COVID-19 Pre-departure testing

COVID-19 Pre-departure testing

The Ministry of Health has advised laboratories and PHOs that COVID exit testing for repatriation to other countries pre-departure will not be funded by the NZ government from 22 June 2020.

People registering for repatriation flights departing NZ will be made aware of any requirements around pre-departure testing by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and airlines.

View Pre-departure testing update >>

Test Process

Travellers will contact their medical practice to arrange testing. Payment must be made directly to the medical practice for all associated costs of testing, including the laboratory analysis.

The result will be issued electronically to the healthcare provider stated on the request form (the referrer) in the usual way. It is the responsibility of the referrer for onward release of the results to the traveler. Under normal circumstances the laboratory will not release results directly to the traveler. The referrer must therefore ensure there are processes in place to ensure results are issued to the traveler promptly (including at weekends, evenings and public holidays) to any avoid delays which could affect the ability to meet travel requirements.

Time-frame for Testing and Results of PCR Swab

Timeframe for Testing and Results
Pre-departure testing must be requested on or before 48 hours from when the result is required (not flight departure time). Note: the requester must include the date the result is required on the request form.

If a traveller presents with less than 48 hours before they require their result they should be aware of the likelihood they will not make their flight.

For 48 hours TAT results please advise the laboratory by emailing advising of swab arrival date to laboratory and patient details.


The price of the laboratory analysis is $141.00 inc. GST; this must be paid to the medical practice directly. The laboratory will invoice the medical practice for testing as per standard invoicing process.

Clinical Details

Manual Request Form
Medical practices must include relevant details on the test request form – that the swab is a pre-departure test and the date/time the result is required by.

If using eOrders, select “COVID-19 PCR swab” and in funding category select “Patient to pay” (second option as below).

Patient Consent

By requesting COVID-19 testing individuals are providing their consent for results to be sent through to the national result repository. This is a Ministry of Health requirement for all notifiable diseases. There is no requirement for a separate consent form to be completed for this purpose.

Pre-Departure Serology Testing

Medlab is unable to provide pre-departure COVID-19 serology testing because this is a sendaway test. Travelers must arrange this testing by travel to and testing at another centre where serology is offered, such as Auckland.


Our laboratory is an Accredited Medical Testing Laboratories (SARS-CoV-2). For more information visit the IANZ accreditation directory.

Further Information

For queries relating to the laboratory testing process please contact: