New Zealand Announces Border Opening Plan

Reopening the New Zealand border

The international border is open and eligible travellers are now able to apply for a visa.

The maritime border is now open, and eligible travellers can enter New Zealand by sea.

Visa waiver travellers and work, working holiday, visitor and student visa holders can leave and return to New Zealand, if their visa conditions allow for this.


Previous update: On 8 April 2022, New Zealand Immigration provided further information as to the Stage 3 and Stage 3B of the New Zealand International Border Reopening Plan.

From 12 April 2022, Phase 3 of the New Zealand International Border Reopening Plan, the following groups can enter New Zealand without a border exception:

  • Work Visa Holders
    • Work visa holders outside New Zealand
    • Work visa holders in New Zealand may also leave and return
  • Dependents of Workers
    • Dependents of Work Visa Holders with valid student visas who are both in New Zealand may leave and return.
  • Australians
    • Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents can enter New Zealand from anywhere in the world.
  • Student Visa Holders
    • Student visa holders currently outside of New Zealand
    • Student visa holders in New Zealand may leave and return
    • Border exception for 5000 new and returning international students

From 1 May 2022, the following visa groups can travel to New Zealand without a border exception:

  • Dependent of Workers
    • Dependents of work visa holders who hold a valid visitor visa
  • Visitor Visa Holders
    • Visitor visa holders with valid travel conditions can enter New Zealand from any country
    • This includes people in New Zealand who wish to leave and return
  • Visa Waiver Travelers
    • All travellers who can usually travel to New Zealand without a visa (visa wavier) can enter New Zealand if they have a valid New Zealand electronic Travel Authority

Update 16 March 2022

New Zealand Immigration announced some significant changes to the Border Reopening Plan to allow some eligible international travellers earlier than expected.

From 11:59 pm 12 April 2022, fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents can enter New Zealand without self-isolation or quarantine requirements.

From 11:59pm 1 May 2022, fully vaccinated visitors from waiver countries, and visitors from other countries who already hold a valid visitor visa without self-isolation or quarantine requirements.

See the updated Border Reopening Plan below:

On 3 February 2022, New Zealand revealed a 5-step plan for the reopening of their international border. This is long awaited news for New Zealand residents stuck in Australia, family and friends overseas and skilled workers and migrants.

The Government’s five-step plan to reopen New Zealand’s borders this year will allow more families to reunite, sectors and employers to access more skilled workers from offshore, business travel and international events to resume, and more international students to return to New Zealand.

Vaccination, COVID-19 testing and isolation requirements will continue.

Managed Isolation & Quarantine (MIQ) requirements will remain for the unvaccinated. MIQ requirements for other travellers will be lifted in the following steps.

Step 1 – New Zealanders in Australia-

27 February 2022

Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other travellers eligible under current border settings from 11:59 pm on Sunday 27 February.

Travellers from Nauru, Tuvalu and American Samoa will be able to enter from Step 1.

Step 2 – New Zealanders around the world

13 March 2022

Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other travellers eligible under current border settings from 11:59pm on Sunday 13 March.

Travellers from Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Fiji can enter New Zealand from Step 2.

Working Holiday Schemes will begin to reopen.

The salary criteria for critical workers in roles longer than six months will be reduced to 1.5 times the median wage. The requirement for these workers to demonstrate ‘unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not readily obtainable in New Zealand’ will be removed. Workers entering under these settings will not be eligible for the special 2021 Resident Visa.

Step 3 – temporary visa holders, international students

12 April 2022

Current offshore temporary visa holders (who still meet relevant visa requirements) and up to 5000 international students selected by the Ministry of Education from 11:59 pm from Tuesday 12 April.

Wider entry for sports and other events will be enabled. Additional and expanded class exceptions for critical workers earning below 1.5 times the median wage will be implemented from Step 3.

Step 4 – borders to Australia reopen

July 2022

Our borders will open to Australia, visitors from visa waiver countries and Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders from July.

Opening travel to Australians and visitors from visa waiver countries means family members of more onshore temporary migrants will be able to visit New Zealand.

At this point, the border exception pathway for critical workers will be phased out as it will no longer be needed with the opening of the new AEWV category. The new Accredited Employer Work Visa will be limited mainly to roles that pay above the median wage.

Workforce class exceptions and other border exceptions will remain in place where needed until wider visa processing resumes.

Step 5 – normal visa processing resumes

October 2022

Most visa categories, including visitor and student visas, will reopen in October.

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Mohamed Anas Sirajur Raheem

Barrister and Solicitor, New Zealand
Australian Lawyer

Mohamed is a New Zealand Immigration Lawyer with VisaEnvoy and an enrolled Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand. He is also admitted as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of Queensland.

He is a former New Zealand Immigration Officer (Visa Services) and Border Officer at Auckland International Airport. He has several years of experience working in various Government Departments in New Zealand and has also worked as a Licensed Immigration Adviser at a prominent New Zealand Immigration firm.

His areas of expertise and interest are in the fields of General Skilled Migration, Temporary Work (Long and Short Stay), Business visas, Partner, Parent and Child Visa streams.

Mohamed was inspired to pursue a career in immigration by his own migration experiences. Over the years he has assisted individuals, families, large corporations, Professional sportspeople, and Entertainers (singers, speakers, and actors) to come to New Zealand. Book appointment

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