Information for travellers from very high risk countries

Following the introduction of new measures for travellers from very high risk countries, exemptions for humanitarian reasons may be granted by the Director General of Health.

Travel from very high risk countries temporarily limited

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.

Full list of very high risk countries(external link) — Unite against COVID-19

Decisions about exemptions for humanitarian reasons 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.

Who does not need to apply for an exemption for humanitarian reasons?

People can travel to New Zealand from a very high risk country if they are New Zealand citizens, their partners and/or dependent children, and parent(s) of a dependent child where the child is a New Zealand citizen.

If you are permitted to travel from a very high risk country, you will also need to be legally entitled to enter New Zealand (if you are not a New Zealand citizen), hold a current managed isolation allocation system voucher, and have received a negative nasopharyngeal RT-PCR (PCR) test from a government-approved laboratory, taken 72 hours prior to travel. This will replace the usual pre-departure test requirement in place for high risk countries. Visit the Ministry of Health website for a list of government-approved laboratories for each country.

COVID-19: Advice for travellers(external link) — Ministry of Health

Who can apply?

To be eligible for to apply for a humanitarian exemption, applicants must:

  • Be legally entitled to enter New Zealand (i.e. a New Zealand resident or a critical purpose visa). 
  • Have been in a very high risk country at any point in the 14 days immediately before the date of their arrival (including transit); and
  • Not be able to delay or conduct the proposed activity through any other means; and
  • Be required to travel after 11:59pm on 28 April 2021 (when the new measures for very high risk countries comes into effect), and
  • Have registered (or been registered on their behalf) in the Managed Isolation Allocation System(external link).

The following will not be approved for humanitarian exemption:

  • Flight cancellation;
  • Attendance at funerals, memorial services and tangihanga are excluded as it is often possible to make alternative arrangements such as attending a memorial via video conference;
  • Economic activity such as commercial/business activity;
  • To be reunited with family;
  • To attend school/university;
  • To attend work.

How to apply

If you believe you meet the criteria for humanitarian exemption, you can submit your application using this process:

Emergency allocation request application process

Managed Isolation and Quarantine will work with the Ministry of Health who will determine whether a humanitarian exemption can be granted. MIQ will advise you of the outcome.

If you have been granted a humanitarian exemption

If you have been granted a humanitarian exemption, you will need to check the managed isolation allocation system and obtain a voucher. A humanitarian exemption does not exempt you from the requirement to hold a managed isolation voucher before you fly.

You may be prevented from boarding your flight if you attempt to fly without a valid voucher. If there are no managed isolation vouchers available after your humanitarian exemption has been approved, please check if you meet the criteria for an emergency allocation.

Last updated: 17 June 2021