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The breathtaking scenery, temperate climate and untouched coastline of this island nation on the other side of the world, deservedly put New Zealand on many British travellers’ bucket lists. Its small population and open, mountainous landscapes make it ideal for escaping Covid – if you can get there.
Is New Zealand on the green list?
Yes, New Zealand is on the UK’s green list. But this doesn’t mean that Brits can go on holiday there. Its borders are currently closed to most arrivals, other than permanent residents.
Will I have to quarantine?
The UK government has set up a traffic light system that rates countries green, amber or red based on Covid risk alongside the restrictions required for travel. The Department for Transport has included the following key factors in its assessment:
- the percentage of their population that have been vaccinated
- the rate of infection
- the prevalence of variants of concern
- the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
Arrivals to the UK from green-listed New Zealand must take a pre-departure test in that country. On the second day after arriving in the UK, you need to take a PCR test, but (unless you receive a positive test) won’t need to quarantine.
However, this is only true in theory. Reaching the UK from New Zealand without passing through an amber list country is likely impossible, and if you do transit through an amber list destination, you’ll need to self-isolate for 10 days when you arrive back.
Plus, entry to New Zealand from all countries is strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. All arrivals, other than from Australia, Niue and the Cook Islands, need a pre-departure negative Covid test result and have to undergo a 14-day managed isolation in a hotel on arrival. This is only open to New Zealand permanent residents and people who have obtained special permission to travel there for work.
For most arrivals, managed quarantine is at your own cost. The average cost of a single occupant staying in managed isolation is about NZ$5,520.
How do I get there?
No airlines fly direct to New Zealand from the UK, but there are many services with a stopover. You can fly to New Zealand with Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathy Pacific, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, among others.