With the last update, New Zealand's border has returned to normal, so this blog post ends at this point.
- 1 Update 12.09.2022
- 2 Update 09.06.2021:
- 3 Update 05.06.2021:
- 4 Update 06.04.2021:
- 5 Update 16.03.2021:
- 6 Update August 12, 2020:
- 7 The Coronavirus and New Zealand
- 8 Update 08.06.2020 – Move to Level 1
- 9 Lockdown – level 2
- 10 Important sources of information
- 11 General information about Corona
- 12 What you should do now if you are in New Zealand during Level 2
- 13 Restrictions in New Zealand
- 14 Freedom Camping
- 15 Selling or buying a car during Corona
- 16 Visa options and information
- 17 Return of tourists to Germany
- 18 Flight restrictions
- 19 I know people who don't follow the self-isolation rules
- 20 Your direct line to us
- 21 Disclaimer
New Zealand is reopening the border as normal.
New Zealand has announced that the border is now back to normal with no vaccination checks required.
The only exception is still the need to fill out the New Zealand Traveller Declaration.
All instructions on how to do this can be found on the government website at https://www.travellerdeclaration.govt.nz/.
This Traveller Declaration is required for all travellers, regardless of which visa you intend to use to travel to New Zealand.
It can be completed a maximum of 28 days in advance and collects your contact details, starting point and the last flight you took to New Zealand.
There is good news for all Working Holiday Visa holders still in the country, as well as all SSE Visa holders.
All working holiday visas and SSE visas that would expire between 21.06.2021 and 31.12.2021 will be extended for another 6 months.
SSE visa holders will also be allowed to work in all sectors and industries. There is no longer a restriction to horticulture or viticulture and the corresponding registered employers after the extension of your SSE visa.
The summary of the important points:
- Working Holiday visas that expire between 21 June and 31 December 2021 will be automatically extended for six months.
SSE working visas expiring between 21 June and 31 December 2021 will be automatically extended for six months with open working rights allowing them to work in any sector.
- Anyone onshore who previously held a temporary work visa can continue to apply for an SSE work visa. New visas issued under this category are restricted to work in the horticulture and viticulture sectors.
- The median wage increase applies to Essential Skills work visa applications, as well as Skilled Migrant Category and Other Critical Worker border exception category residence applications.
- The implementation of the stand-down period is further delayed until July 2022. The stand-down period requires people on lower-paid Essential Skills work visas to leave New Zealand after a certain period of time before they can apply for another lower-paid work visa.
A few days ago, I sent an official enquiry to the MBIE (Ministry of Business, Employment & Innovation) about the state of current visa holders. I asked them what the situation was for all Working Holiday and SSE visa holders currently in the country.
Unfortunately, they didn't tell me anything new. The only answer was that I would receive information in one or two weeks. They are still working on details and possibilities. Therefore, as of today, 05.06.2021, the only thing that helps is to wait and see.
I recommend you have a plan B, but speculate that there will be a regulation for most. Because employers here in New Zealand are desperately in need of workers.
As soon as there is something new, I will add it to this post. Feel free to share this post as well.
For completeness, here is the original response from the MBIE:
Mōrena Julian, This is currently being worked through and there should be more to say in the coming week or two. I will ensure you are on the distribution list for any press releases that go out. Cheers,
Today, the long awaited Tasman Bubble was finally officially confirmed.
From 19.04.2021, it will be possible to travel between Australia and New Zealand, and from New Zealand to Australia, without quarantine. Thus, after a little over a year, the announced Travel Bubble has finally received its official date.
The Travel Bubble is subject to the proviso that no active cases exist, and can be restricted again at any time.
New Zealand is currently in Level 1 and has only minor restrictions on everyday life.
The borders to New Zealand are still closed, with a few exceptions. It is currently not officially known when entry will be possible again.
We will keep you informed and update this post as soon as there is news regarding Working Holiday.
Important sources of information
COVID19 (Corona) Website New Zealand:
- Immigration New Zealand
- Current News to Corona
Federal Foreign Office Germany:
Update August 12, 2020:
Starting at 12 noon the new Level 2 (New Zealand wide) and Level 3 (Auckland) will apply to New Zealand.
Unfortunately 4 positive cases were tested yesterday outside the quarantine centres. Therefore the increase of the lockdown levels was announced at short notice.
For the time being, the increase is to apply until Friday 14.08.2020 at night, then it will be decided how to proceed.
In this article you will find all relevant sources to inform yourself. The information situation changes daily. Before you start a journey, check the current information and hints of the linked websites.
Update 08.06.2020 – Move to Level 1
New Zealand will be at Alert Level 1 on Tuesday 9 June 2020. The Government has announced that New Zealand can safely move out of Alert Level 2 at 11:59pm on Monday 8 June.
