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New Zealand reopens borders to vaccinated international travellers from 2 May

Fortress New Zealand is reopening its borders quarantine-free to international tourists from 2nd May 2022, including travellers from Singapore, with a two-way arrangement inevitable.

After spending more than two years closed off to the world, taking one of the most cautious approaches seen globally to the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand is now bringing forward its date for reopening borders to fully vaccinated international visitors.

Originally planned for sometime in July 2022, the country will now welcome fully vaccinated visitors from 60 visa waiver countries, including Singapore, Japan, the UK and the USA, from Monday 2nd May 2022.

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Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents travelling to New Zealand from anywhere in the world will be welcomed around three weeks earlier, from 13th April 2022.

“We have now received guidance that it is safe to significantly bring forward the next stage of border reopening work, bringing back our tourists.

“In short, we’re ready to welcome the world back.”

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister

This will allow fully vaccinated tourists to arrive quarantine-free and without isolation in New Zealand, though for the time being the country is not on Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) list, meaning travellers from the Lion City will face seven days of home isolation on return from a New Zealand trip.

New Zealand. (Photo: Aneta Foubikova)

Don’t worry though – we expect New Zealand will either be added to the VTL in time for this reopening, or better still the VTL concept could be scrapped by then, in favour of allowing fully vaccinated travellers to enter Singapore without any quarantine requirements regardless of their country of origin.

Either way, New Zealand was one of the first countries Singapore reopened to during the pandemic, under its Air Travel Pass programme, so two-way quarantine-free travel will almost certainly be possible come 2nd May, by one process or another.

Process to New Zealand

Travellers from the following visa waiver countries can arrive quarantine-free in New Zealand from 11.59pm on 1st May 2022 onwards.

  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea, South
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Vatican City

Travellers must:

  • Have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing that they were fully vaccinated at least 14 days before departure (see below for approved vaccines / combinations); and
  • Obtain an Electronic Travel Authority; and
  • Complete a Health Declaration before check-in; and
  • Have a negative pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours of departure or a negative professional / supervised ART test within 24 hours of departure from the first embarkation point on their journey to New Zealand; and
  • Take a self-swab rapid antigen test (ART/RAT) on the day of arrival or the following day (Day 0/1); and
  • Take a self-swab rapid antigen test (ART/RAT) on Day 5/6.

The rapid antigen test kits for your on-arrival and Day 5/6 test will be provided free of charge when you land in New Zealand, so there’s no need to go out and buy any while on your trip, or bring any with you if you don’t wish to.

No self-isolation period applies for either of the post-arrival ART tests, but you must report the result from both tests.

Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Further opening to those arriving from non-visa-waiver countries, like China and India, is currently planned to take place from October 2022, though the prime minister hinted that this date could also come forward.

Approved vaccines

New Zealand currently recognises the following vaccines for quarantine-free entry:

  • Bharat Biotech Covaxin
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Moderna Spikevax
  • Novavax Nuvaxovid
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
  • Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty
  • Serum Institute of India (AstraZeneca) Covishield
  • Serum Institute of India (Novavax) Covovax
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac/CoronaVac

Alternatively, you can complete a course of any other government-approved vaccine (e.g. Sputnik V) and then have one dose of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna or Janssen administered before arriving in New Zealand, and be considered fully vaccinated.

Full details are available here.

No booster dose requirement is currently in place for quarantine-free travel to New Zealand.

Flights to New Zealand

Singapore Airlines is operating daily Airbus A350 flights between Changi and Auckland during the upcoming northern summer season (April to October 2022), while Air New Zealand will also recommence direct Boeing 787-9 services to Auckland from Singapore later this month, offering a further three times weekly service.

Air New Zealand will return to Changi from 29th March 2022. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Singapore Airlines is also serving Christchurch non-stop on a daily basis this summer, using Airbus A350s.

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Unfortunately SIA permanently axed its Wellington via Melbourne services in March 2020, confirming in September that year that it would not be returning to the city post-COVID.

For those eager to be the first to arrive quarantine-free in New Zealand from Singapore, the following flights by each airline will represent the inaugural services to touch down after the new policy is in force:

  • 1st May: SQ285 Singapore – Auckland 10.45pm (arrives 12.20pm 2nd May)
  • 2nd May: SQ297 Singapore – Christchurch 7.50pm (arrives 9.30am 3rd May)
  • 3rd May: NZ281 Singapore – Auckland 8.50am (arrives 10.45pm same day)

Redemption rates

These are the one-way KrisFlyer miles redemption rates for flights between Singapore and both Auckland and Christchurch on Singapore Airlines flights.

KrisFlyer Redemption Rates
New Zealand to/from Singapore
  Saver
(one way)
Advantage
(one way)
Economy 28,000
55,000
Premium Economy 47,000
n/a
Business 62,000
90,000

62,000 miles in Business Class on a saver award is great value for these 10-hour flights, the same rate you’ll pay for shorter trips to the likes of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

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Unfortunately no First Class cabin is proposed for any New Zealand flights in the current published schedule through to 29th October 2022.

Daily Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A380s are pencilled in by SIA for the Singapore-Auckland route from November onwards, but this schedule should be seen as provisional for now, given the shorter notice changes still being made during the pandemic recovery phase.

First Class cabins on both of these daily flights are currently blocked for sale, a good sign that Airbus A350s will actually be used.

Summary

It’s great to see New Zealand finally reopening its borders and sooner than planned too, with the popular destination welcoming fully vaccinated tourists from Singapore and 59 other visa waiver countries from 2nd May 2022.

Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents will get a look in from 13th April 2022, nearly three weeks earlier, wherever in the world they are arriving from.

We expect New Zealand will now be added to Singapore’s VTL list, for two-way quarantine-free travel, or that by the time its borders reopen the VTL concept will be a thing of the past, and all fully vaccinated travellers will be able to enter Singapore without quarantine via a much simpler process.

Will you be planning a trip to New Zealand from May onwards? Let us know in the comments section below.

(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)

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