Just over a week after arrivals into the country started being required to pay for managed isolation, 40 people wishing to return home have been exempted from paying the $3000-plus fee.
A managed isolation and quarantine spokesperson says they are among 78 New Zealanders who have asked for exemptions.
So far one has been denied and 37 are still being processed.
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Waivers are given on a case-by-case basis, for a range of special circumstances.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is receiving up to 60 calls a day from people asking about the managed isolation fee and waiver process.
While the border is closed to non-New Zealanders, there are special exemptions.
People can apply to travel here on humanitarian grounds or if they are the partner or child of a New Zealand citizen or resident. Employers can apply to bring in critical workers.
"The new charging system balances the rights of New Zealanders to return home and helps reduce pressure on the managed isolation and quarantine system, while recovering some of the costs from those who choose to leave and enter the country on holidays or business trips," Housing Minister Megan Woods said.
Travellers required to contribute towards their managed isolation hotel stay will pay $3100 per room and $950 for each extra adult and $475 per child.