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NSW-Victoria border restrictions

Updates on restrictions for entering NSW if you have been in Victoria or crossing the NSW-Victoria border.

New transit permits

From Friday 16 October you can enter NSW from Victoria if have a permit and you are

  • driving from South Australia via the Sturt Highway
  • transiting by road, rail or air directly from the Spirit of Tasmania
  • transiting only through a Victorian airport without leaving the airport.

The exemption to enter NSW from South Australia after transiting through Victoria on the Sturt Highway expired at 12.01am Monday 19 October and you will need to apply for the new permit.

If you are transiting through NSW to another destination you can travel by road provided you have not been in a restricted area (Melbourne) or an area of concern in the last 14 days. You are no longer required to only transit by air. You will still need a permit to enter.

Apply for a permit

NSW agricultural workers’ code

From Friday 25 September organisations employing agriculture industry workers may be eligible to register workers for an agriculture worker COVID-19 border entry permit. The agricultural activity performed must not be able to be provided remotely.

The permit is available for all workers employed in eligible agriculture industry activities including seasonal workers and temporary visa holders. Your organisation must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan for agricultural workers and you must comply with it.

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Who can enter NSW

NSW has temporarily imposed border restrictions with Victoria.

Under the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order (No 2) 2020, anyone who has been in Victoria in the past 14 days must not enter NSW unless:

Only border region residents can travel within the NSW/Victoria border region. All other NSW residents that travel to Victoria including within the border region will be unable to return to NSW without a current entry permit or authorisation to enter under the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order 2020.

Read answers to common questions

Travelling from a Victorian area of concern or a restricted area

You may not be granted a permit to enter NSW if you have travelled in a Victorian area of concern or a restricted area within the previous 14 days.

Please refer to the border entry rules for further information.

Easy read (easy English) version

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Border entry rules

  • NSW resident 
    • A NSW resident must arrive in NSW only by flying to Sydney Airport and will then be required to quarantine at a quarantine facility (unless they are entering NSW under a different type of entry permit). This includes a person who is permanently relocating to NSW. Permit required: apply for a NSW border entry permit
    • Border region residents entering NSW with a border region permit for border region residents do not need to fly to Sydney Airport and quarantine.
  • NSW resident who has been quarantined in Victoria for the previous 14 days under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 of Victoria, meaning someone who has returned from overseas and been mandatorily quarantined under the Victorian Act, is not required to quarantine again in NSW.
    • Permit required: apply for a NSW border entry permit.
    • The NSW resident must
      • have documentary evidence that they have completed the Victorian quarantine period and be able to produce this on request
      • must travel to NSW by the most practicable direct route from the place of quarantine to an airport in Victoria and then by aircraft landing at any airport in NSW.

Permit required: apply for a NSW border entry permit

The border region resident permit allows a border region resident to enter NSW. Border region residents can travel within the border region for any reason with a current permit. 

Find out more information for border region residents.

Under an exemption granted on 20 August 2020, if you are a resident of NSW and Victoria you may travel between the states, by the most direct route possible, to attend school for year 11 or year 12 or a vocational institute that provides senior secondary school qualifications.

Parents and guardians who accompany their children to school are also exempt (subject to conditions).

Staff employed to teach year 11 or 12 students (at a school or vocational institute that provides senior secondary school qualifications) are also entitled to the exemption.

If you do need to fly into NSW, you are exempt from quarantine.

You must carry documents with you at all times to support your need to travel under this exemption that demonstrate 

  • your enrolment or
  • your child’s enrolment or
  • your employment at the school or institute.

If you have been in a restricted area or a COVID-19 area of concern in Victoria the exemption does not apply and you may not enter NSW.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, however mild, you should stay at home and not travel until you have been tested and received a negative result.

Permit required:

If you are a critical service worker

  • who entered NSW on a permit issued before 7 August
    • your permit is valid for the specified period
    • you must continue to follow the conditions on your permit.
  • who has a permit issued before 7 August, your permit is no longer valid and you will need to apply for a new permit. This does not apply to critical service workers living in a border region, or critical service workers moving freight or persons on a commercial basis.

