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Please note: Two major initiatives have been announced to mitigate the impacts of possible high levels of absenteeism driven by close contact isolation, click here to read more. 

COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights)

The COVID-19 Protection Framework introduced a new flexible 3-level ‘traffic light’ approach to managing COVID-19 in the community on 3 December 2021.

Further information is available at COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights)(external link)

All of New Zealand is at Orange - Life at Orange(external link)(external link)

Transport operators can download a copy of our Guidance for the new Framework  [PDF, 1.1 MB] (as at 20 May 2022). 

It is important to note that this guidance may be updated in the future.

Operators receiving COVID-19 updates from the Ministry, Maritime NZ, the Civil Aviation Authority, or Waka Kotahi the New Zealand Transport Agency, should receive updates to this guidance through the communications channels these agencies manage.

Otherwise, operators downloading this guidance are encouraged to register their details at or with your relevant transport regulator (see page 6 of guidance document for contact details) so you can be sent any updates to this guidance.

Traffic light map (external link)

Changes to the maritime border  

Information for the maritime industry and travellers by sea.

As part of their five-step 'Reconnecting New Zealand' plan, the government has reopened our maritime border to foreign cruise, recreational and specialist vessels as of 11:59 pm, Sunday 31 July.

Further information is available at Ministry of Health | COVID-19: Maritime sector (external link)(external link)

Guidance for airlines and carriers

Information for airlines and carriers on Reconnecting New Zealand and changes to the Air Border Order.

New Zealand’s borders are reopening throughout 2022. On Wednesday, 11 May, the Government announced that:

  • New Zealand’s border is reopening to all tourists and visa holders from 11:59 pm, 31 July 2022. 
  • Vaccinated travellers arriving under the Accredited Employer Work Visa category can apply to enter New Zealand from 4 July 2022. 
  • All other visa categories - including those on visitor and student visas, can apply to enter New Zealand from anywhere in the world from 31 July 2022.

Travellers still need to meet all health requirements to enter New Zealand - including vaccination requirements.

On 16 June the Government announced that from 11:59pm 20 June 2022 travellers will no longer need to provide a COVID-19 pre-departure test to enter New Zealand.

Several other changes to the Air Border Order will also come into effect, including:

  • Travellers with COVID-19 like symptoms (e.g. hayfever) will be able to choose between showing a negative COVID test, or a certificate from a health professional ― stating that they are unlikely to have COVID-19 ― before travelling.  
  • Passengers transiting through New Zealand will no longer need to be vaccinated, nor be required to complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration.

Airlines and carriers can download a copy of our Guidance for Airlines and Carriers [PDF, 1.2 MB] (as at 20 June 2022).

Note: This guidance continues to be updated as further information is announced. Further information is available at Ministry of Health | COVID-19: Aviation sector(external link)(external link)(external link) and Unite Against Covid-19 | Travel to New Zealand(external link)

Changes to traveller declaration system for entering New Zealand

All incoming travellers must now complete an online traveller declaration ('New Zealand Traveller Declaration'(external link)) up to 28 days before departing for New Zealand. 


A New Zealand Travel Pass will then be issued, which can be printed or saved to their mobile device, to present before departure when checking in at the overseas airport and upon arrival at a New Zealand airport - to Customs. 

Returning to work – exemption from close contact isolation requirements during phases two and three of the Omicron response.

The Government has announced the Close Contact Exemption Scheme, which will be available for critical workers within critical services to work instead of isolating if they return a negative rapid antigen test (RAT).

Businesses and organisations can register online as a critical service if they think they will meet the criteria when we enter phase two. 

Transport and logistics are critical services under this scheme.

Detailed information about this scheme is available at link). This includes a link to the Critical Services Register.

Transport and logistics organisations are encouraged to pre-register for this scheme.

Close contacts who work alone can continue to operate in a bubble of one. These workers do not need to be registered using the Critical Services Register.