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.

Emergency allocation requests – Information for travellers from very high risk countries

Travel to New Zealand from very high risk countries is temporarily limited to New Zealand citizens, their partners and/or dependent children, and parent(s) of a dependent child where the child is a New Zealand citizen.

Exemptions for humanitarian reasons may be granted by the Director General of Health. Decisions will balance the risk of a person’s travel to and arrival in New Zealand causing an outbreak or spread of COVID-19, and the impacts of that, against the humanitarian impact on the individual concerned.

Read the process for applying for an exemption on humanitarian grounds from very high risk countries

If you do not need to apply for a humanitarian exemption, but you cannot obtain a voucher, please follow the advice on this page.

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 are we allowing 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 2 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 2 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 where a serious risk to health or safety exists for the applicant or their dependant, which requires urgent travel to New Zealand; 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 urgent travel to New Zealand is required for national security, national interest or law enforcement reasons.

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 in New Zealand under an official medical treatment scheme that is unavailable in their own country, and accompanying clinical personnel or essential caregivers.

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.

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 can I 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.

What types of applications 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 2 categories above:

  • Attending a funeral or memorial service;
  • Flight cancellation;
  • Economic activity such as commercial/business activity;
  • To be reunited with family;
  • To attend school/university;
  • 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: Serious risk to health or safety exists for the applicant or their dependant

Required documentation:

For risk to health: A letter from a doctor or treatment provider confirming there is a serious risk to health which requires your urgent travel to New Zealand.

For risk to safety: A letter or statement from social services or law enforcement confirming that there is a risk to safety which requires urgent travel 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 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

Required documentation: Evidence that you are legally unable to remain in your current location – such as proof that your visa is expiring – and evidence that you have not been able to obtain an extension to your visa.

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 under an official medical treatment scheme

Required documentation: Evidence such as a letter from a DHB or official treatment scheme confirming your place in the treatment scheme and that your treatment is not available in your home country. Evidence that your caregiver is essential while you are in hospital (your caregiver may be required to enter an isolation facility).

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 are applications 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.

What happens if my 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.

What can I do if my application is declined?

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

How to make a complaint

Can a friend, family member or travel agent submit an Emergency Allocation Request on behalf of someone else?

Yes, 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)

Is there a cost associated with applying?

No.

Will you cancel a returnee’s allocation in a managed isolation facility because someone else has a more urgent need?

No.

Where can I go for more help?

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: 23 May 2021