A number of countries and territories are currently experiencing an active outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus). There are now confirmed cases in New Zealand as well as Ireland.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the new coronavirus (COVID-19) a global emergency as the outbreak continues to spread globally. Read the latest Situation Report (external link).

Ireland health authority and advice

Please follow the advice of Irish health authorities. The Health Service Executive’s (HSE’s) website (external link) provides up-to-date advice and FAQs regarding COVID-19 (external link).

For further health information and guidance contact the HSE Live service: hselive@hse.ie or +353 41 685 0300 or 1850 24 1850.

In Ireland, disease surveillance and operational support is the function of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (external link) (HPSC), a part of the HSE. The HPSC is another point of reference for information on COVID-19, with daily briefings (external link). (external link)

COVID-19 testing in Ireland

Should you develop symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever, cough, loss of smell and/or taste, or shortness of breath, the Irish health authorities ask that you self-isolate (external link) immediately and contact your GP by phone. The people in your household will need to restrict their movements (external link).

If your GP thinks that you need to be tested after consulting with you over the phone, they will arrange a test for you.

If you do not have a GP, phone 112 or 999. 

See more details on coronavirus testing (external link).

Some airlines and countries now require a Covid-19 Travel Clearance Certificate to allow an individual to fly or to enter a country. A Travel Clearance Certificate is needed as proof to show that an individual has had a Covid-19 PCR test and is clear of infection within a determined time frame. Some countries currently require the cert to be issued 72 hours before travelling.  If you require a test for international travel, we cannot recommend any particular organisation, but below are two companies that we are aware of providing services in this line: Tropical Medical Bureau Clinics (external link) or Travel Health Clinics (external link).

It is important to note that this Viral Screening service is only for those who are perfectly healthy and well with no signs of possible Covid-19 infection.

Latest social and travel restrictions:

Every county in Ireland is now at alert level 5 of the Irish government’s Living with Covid Plan (external link). Level 5 means you are asked to stay at home with some exceptions. You cannot meet other households indoors unless you are part of a support bubble (external link). You can meet with one other household in an outdoor setting which is not a home or garden, such as a park, including for exercise.  Only essential workers can travel to work, and only essential retail (external link) and essential services (external link) can remain open. Construction and manufacturing continue to operate. More detailed information on restrictions that apply for level 5 can be found on the Citizen's Information website (external link).
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These restrictions are to remain in place until 3 December 2020.

The message continues to be to Stay Safe — you are urged to use your own judgement and take personal responsibility for protecting yourself, your friends and your family. The following points should be noted:

  • Easing of staylocalTravel — You should not travel further than 5km from your home unless for essential reasons, such as to purchase food, for a medical appointment, or to work if you are unable to work from home. See the full list on the Citizen's Information website (external link).
  • Face coverings - Face coverings are mandatory in shops, shopping centres and other indoor settings in all parts of Ireland from Monday. Shoppers who refuse to wear coverings in the Republic will face fines of up to €2,500 and a potential prison stint. See guidance on safe use of face coverings (external link).
  • Economic activity and Work — Unless it is absolutely essential for an employee to attend in person, they should work from home.
  • Social — Social visits to people’s homes are not permitted under level 5 unless you are part of a support bubble as noted above.
  • Outdoor gatherings — You can meet with one other household outdoors.

All New Zealanders in Ireland should follow these instructions.

Further advice is available on the Government website (external link).

Official travel advice

The Department of Foreign Affairs (external link) provides official Irish government travel advice in accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice. As of August 4th the DFA continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

Please consult the SafeTravel website (external link) for the latest official New Zealand government travel advice. Please register your travel details (external link) so we can contact you with updates on COVID-19 developments (email updates to registrants has been our main mechanism to keep New Zealanders in Ireland updated in recent weeks).

On Safetravel you will also find:

  • Travel advisories Ireland (external link) and other destinations, with up-to-date information on security risks.
  • Specific advice on COVID-19 (external link).
  • A checklist for travellers to help you plan your journey.
  • Information on what steps you can take when things go wrong.

