Travel and Border Control

In March 2020, border restrictions were established where all commercial flights were cancelled apart from one weekly flight between Rarotonga and Auckland which still remains today. The government understands that the easing of border restrictions is necessary to resuscitate the economy and social wellbeing of the Cook Islands however this process is complex. To allow for this to happen a number of key agencies are developing a plan for a phased and safe easing of border restrictions which includes assessments of the health systems preparedness and readiness to respond to any threat, the community’s acceptance of the proposed measures, contact tracing, compliance with human rights principles, and the publics’ ability to maintain physical distancing and public health measures.

The impact of COVID-19 on the Cook Islands economy, and perhaps most significantly tourism, cannot be understated, however as we’ve seen globally and locally in New Zealand’s own response, we cannot risk the health and wellbeing of our people by rushing prematurely into an easement of restrictions said Prime Minister, Mark Brown.

For further clarification and/or guidance on entry criteria for the Cook Islands, please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration directly at the following email: [email protected] or phone: +682 29 347

Your Questions Answered

How Do I Request for Entry?

All requests for entry into the Cook Islands under this provision must be sought from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki) on email: [email protected].

Who is Allowed Into the Country?

All persons are denied entry into the Cook Islands unless there is an exemption provided (in writing) by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. Effective from 11:59pm Thursday 29 October 2020 (CKT), the following people are exempted for entry into the Cook Islands, provided they meet the entry criteria specified below;

  1. Cook Islanders (as verified via Cook Islands Status stamp)
    1. What if I don’t have my Cook Islands Status stamp in my passport? If your birth place is outside of the Cook Islands, we may need more information, please email: [email protected] and we will assist you.
  2. Permanent Residents of the Cook Islands
  3. Cook Islands work permit holders
  4. Cook Islands resident permit holders
    1. What if my work or resident permit expired in the last 3 months, while outside of the Cook Islands? You must have a valid permit for travel and entry into the Cook Islands. Please email: [email protected], your passport bio data page and most recent permit stamp and we will assist you.
To Get Approval for Travel What Must I Do?
  1. Undergo a COVID-19 test within 96 hours of your flight departing Auckland, which must be negative
  2. Advise and seek approval from Te Marae Ora
  3. Complete the exit health clearance process at Auckland International Airport
  4. Visit your GP for a health check if you feel unwell, and ensure you have adequate medicine supplies
1.1 How Do I Arrange a Covid-19 Test?
  • COVID-19 tests are available at community-based testing centres in Auckland.
  • Please contact your usual GP in New Zealand for further information regarding testing centres. If you do not have an Auckland based GP, please contact Te Marae Ora on email: [email protected]
  • When you present for your test, ensure you have a mobile number and email address so that the test results can be sent to your phone and / or email. Forward the results to Te Marae Ora on email: [email protected].
  • If you require further assistance contact your GP. It will be the responsibility of the traveller to make the necessary arrangements and cover any associated cost with undertaking COVID-19 testing prior to departure.
1.2 When Should I Arrange My Covid-19 Test?
  • As soon as possible.
  • COVID-19 tests must be arranged within 96 hours of your flight departing Auckland.
1.3 Can I Travel to the Cook Islands Before I Have Received My Covid-19 Test Results?
  • No.
  • If you know you will not be receiving the results of your COVID-19 test prior to your check-in, please contact Te Marae Ora directly by either;
  • Email: [email protected] or Phone: Cook Islands +682 29 110
1.4 What if I Am Travelling From Australia (or Another Country)?
  • You cannot travel directly to the Cook Islands from Australia (or any other country). You will be required to stay in New Zealand for 14 days.
  • New Zealand requires all arrivals to enter their managed isolation facilities for 14 days.
  • Please check the New Zealand COVID-19 website for applicable charges to enter their managed isolation facilities.
2.1 What Happens When I Have Provided Te Marae Ora My Test Result?
  • Once Te Marae Ora has received the results of your COVID-19 test result (negative), your details will be communicated to Immigration Cook Islands who will provide final approval for you to travel to the Cook Islands.
3.1 What Should I Remember to Do When I Am at Auckland International Airport?
  • When moving through the airport, please remain vigilant and maintain physical distancing as much as possible from other persons.
3.2 Where is the Health Clearance Service at Auckland International Airport?
  • Exit health clearance services are clearly marked inside the departure's terminal. This service is provided for all passengers departing Auckland for Rarotonga.
  • This involves a health questionnaire and temperature check undertaken by health officials.
3.3 What Do I Do When I Enter the Departures Terminal?
  • You will need to present a record of your test results (mobile, email, paper) before you undergo your exit health screen. Once you have obtained clearance, join the queue for check-in and proceed through customs to your boarding gate.
3.4 What Happens When I Am on the Plane?

It is mandatory for all passengers to wear face masks at all times. Face masks will be provided by flight attendants. You will be handed a number of forms and brochures for you to read & complete. These include the Cook Islands Immigration & Customs arrival card, Cook Islands Health declaration form, The Cook Islands Promise brochure and CookSafe form.

What Happens When I Arrive in Rarotonga?
  • On arrival into Rarotonga we ask that you keep your mask on at all times.
  • Upon entering the arrivals hall, present your health arrivals declarations card to the health official. Should you require further health assistance, the health booth will be available.
  • Present you CookSafe registration form to the health official also if you wish to register for the Cook Islands contact tracing programme. Registration is voluntary.
Planning to Travel to New Zealand?

New Zealand’s borders are currently closed to almost all travelers to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Arrivals are required to undergo either managed isolation or quarantine for at least 14 days. Before you travel you must secure your place in a managed isolation facility. It is important to note that managed isolation chargers apply. For more information visit https://www.miq.govt.nz/

What You Need To Know

Our Commitment

The Cook Islands Promise is our joint commitment to protect all Cook Islands residents, and international visitors from the severe acute respiratory syndrome virus widely known as COVID-19.

Contact Tracing System

CookSafe is a simple & secure system to keep track of peoples movements in public places such as shops, cafes and restaurants. Your participation means you are a part of the national effort to keep the Cook Islands Covid-19 free.

Planning to travel?

Be informed before you travel – Click here