NOTE: New Zealand changed their travel rules on 21st June 2022 (after this article was published).
You can view current travel and quarantine requirements for entry to New Zealand here:
Pre-entry requirements for New Zealand
Most fully vaccinated foreign travellers can now enter New Zealand. You will be required to provide proof of your vaccinations, and New Zealand will accept the UK’s proof of Covid-19 vaccination record. (See below for what ‘fully vaccinated’ means.)
As before the pandemic, you should also check additional requirements such as passport validity, New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA)/visa requirements etc.
All travellers, including those that are fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from Covid-19 (see below), need to take a Covid-19 test before departure. The test can be either a PCR or an antigen test (RAT) and must be taken OR supervised by a healthcare professional.
Are there any specific rules for the entry test to New Zealand?
The full rules for the entry test are available on the New Zealand government website. Included on the site are conditions which state that you must provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 result from one of these tests:
- A supervised Rapid Antigen Test (RAT, often called a Lateral Flow) or LAMP Test (Loop-mediated isothermal amplification) taken no more than 24 hours before you depart from the UK
- A PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before you depart from the UK.
Supervised testing criteria: RAT and LAMP tests must be supervised by a health professional such as a nurse or pharmacist. However, home tests are permitted as long as they are supervised via a telehealth (video supervision) appointment.
Since the timing of the test prior to departure is relatively short, an antigen test (RAT) is likely to be the best option for you. The easiest and cheapest option is a home supervised antigen test (RAT), also known as a telehealth test, e-consultation test, or TeleMed test.
CTN tip: We are aware of several UK testing providers which do NOT provide real-time supervision. Instead, they request a recorded video of the test being undertaken or a photo to be uploaded. Based on our understanding of the testing criteria, this method of testing is NOT valid for entry to New Zealand. By using the CTN travel testing comparison site, when selecting a “supervised home test” we only list providers that offer real-time supervision.
What are the entry test rules for children?
Children under 2 years of age (24 months) do not need to take a pre-departure test. Children 2 years of age (24 months) and above will need evidence of a negative pre-departure test.
Can I use an NHS test?
Self-administered tests which are not supervised by a health professional or free NHS tests are not suitable for travel.
CTN tip: When travelling from the UK, make sure that you select a private provider which is listed on the GOV.UK list of general population Covid-19 testing providers . This is a list of 1,000+ providers who have declared they have met the UK Government’s minimum standards to provide Covid testing services. At CTN we provide a travel testing comparison site to help you easily find the right test for you at the right price.
Can you highlight any providers who meet the requirements?
The CTN Comparison Site offers a way of finding verified providers who fulfil the requirements for entry into New Zealand. It lists a provider satisfaction score and the price a provider charges.
Below are two examples of providers offering a Supervised Home Test, suitable for travel to New Zealand (prices/scores accurate at time of writing):
Discount Code: CTNHQ30
Discount Code: CTN10
What should I do if I’ve recently recovered from Covid-19?
If you’ve recently recovered from Covid-19, you still need a pre-departure test. Your test may show a positive result, so a doctor will need to examine you for current symptoms of Covid-19.
If they are confident you do not have Covid-19, they must give you:
- a medical certificate with the date of your positive test — either a PCR test taken within 48 hours of your first international flight, or a RAT or LAMP test within 24 hours of your first international flight
- your test results
- documentation stating they consider you as no longer infectious with Covid-19.
If you’ve tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 3 months, it’s possible that you will still test positive, so it’s recommended that you book a medical consultation (which can be in person, by phone or video) in advance of taking your test, as the timing of the test prior to departure is very short.
What does ‘fully vaccinated' mean?
In order to enter New Zealand, you need a ‘full course’ of an approved vaccine. This means 2 doses of a 2-dose vaccine or 1 dose of a single dose vaccine.
CTN tip: Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres cannot used to demonstrate your vaccine status, but the NHS COVID Pass app is accepted. You should check that your first name and your surname on your passport match how they are displayed by your NHS COVID Pass at least 2 weeks before you travel. If the names are different, contact your GP practice to have your details updated.
How can I show proof of my pre-departure test?
Your pre-departure test documentation must meet New Zealand Government standards and be in English. You will need to upload your pre-departure result to your New Zealand Traveller Declaration (see below), so it is recommended you ask for an emailed copy of your results. You can also scan a paper copy or take a photo of your document to upload.
All test results must include your full name, date of birth or passport number, type of test, date and time of the test, and the test result (confirming it was negative). PCR test results must also include the name of the testing lab.
For RAT or LAMP tests your results must also include:
- either the name of the health professional (for example, a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist) who supervised the test, including a letterhead or stamp confirming their name, occupation and employer;
- or the name of the pharmacy, laboratory, healthcare entity, telehealth service, community-based or airport-based testing station that supervised the test.
The Traveller Declaration website includes a form which you can give to your provider to evidence your pre-departure test. Note that this form is NOT a mandatory requirement and generally provider certificates will include all the requested information included on this form.
What else should I think about before I travel?
Get your Traveller Pass: Travellers arriving into New Zealand by air must complete the Traveller Declaration and be issued a New Zealand Traveller Pass before travelling to New Zealand. You will need to show your Traveller Pass (which can be printed out or saved on your mobile device) both when you check-in at the airport and to Customs when you arrive in New Zealand. You will also need to prove that you have an onward ticket and sufficient funds to support you during your stay. You can check the full criteria on the New Zealand Immigration website.
CTN tip: A Traveller Pass can only be generated when all documents have been uploaded to the Traveller Declaration. This is likely to involve manual verification by a government official in New Zealand. As the earliest you can take a RAT is 24 hours prior to your flight departing the UK, it is recommended that you take this test as early as possible to (though still within the timeframe) to allow the greatest amount of time as possible for the verification to be undertaken and your Traveller Pass to be generated.
Get travel insurance: The New Zealand government strongly encourage you to get travel insurance, and some visa categories require you to hold insurance as a condition of your visa. Before you buy travel insurance, we recommend you check what cover it provides for Covid-19 related events, including medical treatment and travel disruption.
The New Zealand Government has confirmed it expects to remove pre-departure testing requirements no later than 31 July 2022.
Written by Abbie Pullman
Published on 27/05/2022
Abbie is General Manager/Operations Director at Covid Testing Network, overseeing the day-to-day operational running of the business.
The information within this article is accurate at the time of publishing.
Information about testing requirements, entry requirements to the UK and travelling abroad during Covid-19 is CTN’s understanding of the requirements from multiple sources including the UK Government website at the time of publishing - always check full requirements including mandatory documentation and quarantine rules before you travel! By using our site, you confirm that you accept our user terms and conditions and you agree to comply with them. We amend these terms from time to time. Every time you wish to use our site, please check these terms to ensure you understand the terms that apply at that time.