What Are the Latest Updates Regarding Pre-Departure COVID Testing?

Pre-departure COVID testing is one way the NZ government wants to reduce infection on international flights. Keep following this space for more.

The COVID-19 pandemic had shaken up the entire world. Still, the NZ government has been lauded by global leaders for its novel ideas and regulations, which has caused the country to stifle the pandemic's deadly nature. While the NZ Immigration department is busy announcing numerous revisions to its temporary work visa applications for migrant workers, this government body is also taking up the initiative to reduce the risk of viral transmission on the flights.

The Government Orders

According to the latest announcements, the government requires people from most countries traveling to New Zealand to be tested negative before they depart from the respective countries and before their arrival on the Kiwi shores.

Why is Pre-Departure Testing Necessary?

According to the NZ government, the rates of COVID-19 viral infection are high in specific countries. In some others, there are newer strains of the virus that are infecting people. Stay-at-home directives and lockdown restrictions have been imposed. The government is monitoring such overseas developments and is concerned.

The new viral strains have the potential to spread vigorously. Hence, the government and immigration departments have been instrumental in introducing specific measures, including pre-departure COVID testing. With such efforts, there will be a reduced risk of viral transmission during international flights.

The Approved COVID Tests

The following COVID tests are accepted in New Zealand according to the standard health protocols.

  • PCR/RT-PCR tests
  • LAMP
  • Antigen tests - Viral antigen tests and Point-of-Care antigen tests

When Do You Need a Pre-Departure Test?

The NZ government has announced the pre-departure COVID testing to be mandatory for almost every international traveler flying to New Zealand. These travelers need to get tested and carry a negative COVID-19 test result 72-hours before their first scheduled flights for NZ.

  • This specification came into effect after 11:59 PM (NZT) on the 15th of January, 2021, for the people traveling from the UK and the USA
  • For the travelers from other countries, except the UK and the USA, this came into effect from 11:59 PM (NZT) on the 25th of January, 2021

If the government announcements and regulations are overwhelming to you, you can book a consultation with our experts who will give you the necessary details about the pre-departure COVID test and the requirements regarding the same. Our immigration consultants are experienced in the intricate details of the NZ government's policies and will offer you a detailed outlook.

Who Does Not Need a Pre-Departure COVID Test for Arriving in New Zealand?

The NZ government has exempted few people and categories from a mandatory pre-departure COVID test before arriving in New Zealand.

Children Below 2 Years of Age

Children under 2 years of age/below 24 months, will not require the mandatory COVID-19 test. On the other hand, those above 2 years, will need to provide the evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.

Travelers From Australia, Antarctica, and a Host of Pacific Nations

The NZ government has also announced the countries' names from where it does not require a negative COVID-19 test result. These countries are

  • Australia
  • Antarctica
  • Fiji
  • Cook Islands
  • Nauru
  • Palau
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Kiribati
  • Samoa
  • Niue
  • New Caledonia
  • Tonga
  • Tokelau
  • Solomon Islands
  • Vanuatu
  • Wallis and Futuna
  • Tuvalu

Travelers From Countries Where a Standard Pre-Departure COVID Test Is Not Available

These locations where standard pre-departure COVID tests are not available are listed below.

  • Albania
  • Laos
  • Dominica
  • Kenya
  • Belize
  • Slovenia
  • Myanmar
  • Montenegro
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • St. Kitts and Nevis

The standard tests required by the NZ government are not available in these nations. Instead, the travelers need to obtain a certificate from a suitably-qualified or licensed health professional or medical practitioner. The certificate or the report needs to confirm that the concerned people have no symptoms less than 72 hours before traveling to New Zealand. It indicates that they are doubtful to become the cause for the spread of the viral transmission.

To Whom Do You Need to Provide These Medical Reports/Certificates?

International travelers reaching NZ need to provide the medical certificates when requested by one or more of the following.

  • An immigration officer
  • An enforcement officer
  • A staff member or a representative of the respective airline
  • A health protection officer

Though the above countries are exempted from a standard pre-departure COVID test, the travelers flying from these nations need to stay in a managed quarantine facility on their arrival. There will be 14 days of controlled isolation. Within those 14 days, the travelers will undergo tests on the 0/1st day, 3rd day, and the 12th day of their stay.

What Happens if You Cannot Take a Test Due to Medical Reasons?

You might have specific medical complications that prevent you from taking the test. In such a case, you need to see a certified or licensed medical practitioner within 72 hours of your departure who will analyze your symptoms and infer that you do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

They will then issue a medical certificate saying that your pre-departure test cannot be done due to medical reasons, and confirm the absence of tell-tale signs and symptoms. It will be acceptable as per the new regulation.

What Happens if You Have Taken a COVID-19 Vaccine?

If you have taken the COVID-19 vaccine, you still need to take the pre-departure test. If the result is positive, you need to display a medical certificate confirming that you are not infectious with the COVID-19 viral strain.

Check with airline authorities and their regulations regarding vaccines to factor these things into your travel timings.

There is a range of regulations already in place. All this information could be simply too confusing or difficult to understand. Hence, booking a consultation with our NZ immigration experts will be one of the wisest things to do!

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