21 December 2021 at 4:30 pm

Updated timeframe for the re-opening of New Zealand's borders

The New Zealand Government on 21 December 2021 announced changes to its border re-opening plan, designed to minimise the risk to New Zealand from community transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Note: The information in this story was correct at the time of publication, however, some steps in New Zealand's border reopening plan have now been brought forward. Click here to check the current border reopening steps.

“To slow the rapid spread we have seen overseas, we are pushing out the start of non-MIQ travel until the end of February 2022”, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said. 

You can read the full announcement from the Government here.

The Government has not yet announced the date from which any specific group of foreign nationals, such as international students, will be able to travel to New Zealand or apply for visas to do so.

Until then, New Zealand’s current border settings will remain in place. Most people outside New Zealand cannot apply for a visa unless they have a border exception. There are limited border exceptions for international students.

New Zealand suspended most offshore visa applications from August 2020 and that suspension currently extends to August 2022. The Government may decide to lift the suspension, in whole or in part, before August 2022 – in line with its decisions on the stages of the border re-opening.

It is Education New Zealand’s view that it is better for international students, education providers and agents to wait for certainty on border entry conditions before making new plans or commitments to students.

At this stage, in most cases, if international students who are now in New Zealand leave, they will not be able to return to the country for the start of the 2022 academic year. They will need to wait to apply for visas and to travel to New Zealand until the dates the Government sets for them to do so.

At Education New Zealand we understand how much international students and education providers have been through during the COVID-19 pandemic.  We will keep students and providers up to date with the Government’s decisions as they are announced.

We are looking forward to welcoming international students back to New Zealand.

More information

Find out more about visas from Immigration New Zealand if: 

Find out more about New Zealand’s response to COVID-19:


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