Find out about getting tested, the different tests used in New Zealand, and where you can be tested.
Testing is free
Generally, everyone can get a COVID-19 test for free — you do not need to be a New Zealand citizen or resident, and you will not have to pay for care if you test positive.
You may need to pay for a test if it’s to enter another country or for surveillance testing by the business sector, which is outside the mandatory requirements.
Who can get a free test?
A COVID-19 test is free if it is part of the public health response. This includes if you:
· have symptoms
· are a Household Contact
· are a critical worker and need a test to go to work
· are part of the healthcare and emergency service workforce
· require a test for domestic travel or to attend court
· do a job where mandatory testing applies
· have been told to get one by a health professional.
Where to get a test
You are allowed to leave your home to get a COVID-19 test while you are self-isolating.
Visit a community testing centre
Healthpoint lists testing centres by area. You can also search for a location near you on a map.
Order RAT home testing kits
Requesting RATs to use at home is an easy step-by-step process. RATs can be requested on behalf of someone else. You will need access to a mobile phone to validate your order.
- Online: requestrats.covid19.health.nz
- Phone: 0800 222 478, choose option 3 (8am-8pm, 7 days a week)
You will be issued an order number. You can then collect your RAT order from a collection site listed on Healthpoint, or have someone collect it for you.
Get a test from your doctor
Your doctor may offer COVID-19 tests. Call them to find out and follow their advice.
When to get tested
Reasons to get tested may include if you:
- feel unwell
- are a household contact of someone with COVID-19
- are travelling internationally (depending on where you’re travelling to)
- are attending a court in person and are asymptomatic and unvaccinated
- are required to in order to undertake your work
If you think you need a test, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453
Financial support while awaiting results
If you cannot work from home, your employer can apply for the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment so you can continue to get paid.
- COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment
Different types of COVID-19 tests
In New Zealand there are three types of test for COVID-19: PCR, Saliva and Rapid antigen.
PCR (or nasopharyngeal) tests are the most accurate test, and can be done at community testing centres, hospitals and medical centres. Results can take 2-5 days.
It is is a swab of the back of your nose and throat. A swab is like a small cotton-bud but with a longer stick.
This testing is available for border workers. Saliva samples can be self-collected and dropped off at a collection point or observed by a health care worker.
Rapid antigen tests (RATs)
A rapid antigen test (RAT) is generally taken with a front of nose swab. It can be done in hospitals, medical centres, pharmacies and at home. These are used more often when case numbers are high.