Border exceptions for international PhD students

On Monday 12 October, the New Zealand government announced the introduction of a border exception category that will allow 250 international postgraduate students to return to New Zealand to continue their studies.

The University of Auckland has been working with Universities New Zealand and the government to enable this pilot programme and is ready to support the return of our PhD students to New Zealand. More information can be found on the Ministry of Education website.  


Who is eligible for the international student border exception pilot?

Eligibility for this first pilot is very limited and very specific. It does not include new students.

The University of Auckland School of Graduate Studies will contact you if you are eligible.

To be eligible for re-entry through this initial cohort, you must:

  • Hold or have held a valid visa to study in New Zealand in 2020
  • Have enrolled in study toward a PhD or other postgraduate qualification prior to the New Zealand border closure

The government will prioritise firstly PhD students with a requirement to be in New Zealand to progress your studies or research. Students must be enrolled in a doctoral degree, must hold or have held a valid student visa for study in New Zealand in 2020, and have been unable to enter New Zealand due to Covid-19.

We will only consider returning masters students after PhD students have been processed and if places remain. As for PhD students, masters students will only be considered if you need to be in New Zealand to progress your studies and hold or have held a valid visa for study in New Zealand in 2020.

Next steps

The School of Graduate Studies is working with supervisors, Academic Services and Immigration New Zealand to determine which University of Auckland students are eligible to participate in the pilot.

We will be in touch with eligible students from Monday 19 October. You do not need to do anything until you have been contacted by the University.

Managed isolation

Why do I need to go into a managed isolation and quarantine facility?

You will need to isolate in a government-run managed isolation and quarantine facility (MIQ) for a full 14 days before you are able to return to campus.

During this stay in MIQ, you will be required to undergo two COVID-19 tests – one on day three of your stay, and one on day 12. If you test positive at any point during your isolation, you will be moved to a quarantine facility where you will be required to remain until government medical staff consider you well. If you are an eligible student wanting to return, you will need to consider if this is suitable for you.


How much will it cost me to return to New Zealand in this pilot?  

The cost for this stay in managed isolation is NZ$3,100 (with additional costs for dependents). The University of Auckland will contribute NZ$1,550 (50% of the $3,100 fee) with the balance of the cost to be met by the student.

The cost for MIQ for family members is an additional $950 for accompanying adults and $475 for children aged 3-17. Children under three are free.

The University will not cover the cost of returning students' family members or the cost of flights. All costs listed include tax (GST).  

Family members

Nominated students who complete the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) requirements for travel may be able to bring a partner and dependent children with you if they are also approved by INZ. Your family will be able to stay in the managed isolation and quarantine facility together.

Family members are in addition to the total 250 places available for students.

Student wellbeing

We understand this will be a stressful process for our students so we are working to develop a comprehensive plan to support student wellbeing during the MIQ period and as you transition back to campus. More information will be available for students and staff soon.

University accommodation after quarantine

Coordinating your flights, MIQ stay and ongoing accommodation may be a big task, which is why we have your future accommodation needs taken care of.

To ensure you are well supported after completing your managed isolation, and as you continue your studies with us, we have a studio deluxe apartment available for you at 55 Symonds.

Our studio deluxe apartments are comfortably furnished air-conditioned units which are well suited to our postgraduate student community, offering you an independent living environment with the benefit of University support.

Located conveniently on the City Campus, our studio deluxe apartments are only $381 per week, which includes your power, water and university wifi access, along with membership to our University recreation facilities.

To secure your place in 55 Symonds,complete the online accommodation application.