Vaccinated Kiwi citizens and Australians are already permitted to travel and set foot on New Zealand soil. This border reopening will take effect a minute before midnight on February 27. As for travelers from other countries, entry to NZ is effective by March 13, 2022.
According to Prime Minister Ardern, the reopening of the borders of New Zealand to all Kiwis, Australians, and anyone who holds a key visa is made up of a five-phased reconnecting plan. This entails travelers’ potential and possible entry in the coming 3 months. This undertaking is also pictured as a significant step towards attaining economic recovery while addressing the shortages of manpower in the country as well.
This reopening of New Zealand’s border is expected to start and take effect comes February 27 and this will cover all Kiwi and Australian nationals. The good side of it is that they will no longer have to undergo strict isolation and self-quarantine. Prior to this, the Prime Minister also stated that after the implementation of this plan for a period of two weeks, travelers from the rest of the world will then be allowed to enter New Zealand.
However, despite this measure along with the abolishment of quarantine and isolation for New Zealanders and Australians, the Prime Minister stressed that strict border measures will still be enforced in order to control and mitigate the spread and flourishing of Coronavirus. People who travel to NZ from other countries will still be required to undergo a ten-day self-isolation protocol. But certainly, this ten-day self-isolation period will then be reduced to seven days the moment NZ moves to its pandemic plan’s second phase.
On the 12th of April, border extension will be permitted in order to manage the entry of more than 5,000 international students who are expected to arrive for the school year’s second semester. This will also apply to travelers with temporary visas who meet essential visa requirements.
July is also being targeted as the month wherein visa-free travelers and tourists will be allowed entry to the country. The prime Minister also added that in the month of October, New Zealand will open its borders to both students and other travelers that require a visa. In consonance with this, normal processing of visas will also resume.
All arrival departments in the airport will be facilitated with 3 rapid antigen tests. These tests will be conducted in the following manner in three respective schedules: the first test is to be done on the first day, the second test will be done on the traveler’s fifth or sixth day, and the third test will serve as a backup.
Immigration Minister Faafoi said that NZ’s Working Holiday Visa plans will also reopen after five weeks in order to fill up the needed workers for the country’s tourism, wine, horticultural, and hospitality sectors. This will also provide highly-needed visitor spending for the country as well.
Before the onset of Covid-19 in New Zealand, over a million visas were issued annually. Thus, this announcement is just a signal that the country is on its way to performing manageable steps toward the reopening of the country’s border with an ample amount of safety and precaution, as well as letting everyone learn about living with Covid without getting overwhelmed.
Chris Hipkins, New Zealand’s Response Minister for Covid-19 said that 94 percent of the country’s population is fully-vaccinated already, and 92 percent are now on their way toward getting their booster shots on or before the end of February. Because of this triumphant status of New Zealand, Hipkins emphasized that this is now the time for NZ to center its attention to undergo reconnection and full recovery.