At Alert Level 1, everyone can return without restriction to work, school, sports and domestic travel, and you can get together with as many people as you want.
Until then, we're still at Alert Level 2, and all Alert Level 2 guidance and restrictions apply.
Controls at the borders remain for those entering New Zealand, including health screening and testing for all arrivals, and mandatory 14 day managed quarantine or isolation.
As we unite to recover from the effects of COVID-19, it's still important that we keep the basic hygiene measures, including washing your hands and coughing or sneezing into your elbow.
We should all continue to keep track of where we’ve been and who we’ve seen to assist with rapid contact tracing if it is required. Businesses should help customers to keep track of where they’ve been by displaying the NZ COVID Tracer QR code poster.
Lockdown – level 2
Since 13.05.2020 23:59 New Zealand is in Level 2 of the Corona alert system. This means that a lot of the latest restrictions are lowered. More details can be found further down in this article. The borders to New Zealand are currently closed for all foreign citizens, so please refrain from arriving in New Zealand. If you are already in New Zealand, we have a few words about it below.
Important sources of information
COVID19 (Corona) Website New Zealand:
- Immigration New Zealand
- Current News to Corona
Federal Foreign Office Germany:
General information about Corona
In order to continue to minimise the spread of the coronavirus, New Zealand will be at threat level 2 from 23:59 on 13 May 2020. This means that many of the previous restrictions will be relaxed. Nevertheless, there are still some things to consider.
Full details can be found on the New Zealand Ministry of Health website linked above.
What you should do now if you are in New Zealand during Level 2
- Travelling is now allowed within New Zealand, but take care and still minimise contact with “strangers”. So if you meet up with people, not more then 10 people in total. And make sure to be able to keep track whome you met. So if anyone is tested positive, that people can be contacted to get tested as well.
- If you have a Working Holiday or other visa that allows you to stay for a longer period of time, then you can currently wait for the situation in New Zealand. No one knows how long the restrictions will last. Especially farms and supermarkets are now looking for more staff to keep life going. Also fruits and vegetables have to be harvested. If your visa is about to expire but you want to stay longer, please contact Immigration New Zealand. According to the statement all visa applications are currently being reviewed favourably. All visas that expire between 1.4.20 and 9.7.20 are extended until the 25.9.20 . All visa holders will be notified by email. All persons whose visas expire before 1.4.20 must arrange for a new visa themselves, a temporary visa is usually provided. Source: Immigration New Zealand
- Pay attention to the current warning level in connection with Corona. There are 4 levels in total, currently we are in level 3, please follow the instructions to minimize unnecessary spreading. In the newspaper article you can find examples that are still allowed.
Restrictions in New Zealand
Please follow the rules shown in the picture above. New Zealand does this for serious reasons and to limit the spread of the virus. If everyone here plays along, we can get back to an orderly and normal everyday life much faster. Anyone who does not follow the rules is not only endangering himself but also everyone else in New Zealand. Therefore please follow the rules, it is for your own protection and welfare and the protection and welfare of all fellow citizens and fellow travellers.
The restrictions in short form:
- It's up to us, to minimise the spread of Corona. The virus is still out there, so play it safe!
- Keep your distance from other people in public.
- If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
- If you have symptoms of cold or flu call your doctor or Healthline and get advice about being tested.
- Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
- Sneeze and cough into your elbow, regularly disinfect surfaces.
- If you have been told to self-isolate you must do so immediately. High fines apply for not following this.
- Keep a track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen.
- Life at Alert Level 2 means you can resume many of your everyday activities — but you have to do so safely.
- You can travel between regions.
- Initially gatherings like weddings,religious ceremonies and social gatherings can have up to 10 people.
- You can safely connect and socialise with close friends and family, in groups of 10.
- You can visit local cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs to have a meal.
- You can return to your regular recreation activities, at first keeping to 10 people.
- From 29.5.20 onwards, a maximum group size of 100 people applies for churches, funerals and tangi's. This means that churches are allowed to open again and perform their masses. Despite all this, social distancing will of course still apply.
- On 8.6.2020 the existing rules for level 2 will be re-evaluated and adjusted if necessary.
- On 22.6.20 the parliament will probably decide when New Zealand can safely go to Level 1 of the Corona warning levels.
The DOC has already announced that it will reopen all its facilities from 14.5.2020. This includes visitor centres, cabins, Great Walks, camping sites and all other facilities.
Note that in huts and all other places the maximum group size is limited to 10. If you can, bring a tent so that if in doubt you can stay in front of a hut that has already reached the maximum number.
You are responsible for ensuring safe hygiene including disinfection of your hands. Stay and play safe!
