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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Safe Travel

Assisted Departure (Repatriation) Flights

The Government is committed to helping New Zealanders overseas where we can. But the international situation is complex and changing quickly, and some things are out of our control.

Where New Zealanders have the option of travelling commercially to get to New Zealand they should seriously pursue that, or shelter in place. We recognise that not everyone who wants to return home will be able to do so, and that this may be distressing for New Zealanders, their whānau and friends.

In some locations, where New Zealanders are unable to depart due to the ongoing border closures and domestic travel restrictions, and concerns about their ability to shelter in place, we are working with the airline industry and partners to help New Zealanders return home.

Assisted departure (repatriation) flights should not be relied upon to get home. We will continue to look at options to help New Zealanders return home where this is possible and can be done safely. We will also continue to provide consular advice and assistance to New Zealanders wherever they find themselves during this pandemic crisis. Please contact the 24/7 New Zealand consular assistance line on +64 9 920 2020 or email DM-CONS@mfat.govt.nz. Please also read our advice for New Zealanders overseas.

India Repatriation Flights – Expressions of Interest
The New Zealand Government intends to help bring New Zealanders home from India.  We are seeking expressions of interest from those who wish to access flights from India to New Zealand. Please read all of the information below before you decide if you want to register an expression of interest. The link for submitting your expression of interest is contained at the end of the information below. Please submit an expression of interest for each traveller, and only submit an expression of interest if you are sure you want to return to New Zealand. 

Please note that Expressions of Interest will only be open for 48 hours from the 16 April, 2020. After 48 hours we will not be able to accept further expressions of interest.

The following information includes:

  • information about eligibility criteria for accessing flights;
  • information about the cost of flights;
  • information about how you can seek temporary financial assistance if you do not have any other way to pay for your flight;
  • information about Alert Level 4 in New Zealand, and the need to complete mandatory quarantine upon return to New Zealand;
  • information on how submit your expression of interest;
  • information on what will happen after your submit your expression of interest;
  • a link for you to submit your expression of interest.  This will ask you for information on your circumstances and where you are located in India.

Eligibility criteria
Access to New Zealand facilitated charter flights will be prioritised in the following order:

  • New Zealand citizens.
  • Non-New Zealand citizens who are the immediate family member of a New Zealand citizen and are travelling with a New Zealand citizen.  Immediate family means partner, children and parents/legal guardians.  Please note that any immediate family members who are of a different nationality will need to meet New Zealand Immigration requirements.  They may need to apply for an exemption to enter New Zealand given current border restrictions.  Information on immigration exemptions is below.
  • Permanent residents.

Within each category we will also consider whether there are circumstances that mean that an individual should be accorded particular priority, for example because of their age or health status.  We will also consider how practical it is for you to move to the departure location of the flights in the time available.

New Zealand citizens will be prioritised for seats. New Zealand permanent residents and then third country nationals will be considered in the event that there are unfilled seats.

Cost of flights
The New Zealand government has established a global framework for pricing repatriation flights. The flights are undertaken on a cost recovery basis.  This means that the costs recovered do not generally cover the full cost of the flight (this has been our experience to date for all repatriation flights).

These flights are complex and costly to arrange.  The price is based on the length of flight, and is consistent regardless of the location that the flight is departing from.  Ground transportation is included in the cost. 

The cost of the flight from India to New Zealand (including ground transport in India) will be NZD$5,500 per seat.  You will also be required to stay at an airport hotel for one night before the flight departs India, at your own cost.

Financial assistance
If you have exhausted all other options to pay for your flight, you can apply for temporary financial assistance.  This means that the government will initially cover the cost of your ticket, and you undertake to repay the government. We will discuss repayment terms with you within 30 days of your return to New Zealand. 

It is a requirement that you explore all avenues for making payment before you apply for temporary financial assistance.  This includes speaking with your bank, and seeking any available assistance from family and friends. 

A financial assistance application form will be provided by our booking agent to travellers seeking to apply for assistance.

Immigration requirements
There are currently strict limitations on travelling to and entering New Zealand if you are not a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident. This applies to people who already hold a temporary visa as well as to people who don’t have a New Zealand visa.

See Immigration New Zealand’s website for more information on exemptions and how this can be requested: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19/border-closures-and-exceptions

If this may apply to you or a member of your family, we recommend applying for your exemption from Immigration New Zealand as soon as possible, by following the process outlined here. Late applications may not be able to be processed in time.

Quarantine arrangements
Mandatory isolation requirements have been put in place for all travellers arriving in New Zealand. You will be required to enter 14 days’ isolation on arrival in New Zealand. You can find further information on that here: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-current-situation/covid-19-border-controls

Expression of interest process and next steps
The expression of interest for India repatriation flights will be open for 48 hours from the date at which this message is sent.  Late registrations will not be accepted

Once you have submitted your expression of interest, we will come back to you to confirm whether your expression of interest has been accepted, whether you have been waitlisted for a further flight, or whether you are ineligible. We expect to do this by email within 24 hours of the expressions of interest portal having closed.  Accepted travellers will be provided with detailed booking and payment instructions at this stage for our booking agent.

Please note that we will be seeking information on your location in India and your specific circumstances as part of the expression of interest process.  This will enable us to begin mapping out ground transport requirements in India.  It will also inform prioritisation of flights, and access to flights.  Your contact details will be given to our ground transport provider who will contact you regarding transport to the point of departure if your expression of interest has been accepted. Please provide accurate and complete information.  Failure to do so may impact on your access to these flights. 

We anticipate that more people will want access to the flights than can be accommodated.  In this case, you may be waitlisted for a later flight. Some people will not be eligible for flights.  We will let you know if this applies to you.  We cannot guarantee that everyone that wants to access the flights will be able to be accommodated, so please register your interest as soon as possible.

You can register your interest here: Expression of Interest link here

Checklist

  • Have you read all of the information in this message?
  • Have you submitted your expression of interest using the link provided?

Other private chartered flights to New Zealand
We are aware that private citizens may be planning private charters.  These are not part of the New Zealand Government flights.  We encourage all New Zealanders in India to seriously consider taking the New Zealand Government-assisted flights home.

Questions?
Please contact the 24/7 New Zealand consular assistance line on +64 9 920 2020 or email DM-CONS@mfat.govt.nz. The New Zealand High Commission is operating remotely with reduced services due to the lockdown in New Delhi.

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