FAQs: Repatriation Flights - Information for New Zealanders

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Flights

Q. What repatriation flights have occurred to date?

A: Since April, New Zealanders in India had the opportunity to return home on three Air New Zealand flights chartered by the New Zealand Government; ten Air India flights; a commercially-run private charter flight from South India; or by being assisted onto third country repatriation flights.  These flights have offered a viable route home from India for over 3,092 people.

Q: I wish to return to New Zealand from India. Are there any further flights planned?

A: We know that demand remains high for flights to New Zealand. More flights are expected to occur, subject to ongoing availability of space in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.  We are currently working to confirm a forward schedule of flights to align with the availability of space in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.  We will update you via SafeTravel once we are in a position to provide further details.

Q: Can I book a ticket on a flight from India to another country and then transit onwards to New Zealand?

A: It is technically possible to book a ticket, but you need to check the airline's requirements, for example Air India's requirements, linked here: http://www.airindia.in/r1landingpage.htm(external link). Transit regulations in other countries mean that you will not be able to travel, unless you are able to enter the transit country. You will be denied boarding if you do not meet immigration and transit requirements.

Q: Are there any other flights scheduled?

A: A number of airlines have received approval to operate limited “air travel bubbles” from India to Europe and the United States. This means that these flights may offer an opportunity for New Zealanders who remain in India to return to New Zealand.

It is recommended that New Zealanders undertake due diligence when looking at possible flight options, and consider working with a reputable travel agent or other travel provider. New Zealanders should also be aware of border and transit restrictions, including India’s entry and exit requirements and any visas that may be required for any countries they may transit.

Q: What about scheduled commercial air routes?

A: A limited number of commercial air routes from India to other markets may open up in coming months, subject to the Indian Government lifting the prohibition on scheduled commercial flights. We do not have any further information about this. Any future commercial flights could provide options to return to New Zealand. New Zealanders should continue to monitor the situation and consider future options carefully as opportunities to return to New Zealand may be very limited.

Q: Who is eligible to take a flight to New Zealand? What if I think my eligibility status has changed?

A: Only those assessed as eligible to travel to New Zealand by Immigration New Zealand, under New Zealand’s current border restrictions, will be able to board any flight. Decisions on travel to New Zealand are made by Immigration New Zealand. Details on who can travel to New Zealand currently can be found on the Immigration New Zealand website(external link).

Q: Will I have to pay for managed isolation and quarantine?

A: The government began charging for some of the costs of managed isolation from Tuesday 11 August. New Zealand citizens and their family members who are returning to New Zealand and staying longer than 90 days will generally not need to pay these costs. You can find more information about managed isolation and quarantine on this website: https://www.miq.govt.nz/(external link)

You will not have to pay these charges if:

  • You are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident who left New Zealand before 12.01am on 11 August and will now be returning to New Zealand for more than 90 days.
  • You are travelling with family member who does not have to pay unless you are entering as a critical worker.
  • You qualify for a waiver or exemption.

If you are entering New Zealand on a border exemption as a critical worker you will need to pay, and you may wish to discuss this with your employer.

Returnees who need to pay will get an invoice at the end of their stay in managed isolation and will generally have 90 days to pay. Information about how to pay the fee will be provided on the invoice.

Additional considerations when flying

Q: Will I have to go through medical screening to get onto a flight?

A: As per Indian law, you will have to fill in the self-declaration health check form at the airport and you may be temperature checked by an Airport Health Official. Depending on the commercial route, other transit countries may have specific requirements. Be sure to check these carefully prior to travel.

Please note, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or you are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test, then you should not travel.

Q: I am pregnant. Can I fly?

A: Any commercial airline that may operate from India may ask you to produce a ‘fit to fly’ certificate from a medical professional. If relevant in future, please contact the airline Pfor further details.

Q: Where can I find more info on transport and travel permits to get to the airport to catch my flight?

A: For up to date information on transport and travel permit requirements in India, please check https://www.mygov.in/covid-19(external link) for the latest updates.

Q: What if my visa to India has expired or is about to expire?

A: You must have a valid Indian visa in order to depart India (if commercial services become available) or you must have applied for a visa extension through the Foreigner Regional Registration Offices (FRRO), in accordance with Government of India requirements. If you are in India on a temporary visa that has expired and have not yet applied for an extension, please visit the FRRO website (external link)to apply.

New Zealand Immigration and visa queries

Q: My visa to New Zealand is expiring soon. How do I renew it?

A: Please visit Immigration New Zealand(external link) for all immigration and visa queries.

Q: Who should seek approval before travelling to New Zealand?

A: Decisions on travel to New Zealand are made by Immigration New Zealand. Details on who can travel to New Zealand currently can be found on the Immigration New Zealand website(external link). The starting point for consideration is that the New Zealand border is closed for all but critical travel, and that protecting public health in New Zealand is paramount.

Q: Can I still apply for a temporary visa and an exception to enter New Zealand?

A: If you think you meet the criteria for an exception to enter New Zealand you must first submit an expression of interest using the online request form linked here: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/formshelp/request-for-travel-to-new-zealand(external link).

From 10 August, people outside of New Zealand will not be able to apply for temporary visas unless they have been granted an exception. You can find more information about the changes to temporary visas and the exception process here: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/media-centre/news-notifications/suspension-overseas-visa-applications-introduction-eoi-fees(external link)

There is a cost of NZD $45 for each person submitting a border exception Expression of Interest. If you are an Australian who normally lives in New Zealand, you will not be charged a fee.

Q. Have the rules changed for partners and dependants of New Zealand citizens wanting to enter New Zealand?

A: From 18 June, partners and dependants of New Zealand citizens and residents who are ordinarily resident in New Zealand or hold a visa on the basis of their relationship will no longer need to travel with their New Zealand citizen or resident family member to be granted an exception to the border closure. A limited travel ban exception still must be applied for prior to travel. Please refer to the Immigration New Zealand(external link) website.

Q: I have a limited travel ban exception for New Zealand, but it is expired or expiring soon. What should I do?

A: Please reapply for the exception through Immigration New Zealand(external link).

Q: My passport has less than 6 months left on it; can I still travel to New Zealand?

A: If you are travelling on a New Zealand passport, or are a New Zealand resident travelling on a foreign passport, you can still travel to New Zealand with less than 6 months validity on your passport. If you are not travelling on a New Zealand passport, or are not a New Zealand resident, your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of departure.

Q: My passport is going to expire before I leave India, can I still travel to New Zealand?

A: You cannot travel to New Zealand without a valid passport. If you are a New Zealand citizen without a valid passport (for example it has been lost, stolen or has expired), please visit the Department of Internal Affairs(external link).

Q: Where can I find up-to-date New Zealand specific Covid-19 related information?

A: For the most up to date information in New Zealand visit https://uniteforrecovery.govt.nz/covid-19/(external link). It includes information on compulsory managed isolation and quarantine facilities for all incoming travellers.

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