Heading overseas? Here’s what you need to know before you go - Consumer NZ

2022-04-21 11:40:22 By : Mr. Zero zhang

Use our international travel checklist to avoid being caught out

Whether you’re aching to reunite with loved ones or just can’t wait to get away, thanks to Covid-19, international travel now has a few extra steps involved.

Vaccine certificates, negative tests and quarantine periods – there’s a lot to get your head around. Rules and restrictions vary from country to country and airline to airline, so you’ll want to do your research before you take off.

First things first, dust off your passport and check it hasn’t expired. Sounds simple, but you could be caught out with this one.

Normally it takes 10 or so working days for a new passport to be issued, but with staff shortages due to Covid, there’s an estimated 21-day wait for a new passport.

You can expect further delays in the postal system too, which is under strain. Allow at least a month for your passport to arrive, to ensure you’re not left watching your plane take off without you.

No, your regular Vaccine Pass won’t cut it. You’ll need a vaccination certificate to ensure the country you’re travelling to recognises your proof of vaccination status.

This International Travel Vaccination Certificate is accepted by countries in the European Union. Some countries may have different vaccination certificate requirements, so you'll need to check this before you fly.

Anyone aged five years or older who has had any dose of the Covid-19 vaccine administered in New Zealand can request an International Travel Vaccination Certificate, though many countries will only let you in if you’ve had at least two shots. And if you’re over 18, you’ll need to be fully vaccinated to catch an Air New Zealand or Jetstar plane out of New Zealand, unless you have a valid medical exemption. Under-18s do not need to be vaccinated to catch a plane out of New Zealand, however they’ll need to check the entry requirements of their destination country as these vary.

Register your details with Safe Travel.

This Ministry of Foreign Affairs-operated service will relay any important information, as well as account for your safety and well-being. If an emergency situation develops in the country you’re visiting, Safe Travel will contact you and see if it can help.

Air New Zealand has a handy online tool where you can enter your destination country and see the requirements you’ll have to adhere to. Testing requirements are set by the country you're flying to, not the airline.

Be aware that within one country, there can be different rules set between states or territories.

For example, in Australia, fully vaccinated travellers in New South Wales are required to go straight to their lodgings and take a rapid antigen test (RAT) as soon as they arrive. If they receive a negative result, they can move more freely around the state. But they must not visit high-risk places such as aged care, disability care, healthcare and correctional facilities for at least seven days after arrival. And in the next seven days, they can visit high-risk places but only if they provide a negative RAT result prior to any visit.

However, across state lines in Victoria, international travellers must immediately quarantine upon arrival, but have a 24-hour window to produce their negative test. Travellers must carry proof of their negative test result and proof of vaccination with them for the next seven days, and be prepared to present them to authorities if asked.

Requirements can change at short notice, so it pays to monitor the rules of your destination country.

As always, when you travel, you must obtain the relevant visas required for entry. This information can be found by visiting the website of or contacting the embassy of your destination country.

Rules vary between international airlines, so check your airline’s Covid policy on its website. You must meet all the requirements in order to travel with the airline.

If your flights include a transit or stopover country, you’ll need to check that country’s requirements too, even if you don’t plan on staying there long.

Generally, if you’re in transit (waiting at the airport between flights) the rules are more relaxed, but if it’s a stopover (more than 24 hours) you may have to adhere to that country’s Covid rules, including any testing and quarantine required.

If the rules threaten to impede the rest of your trip, you may want to look at an alternative travel route.

Some countries require proof of a negative test result before departure from New Zealand. This could be either a RAT or a PCR test, depending on your destination requirements. To travel to Australia, for example, your pre-departure negative RAT must be done no more than 24 hours before your scheduled flight.

Pre-departure tests are not free under the public health response. Unlike getting free tests when you have symptoms, this time, the cost will come out of your own pocket. And no, you can’t just do a RAT at home. You’ll need a supervised test which is only offered by certain pharmacies, GPs and private clinics.

You can check which providers do pre-departure tests in your area on the Healthpoint website or ask your local chemist or GP if they offer this service. Test results have to be an official document.

Here’s a selection of places that offer this service:

Unichem Tests offered: RAT Locations: Nationwide Indicative pricing: Pricing varies but typically $40-$80

Life Pharmacy Tests offered: RAT  Locations: Nationwide Indicative pricing: Pricing varies but typically $40-$80

Chemist Warehouse Tests offered: RAT Locations: Select North Island locations Indicative pricing: From $50

Rako Science Tests offered: COVID-19 RT-PCR Locations: Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, Rotorua, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Wellington and Christchurch Indicative pricing: From $250

Test to Travel Tests offered: COVID-19 RT-PCR and IgM Antibody Test Locations: Auckland, Taranaki, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury and Dunedin Indicative pricing: From $175

If your destination country accepts RAT results, it’ll be cheaper for you to use the services of an accredited pharmacy rather than one of the dedicated travel testing providers.

Remember to carry your results with you as you may need to show them to customs or immigration on arrival at your destination. Paper or digital copies are accepted by most – why not take both?

You’ll need a plan for if you become unwell or test positive while overseas.

Make sure you have enough funds to extend your stay there if needed.

Understand what the isolation requirements are in the country you’re in and have emergency contact numbers on hand.

You’ll likely be able to order in food and other comforts while isolating, though personal medication may be a little tricker to top up. If you take medication, make sure you have enough for your trip, and then extra on top of that, to last an isolation period.

The New Zealand embassy can be contacted to offer some support and guidance if you ask for help.

At a time when travelling involves uncertainty, travel insurance is more important than ever. But you’ll need to check your insurance coverage carefully.

Not all insurers cover for Covid, though many countries require you to have a minimum level of medical cover just to enter the country. For example, Singapore requires you to have a minimum of $30,000 Singapore dollars (approximately $31,680 in NZ dollars) of Covid medical cover.

As always, we recommend you read the fine print and know what you’re signing up for before you pay. Where possible, always try to book services, tours, flights and accommodation which have clear rules around refunds – and save a copy of the cancellation policy for any bookings. You can use this as evidence in case you need to refer to it later.

Please note: This is general advice only. Travel restrictions and requirements differ between destinations and are subject to change. Always check the latest info before travelling.

As of April the first, Canada is no longer requiring pre flight testing.

Australia has now changed the rule to no RAT test required before departure. This is very recent so I’m not sure whether every state will have the same condition.

This change for Australia applies from 17 April 2022 (Easter Sunday - an Easter gift?!). Individual states may still require a test/isolation on arrival. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-25/pre-departure-covid-test-international-travellers-australia/100938716

Having a valid passport is often not good enough. Many countries you enter want a valid passport that has at least 6 months to go before its expiry date.

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