New Zealand unveils five-step border reopening plan

Victor Maschek /

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a five-step plan to reopen New Zealand’s international borders, beginning with waiving hotel quarantine requirements for Kiwis stranded overseas by the pandemic.

The first stage begins at the end of February 2022, when fully-vaccinated New Zealand citizens and residents will be permitted to enter New Zealand when traveling from Australia. They will still need to self-isolate upon arrival. 

The second stage will begin on March 13, 2022, when fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and residents can enter the country from anywhere in the world and follow protocol requirements upon entry. 

Stage 3 begins April 12, 2022 and will allow offshore temporary visa holders with a valid visa and up to 5,000 international students to enter the country.

By July 2022, the fourth stage will see fully vaccinated travelers from Australia permitted entry to the country, alongside those from visa waiver countries. Travelers arriving under the Accredited Employer Work Visa categories can also enter at this stage.

The final stage is expected to take place in October 2022 when the country will be open to all travelers and all visa category holders.

All travelers entering the country during any of the five stages are still required to self-isolate.

Apart from a short-lived travel bubble with Australia in 2021, this will be the first time New Zealand has opened its borders to the world in almost two years. 


“Overall, opening back up in this managed way balances inflows of travelers so people can reunite and fill our workforce shortages, while also ensuring our healthcare system can manage an increase in cases. After all, our strategy with Omicron is to slow the spread, and our borders are part of that, “ Ardern said in a statement.


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