Student travel considerations, risks and responsibilities

This page outlines important student travel considerations, risks and responsibilities for any student planning to undertake University student activity travel in the context of current international travel conditions.

All international travel involves risks. Risks of travel to any destination may include (but are not limited to) dangers to health and personal safety, including physical, emotional or psychological injury or death posed by a natural disaster, illness, disease, terrorism, crime, civil unrest, and/or violence. These risks can never be eliminated.

Additionally, the public health risk from the COVID-19 global pandemic is real. It is known to spread very quickly via person-to-person transmission, potentially without any obvious symptoms. As the pandemic continues, all international travel is subject to risks of long-term or major disruption. Travel to any location carries some level of risk; many of these risks are beyond the traveller's control and some are exacerbated under COVID-19 travel conditions. It is therefore important that all students undertaking University student activity travel are aware of and understand the risks of international travel under COVID-19 pandemic conditions. This includes the potential health risks associated with contracting and spreading COVID-19, as well as the potential for disrupted travel plans and limited insurance cover available for claims or financial losses related to epidemics or pandemics.

It is therefore important that any student undertaking international travel for the purposes of University student travel activity understands the following considerations, risks and responsibilities, given the current climate of international destination travel:

  • The University of Auckland reserves the right to suspend or cancel University student travel activity for any reason.
  • Under the University of Auckland's Travel Policy, only travel to and between destinations with an MFAT travel advisory rating of (1) Exercise normal safety and security precautions or (2) Exercise increased caution is permitted in conjunction with University student activity travel.
  • Travel to any destination with an MFAT travel advisory rating of (3) Avoid non-essential travel or (4) Do not travel is prohibited, unless approved through the University’s high-risk travel approval process.
  • Travellers must consider contingency planning for the possibility that travel may be delayed, paused or suspended for an extended period which may delay the traveller’s return to New Zealand. Travellers must bring any equipment they need to study remotely in case travel is unexpectedly delayed.
  • Only individuals with the right to return to New Zealand without requesting permission from Immigration New Zealand may be able to return to New Zealand in the event that quarantine-free travel is suspended.
  • Government policies/travel restrictions, including allowances for quarantine-free travel, may change at short notice; travellers may be unable to depart from, or return to, New Zealand for an extended period of time.
  • While abroad, travellers must abide by local government instructions and understand that cancellations and disruptions to travel arrangements, as well as local lockdowns and national lockdowns may limit or adversely impact the ability to arrive to, or depart from, the intended destination, as well as possibly inhibit movement within the host country.
  • In the event of an emergency, depending on conditions the University of Auckland may require travellers to temporarily suspend operations, re-locate, or return to New Zealand until it is safe to return to the area.
  • The NZ Embassy nearest your destination may temporarily close or suspend public services for security reasons.
  • The NZ Embassy nearest your destination may not be able to provide emergency assistance should you require it.
  • If there is a need to evacuate in an emergency, flights may be suspended and other departure or shelter in place options may be limited or non-existent.
  • Access to hospitals, emergency medical care and medications may be limited or non-existent; Should you experience difficulties, the University of Auckland, associated insurance companies, and emergency service providers may not be able to provide immediate assistance to you.
  • Host institutions and/or the local government in the intended travel destination may require that travellers provide proof of vaccination, submit to testing regimes, share travel and contact information upon request, and submit to self-isolation and/or quarantine at any point during the programme, and any quarantine related costs will be at the traveller’s own expense, unless covered by insurance.
  • Travellers are responsible for ensuring they understand and meet all immigration and entry requirements for their intended destination country as well as any country they will be travelling to or through in conjunction with their University programme activity.
  • Different states/destinations can have different requirements and rules for travellers related to COVID-19 and these requirements may change with little warning. Travellers are responsible for checking the conditions and requirements in each state or other destination within the host country that they intend to travel to prior to and whilst travelling and adhering to conditions/ requirements for the respective destination.
  • Travellers are responsible for reading all relevant information from the NZ Government regarding Travel on the Unite against COVID-19 website, and other applicable sources.
  • The New Zealand Government maintains a list of country-specific travel warnings, alerts and guidance for travellers, available at SafeTravel. University of Auckland travellers are required to read applicable Travel Warnings in advance and must register their travel on the SafeTravel website, or their home country’s equivalent to SafeTravel if not a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, in addition to completing the required University student travel registration form.
  • It is the traveller’s responsibility to read information available from the Government and local news sources of the prospective host country regarding travel conditions and advice for travellers planning to enter the country, checking this information well in advance and referring back to these sources on a regular basis leading up to departure.
  • Travellers are responsible for monitoring local news sources and websites for any changes in quarantine-free travel arrangements, amending travel arrangements accordingly and providing updated travel itinerary details to the University of Auckland for any changes.
  • Arrangements for continuity of care and/or treatment of any existing medical or mental health conditions are your responsibility and should be made prior to the start of any overseas programme and should account for possible travel restrictions and/or periods of isolation and/or lockdowns. Travellers must also consider any health/safety/ medication requirements and ensure that these can be met while travelling, including unplanned extended stays.
  • Travellers may be required to isolate in a Managed Isolation & Quarantine (MIQ) facility upon return to NZ or their country of origin during a pause or suspension in quarantine or (self)isolation free travel. Travellers should consider the potential difficulty of security an MIQ space for a timely return to New Zealand as a result of limited capacity and high demand for New Zealand’s MIQ facilities, when in operation.
  • Costs associated with government imposed COVID border or travel restrictions are not insurable. Additionally, the fear of traveling is not covered by the University’s travel insurance policy.
  • Self-funded University student travellers must be prepared to personally cover any uninsurable or other unrecoverable fees, travel costs, or other personal expenditures incurred as a result of Covid-19, University student activity or programme cancellations, disruptions to travel, or changes in Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) requirements.


Covid-19 Insurance Cover

Provided that a traveller meets the eligibility for coverage the University Student Travel Insurance Terms and Conditions and the traveller does not commence their journey against the New Zealand Government's advice (‘Do not travel’ or ‘Avoid non-essential travel’) or against local government advice at the overseas destination: 

  • There is generally cover for Covid-19 related loss including medical expenses, emergency assistance and cancellation/travel disruption expenses.
  • If the traveller was to test positive for Covid-19 and be unable to continue their travel plans, the traveller can claim for cancellation of travel plans or travel disruption for an unforeseen event; Loss of Deposits, Cancellation and Travel Disruption Expenses. The traveller would need to be able to provide proof of the positive test result received for a claim to be accepted.
  • If during a journey, the traveller is denied boarding of any scheduled transport service based on the suspicion that they have an epidemic or pandemic disease (such as Covid-19), and as a result of the denied boarding they incur costs of additional accommodation and meals, these costs can be claimed, the value of NZ$200 per day up to a maximum of NZ$1400.

Please review the Covid-19 Benefits Guide for further details on benefits available to travellers covered under the University's Premier Corporate Insurance Policy (please note this excludes exchange and study abroad participants with programmes of one semester or longer).