The critical services exemption is to ensure major infrastructure and essential services are maintained and not interrupted.

Under the public health order, critical services include

  • movement of freight on a commercial basis
  • movement of persons on a commercial basis
  • medical, hospital, dental or veterinary care
  • Commonwealth defence and security services
  • mining, construction, energy or manufacturing
  • environmental cleaning and disinfection in a workplace or other non-residential premises to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on a commercial basis that is not available locally.

It does not apply to all persons working in the mining, construction, energy or manufacturing sectors, only those with frontline operational roles undertaking direct and essential operational activities. It does not, for example, cover internal or external management meetings, routine maintenance that can be delayed.

Freight or persons on a commercial basis

Critical service workers that move freight on a commercial basis must follow the COVID-19 Safety Plan at all times.

Critical service workers that move people on a commercial basis must self-isolate except when providing the critical service.

Highly specialised critical service

Certain workers are considered highly specialised critical services when they provide a service not available remotely, locally, or in the same or substantially the same form, in NSW or Victoria.

If you are a highly specialised critical service worker, you must

  • travel to NSW by aircraft landing at Sydney Airport, and
  • self-isolate except when providing the critical service, and
  • have documentary evidence that the critical service meets the criteria (this must be signed by the head of the organisation that employs you or if you are self-employed, the person you are providing the service to).

Permit required: your organisation will need to register you for a COVID-19 NSW border entry permit. Find out about the application process

The NSW Agricultural Worker Permit allows eligible agricultural workers to travel between NSW and Victoria under strict conditions.

An agricultural worker is a person performing an agricultural industry activity that is not able to be performed remotely. It includes a seasonal worker performing an agricultural industry activity.

Agricultural industry activities include:

  • forestry activity
  • farming activities and other activities related to agriculture including for example, horticulture, viticulture, irrigation and aquaculture
  • intensive agricultural production, including the operation of greenhouses and animal production
  • fibre manufacturing
  • producing, transporting or distributing agricultural or veterinary chemicals or vaccines
  • operating an animal sale yard, knackery or an animal transportation service, including livestock and pets
  • producing, packaging, transporting or selling animal feed or feeding livestock or pets
  • operating a veterinary clinic or providing related services
  • teaching, or operating a scientific facility, that requires the keeping or use of animals
  • laboratory or diagnostic services relating to an activity mentioned in another paragraph of this definition
  • the supply, management or transport of water to support agricultural production
  • an activity relating to the supply chain for export of agricultural products, livestock, food or beverages
  • food and beverage manufacturing and production, including associated services and the production of packaging for food and beverages.

 

Services that support the agricultural industry activities listed above are also included as agricultural industry activities and are eligible for a permit. Examples include

  • providing on-farm consultancies, livestock agency services, agronomy services, shearing contracting and trade services
  • providing food safety and verification services, laboratory services, access to markets for agricultural products, biosecurity and animal welfare services and national disaster response recovery and relief services.

Your organisation must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan for agricultural workers and you must comply with it.

If you are an agriculture worker, to enter NSW you must

  • not have been in a restricted area or a COVID-19 area of concern within the last 14 days
  • travel by the most practicable direct route between where the service is provided and your home or accommodation
  • comply with a COVID-19 Safety Plan for agricultural workers
  • have documentary evidence that the agricultural service meets the criteria (this must be signed by the head of the organisation that employs you or if you are self-employed, the person you are providing the service to).

You do not have to travel via Sydney airport, you can drive directly to your place of work.

If you are a Victorian resident, in addition to the above which applies to all agricultural workers, you must self-isolate for 14 days after entering NSW, except when providing an agricultural industry activity in NSW.

If you are a NSW resident, in addition to the above which applies to all agricultural workers, you must self-isolate for 14 days after returning to NSW, except

  • when you are providing an agricultural industry activity in NSW, or 
  • if you self-isolated while in Victoria when you were not providing an agricultural industry activity.

If you have a critical service (agricultural) permit that was current at 12.01am Friday 25 September 2020 it will 

  • be considered a new agricultural permit, with the new conditions
  • continue to be valid until the permit’s date of expiry.

