New Zealand and Japan Announce Border Re-Openings

Great news: New Zealand and Japan have announced re-opening of their borders. After being shut off from the world for over two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both countries recently shared that international visitors would be able to enter each nation in the coming weeks.

New Zealand has been famously shut off from the world throughout the entire pandemic. Though it meant that the island nation remained relatively unscathed by the virus, the isolationist approach wasn’t without its critics.

Japan and its strict border closures have had international visitors – both tourists and other travelers alike – eager for flexibility. Though the country did begin to relax its entry requirements, tourism for pleasure has been strictly prohibited.

Read on for the details about New Zealand and Japan’s re-opening updates.

New Zealand Re-Opening Details

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said last week that the country will fully reopen its international borders from 11:59 p.m. on July 31. Cruise ships also be welcomed back to local ports on the same day.

The opening of the border comes two months earlier than the government’s previous time frame and will mean visitors who need visas will now be able to enter New Zealand.

The border announcement is part of a suite of reforms to immigration settings, including streamlining pathways to attract skilled workers back to the country, extending visas for migrants already in New Zealand, allowing cruise ships and international students to return, and other changes that will shift the country’s reliance on low-wage and low-skill migrant labor.

In Auckland, Ardern said that opening the borders would help to relieve urgent skills shortages, open up tourism, and put immigration settings on a more secure footing. “We are building on our proven plan to secure New Zealand’s economic future,” she said.

Japan Re-Opening Details

Japan is also ready to re-open its borders to tourists this summer, though concrete details and dates are still yet to be seen.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that the strict border measures enforced to stem the spread of COVID-19 will be eased in June, bringing the country “on par” with other Group of Seven (G7) nations. However, no firm date has been announced yet, nor is there a specific plan on how tourism will work.

Currently, Japan allows 10,000 new arrivals per day to enter the country, though leisure tourism is strictly prohibited. For the time being, citizens, residents, researchers, students, residents’ family members, and business travelers with prior approval can enter. If a visitor is arriving from a country deemed risky because of its current rate of infection, they may be required to quarantine for up to three days.

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