New Zealand to ban unvaccinated travellers from November 1

New Zealand and its flag-carrier both embrace mandatory vaccination as “the new reality of international travel.”

By David Flynn, October 4 2021
New Zealand to ban unvaccinated travellers from November 1

New Zealand will make full Covid vaccination a requirement of entry as of November 1, although 14 days of quarantine will remain part of the country's first line of defence against the coronavirus.

In addition, all international travellers – except those from a handful of exempt locations – will need to show a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours of their flight.

"To further reduce the possibility of the virus getting through our border, we are introducing the requirement for air travellers aged 17 and over, who are not New Zealand citizens, to be fully vaccinated to enter New Zealand," the country's Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement.

Travellers will have to provide proof of vaccination, or a valid medical exemption, to their airline upon check-in and also NZ customs officers on landing.

The NZ government and its Medsafe health authority have approved 22 vaccines, and the last dose must be taken at least 14 days before arrival.

"Most people coming to New Zealand tell us they are already vaccinated," Hipkins added. "This requirement makes it formal and will provide an extra layer of protection at the border."

Air New Zealand will also require that from February 2022, all passengers on its international flights will need to be vaccinated.

"Being vaccinated against Covid-19 is the new reality of international travel," Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said in a statement, adding that "many of the destinations Kiwis want to visit are already closed to unvaccinated visitors."

"As with anything, there will be some that disagree. However, we know this is the right thing to do to protect our people, our customers and the wider New Zealand community."

Qantas has already announced that all passengers on its international flights must be fully vaccinated, while Virgin Australia – which currently flies only domestic routes, but plans to resume overseas flying from December – has yet to release its own vaccination policy.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 967

Google how many different vaccines we get including whooping cough etc and covid vaccine is just another one of those vaccines. I really can’t understand why anyone won’t want to do there part and get vaccinated.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 126

It’s only about 10-15% locally that are in that category, fortunately. 

Although once you leave the APAC region and go to Europe and the US, it’s a different ball game. Since their governments didn’t implement to stay at home orders for lengthy periods of time and they’ve been allowed to travel internationally, they’ve got a different attitude towards it. While it’s been difficult, I feel that Australia overall has had a good progress, especially on the Eastern front when it comes to doing our part for the greater good - regardless of the outbreaks we’ve had.  As well as the expected outline for what will be required if you travel as unvaccinated. While Australia will allow you to leave, you’ll be hard pressed to find an airline that will transport you, or a country that will allow you enter anyway. 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 517

Sorry but that is a false comparison. Those vaccines are mainly given to children, have been in use for decades and not under emergency use authorisation. They have a very different risk profile to hastily developed Covid shots in use for less than a year. Not to mention that with the ever increasing schedule, only persons who were children in the 90s or later have received many of them. Older people have received far fewer. Compare vaccination schedules in the 60s to the 90s and the most recent ones. Very big difference. In the 60s, most people only received a couple of polio shots and maybe smallpox. Today's children receive something like 50-70 different vaccines by the time they're 18 (although some are combined so the actual number of needles is much lower).

Vaccines, like other medicines need to be evaluated individually, not on a "one size fits all" basis. Given all the censorship and hysteria surrounding this subject which makes any critical assessment treated as blasphemous, I'm going to refrain getting into a protracted debate, suffice to say that the Covid vaccines on the market have a less than stellar record and mandating them to regain one's freedom is in my opinion, unethical in the extreme.

New Zealand is also shooting itself in the foot by introducing this policy. If they were to at least offer two options - keeping the quarantine for unvaccinated but lifting it for the vaccinated, it might entice some. By keeping the quarantine in place despite vaccination, they're killing their tourism dependent economy.

Why not do what Thailand has? 7 days for vaccinated arrivals - but if entering via one of the "sandboxes" you can leave your hotel as soon as you return a negative test. You just need to make a booking for 7 days. It's now down to 10 days for the unvaccinated.

emercycrite Banned
emercycrite Banned

01 Oct 2021

Total posts 7


05 Jan 2018

Total posts 57

have they said anything abt permanent residents needing the jab or exempt like citizens? 

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

21 Jan 2016

Total posts 193

Air NZ's CEO has already said in local NZ media, any international travel NZ citizens and permanent residents will need to fully be vaccinated to travel internationally.  This also will apply to the trans Tasman travel as well with both NZ and Australia automatically being quarantine free zones.

07 May 2020

Total posts 151

@SYDINI...actually I just travelled SYD-FRA 3 days ago with Singapore Airlines and I am not medicated. Singapore Airlines requires ALL passengers to have a negative PCR test for checkin. There was no problem entering Germany and no requirement to quarantine. I'm just informing this audience that it is easily possible to travel without being medicated. In a few days I will be going to Croatia. Nothing like the facts to upset a good story that medication passports are necessary.

For somebody who endlessly bangs on about this same topic over and over in every article that's got any connection with vaccination or quarantine or COVID travel restrictions, it's NOT 'medication' or a 'medication passport', it's 'vaccination' or a 'vaccination passport'. 'Travelling while being medicated' sounds like you're popping valium or xanax while flying.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 517

It is possible indeed GoRobin. I guess it depends where you're going. Fortunately, Europe remains quite sensible. Nearly all of Africa is also an option, as is Russia and even parts of Asia. Thailand retains a quarantine, but it has now been reduced for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 126

What's the point if they are still going to let unvaccinated NZ citizens, and anyone under 17 unvaccinated into their country? Like being a little bit pregnant?

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 517

Are you sure they will be letting under 17 unvaccinated people into the country? It doesn't say anything about it in the article.

11 May 2018

Total posts 1

Definitely under 17 do not require vaccination.  Quote from Chris Hipkins:  “To further reduce the possibility of the virus getting through our border, we are introducing the requirement for air travellers aged 17 and over, who are not New Zealand citizens, to be fully vaccinated to enter New Zealand.  

A lot of very unclear messages coming from NZ right now.  Fully vaccinated still have to quarantine and not able to do home quarantine either.  No systems have been trialled or implemented yet so rather slow out of the blocks.  Not sure what they've been doing.

25 Mar 2021

Total posts 15

They are currently taking expressions of interest for a trial of non hotel isolation which was announced ages back.

It is 17 and over and some countries only have vaccines approved 17 and over. Also very few non citizens u18 would be eligible for access as there is are not going meant the requirements for job skill shortage.

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