Eligibility criteria and self-isolation requirements

The information below will help provisional applicants and approved participants plan for self-isolation.

From 14 November, the self-isolation period for business travellers in the pilot will be shortened to 10 days at an approved location.

Eligibility criteria

To participate provisional applicants must:

  • be New Zealand citizens (New Zealand passport holder) or holders of a residence class visa with the right to re-enter New Zealand
  • be making a short trip away from New Zealand for business purposes
  • be vaccinated in New Zealand with 2 Pfizer vaccinations before leaving New Zealand
  • travel and return from all countries except very high-risk countries
  • present a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of the first scheduled international flight to New Zealand, unless you are travelling from a country exempted from that requirement
  • arrive in Auckland or Christchurch directly on an international flight from 30 October 2021 to 8 December 2021
  • supply a self-isolation plan, which meets all requirements including Ministry of Health requirements, and verification and supporting evidence such as citizenship/residency, travel schedules, vaccination, accommodation, reasons for business travel, etc.

Travel restrictions for very high risk countries(external link) – Unite against COVID-19

Travel must be for business purposes only where overseas travel is required, i.e. the work can’t be done remotely. These purposes could include:

  • commissioning – commission plant, machinery, equipment or technology
  • pitching in person – present in person for a competitive tender, contract or to promote investment
  • maintenance or training – maintain or to train people to use or maintain plant, machinery, equipment or technology
  • performance of contracts – perform contractual obligations
  • networking – conference, trade show or for other networking reasons
  • carry out due diligence – for example for an acquisition or to assess a product they intend to import
  • interviewing – interview/meet key people, such as a market distributor or a new in-market CEO.

Applications that would not be accepted include:

  • non-work related travel such as leisure travel or travel for personal reasons
  • commercial or business activities that can occur from a remote location and don’t require overseas travel
  • employees who live overseas and require entry to New Zealand to commence work
  • people travelling from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu, as one-way quarantine-free travel from these countries will start in October.

Accommodation requirements

You can isolate in your home if you usually live in Auckland or Christchurch but you cannot isolate with family or other household members. If you need to rent accommodation, it must be a private dwelling. Self-Isolation Pilot-approved transport will transfer you from the airport to your accommodation.

Whether it’s your own home or a rented dwelling, the accommodation must:

  • be within a 50km radius (by road) of Christchurch International Airport OR
  • be within a 50km radius (by road) of Auckland International Airport and within the boundary of Auckland Council; and
  • have no shared ventilation system; and
  • be exclusively occupied by the participant or their travelling party, and
  • have cellular coverage (minimum 3G).

You must plan ahead and have access to everything you may need for your time in isolation including water, food and medication as you will not be allowed to leave your accommodation unless in an emergency.

If your self-isolation accommodation is rented or leased, the owner/host must agree before the booking that the accommodation will be used for a self-isolation pilot stay.

If your flight into New Zealand arrives before check-in time at a rented/leased property, you will need to book the property from the day before as you cannot wait at the airport or elsewhere until check-in time.

Check that your booking allows you to stay at the accommodation until at least the same time your flight arrived (e.g., if you arrive at 4pm, you will not be able to leave until 4pm on the day you exit isolation). 

Keep in mind that your exit from self-isolation will be contingent on meeting health requirements, this may mean that you stay longer at your accommodation until cleared to finish.

Ensure there is flexibility to change your check-out time and day for your accommodation booking if you need to stay longer.

Rules for self-isolation

Participants will be subject to requirements set out in the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Isolation and Quarantine Order) 2020. These requirements apply even if you have received a COVID-19 vaccination.

