Where can a New Zealand passport take you in October?

New Zealanders have the privilege of holding the most powerful passport in the world right now. Yet in world still ravaged by Covid-19 and with many travel restrictions in place, does this really mean anything?  Lee Seabrook-Suckling finds out what countries have their borders open to Kiwi passport holders for October 2020. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Covid-19 advisory remains in place: do not travel overseas at this time. However, with travel bubbles emerging, borders opening up, and restrictions easing across the world, leaving New Zealand is quite possible. The problem, MFAT notes, is difficulty getting back into New Zealand upon return (and the need for user-pays hotel quarantine, which can leave you with a $3000 bill) 

The Asia Pacific region is the most restricted in the world in terms of travel. New Zealand, as you know, will only allow residents to enter the country. While the same has been true for Australia and Australians, in mid-October the states of New South Wales (NSW), Australian Capital Territory (ACT), and the Northern Territory (NT), will permit New Zealand passport holders quarantine-free entry into the nation. However, this offer has not been reciprocated by the New Zealand Government yet and Kiwis cannot re-enter without quarantining in managed isolation facility at their own cost.

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A handful of Asian countries are permitting New Zealanders to enter their borders | Photo: Needpix

Bangladesh – open to New Zealand passports with valid visa 

Flights from some countries have resumed to Bangladesh, including from various other Asian nations, UAE, Qatar, Turkey and the UK. This makes it possible for New Zealand passengers with a valid visa to enter with a negative Covid-19 test certificate, issued within 72 hours of arrival. Health officials will determine whether you can self-isolate for 14 days in your own accommodation, or if you need to enter quarantine in managed isolation. 

Cambodia – open to New Zealand passports with valid visa 

While tourist visas are still suspended (e.g. with visas on arrival and e-visas)other visa holders with a negative COVID-19 test result issued 72 hours within departure can enter CambodiaYou must have a travel/health insurance policy that pays out at least US$50,000, and you need to put down a US $2000 deposit for Covid-19 service charges upon airport entry. The Cambodian authorities will refund and money unused service charges. With a negative test result, you must self-isolate in your own accommodation for 14 days.  

Japan open to New Zealand passports with medium/long term visas 

In a first move of many signalling the opening-up of Japan to the world, anybody who wants to travel from New Zealand for three or more months to provide medical, cultural, or educational services to Japan will be permitted. They’ll need to have an approved visa beforehand from the Embassy of Japan and enter into a 14-day quarantine process in managed isolationBusiness travellers planning to stay less than 90 days are not yet accepted, but the Japanese embassy says this is in the works. 

The Maldives – open to New Zealand passports
Commercial flights have resumed to The Maldives, and visa-on-arrival services (e.g. for tourists) are up and running. Passengers with New Zealand passports must present negative Covid-19 test result from within 72 hours of arrival. With that in place, no self-isolation or quarantine is required. If you are showing any symptoms of the coronavirus, you’re required to take another PCR swab test at your own cost in-country. 

Singapore – open to New Zealand passports
Singapore unilaterally opened its borders to New Zealanders in September. Kiwi visitors travel under the Air Travel Pass Schemewhich allows for all forms of short-term travel, including leisure travel.  A PCR swab test will be taken upon arrival, and everyone is required to download and use Singapore’s TraceTogether app for the duration of their stay. No self-isolation or quarantine is required.  

South Korea - open to New Zealand passports with valid visa
Visa holders, including international students, are permitted entry to South Korea. A 14-day quarantine in managed isolation is required and the cost for this is approximately NZ$130 a day. 

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Seoul, South Korea, at night | Photo: Wikipedia


Taiwan - open to New Zealand passports for business purposes
Business travellers from New Zealanders are cleared for border entry to Taiwan when they can prove the purpose of their visit is for work reasonsbut they’re also subject to an entry permit. 14-day quarantine in managed isolation is then still required, although if you’re coming from a low-risk country, you can apply for a shortened quarantine.

Thailand - open to New Zealand passports with long-stay visas
Tourists with New Zealand passports on special long-stay tourist visas are now allowed. An initial stay of 90 days is required, and this can be extended up to 270 days. The goal is to start attracting tourism back to Thailand by encouraging those who can work remotely to temporarily relocate to Thailand. Up to 1200 people are accepted a month, and they must go into quarantine at a state facility or a hospital functioning as managed isolation for 14 days, and must provide proof of their long-term accommodation in Thailand.

