Quarantine-free travel with the Cook Islands

Quarantine-Free Travel (QFT) with the Cook Islands commenced from 17 May, 2021

Two-way QFT will enable movement of people between New Zealand and the Cook Islands to resume, without the requirement for quarantine, in a way that is safe and ensures public health requirements are met. There will be multiple layers of assurance to provide confidence in the QFT Zone including existing and enhanced border and health protocols, information sharing and governance mechanisms, robust systems for responding to outbreaks in the QFT Zone, health system preparedness, and strong communications. This document is designed to assist border workers, by addressing some common questions and concerns
which may arise from travellers.


Who is eligible to travel to or from the Cook Islands under QFT?

To be eligible to travel to or from the Cook Islands and New Zealand on a quarantine-free flight you must first meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • In the 14-day period before travel, you must have been only in New Zealand or the Cook Islands;
  • During the 14-day period before travel, you must not have had a positive COVID-19 test (or if you have, you have written advice from a health practitioner that you are no longer infectious); and
  • You must not be awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test that was undergone during the 14-day period.
  • Normal immigration rules apply.


Where can people travelling here find information about New Zealand’s current COVID-19 Alert Level?

For information visit www.covid19.govt.nz


What should people travelling to New Zealand be doing to keep COVID safe?

Prior to leaving the Cook Islands:

  • Complete a travel declaration at www.naumaira.covid19.govt.nz
  • Have a plan for what to do if your return to the Cook Islands is delayed. You may need to stay in New Zealand for longer than you planned, and you will need to meet any costs for this. Government assistance is unlikely to be available.
  • You may also need to enter managed isolation or self-isolation when you return to the Cook Islands.
  • You should get travel insurance before you travel overseas. Read the travel insurance conditions and talk to your travel insurer if you are unsure about whether their policy covers COVID-19-related travel disruption.


On departure and while travelling:

  • If you are unwell, stay at home and call a doctor for advice.
  • You must answer questions about your health at departure — you will not be able to travel if you have COVID-19 symptoms. You will be asked these questions at the check-in kiosk.
  • If you have pre-existing medical conditions that explain any symptoms you may have (for example hayfever), make sure you bring evidence of this to avoid being denied boarding. This evidence must be a medical certificate.
  • COVID-19 symptoms include:
    • a new or worsening cough
    • a sore throat
    • shortness of breath
    • a runny nose
    • loss of sense of smell, or
    • a fever.
  • Make sure you and your travelling companions have completed the online travel declaration. You need to complete this before you depart the Cook Islands.
  • Unless you are exempt, you must wear a face covering at the airport on departure and arrival as well as the flight. You can choose to wear your own face covering or one provided by your airline.


On arrival:

  • All travellers from quarantine-free flights, or ‘green flights’, will be taken through a green zone at the airport. There will be no contact with anyone who is arriving from other parts of the world and who are going into managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
  • Airport staff will give you information sheets about how to stay safe from COVID-19 while you are in New Zealand, what to do if you feel unwell or there are community cases of COVID-19 during your stay.
  • Download the NZ COVID Tracer App. If you do not have a smartphone, you can pick up a NZ COVID Tracer Booklet to help you keep track of where you have been.
  • All businesses and services in New Zealand display QR codes that you should scan using the app to record where you have been. If there are COVID-19 cases in New Zealand, health officials will send alerts and guidance to app users who have scanned at locations of interest and may have been exposed to the virus.
  • Remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitiser regularly.
  • You must also wear a mask on public transport within New Zealand.
  • If you feel unwell at any time, stay in your accommodation and call Healthline for advice on +64 800 611 116.
  • The website www.covid19.govt.nz is a one-stop shop for all New Zealand COVID-19 information. This is where you will find information about any changes to quarantine-free travel – please check it regularly.


Is advice available in multiple languages – and what are they?

Yes, information is available in a range of languages including English and Cook Islands Maori. You can find this information at www.covid19.govt.nz.


How/where do people download the NZ COVID Tracer app?

The NZ COVID Tracer app helps you keep track of where you have been. Using the app is one thing we can all do to help contact tracing go faster when a case of COVID-19 is detected and stop the virus from spreading.

Click here to find more information about the NZ COVID Tracer app which can be downloaded from the Apple Store and Google Play.


What should people who have travelled to New Zealand do if they feel unwell while in New Zealand?

If you feel unwell at any time, stay in your accommodation and call the Healthline for advice on freephone +64 800 611 116.


What is the Travel Declaration and when and how/where do travellers fill that in?

People travelling from the Cook Islands to New Zealand must complete a Travel Declaration at time of booking and answer health questions at departure.

Complete a Travel Declaration at www.naumaira.covid19.govt.nz


What is the Health Declaration and when and how/where do travellers fill that in?

You must answer questions about your health at departure — you will not be able to travel if you have COVID-19 symptoms. You will be asked these questions at the check-in kiosk at the airport.


Do travellers have to wear a mask in the airport? On the public transport taking them from the airport? On public transport in New Zealand generally?

Unless you are exempt, you must wear a face covering at the airport and while flying.

You can choose to wear your own face covering or one provided by your airline.

You must also wear a mask on public transport within New Zealand.


Who is getting their temperature checked at the airport? (and who is doing the checking?)

Health professionals will be stationed at New Zealand airports with QFT flights to undertake random temperature checks of arriving passengers.


Key resources