Virtual lobby

MIQ has introduced a virtual lobby for room releases. The lobby will open 1 hour before each room release is due to start. We will announce when room releases will be happening at least 24-48 hours beforehand - check the MIQ and MIAS websites and the MBIE Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Important update: 28 October 2021

We have made a significant change to the passport entry requirements for the virtual lobby. Please read the new instructions in the Passport Number Requirements section below. 

Once people arrive on the website, the lobby will randomise people into a queue, and gradually allow people through the website to secure a room. The lobby will make booking more transparent and will create a more level playing field for people trying to access the booking site. There is no limit on how many people can wait in the lobby.

Go to the Managed Isolation Allocation System website to get to the virtual lobby(external link)

Checklist – what to do well in advance of the lobby opening

  1. Create an account on the Managed Isolation Allocation System website and complete all your details. You only need 1 account per travelling group.
  2. Read the information below.
  3. Check the flight checker on the Managed Isolation Allocation System website.

There will still only be a limited number of rooms available during the room release, which means that given the current demand for rooms there will still be people who miss out this time.

We will continue to announce room releases in advance (at least 24-48 hours before the release) so people will know when to come back.

Before the lobby opens

You should complete the following actions well before the lobby opens (do not leave this until the last moments).

  • Create an account on the Managed Isolation Allocation System website and complete all your details. If you have already created an account, you do not need to create another one. If travelling in a family/group, only 1 account is necessary.
  • If you have not logged into the system for a while, log in before the lobby opens to make sure you remember your username and password.
  • Check the flight checker on the Managed Isolation Allocation System website: 
    • Know your preferred flight route and select the correct date for arrival once you are in the system. Do not grab any date – flights from most locations around the world only arrive on particular days so you need to make sure you are booking an MIQ date that aligns with the arrival date of a flight from your location. If you cannot find an available date in the system that matches your flight arrival date, you will need to try again in the next room release.
  • Understand the passport number requirements to enter the lobby: 
    • New update: You will need to enter the passport numbers of all passengers travelling in your group to participate in the room release (see the section below for more information on passport number requirements).
    • A passport number can only be used once for the release.
    • You are not able to use the same passport number(s) across multiple devices or browsers.
    • Passport numbers and the number of people travelling cannot be changed in the system once a date has been secured.
  • Enable the cookies on your browser. Do not use an incognito browser. This will make sure that if you accidently close your browser, you can reopen it and not lose your place in the queue.
  • Turn off any ad blockers or ad blocker software.

During the room release

Do not close your browser. This increases the risk of something going wrong.

You will not be able access your MIAS account or the flight checker until you get to the front of the queue and gain access to the website. You will be able to access the flight checker on the MIQ website.

Flights into New Zealand

If you get to the front of the queue and gain access to the website, you will be able to access both of these then. 

If you get access to the website, make sure your registration is complete. You will not be able to secure a date if this step has not been completed. You can complete this step if you get access to the website, and then proceed to secure a date.

If you get access to the website and secure a date, come back after the room release has finished to add your flight details. You have 48 hours to confirm your flight details in the system. You will be able to access the website again shortly after the room release has finished.

Passport number requirements

Booking for someone who is travelling alone

If you, or the person you are booking for, are travelling alone, you will need to select 1 passenger from the drop-down box and enter the passport number.

The passport number entered must match your passport number entered in the Managed Isolation Allocation System website (it must be the same passport number which will be on your MIQ voucher). If it does not match, you will not be able to secure a room. If you believe the details you entered into the lobby are correct, you can update your details in the Managed Isolation Allocation System website to match what you entered in the lobby. Note: you cannot change the details you entered into the lobby.

Passport numbers and the number of people travelling cannot be changed in the system once a date has been secured.

Before the lobby opens, make sure all your details in the system are accurate and up-to-date, including your passport details. Make sure you are not using an expired passport number.

Also make sure that no one else, for example a family member or a travel agent, is planning to use your passport number to make a booking.

Booking for a group or a couple

If you are travelling as a group or a couple, only 1 member of the group can now enter the lobby. This is a change from the previous requirements where each member of the group could participate in the release – you cannot do this anymore. 1 group = 1 lobby entry.

Your nominated person must select the number of passengers in your group from the drop-down box and enter the passport number for each person travelling.