When in self-isolation, you must:

  • remain in your place of self-isolation for at least 10 days (or 240 hours). You will not be allowed to leave the property at any time unless in an emergency or where you are escorted by an authorised person
  • isolate alone or with other participants in your travelling party. If in a group, you must depart, return and self-isolate together. You cannot isolate with household members or anybody else other than those you are travelling with; no family or friends can join you
  • not allow any visitors to enter the premises, aside from medical staff for testing purposes and emergency or other essential services if required (e.g. fire, ambulance, police, tradespeople for urgent repairs)
  • provide your own food and supplies (contactless deliveries are allowed)
  • comply with testing and monitoring requirements.

Prepare for returning to New Zealand

Pre-departure test is mandatory

You will be required to complete a COVID-19 pre-departure test and receive a negative result returned within 72 hours of your first scheduled international flight - unless you are travelling from a country exempted from that requirement.

You will need to provide your test results at check-in. Without the information you may be denied boarding and be subject to an infringement fine. Check the requirements for pre-departure tests.

If you return a positive result, you will not be able to travel to New Zealand at this time and will no longer be able to be part of the Pilot. You will not be able to re-apply to participate in the pilot.

Pre-departure tests to enter New Zealand(external link) – Unite against COVID-19

Self-Isolation Pilot voucher

Once you have approval to participate in the pilot, you must create a registration in the Managed Isolation Allocation System, unless you have already done so. The Self-Isolation Pilot team will email you a voucher once you have registered.

You will need to present the voucher when you check in at the airport for your flight to New Zealand. You will not be able to check in without a voucher.

Do not alter or change your details in the Managed Isolation Allocation System after we have emailed you your voucher. Any updates that you make to your flight number or details in the system may result in you being unable to participate in the pilot.

Log into the Managed Isolation Allocation System 

Arrival at the airport in New Zealand

On arrival at Auckland International Airport or Christchurch International Airport, all Self-Isolation Pilot participants will be asked to disembark the plane first. Ensure you have your hand luggage ready to disembark when your name is called.

While at the airport, all Self-Isolation Pilot participants will need to undergo a health check and COVID-19 tests, as well as proceed through the usual Immigration and Customs processes. Self-Isolation participants will be directed through each stage on the process until they board the Government-approved transport provider that will take you to your self-isolation accommodation.

Ensure you have appropriate documentation, such as your Self-Isolation Pilot voucher, with you at all stages.

If you are arriving at Auckland International Airport, you will receive a 'pink' Self-Isolation Pilot card which will need to be presented at Customs.

If you arrive in Christchurch, you will receive a lanyard to help identify you as a participant in the pilot.

Health check and COVID-19 tests

You will undergo a health check by qualified public health professionals. Depending on the outcome of the initial health check, you will be directed to a separate area and will then undergo additional COVID-19 testing which may include:

  • a nasopharyngeal test and / or 
  • a Rapid Antigen Test.

It’s important to note that if you have symptoms of COVID-19, the Rapid Antigen Test is positive or you do not have a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test, you will be transferred to a Managed Isolation (MIQ) facility and will remain in the facility for the remainder of your self-isolation period. You will not be able to complete self-isolation at your approved accommodation and participate in the pilot.

Customs declarations

Participating in the Self-Isolation Pilot does not exempt you from usual Immigration and border processes, including any Ministry of Primary Industries or New Zealand Customs requirements. Following the health check and COVID-19 tests, you will proceed through Customs as usual.  

During that process, you will be required to present your voucher confirming you are participating in the Self-Isolation Pilot.

Airport transfer to accommodation

If cleared to leave the airport, subject to your health check or additional COVID-19 testing, you will be transported to your accommodation in MIQ contracted transport provider. 

If you are in Auckland, ensure you present your Self-Isolation Pilot card that you received at the airport to the driver, confirming you are a pilot participant.

If you arrive in Christchurch, you will receive a lanyard to help identify you as a participant in the pilot.

It is important that you keep a medical face mask on at all times, are physically distanced from anyone else in the vehicle (with the exception of any other person you are self-isolating with) and follow any directions of the driver. 

No private airport pick-ups are permitted, all participants will be transferred in Government-approved transport.

