For Referrers

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.

During the current public health emergency Labtests are processing high-volumes of COVID-19 tests. We cannot guarantee pre-departure test results for travellers in less than 72 hours from time of collection. It is important that all patients presenting for this test are advised of this by the referrer.
Results within 24 hours are not possible at this time, and we are unable process urgent requests for this test.
To reduce the turnaround time for the test result the patient can bring the sample direct to the laboratory (or deliver by taxi) at Labtests, Specimen Services, 37-41 Carbine Rd, Mount Wellington. To facilitate rapid identification write ‘Traveller COVID swab’ on the outside of the biohazard bag.
This direct delivery option is only available Monday to Saturday: 9:30 am to 2:00pm and Sunday: 9:30 am to 12:00pm.
We ask that anyone delivering samples to the Mount Wellington laboratory not to ask our staff for information regarding the time the result will be available.  Staff do not have access to this information, and these conversations take up valuable work time in the current emergency.
Results are reported as soon as they are available, so please do not phone the laboratory to expedite your result.

Read information about the testing process below:

Travel to China

The Chinese Embassy has updated its requirement for pre-departure travel testing.

From 10 December 2020, passengers must complete one COVID PCR test (swab) and one COVID IgM antibody test (blood) within 2 days of boarding their flight, providing negative results of both.

This requirement may change at any moment and is not under our control; please refer to the Chinese embassy website for further information.

COVID IgM antibody testing is available at Labtests for the purposes of pre-departure testing only.

Read full details of testing information here

Test Process for other departure locations

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.

Time-frame for testing and results

Pre-departure testing must be requested on or before 72 hours from when the result is required (not flight departure time). If a traveller presents with less than 72 hours before they require their result they should be aware of the likelihood they will not make their flight.

Turnaround time for results can be improved if samples are sent directly to the laboratory (e.g. delivered by taxi or the passenger themselves) to Labtests, Specimen Services, 37-41 Carbine Rd, Mt Wellington. This direct delivery option is only available Monday to Saturday: 9:30 am to 2:00pm and Sunday: 9:30 am to 12:00pm

Do not call Labtests Urgent Couriers, this service is for clinically urgent samples only.


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 such as “Pre-departure COVID-19 Test”, “Clearance” or “Travel” and include time and date of departure. This allows the laboratory to identify the purpose of testing.

If using eOrders, select “Novel Coronavirus” 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.

Further information

For queries relating to the laboratory testing process please contact info.commercial@aphg.co.nz.