Eligibility criteria and self-isolation requirements

Expressions of Interest have closed and provisional participants have been selected via a ballot process. A self-isolation plan and further verification and evidence must be supplied for final approval to participate in the pilot. The information below will help provisional applicants plan for self-isolation.

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 two 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. MIQ will transport 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.

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 14 days. 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.


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 $1000 (incl. 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.

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

COVID-19 testing

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border Order) 2020 and the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Isolation and Quarantine Order) 2020 are applicable to those who are chosen to be part of the pilot and you must comply with testing requirements, both pre-departure and in self-isolation.

A pre-departure test is mandatory

You will be required to complete pre-departure testing unless you are travelling from a country exempted from that requirement.

You need to have had both your COVID-19 sample taken and your result returned no more than 72 hours before the scheduled departure time of your first international departure. You must provide the approved documentation of your negative test result at the airport when you check in for your flight.

If your pre-departure test is positive, airlines will not allow you to board your flight. You will then need to stay in your overseas location until you receive a negative test. When you have recovered and have had a negative test, you will be able to travel to New Zealand and will be required to enter an MIQ facility. You will need to contact us immediately if you receive a positive result so arrangements can be made.

Testing and health checks on your return to New Zealand

On arrival at the airport, you may have a health screen and a COVID-19 test (Day 0 test).

Once in self-isolation, testing will be similar to what is expected in an MIQ facility.

You are required to be tested even if you show no symptoms. You may also be tested at other times if you show any of the symptoms of COVID-19, breach conditions of isolation or come in close contact with somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Welfare checks will also be conducted regularly while you are in self-isolation.

Monitoring and compliance

All participants are required to comply with a compliance and monitoring regime which may include a smartphone app and/or regular phone-based checks.

More detail will be provided on arrival into the country.

If you do not follow self-isolation requirements

Under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Isolation and Quarantine) Order 2020, those breaching self-isolation rules will be required to enter MIQ – at their own cost – and can be charged with a criminal offence that carries a penalty of up to $4,000 or up to 6 months’ imprisonment.

When can you leave self-isolation?

You are legally required to stay in your place of isolation for a minimum of 14 days.

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 14 days
  • do not have a temperature of 38°C or higher or display any other COVID-19 symptoms
  • in almost all cases, tested negative for COVID-19.
Last updated: 15 October 2021