Our ‘team of five million’ have joined forces with Australia, to form a team of 30 million.
In a world-first ‘two-way bubble’ announcement, and for the first time since March 2020, borders between our two countries are now open for quarantine-free travel. But before you pack your bags and head to the airport, here are some important things to know.
You’re not required to be vaccinated
To fly between Australia and New Zealand, you don’t need to be immunised. However, you’d be unable to travel if you’ve had a positive Covid-19 test within the last 14 days, or if your test results are still pending. Also, random temperature checks will be performed at the border, and those with cold or flu symptoms will not be allowed to travel. Face masks are still mandatory on all flights
Your visa requirements
Normal visa and immigration requirements apply. Our advice for any non-Australian citizens or resident workers who plan to travel to New Zealand is to contact an immigration adviser. They will answer any questions you may have about immigration, including visas.
How airlines will keep travellers safe
Airlines need to coordinate flights and travel crew for quarantine-free travellers, to ensure they don’t mix with those heading for a managed isolation facility. Passengers will be taken through airport ‘green zones’, where there will be no travellers arriving from other less safe parts of the world.
When can you book your flight?
At the time of this writing (9 April 2021), Air New Zealand, Qantas and Jetstar are providing regular return flights from Auckland to most major Australian cities.
Prices are comparable to pre-Covid levels. To date, both Emirates and Singapore Airlines have confirmed that they have no plans to enter into the trans-Tasman market.
What would happen if the bubble burst?
Travel between the two countries will operate at three levels, using a traffic light system: continue (green), pause (orange), and suspend (red). Travel may be paused for up to 72 hours, for example, if a case from an unknown source requires a state to enter a short-term lockdown. If there are multiple cases of unknown source, flights could be suspended for an extended period of time.
You won’t be covered by travel insurance
It’s important to note that, if an outbreak in either country leaves you stranded, travel insurance is unlikely to cover you. Unfortunately, current travel insurance policies don’t cover changes in alert levels or border closures.
Depending on your policy, there may be cover for certain Covid-19 related scenarios, but benefits and entitlements vary widely. Make sure you talk to a travel insurance adviser to understand what the policy does and doesn’t cover.
Change and cancellation policies
Some hotels and airlines offer flexible change and cancellation policies, allowing customers to cancel or postpone their bookings if Covid-19 disrupts their plans.
Stay in the know
If you’re planning to travel across the ditch, we welcome you to visit covid19.govt.nz for the latest updates:
- Quarantine-free travel from Australia to New Zealand
- Quarantine-free travel from New Zealand to Australia
Are you a Kiwi returning from the UK?
Keep Pension Transfers in mind. If you’re moving back to New Zealand from the UK for good, transferring your UK Pension closer to you is worth considering. We have over 20 years of experience assisting returning Kiwis and UK expats in understanding what UK pension transfers to New Zealand entail – the benefits and key things to be aware of.
Importantly, under current rules, if you complete your transfer within four years of becoming a NZ tax resident, you can transfer your UK pension without any NZ tax obligations on the lump sum.
Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.