Permit not required.

Permit required: apply for a NSW border entry permit

The member must self-isolate except when undertaking official duties or leaving NSW by the most practicable direct route.

Permit not required.

Permit required: apply for a NSW border entry permit

The Victorian education visitor must

  • arrive in NSW only by flying to Sydney Airport
  • upon arriving at Sydney Airport, complete 14 days of quarantine. The quarantine system and arrangements are the same as applies to people who arrive from overseas.

A Victorian education visitor means a resident of Victoria who is

  • a student at a university entering NSW for the purposes of receiving instruction 
  • a parent or guardian accompanying a university student if the student is under 18 years of age 
  • a staff member at a boarding school or university entering NSW for the purpose of working at the school
  • a student at a boarding school entering New South Wales for the purposes of receiving instruction who has been in a COVID area of concern or restricted area within the previous 14 days
  • a parent or guardian travelling with the boarding school student who have been in a COVID area of concern or restricted area with the previous 14 days.

If you are teaching year 11 or year 12, you may be eligible for an exemption provided you have not been in a restricted area or an area of concern in Victoria

The boarding school student permit is available for boarding school students and their parents and guardians who have not been in a COVID area of concern or restricted area within the previous 14 days.

Permit required: apply for a NSW border entry permit

The specialist school visitor must travel by the most practicable direct route between their place of residence and the school.

The specialist school visitor must comply with any directions about attendance at school issued by the Secretary of the NSW Department of Education.

If the specialist school visitor lives in Victoria, the visitor must not enter NSW if the visitor has, within the previous 14 days, been in an area that is a restricted area in accordance with an Area Direction made under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 of Victoria.

If the specialist school visitor lives in New South Wales, the visitor must self-isolate if the visitor returns to New South Wales and has, within the previous 14 days, been in an area that is a restricted area in accordance with an Area Direction made under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 of Victoria.

A specialist school means a government or non-government school, other than a
boarding school, for students with

  • intellectual disability
  • mental health issues
  • autism
  • physical disability
  • sensory impairment
  • learning difficulties
  • behaviour disorders.
     

A specialist school visitor means

  1. a resident of Victoria who is
  • a student at a specialist school entering NSW for their education or
  • a parent or guardian accompanying that student if the student is under 18 years of age or
  • a staff member of a specialist school entering NSW to attend work or
  • another person (such as a cleaner or bus driver) entering NSW to work or provide services at a NSW specialist school or provide services to the school.
  1. a NSW resident who is
  • a student at a specialist school in Victoria returning to NSW after attending school or
  • a parent or guardian accompanying that student if the student is under 18 years of age or
  • a staff member of a specialist school in Victoria who is returning to NSW after entering Victoria for work or
  • another person (such as a cleaner or bus driver) returning to NSW after entering Victoria to work or provide services at a specialist school in Victoria or provide services to the school.

Permit required: apply for a NSW border entry permit

Boarding school permits are available for

  • NSW residents attending boarding school in Victoria
  • Victorian residents attending boarding school in NSW.


Parents and guardians of boarding school students are also eligible for the permit, if you are

  • going with the student to their school or home
  • travelling to the school to take the student home from school
  • travelling home after taking the student to school

Parents and guardians must carry documentary evidence that the student is enrolled at boarding school.

You must travel by the most practicable direct route to and from the boarding school.

You can’t enter NSW if you have been in a COVID area of concern or restricted area, unless you are

  • travelling directly through to reach Melbourne airport
  • driving to NSW and not stopping in the COVID area of concern or restricted area.

If you have been in a Victorian COVID area of concern or restricted area in the previous 14 days will need to apply for the Victorian education visitor permit or, if you are a NSW resident, a returning NSW resident permit. You cannot enter NSW on the boarding school student permit.

Permit required: apply for a NSW border entry permit

You must comply with the following COVID-19 Safety Plan.

COVID-19 Safety Plan for child access and care arrangements

This is a plan for people who have been in Victoria in the last 14 days and have a permit to enter NSW for the purpose of child access and care arrangement.

It is a condition of your permit that you follow this plan while in NSW.

