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MFAT: Advice For New Zealanders Overseas

The New Zealand Government is now advising New Zealanders to avoid non-essential travel overseas due to the outbreak of COVID-19, associated health risks and travel restrictions. There may be a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 overseas. You may come in contact with more people than usual, including during long-haul flights and in crowded airports. Health care systems in some countries may come under strain and may not be as well-equipped as New Zealand’s or have the capacity to support foreigners.

We continue to advise that New Zealanders do not travel to some locations, including China and Iran due to COVID-19.

Advice for New Zealanders currently overseas
There have been significant travel disruptions globally due to COVID-19. Many countries are introducing entry or movement restrictions, including Australia. Contact your airline, travel agent or insurance provider for advice on travel plans and options for cancelling or postponing current bookings, or to arrange flights back to New Zealand.

All travellers entering New Zealand (except from most Pacific Islands) must isolate themselves upon arrival. Foreign nationals who have been present in, or transited through, Iran or mainland China in the previous 14 days cannot enter New Zealand. Monitor the Immigration New Zealand and Ministry of Health websites for more information.

If you’re overseas and can’t or don’t want to return to New Zealand, follow the advice of local authorities. Take care to minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19, monitor local media and keep your family and friends in New Zealand regularly informed of your plans and well-being. Be ready to comply with local isolation or quarantine requirements, and to rely on the local health system. Make sure you can access money to cover emergencies and unexpected delays. Register or update your registration details on the SafeTravel website – including if you relocate or depart from the country.

New Zealanders seeking consular assistance overseas can contact their nearest New Zealand Embassy or Consulate. Contact details are listed in each country page on the SafeTravel website. For urgent consular assistance after-hours please contact 0064 99 20 20 20 (monitored 24 hours a day).

Although individual travel advisories may not display an ‘avoid non-essential travel’ advice level, New Zealanders should carefully consider their need to travel at this time and defer any non-essential travel. If you choose to travel despite our advice, New Zealanders should continue to consult these destination pages for an overview of relevant risks.

COVID-19 and travel disruptions
Overseas travel has become more complex and unpredictable, and many countries are introducing entry or movement restrictions. A number of these border restrictions apply to New Zealanders, including those seeking to transit through these countries or territories to New Zealand, as well as those arriving via cruise ship. These are changing often and quickly. Your travel plans may be disrupted. You may be placed in quarantine or denied entry to some countries.

For information on countries and territories which have COVID-19 related border restrictions, including for travellers in transit, please check the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website and the immigration website of the relevant country before you travel. For information on Australian border restrictions, visit the Australian Home Affairs website. As border restrictions continue to change, sometimes with little or no notice, check these websites regularly.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not provide immigration advice for entry to other countries and territories. The border authorities of the country or territory you are travelling to determine your eligibility for entry.

Returning home
New Zealand has implemented new border measures, including a temporary ban on cruise ships entering New Zealand waters and other provisions.

From Sunday 15 March 2020 every person entering New Zealand from anywhere in the world, apart from the Pacific, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and register with Healthline (0800 358 5453). These measures are temporary and will be reviewed after a period of 16 days on 31 March 2020.

There are also temporary restrictions on travellers arriving in New Zealand from mainland China or Iran. The restrictions prevent foreign nationals travelling from or transiting through mainland China or Iran from entering New Zealand. For more information see the Immigration New Zealand and Ministry of Health websites.

Information on cruises
All cruise ships which have sailed from a foreign port have been banned from entering New Zealand ports until 30 June.

New Zealanders, particularly those with underlying health concerns, should reconsider taking an overseas cruise at this time due to COVID-19. The virus can spread quickly on board cruises due to the close contact between passengers. Some cruise ships have been put into quarantine, and countries have denied entry to ports, which can have significant consequences for travellers. If in doubt, consult a medical professional before travelling.

If you choose to continue your plans for a cruise, and you're concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on your plans, please contact your travel agent or cruise operator for specific information. Please also check the Australasia website of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which outlines the protocols they put in place for the health and safety of cruise passengers and crew in response to COVID-19. All CLIA member cruise lines are required to implement these protocols.

For further travel advice and information about COVID-19, please see our COVID-19 web page here.

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