From today, travellers who require visas, as well as those on student visas, are now permitted to enter New Zealand. The country is also now permitting entry by cruise ships and foreign recreational yachts at its ports.
Visitors arriving in New Zealand still need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and must provide two negative tests upon arrival. There are no longer any quarantine requirements, however.
New Zealand has been in a process of gradually easing its pandemic-era border controls since early March, when it eased mandatory isolation and quarantine requirements for vaccinated citizens and residents, enabling its sizeable expat community to return home for the first time in two years.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “It's been a staged and cautious process on our part since February as we, alongside the rest of the world continue to manage a very live global pandemic, while keeping our people safe."
New Zealand Tourism Minister Stuart Nash added that the return of cruise ships is also expected to be a boon for local industries, explaining: “Most cruise visits are during the warmer months of October to April, and summer is our bumper tourism season overall. This means it will be full steam ahead for the industry.”
The latest suggests an acceleration in the pace at which the New Zealand government has been easing its Covid travel restrictions. Under the original schedule of border easing plans released in February, it was suggested that travellers and students who do require visas to enter New Zealand would have to wait until October.
New Zealand experienced its first spike in coronavirus cases in March 2022, peaking at over 15,000 new cases on 5 March, after managing to maintain an extremely low number of cases for the first two years of the pandemic. This has now declined to around a third of the peak figure, to 5,575 cases as of 31 July.