If you do not follow this plan, you must self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in NSW. 

During your time in Victoria

You should:

  • not enter a restricted area within the meaning of an Area Direction made under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 of Victoria or an area that is a COVID-19 area of concern
  • maintain good hand hygiene and physical distancing as much as reasonably possible 
  • minimise contact with others outside your direct household whilst in Victoria
  • not have any passengers accompanying you in NSW who do not have a permit to enter (your children and other dependents may be covered by your permit)
  • keep a record or log of your movements whilst in Victoria, including rest stops, for 14 days before entering NSW
  • seek COVID-19 testing and isolate immediately if you develop any symptoms, however mild. 

During your time in NSW

You are required to:

  • seek COVID-19 testing and self isolate immediately should you develop any symptoms, however mild
  • minimise your contact with others outside of your direct household or work for 14 days after leaving Victoria 
  • keep a record or log of your movement whilst in NSW for 14 days after leaving Victoria.

Permit required: apply for a NSW border entry permit

The person must travel by the most practicable direct route to the place where the service is provided. 

The person must not enter NSW if the person has, within the previous 14 days, been an area that is a restricted area in accordance with an Area Direction made under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 of Victoria.

The person is authorised to enter NSW only if the service is not available locally in Victoria or cannot be accessed remotely.

Permit not required.

The person must travel by the most practicable direct route

  • to the place where the service is provided and
  • from the place where the service is provided to their place of residence.

Permit required: apply for a NSW border entry permit

Driving from South Australia to NSW, via Victoria

You can transit through Victoria to arrive in NSW by road from South Australia.

However, you must

  • transit through Victoria only via the Sturt Highway
  • enter NSW only at George Chaffey Bridge, Sturt Highway, Mildura
  • travel by private vehicle only.

You must not enter NSW if you have within the previous 14 days, been in Victoria other than while transiting in Victoria via the Sturt Highway.
 

Transiting through Victoria to NSW from the Spirit of Tasmania

If you have been a passenger on the Spirit of Tasmania you can transit through Victoria to enter NSW.

If you are arriving in NSW by air you must

  • fly into Sydney Airport
  • travel from the vessel by the most practicable direct route to an airport in Victoria
  • not leave the Victorian airport terminal except to board a flight to Sydney
  • provide your flight details.

If you are arriving in NSW by road you must

  • travel by the most practicable direct route from the vessel to New South Wales
  • enter New South Wales only via the Hume Highway at Albury or the Newell Highway at Tocumwal.

If you are arriving in NSW by rail you must travel by the most practicable direct route from the vessel.

You cannot enter a residential aged care facility (unless you are a resident), a public hospital or a private health facility (unless you are seeking treatment) for 14 days after arriving in NSW. 

Transiting through Victoria by air

You can arrive in NSW if you

  • fly into Sydney Airport
  • only transited through a Victorian airport from another state or territory
  • did not leave the Victorian airport terminal
  • provide your flight details.


You must not enter NSW if you have been in any part of Victoria other than the airport terminal.

You can’t be a resident of Victoria.

You cannot enter a residential aged care facility (unless you are a resident), a public hospital or a private health facility (unless you are seeking treatment) for 14 days after arriving in NSW. 

Permit required: apply for a NSW border entry permit

You can transit through NSW to another location. However you must enter NSW only if you have lawful authority to enter the place outside NSW to which you are travelling.

If you are travelling by air you must

  • arrive in NSW only by flying to Sydney Airport
  • stay in Sydney Airport, however you may be authorised to go into quarantine until you can leave NSW.


If you are travelling by road you must

  • transit through NSW by the most practicable direct route
  • travel only by private vehicle.

If you are transiting by road, you must not enter NSW if you have within the previous 14 days been in a restricted area or area of concern

Transit permits expire 3 days after the date of issue.

Permit required: apply for a NSW border permit

Compassionate grounds are to

  • provide end of life support
  • attend a funeral or memorial service
  • other exceptional circumstances. 

You will need to apply to NSW Health for a compassionate permit exemption code before applying for your border entry permit. All cases are reviewed by a medical team for eligibility.

