Travel to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific: A Reopening Timeline

Aerials Of Wellington As NZ Coronavirus Lockdown Restrictions Move To Level 2
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The largest countries of Oceania were incredibly successful in controlling and virtually eliminating the threat of the novel coronavirus and both New Zealand and Australia are working tirelessly to keep community infection rates down to zero. Although many smaller remote island nations were able to remain virus-free for a considerable time, cases have been reported in Vanuatu, the Marshall Islands, and the Solomon Islands. French Polynesia, which reopened for tourism in July 2020, has been hit hardest by the disease and has one of the highest infection rates among the island nations and the country closed its borders in February.

Here’s what you need to know about current border regulations in Oceania.


Until June 2021, Australia has banned international entry for all non-citizens and non-residents, including U.S. citizens unless they qualify for an exemption. There are also measures in place to limit the spread of the virus across borders in Australia and everyone traveling across territory lines must partake in a 14-day government-mandated quarantine at their own expense. Every region of Australia has been responding to new cases with snap lockdowns that shut down cities or even whole states.

New Zealand

The New Zealand government is only allowing citizens, permanent residents, and residents who meet travel criteria to enter the country. Other travelers, including essential health workers and partners of New Zealand citizens and residents, must be granted permission to enter. Travelers coming from the UK or U.S. to enter or transit through New Zealand will also need to show a negative test result before they depart. All travelers arriving in New Zealand, even if they are New Zealand citizens returning from Australia, are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine at a managed isolation facility.

New Zealand has reduced community cases to zero several times with new cases emerging every few months. In February, Auckland was briefly locked down, the first lockdown after six months, after the detection of the UK variant among new community transmission.

Pacific Islands 

French Polynesia has closed its borders to all tourism until March 31, 2021. This country was the first Pacific nation to open its borders in July while others have restricted U.S. citizens from entering or requiring at least a 14-day self-quarantine. Fiji, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Tonga, and Tuvalu prohibit Americans from entering, but Naura will allow U.S. citizens if they have spent 14 days before their trip in either Australia, Fiji, or New Zealand.

Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Australia. "COVID-19 Information." February 26, 2021.

  2. New Zealand Immigration. “New Zealand Border Entry Requirements.” February 19, 2021.

  3. New Zealand Immigration. “COVID-19: Key updates.” February 19, 2021.

  4. Tahiti Tourisme. "Conditions of Entry and Stay in French Polynesia." February 15, 2021.

  5. U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu. "COVID-19 Information."

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