enter New Zealand
New Zealand is introducing an additional measure for safe travelling during COVID-19. Source: David Gray/AFP

New Zealand will now require travellers from most countries to prove they have tested negative for COVID-19 before boarding a flight to enter the country, similar to Canada. This pre-departure test requirement will apply to all countries and territories except Australia, Antarctica, and select Pacific Island nations. Upon arrival, you must still complete the 14-day quarantine and undergo another COVID-19 test.

New Zealand’s Trans-Tasman travel bubble with Australia has taken a backseat as New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland all report fresh COVID-19 scares in the early days of 2021. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that most global air routes will be of critical concern for the foreseeable future,” said Chris Hipkins, New Zealand Education Minister who is also in charge of COVID-19 Response.

Can international students enter New Zealand?

Unfortunately, the borders of this island nation are still shut to most international students. Only 194 international postgraduate students have been welcomed back so far, with more expected soon. As a result, 5,200 students enrolled in New Zealand universities have been left stranded offshore all year, following their lectures online instead.

“We are likely to see border restrictions continue over the next 12 to 18 months, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the border restrictions look exactly the same during that time. So we are going to be looking to try and do everything that we can to create pathways for international students to come into New Zealand,” Hipkins commented last December.

New Zealand has managed to keep its numbers relatively low thanks to a strict national lockdown early in the pandemic. According to Reuters, the country has reported just over 1,800 confirmed cases and 25 deaths, with the last local case recorded two months ago.

More to come as the situation develops.