New Zealand Aiming to Start Quarantine-Free Travels Next Year

New Zealand Aiming to Reopen and Start Quarantine-Free Travels Next Year

NZ's taking baby steps in lifting border restrictions.

After more than a year of strict border control, New Zealanders finally got a much-awaited update from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about lifting border restrictions and reopening the country to foreigners.

In a press conference on 12 Aug 2021, Prime Minister Ardern made her statement very clear: “We’re not in a position to fully reopen just yet. When we move, we will be careful and deliberate because we want to move with confidence and with as much certainty as possible,” she began. That said, the Prime Minister finally brought up reopening New Zealand’s borders in 2022 in phases and with careful assessment. 

Also read: 13 Filipino Restaurants You Should Visit in New Zealand!

How New Zealand plans to gradually reopen next year

new zealand quarantine

Image credit: Sander Lenaerts

“We cannot keep border restrictions on forever, and to be absolutely clear, we don’t want to do that either. So long as the scientific evidence shows we can safely transition from a border defence to the individual armour of the vaccine, then that is the direction we will go,” Ardern explained. 

As part of New Zealand’s reopening and COVID elimination strategy, vaccinated New Zealanders will participate in a pilot starting October 2021. The pilot will entail fully vaccinated workers travel overseas and self-isolate at home when they fly back to NZ. This would hopefully be the new protocol instead of having to go through mandatory two weeks of government-managed isolation. 

Ardern then indicated that if all goes well, then New Zealand would welcome fully vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries and allow them to skip quarantine early next year. Meanwhile, fully vaccinated travellers from medium-risk countries will be asked to undergo some form of self-isolation or a shorter stay in a quarantine hotel. However, unvaccinated travellers and fully vaccinated travellers from high-risk countries will still have to conform to the mandatory government-managed isolation. 

This road map will also depend on New Zealand’s accelerated rollout of vaccinations in the next few months. “Just like the science, that path will not be absolute. But I think people have come to appreciate that while the future is uncertain and the plan can change — that doesn’t mean we can’t make one,” said Ardern. 

Also read: 10 Fantastic Reasons Why You Should Visit New Zealand

There’s finally hope that non-essential travellers might be able to visit New Zealand again next year. Safe to say that we’re all hoping New Zealand’s efforts to reopen its borders are fruitful!

Featured image credit: Thant Zin Oo | Unsplash

About Author

Therese Sta. Maria
Therese Sta. Maria

Therese's close friends know that if they haven’t seen her around recently, then she’s probably having an adventure with her luggage and camera in hand. Though she loves staying at home and spending lazy afternoons with friends, there are times when she has to be "away from home to feel at home," — that’s when she’s bitten by the travel bug. See her travels on Instagram @reesstamaria.


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