If you gain access to the website, you cannot book for more or less people than what is declared in the lobby. E.g. If you enter 2 passengers in the lobby, you cannot book for 3 or more people.

The number of passengers in your group and the passport number(s) must be an exact match to the information entered in the Managed Isolation Allocation System website. If these do not match, you will not be able to secure a room. If you believe the details you entered into the lobby are correct, you can update your details in the Managed Isolation Allocation System website to match what you entered in the lobby. Note: you cannot change the details you entered into the lobby.

Passport numbers and the number of people travelling cannot be changed in the system once a date has been secured.

Before the lobby opens, make sure all the travellers’ details in the system are accurate and up-to-date, including passport details. Make sure you are not using any expired passport numbers.

If you are travelling with an infant who does not yet have a passport, you do not need to include them.

If you make a mistake

  • Accidently close your browser
    • If you accidently close your browser, the system is designed so that when you reopen it, you should still see the last screen you closed – e.g. you should still see your same place in the queue.
    • This relies on your browser “cookies” being enabled. “Cookies” means that data is saved in the browser.
    • Make sure your cookies are enabled and you are not using an incognito browser.
    • Do not clear your cookies in this scenario. This may result in you not being able to participate in the room release anymore.
  • Passport numbers or number of travellers don't match.
    • You will be told if your passport numbers or number of travellers do not match when you gain access to the website and try to secure a room. 
    • If you believe the details you entered into the lobby are correct, you can update your details in the Managed Isolation Allocation System website to match what you entered in the lobby. Note: You cannot change the details you entered into the lobby. If you update a passport number in the system, it needs to be a valid passport number. This number will appear on your voucher. If it is incorrect or invalid, your voucher may be cancelled and you may not be able to travel. 
    • You cannot change a passport number in the system once a date has been secured. 
    • Validation of passport details begins once a voucher is secured.
  • Passport number is wrong but you are already in the lobby or queue.
    • You will need to exit the lobby or queue and re-join. 
    • The lobby uses a unique “browser cookie” to manage the queue process. This means you will either need to “clear your cookies” or set up a new browser session to re-join. This could be done by using a different browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari), or by using a different device (e.g. laptop, phone, desktop computer). You cannot just close the same browser and re-open it. Follow the advice above. 
    • Note: You are not able to use the same passport number across multiple devices or browsers. 
  • Error message saying your passport number has already been used.
    • A passport number can only be used once for the release. Make sure your friends, family or a travel agent have not already used the passport number to participate in the release. 
    • You are not able to use the same passport number across multiple devices or browsers. Make sure you have not already used the passport number on another device (e.g. laptop, phone etc) or another browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari).
    • If your cookies are not enabled, if you clear your cookies, if you are using an incognito browser, or if you have a more significant technical issue, e.g. your computer crashes, your phone dies, or you lose internet connection, you may not be able to participate in the room release if you are trying to enter the same passport number you previously entered. This is because that passport number will always be saved in the system for that room release. Clearing your cookies does not forget the passport number – it clears the experience of opening the browser to the same screen (lobby or queue).

1 booking per turn – advice for travel agents and third parties

You can only make 1 booking (for yourself or a group) per turn to enable more people to have an opportunity to secure a room.

Third parties, such as travel agents, who may have multiple groups under their registration, will need to enter the lobby multiple times - each time they will need to enter the number of travellers in that group and their corresponding passport numbers.

The lobby uses a unique “browser cookie” to manage the queue process. This means you will need to set up a new browser session for each of your groups. This could be done by using different browsers (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari), or by using different devices (e.g. laptops, phones, desktop computers). You cannot open multiple tabs or new windows in the same browser – this will just replicate the same lobby experience.

If you have a lot of different groups, we recommend you either use a variety of people in your team to help manage the booking process, or ask your groups to participate in the lobby process themselves. Make sure you have agreement with the group whether you will enter the lobby or they will - a passport number can only be used once in the release which means you cannot both enter the lobby.

Once the room release begins, each group will have a different place in the queue. If you end up entering the site at the same time for multiple groups, you will need to log-in and work through 1 group at a time – you cannot be logged in on different devices or browsers at the same time. There is no time restriction to book once you are in the site.

Note: You will not be able to use the same passport number across multiple devices or browsers – a passport number can only be used once for the release.

