NZ Traveller Declaration: What to do if you don't have a smartphone
A paper option is available for those without a device or internet access.
By Rebecca Styles
Consumer member Jim Brand booked a seven-day holiday in Queensland in May but was worried he couldn’t complete the online paperwork to get back home.
Anyone entering Aotearoa needs to complete the New Zealand Traveller Declaration before you arrive at the airport to fly home. It’s an online system where you enter details about your flight and vaccination status, as well as upload the results of a Covid-19 pre-departure test required to re-enter New Zealand.
There was just one problem for Jim – he doesn’t own a smartphone or travel with a laptop.
“I am on holiday and do not have access to a scanner or computer,” Jim said.
Jim, a recently retired consultant from Hawke’s Bay, is computer literate. He completed the required paperwork to get out of the country but had no access to a computer or the internet while on holiday.
He had approached his travel agent for advice but had no luck finding an alternative to the online forms.
We asked Customs what travellers without a device can do.
A spokesperson said travellers can request a paper form when they check in.
“The traveller will need to have printed copies of any required documentation with them to present to check-in staff and upon arrival in New Zealand.”
New Zealand Customs has received feedback raising concerns about accessibility to the digital forms and are working on improving accessibility, a spokesperson said.
Jim did make it back to New Zealand. He got access to a computer at the apartment complex he was staying at in Noosa.
Unfortunately, while he completed the forms online, there was a system error. After spending two hours trying to fill in the form, Jim called NZ Customs and they helped him.
Tips on completing the NZ Traveller Declaration
We asked Greg Hamilton from the Travel Agents’ Association of NZ (TAANZ) for advice on completing the declaration form:
If you can’t complete the forms online, ask for the paper forms at check-in. Or, ask a friend to print out a copy from the Customs website. Make sure you have all the other required paperwork with you, such as the Covid-19 pre-departure test result, vaccination record, and international vaccine certificate – and get to the airport early.
Ask a friend or relative to complete 90% of the form online for you before you leave on holiday. Also check with your accommodation provider whether they can help you upload the Covid-19 pre-departure test result in the 24 hours before departure.