Arriving into Ireland

From 9 November 2020 Ireland is following the EU travel policy (external link). This operates under a traffic lights system according to a combined indicator map, which is updated weekly.  Anyone arriving into Ireland from a “Green Zone” does not have to restrict movements. Arrivals from an “Orange Zone” do not have to restrict movements if they can show they have had a negative PCR test three days prior to arrival. Arrivals from “Red Zones” must still restrict movements for 14 days. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. To ensure that this is being observed all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form (external link) and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. Failure to complete the form could result in the issuing of penalties, including a fine of up to €2,500 or imprisonment for up to 6 months.

Staying in Ireland

Not all New Zealanders who want to return home have been able to do so. If you are in this situation, and booking the few remaining commercial options to return home is not an option, you should shelter in place and take steps to stay safely where you are.

All New Zealanders in Ireland should follow the instructions of Irish authorities. Details and guidance are available on the Government website (external link) and in this information booklet (external link).

In addition, we encourage all New Zealanders in Ireland to consider the following:

  • Be ready to comply with local isolation or quarantine requirements and to rely on the local health system. Find out how to access healthcare in case it becomes necessary to do so.
  • Take care to minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19 by following the advice of the World Health Organisation, HSE and New Zealand Ministry of Health.
  • Find suitable accommodation (see accommodation sector).
  • Make sure you have access to enough medication if you are abroad for longer than planned.
  • Keep your family and friends regularly informed of your plans and well-being.
  • Monitor local media for developments.
  • Be prepared for logistical and financial disruption. Make sure you can access money to cover emergencies and unexpected delays. New Zealanders facing financial hardship overseas should seek assistance from family or friends or contact their bank in the first instance. Check with your insurance provider to see if they can help.
  • Look after yourself — your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Keep in touch with your usual supports – family and whānau, friends and workmates. If you feel you are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional. Further tips can be found on the COVID-19 website (external link).
  • Register on the SafeTravel website and keep checking for updates.

If you are concerned about your ability to stay safely where you are (for example, if you are worried about accommodation options, access to food, medicine or essential services) or otherwise require consular assistance, please contact the Embassy (see New Zealanders requiring consular assistance section).

Short-term extensions to visas

Both Ireland and New Zealand have made some announcements regarding extensions to temporary visas for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) (external link) issued advice on 18 September 2020 (‘Notice 6’) which confirms that all Immigration and International Protection permissions to reside in the Ireland that are due to expire from 20 September 2020 to 20 January 2021 are automatically renewed by the Minister to 20 January 2021. Any permission that was renewed by the notices of 20 March 2020 and 13 May 2020 is automatically renewed by this notice until 20 January 2021.

The Registration Office in Burgh Quay has closed in line with the latest restrictions.  Further updates on reopening are to follow. All renewals for those living in the Dublin area are now being processed online (external link).

This will mean anyone looking to renew their registration will no longer have to book an appointment or attend the registration office in person. More information can be found on their website (external link).

Immigration New Zealand has announced similar extension arrangements for Irish nationals in New Zealand. Please see the latest information on Immigration New Zealand’s website (external link).

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment and other social welfare payments available in Ireland

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection are introducing various measures to provide income support to people who’s ability to work has been affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus). These include the pandemic unemployment payments (PUP), payments for those in self isolation or a positive covid diagnosis, and a jobseekers payments. More information, including how to apply can be found on the MyWelfare website (external link).

New Zealanders requiring consular assistance

We are committed to helping New Zealanders in Ireland where we can, but the international situation is complex and continues to change quickly. Some things are out of our control. Assisted departure flights should not be relied upon to get home.

The New Zealand Embassy in Dublin remains open, albeit with reduced functions, and continues to assist New Zealanders in need. Meetings at the Embassy are limited and by appointment only. The easiest way to get in touch is by emailing nzembdublin@gmail.com or calling us during office hours (currently 9am to 5pm) on 00353 01 5677680.

For those needing consular assistance, please contact us on 00353 01 5677680 during office hours. For urgent consular assistance after-hours please contact 0064 99 20 20 20 (monitored 24 hours a day).