New Zealander John Davis, who has not returned since 2019, arrives from Australia and is welcomed by his daughter Amber Davis and granddaughter Maddison. Video / Brett Phibbs
On Friday, March 4 at 11:59 p.m., SafeTravel removed its global Covid-19 advisory, which advised Kiwis not to travel internationally.
Now, destinations have been categorized into four different levels based on their risk.
These levels are important to travelers for three main reasons: they indicate the risk you should expect when visiting, the level of consular assistance you can expect from the New Zealand government during your stay, and whether you can get travel insurance coverage for your trip.
Naturally, since the level of risk can vary from country to country, an advisory can cover an entire destination or a specific area within it.
For example, the entirety of Afghanistan is Level 4. Do not travel due to risk of “continued high threat of terrorism and foreign kidnapping”. Meanwhile, in Colombia, dozens of departments and cities fall under Levels 4, 3 and 2.
Level 4 – Do not travel
There are currently 41 countries that have areas deemed too dangerous to travel. This generally applies to places where ongoing conflict, war or violent civil unrest poses a threat to New Zealanders.
If you are there, you should return home as soon as possible, but you cannot expect the New Zealand government to help you do so.
Areas in Russia, Thailand, Egypt, India, and Japan are currently at Level 4, along with all of Libya and Afghanistan.
Level 3 – Avoid non-essential travel
At level 3, Safetravel encourages people to “think seriously about your need to travel to these places”.
Similar to Tier 4, government assistance will be extremely limited and most insurance policies will not cover costs associated with travel to these destinations.
Currently, 40 countries are partially or fully classified at level 3.
Areas in Mexico, Israel, Philippines, Poland, Bangladesh are currently at level 3, as well as all of North Korea and Haiti.
Level 2 – Exercise extra caution
This level often applies to areas with higher safety and/or security concerns than would typically be found in New Zealand. SafeTravel advises travelers to “pay particular attention to your personal safety at all times”, however, you can count on both travel insurance and consular assistance.
Fortunately for travelers, 92 destinations are fully or partially considered Tier 2.
At the time of writing, the list includes the UK and US, Australia, Brazil, Cook Islands, Canada, Fiji, Ireland and Hong Kong.
Dozens of popular European spots such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain are also Tier 2.
Level 1 – Apply normal safety precautions
There is currently no place that the MFAT considers to have an “overall safety and security situation” similar to New Zealand.
This list is constantly updated and modified; for a complete and up-to-date list of reviews and destinations, visit the SafeTravel website.