature of these applications, we will not be able to offer a translation service. We require that all evidence is provided in English.

Timeframes for receiving an outcome

We aim to process applications within 3 business days and are unlikely to be able to approve applications for travel the next day, as this does not allow sufficient time for us to process your application. We suggest that you do not book your flights unless your application is approved.

Note: We can only begin processing your application if you have provided the required evidence outlined on this page. Providing this evidence along with your application will assist us to process your application more quickly.

How applications are assessed

Applications for an emergency allocation are prioritised according to their category. We will assess your application and supporting evidence to determine whether you meet the criteria. Category 1 applications will be given first priority, followed by Category 2.

If your application is successful

You will receive an email confirming you have been allocated a place in managed isolation along with the information on what to do next.

If your application is declined

If you don’t agree with the outcome you can lodge a complaint.

How to make a complaint

A friend, family member or travel agent can submit an Emergency Allocation Request on behalf of someone else

But they must use the customer portal and provide the same details on the application form which were used for registration in the Managed Isolation Accommodation System.

Submit your emergency allocation application using the online customer portal(external link)

Cost of applying

There is no cost associated with applying for an Emergency Allocation.

Note: we will not cancel a returnee’s allocation in a managed isolation facility because someone else has a more urgent need.

More information

For help using the Managed Isolation Allocation System, contact the MIQ Service Centre

What to expect in managed isolation

How to make a complaint


  1. Resident visa class holders who are normally resident in New Zealand.
  2. A close relative is a spouse or partner, parent, child, brother or sister, grandparent, grandchild, spouse’s or partner’s parent.
Last updated: 10 September 2021