New Zealand reopening: My arrival experience in Auckland

Last Updated:

New Zealand is now open to Singaporeans. On & post-arrival testing is still a thing, but it's otherwise very straightforward.

New Zealand has reopened its borders to Singaporeans and nationals of 59 other visa-waiver countries, effective 2 May 2022.

🇳🇿 New Zealand Visa-Waiver Countries
  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia1
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong2
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea, South
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia3
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania4
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau5
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Poland
  • Portugal6 
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan7 
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom (UK)8 
  • United States of America (USA)9 
  • Uruguay
  • Vatican City
1. Citizens only
2. Residents with HKSAR or British National–Overseas passports only
3. Citizens only
4. Citizens only
5. Only if you have a Macau Special Administrative Region passport
6. If you have the right to live permanently in Portugal
7. If you are a permanent resident
8. If you are travelling on a UK or British passport that shows you have the right to reside permanently in the UK
9. Including USA nationals

I was on SQ285 to Auckland, the first flight over from Singapore, and the experience couldn’t have been more straightforward. Truth be told, the vast majority of formalities are settled before you go (e.g. applying for NZeTA, completing the Traveller Declaration). If all these are in order, you can be off the plane and out the airport within 20 minutes. 

🇳🇿 Journey to Middle Earth

Before you fly

I highly recommend you read through this post covering all the documents you need to prepare before departing for New Zealand. To briefly recap, you should be carrying physical copies or screenshots of the following: 

  • Vaccination certificate
  • Negative pre-departure ART or PCR test result
    • Taken within 24/48 hours (ART/PCR) of departure, and required for travellers 24 months or older
  • NZeTA
    • Costs NZD$9 (+ mandatory NZD$35 International Visitor Conservation and Tourism levy) if applied via NZeTA app (Android | iOS), not required for APEC Business Travel Card cardholders
  • NZ Traveller Declaration
    • Complete within 24/48 hours of departure (since it requires submission of pre-departure test results)

There is no mandatory travel insurance requirement, though I’d definitely recommend purchasing it nonetheless.

Which travel insurance policies provide COVID-19 coverage?

Departing from Singapore

Departures counter at Changi

Upon checking in at Changi Airport, I was asked to show:

  • Vaccination certificate
  • Negative pre-departure COVID-19 test result
  • NZ Traveller Declaration
  • Proof of return ticket (since I booked 2x one-way tickets, one flying into Auckland and the other returning from Christchurch)

I wasn’t asked to show my NZeTA, since presumably the system can pull that information via passport number (and in any case I have an APEC Business Travel Card). 

Prior to boarding, I received a physical New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card. This card asks for personal and travel details, as well as 30-day travel history and a customs declaration. I was briefly worried my travel history in Bali (Indonesia is not a visa waiver country) might cause issues, but it wasn’t a problem at all. 

NZ Passenger Arrival Card
NZ Passenger Arrival Card

Be sure to complete this on the plane for a smoother arrival process.

On arrival in New Zealand

Arrival at Auckland Airport

Upon landing, follow the signs for International Arrivals. Even if you’re planning to connect to a domestic flight (like I was), you must clear immigration and customs at the point of arrival in New Zealand, and check-in again after that. 

Before immigration, there was a SIM card kiosk (though it was closed when I arrived at noon on a Monday- hopefully they’ll be resuming operations as more international visitors arrive?).

SIM card booth

Those who hold passports from Singapore and other selected countries can make use of the eGates. These are extremely easy to use, and less than 60 seconds later, I was officially in New Zealand- no drama at all. 

Passport eGates

Bags were delivered extremely quickly, probably because ours was the only international flight landing at the time. 

Luggage claim

After collecting my bag, I did a brief interview with a customs officer, to confirm I wasn’t carrying any fruits, meat or wood products. They gave me 3x CLINITEST RAT kits plus an instructions sheet.

RAT kits
RAT kits + instructions
RAT instructions (click to enlarge)
RAT instructions (click to enlarge)

These kits are required for your on-arrival and post-arrival testing on:

  • Day 0/1 (the day of arrival is Day 0)
  • Day 5/6

Technically you only need two kits; I assume they give you three in case one of them turns out to be a dud.

Isolation is not required prior to testing or after testing (and in any case, it only takes 15 minutes), which means you can catch a connecting flight straight upon arrival. 

Tests are self-administered, and all results (whether positive or negative) need to be reported to the Ministry of Health. A submission link will be automatically generated and emailed to the address you provided in the NZ Traveller Declaration, upon landing. 

The survey is extremely simple, with just two questions to complete. You do not need to submit a photo of the result.

If your result is positive, you must isolate immediately and seek a PCR test as soon as possible. If this comes back positive as well, a 7-day isolation must be served (the day you got a positive result is considered day 0).

Otherwise, there’s really nothing else to be done. Enjoy your trip!

Conclusion

I was concerned the first day of reopening might be a logistical nightmare at the airports, but it really was smooth sailing. In fact, most of the confusion was on the Singapore side; the check-in agent said she hadn’t processed a check-in for New Zealand in a long time, so it took her a while to process everything. 

Once in Auckland, I managed to clear all the formalities in just over 20 minutes, leaving more than enough time to make my domestic connection to Queenstown two hours later. 

Any questions about the arrivals process?

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

Similar Articles

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
4 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
freedom

Last time when I went to New Zealand, NZeTA was not waived for ABTC holders.

Have you cleared it with NZ immigration about that?

freedom

With ETA or ABTC only?

You mentioned that you applied NZeTA.

CREDIT CARD SIGN UP BONUSES

Advertisment

Featured Deals

Advertisment

Follow us

7,110FansLike
2,641FollowersFollow

RECENT COMMENTS

TAGS