For example:

  • Group A (3x passenger) – join lobby with all 3 passenger passport numbers in Chrome on laptop
  • Group B (1x passenger) – join lobby with passport number (the solo traveller) in Firefox on laptop
  • Group C (4x passenger) – join lobby with all four passenger passport numbers on phone

The lobby process - step by step

  1. 1 hour before the room release, the lobby will open and you can arrive on the Managed Isolation Allocation System website. This is not a first-in, first-served model – it doesn’t matter what time you get to the website, as long as it is within 1 hour before the room release is due to start. Do not arrive before the lobby opens.
  2. To enter the lobby, you will need to enter the passport numbers of all travellers in your group. The number of travellers in your group and the passport number(s) entered here must be an exact match to the information entered in the Managed Isolation Allocation System website. If these do not match, you will not be able to secure a room. A passport number can only be used once in this room release.
  3. People can only make 1 booking (for yourself or a group) per turn. Third parties, such as travel agents, who may have multiple groups under their registration, will need to enter the lobby multiple times. See section above for more information.
  4. Once the room release starts, all of the people in the lobby will be automatically moved into a queue – this will be randomised. You will be able to see your place in the queue.
  5. If you arrive on the site after the room release has started, you will need to enter a passport number and will be put at the end of the queue.
  6. When you are at the front of the queue, the page will automatically re-direct you to the website. If you are not viewing the browser at that point in time, you will have 15 minutes to enter the site before losing your place in the queue. If this happens, you will need to re-join and will be added to the back of queue.
  7. People will be moved into the website in a controlled manner. You can log in using your existing log in details and select a date. You can later return to add your flights, so long as this is done within 48 hours of date selection. If flights are not added within 48 hours, the room reservation will be cancelled, as per the current process.
  8. Once all rooms have been taken, the lobby will be closed and anyone in the queue will be informed that they have unfortunately missed out this time. We will continue to announce room releases so people will know when to come back.

While the room release is running, you may not be able to access the website for other reasons, so if you have an existing booking and need to access vouchers, make changes to your information etc. you are advised to work around this time.

Follow MBIE on Facebook or Twitter, or check the Managed Isolation Allocation System website to find out when the room releases will occur.

Facebook(external link)

Twitter(external link)

If you miss out on securing a room

You can try again for the next room release. We will continue to announce room releases in advance (at least 24-48 hours before the release) so please check the MIQ channels (websites and social media) for updates. 

Each room release will be a new and independent event. At this stage, there will be no prioritisation for people who missed out in the last room release. 

If you need to travel urgently, you can apply for an emergency allocation.

Find out more about emergency allocation requests

Travellers from Australia

Do not book a flight before you have secured a date through the room release.

Check the flight checker in the Managed Isolation Allocation System before the room release. The flight checker includes the approved flights that you will be able to travel to New Zealand on, if you secure a date in the room release.

Air New Zealand have both red and green flights. If you secure an MIQ date in a room release, please make sure you book a red flight via Air NZ. These flights will be labelled as quarantine flights on Air NZ's website.

If you are booked on a green flight, you will not be able to confirm a MIQ voucher as green flights are not loaded into the voucher system.

Red flights from Australia are available to New Zealand. Red flights mean travellers need to secure an MIQ voucher and stay in MIQ.

The costs of flights need to be covered by travellers, and a pre-departure test from an accredited laboratory, also at the traveller’s cost, will be required within 72 hours of travel.

All travellers from Australia will be subject to the same fees regulations as travellers from elsewhere in the world. If you travelled to Australia during the period of quarantine-free travel and are now returning to New Zealand, you will have to pay for your stay in MIQ, unless you are eligible for a fee waiver.

Find out more about charges

People wanting to travel on red flights will be able to enter the lobby and have the opportunity to access the rooms available in the room releases.

If you miss out on securing a voucher, you will be able to participate in the next room release.

If you have a green flight booked in anticipation of quarantine-free travel resuming, be aware that these flights may be cancelled if quarantine-free travel remains suspended beyond 28 November. If you would like more certainty about coming to New Zealand, we recommend that you participate in the room releases for red flights. If you are successful in securing a voucher, you have 48 hours to book your red flight and cancel your green flight.

Video: How to create an account

Video: How to participate in a room release

Last updated: 12 November 2021