Permit required: apply for a NSW border entry permit

The person must self-isolate except to meet obligations imposed by a Court or an Act (such as bail or parole obligations).

Permits

In most cases, if you are authorised, you (and anyone travelling with you) will need a current NSW border entry permit.

If parents, students or staff have questions they should contact their Principal. For general information regarding COVID-19 and schools, visit the NSW Department of Education.

Exemptions for NSW-Victoria border crossings

Exemptions are rare and are only considered after a thorough risk assessment is completed to ensure the community of NSW is protected from the risk of COVID-19.

Exemptions to the public health order may be considered if you are

  • a critical service permit holder requesting to travel by road, or by air to an airport other than Sydney Airport (SYD)
  • a relocating or returning NSW resident requesting to travel by road with self-isolation at home
  • wanting to transit through NSW by road
  • in a situation where travel is required but no relevant permit exists.

Review the exemptions for entry into NSW - frequently asked questions to see if you fit the criteria for exemption.

Supporting documentation

Applications must have all supporting documentation attached to be assessed. Supporting documents include:

  • Relevant border permit from Service NSW.
  • Evidence to support your request. Examples include:
    • documentation from your doctor outlining your health issue
    • special equipment or support you need
    • letter from your employer with their request.
  • Your permit, lease or contract of sale if you are relocating to NSW.
  • Your permit, proof of accommodation and timeline of travel arrangements if you are applying as a critical service worker.
  • Your safe travel plan.
  • Your self-isolation plan. For your self-isolation plan refer to the NSW Health self-isolation guidelines.

 

Safe travel plan

Your safe travel plan will need to include the following

  • leave Victoria fully fuelled with food onboard to minimise interactions with NSW communities
  • don’t stop in built-up areas
  • maintain physical distance and use face masks, gloves and hand sanitiser if you need to stop
  • keep a log and record your movements in NSW, as this may be requested.

Your safety plan and self-isolation plan will be completed as part of the exemption application process.

If you fit the criteria for an exemption and have all relevant supporting documentation, you can apply for an exemption.

The NSW-Victoria border is closed to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  People are not encouraged to travel between NSW and Victoria at this time. Exemptions may be considered in specific circumstances only. 

If an exemption is given to you this would allow you to follow different conditions to those in your permit or the public health order.

There is a process to apply for exemptions and you must apply and receive your exemption before you travel.

Mandatory quarantine

People entering NSW from Victoria and all international travellers (other than travellers from New Zealand) arriving in NSW are required to enter mandatory quarantine. A quarantine accommodation fee applies. 

Mandatory self-isolation

If a person is required to self-isolate under the public health order, they must: 

  • go directly to their place of residence or another suitable place to stay, or
  • travel directly out of NSW.

Remain in self-isolation for 14 days

Once a person arrives at their place of residence or suitable accommodation, the person must remain at that place for 14 days since they entered NSW.

During the 14 day period, the affected person must follow the requirements of the NSW Health self-isolation guidelines and not leave the residence or place except 

  • to obtain medical care or medical supplies
  • to comply with a legal obligation
  • in an emergency
  • to provide a critical service
  • to leave NSW by a direct route.

If the person in self-isolation leaves the residence or place for any of these reasons, they must take all reasonable steps to minimise contact with other people.

No other person can enter the residence or place except if the other person

  • usually lives there or is complying with a direction under the public health order
  • is providing medical care or an emergency service
  • is delivering food or essential items.

Travel to other Australian states and territories

Each state or territory has its own entry requirements and travel restrictions. You must comply with any border rules of the state or territory you are entering or leaving.

Find out the rules that apply for travel to and from other states and territories.

Enforcement and penalties

Police officers at the border will have the power to refuse entry if you are not a resident of NSW and you present an unacceptable risk of transmitting COVID-19.

Police and public health officers will also be able to direct you to leave NSW if you are not a NSW resident and you are not authorised to enter NSW under the public health order.

A person found breaching the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order 2020 faces an $11,000 fine and six months in prison.

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COVID-19 NSW border entry permit

Last updated: 19 October 2020

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