Most of the regional freedom camps will open again gradually. Don't expect that all sites will be open again on 14.05.2020, but the councils will do their best to reopen the sites safely and in time.
Be sure to keep your distance from strangers and make sure you can contact people if you have any contact with them. In the event of a corona infection it is much easier to keep track of all those affected.
Travelling within New Zealand is again permitted, please make sure you observe the remaining restrictions.
Selling or buying a car during Corona
Notify the NZTA via email to firstname.lastname@example.org after your sale. Do that as soon as possible after your sale. Provide information about full name of the current owner including date of birth, the rego of your car, the date you sold it and the make and modell of the car sold. If you have, provide the details of the new owner, if you don't have them tell that new owner is unknown. That's all you need to do in case you are selling. Everything else is the responsibility of the buyer.
When buying a vehicle, you need to do a bit more things. Still easy to manage, but you need to show up in person (after they reopened) at NZ Post, AA, VTNZ or VINZ, bring your id with you. Fill out the form MR13B and hand this over to the person at the counter that verifies you and confirms the transfer of ownership.
If you have a New Zealand drivers licence you can do the process online as well, just check out the NZTA website for that.
Official Answer of NZTA during Corona (Covid19)
We asked the NZTA, here is their answer on what to take care when selling your car:
Thank you for your email.
When a vehicle is sold or disposed of the seller needs to notify NZTA of this fact as soon as possible. If this person does not have a NZ Driver Licence they cannot complete this notification online, however they can advise the sale or disposal of their vehicle by emailing the information to email@example.com.
They will need to provide the following information so this can be completed
- Full name and date of birth of the current registered person
- Registration plate number and make and model of the vehicle sold
- Also the name and address of the person who has purchased the vehicle. If this is not known, let us know and we can complete the sale to person unknown.
The buyer will need to lodge the notice of acquisition, form MR13B with their id, but they can only do this online if they have a NZ driver licence. If they don't they will need to lodged this form over the counter with ID that has their full name, date of birth and signature as soon as one of the following agents are open
- NZ Post
You may also find the buying and selling vehicle information on our website useful: www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/factsheets/41
Unfortunately we do not have lists of wreckers or dealers that are open during the lockdown.
Further information can be found on our website at https://nzta.govt.nz/about-us/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-services-update/frequently-asked-questions/.
Visa options and information
As we are not an immigration adviser, here is just our personal opinion and no advice.
New Zealand has partially changed the rules for visas and the following options are currently available in our opinion. For detailed questions the hotline of the New Zealand Immigration is the best choice, because only here you can get binding statements and possibilities.
- All temporary visas have been extended until 25 September. I have already received an e-mail to that effect. All visas that expire between 2.4.20 – 9.7.20 will be extended. All affected persons will be notified by e-mail. The confirmation of this extension came by email and was sent at the beginning of April.
- If you are on a tourist visa and are still qualified for the Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand, you can also apply for it from within the country.
- If you are currently on a tourist visa and would like to work but are no longer qualified for the Working Holiday Visa then there is currently the possibility to get a Recognised Seasonal Employers Visa. These are very limited, but offer at least the possibility to work for a small selection of employers in Horti- and Viticulture, regardless of age. All further information about this visa can be found here on the immigration website. The visa can only be applied for if you are already in New Zealand.
Return of tourists to Germany
For the time being, the German government's recall campaign has come to an end. If there is new information, we will pass it on here.
Currently more and more countries are closing their transit and therefore the return journey is becoming more and more difficult. On the IATA website you can find the latest information on air traffic restrictions. All current information is available here.
If you can't find a way to leave the country on your own anymore, then sign up for the above mentioned list of the German Foreign Office and wait for further information.
I know people who don't follow the self-isolation rules
If you are in the uncomfortable position of knowing people who do not adhere to self-isolate, you should either speak to them yourself or inform the appropriate authorities.
People who deliberately break the self-isolation and do not follow the rules are a risk for everyone in the country. Therefore, do not feel guilty if you resort to this measure.
- You can easily send details and necessary information by e-mail to people who do not follow the necessary measures. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org please write the e-mail in English.
- You can also report cases online at https://www.police.govt.nz/105info
- If you don't have access to email address, you can also contact the police on 105 (this number is for non-emergency cases).
Your direct line to us
You would like to have someone with whom you can keep in touch or play through concrete thoughts. Then take a look at our Backpacker First Aid & Travel Coaching. We help you personally where we can. You can find all information and the possibility to book here.
We do not guarantee the accuracy or content of the linked websites. If you notice an error, please let us know here in the comments. Thank you very much.
Due to the constantly changing information situation, parts of the information may be out of date by now. Please take this into account.
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