Pakistan – open to New Zealand passports

All passengers to Pakistan must submit a health declaration form and will be subject to thermal screening at the airport, but not a PCR swab test - as long as you're from a "Category A" low-risk country, which New Zealand is. For those with no Covid-19 symptoms, you will be accepted for entry and will be given instructions to self-isolate for 14 days. Travellers must also install the Pass Track app. 

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A visit to Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore, Pakistan remains possible | Photo: 123RF

The following countries generally require proof of a negative Covid test for entry. Some require proof of travel or health insurance, which puts a spanner in the works for many as travel insurance is not available for travel Covid-affected countries. AMC has been unable to find any travel insurance company that will insure New Zealanders while MFAT’s travel ban remains in place.

Open borders in the Middle East 

Afghanistan: No quarantine, Armenia: 14-day quarantine, Kazakhstan: No quarantine, Kyrgyzstan: No quarantine , Georgia: 14-day quarantine , Iran: 14-day quarantine, Jordan: 7-day quarantine, Kuwait: Self-isolation for 14 days, Lebanon: No quarantine, Turkey: No quarantine, United Arab Emirates: Entry into Dubai only. 14-day quarantine or self-isolation. 

Open borders in Europe

From 1 July, entry to the EU by non-EU citizens became permitted for countries that are deemed safe by the EU council, and this list will be reviewed every 15 days. New Zealand is on the list, but it is up to EU member states to make the decision for their own borders. 

With the exception of Belarus (self-isolation for 14 days), the following European countries have no quarantine for New Zealand passport holders. AlbaniaAustriaBelgiumBosnia and HerzegovinaBulgariaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkGermanyGreenlandGreeceEstoniaFinlandFranceIcelandIrelandItalyKosovoLatviaLithuaniaMaltaMontenegroMoldovaNorwayThe NetherlandsNorth MacedoniaPolandPortugalRussiaSerbiaSlovakiaSloveniaSpainSwitzerlandLiechtensteinRomaniaSwedenUkraineUnited Kingdom. 

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Mask wearing on the metro in Athens, Greece | Photo: Pixabay


Open borders in Africa

Burkina Faso: 14-day quarantine, Central Africa Republic:14-day quarantine, Chad: 7-day quarantine, The Democratic Republic of Congo: No quarantine, Djibouti: No quarantine, Egypt: No quarantine, Ethiopia: No quarantine, Equatorial Guinea: No quarantine, Ghana: No quarantine, Guinea: No quarantine, Kenya: No quarantine, Liberia: No quarantine, Mauritania: No quarantine, Morocco: No quarantine, Mozambique: 14-day quarantine, Namibia: No quarantine, Nigeria: Self-isolation for 7 days, Rwanda: No quarantine, São Tomé and Príncipe: Self-isolation for 14 days, Sierra Leone: No quarantine, Senegal: No quarantine, Seychelles: No quarantine, Somalia: No quarantine, Somaliland: No quarantine, South Africa: No quarantine, South Sudan: No quarantine, Tanzania: Self-isolation for 14 days, Togo: No quarantine, Tunisia: No quarantine, Zambia: No quarantine.  

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Cape Town, South Africa | Photo: Needpix

Open borders in Oceania
French Polynesia: No quarantine, Palau: 14-day quarantine, Papua New Guinea: 14-day quarantine.

Open borders in North America
Mexico: no quarantine, United States: Self-isolation for 14 days.

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Kiwis can travel to the US but are asked to self-isolate for 14 days | Photo: Picserver

Open borders in Central America
New Zealand passport holders can enter the following countries with no quarantine: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua.

Open borders in The Caribbean 

Anguilla: No quarantine, Aruba: No quarantine, Antigua and Barbuda: No quarantine, Barbados: No quarantine, The Bahamas: 14-day quarantine, Bermuda: No quarantine, Cuba: 14-day quarantine, Dominica: No quarantine, Dominican Republic: No quarantine, Grenada: No quarantine, Haiti: No quarantine, St Lucia: No quarantine, St Vincent and the Grenadines: No quarantine, Jamaica: No quarantine, Turks and Caicos: No quarantine.   

Open borders in South America  

Bolivia: No quarantine, Brazil: No quarantine, Colombia: No quarantine, Ecuador: No quarantine, Peru: 14-day quarantine. 

Note: Information correct as at 9 October 2020. 

- Asia Media Centre