Prepare for your stay in self-isolation

Make sure you have organised contactless deliveries for groceries, this may be done before you arrive at the accommodation or during your stay.

You will receive a welcome call from our monitoring service so that you understand requirements for your stay.

Testing during your stay in self-isolation

In addition to the testing on arrival at the airport, you will also be required to adhere to the following testing: 

  • Saliva test on days 3 and 6
  • Nasopharyngeal test on day 8

There may be more tests required.

If, at any time during self-isolation you test positive for COVID-19, you will be transferred to an MIQ facility.

General wellbeing checks during your stay in self-isolation

During your self-isolation stay, it is important that we can check on your physical and mental health and wellbeing. You will receive an email every day. We have established relationships with health care providers who are ready to respond to any concerns or symptoms you may identify as part of these daily health checks. 

You are still free to contact your primary health care providers, such as your GP, for any non-COVID-19 related care, however, consultations can only be done virtually. Ensure you notify them that you are on the self-isolation pilot. If you require emergency care dial 111. If you need to contact emergency services, ensure you notify them that you are self-isolating and have been overseas in the last 14 days.

Monitoring your stay in self-isolation

During your stay in self-isolation, you can expect to receive regular and random phone-based compliance monitoring checks from a third party on behalf of MBIE. It’s important that you answer these calls promptly. Note, these phone calls will be recorded.

During these calls, you will be asked to share your camera to confirm your identity. 

It's important that you consider your privacy and the privacy of others who may be isolating with you when on these monitoring calls.

During these calls you will also be asked to share your GPS location, so that the caller can confirm you’re within your agreed self-isolation location. We may also conduct secondary location verification as required. Note, we will not be constantly monitoring your GPS location.

In addition to regular and random phone-based checks, we may carry out contactless self-isolation location ‘spot checks’. These will be conducted by the third party on behalf of MBIE. Ensure you answer the door if they knock and announce their presence. Ensure you are wearing a mask before opening the door.

If it is suspected that you are not at your place of self-isolation at any time or if refuse to cooperate with monitoring requirements, the New Zealand Police will be notified. This may result in a breach of self-isolation pilot programme requirements, the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Isolation and Quarantine) Order 2020. You may be required to transfer to an MIQ facility.

It is important to remember that you may not have any visitors or allow people into the dwelling during your period of self-isolation, other than in emergency situations.

If you refuse to cooperate with monitoring requirements or have unauthorised visitors enter your place of self-isolation, you will be in breach of your self-isolation requirements, and you may be charged under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Isolation and Quarantine) Order 2020 and/or transferred to an MIQ facility, at your own cost.

If you have a private garden, you are allowed outside but must remain on the property. 

Leaving self-isolation

You are legally required to stay in your place of isolation for the required self-isolation period.

In almost all cases, a negative COVID-19 test and confirmation from a health professional that you are a low risk of having or transmitting COVID-19 are needed before you can go home or end self-isolation.

Low risk of having or transmitting COVID-19 includes confirming you:

  • have been in self-isolation for at least 10 days
  • do not display any COVID-19 symptoms
  • tested negative for COVID-19.

In the case of a positive case, refer to cleaning processes on the Ministry of Health website: 

Cleaning following a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19(external link) – Ministry of Health


You or your employer will need to pay for your accommodation if rental property is used, for food and other personal costs.

You will also be required to pay MIQ a fee of up to $1000 (excl. GST) per person. This includes costs of transport and other associated pilot costs. A payment agreement form will be supplied for an employer to complete. This fee will be calculated on a pro-rata basis if you are not required to self-isolate as part of the pilot for 14 days. 

You will be liable for MIQ fees if you need to enter MIQ because:

  • you fail to comply with self-isolation protocols
  • the pilot is suspended prior to your departure from New Zealand or while you were overseas.    

If you need to enter MIQ because you test positive for COVID-19, you will not be liable for MIQ fees.

Read more about charges for managed isolation

Last updated: 22 December 2021