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Your guide to border restrictions

What you need to know about the NSW-Victorian border restrictions and applying for an entry permit.

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NSW border entry permit

NSW has temporarily shut its border with Victoria to contain the spread of COVID-19. 

The arrangements will remain in force until it becomes safe to ease the restrictions. 

Anyone seeking to enter NSW may apply for a NSW border entry permit

You must comply with any conditions of the permit as well as other requirements of the public health order.

A strict permit system is in place for all flights arriving in NSW from Victoria and passengers undergo comprehensive police and health checks upon arrival. Find out more about the strict new procedures for Victorian flights.

Apply for a NSW border entry permit

Transitional border entry permits expire after 14 days. Check your permit expiry date.

If you applied for a Transitional border entry permit on 21 July, your permit expires on Tuesday 4 August at 11:59pm and you need to apply for a new permit.  

You will find the expiry date at the top of the permit.

Border Zone (Transitional) Permits were created as a temporary measure for people who live inside the border zone but could not get a new border zone permit because they travelled outside the border zone in the two weeks before 21 July.

If you live in the border zone you can apply for a new Border Zone Residents Permit if you have not left the border zone in the previous 14 days.

If you have another category of border entry permit, check the expiry date and apply for a new permit before your current permit expires. 

Apply for a NSW border entry permit

About the border closure

Under the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Amendment Order 2020, anyone who has been in Victoria in the past 14 days must not enter NSW unless:

Learn more about the NSW-Victoria border rules.

The high numbers of cases in Victoria, as well as community transmission there and in NSW, indicates ‘seeding’ or transmission of COVID-19 from Victoria into NSW. The new restrictions further tighten controls along NSW’s border with Victoria.

NSW Health is working across the NSW Government to do everything possible to prevent further seeding and transmission from Victoria into NSW.

See our latest news and updates for information on confirmed COVID-19 cases in NSW.

  • Movement of freight on a commercial basis
  • Movement of persons on a commercial basis
  • Maintenance and repair of critical infrastructure
  • Medical, hospital, dental or veterinary care
  • Commonwealth defence and security services
  • Mining, agriculture, 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

The NSW Government will continue to review the arrangements on the border to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The order applies to all people who have been in Victoria in the past 14 days and wish to travel to or through NSW.

Excluding Victoria, there are no restrictions in place for all other states on crossing the NSW border. However, 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.

For information on the requirements for other states, visit the relevant government website.

Checkpoints and crossings

Visit Live Traffic for the latest information on checkpoints at border crossings.
 

At a border checkpoint, you are required to prove your identity with documents that match the name on your permit. 

Acceptable identity documents include

  • state-issued driver’s licence (includes digital licences)
  • identity card with a photo
  • Australian passport
  • passport from an international traveller's home country.

To avoid queues and make your crossing faster

  • ensure you have a valid border entry permit
  • keep your supporting documents ready before you approach the border checkpoint
  • follow traffic regulations, drive safely and obey police direction. 

You must present your border entry permit and any supporting documents at the checkpoint.

Even if you have a permit, under the latest order any non-NSW resident who is seen as a health risk may be refused entry into NSW.

For example, if anyone in the vehicle has visited a COVID-19 hotspot in Victoria within the past 14 days, all passengers may be refused entry into NSW.

Anyone who flies into NSW from Victoria must either be a NSW resident or have a relevant permit that allows entry into NSW. Upon arrival into NSW all passengers from Victoria are:

  • given masks if they left on them the plane

  • temperature checked

  • asked relevant questions about their health

  • their permit is checked to ensure it complies with the strict permit system.

Anyone without a valid permit is referred to NSW Police and taken to the Special Health Accommodation to complete 14 days of quarantine.

Strict instructions and rules are in place for those going into ‘Home Isolation’ including:

  • recommended they be collected in a private car by family or friends

  • not to use public transport to get home

  • to only sit in the back seat of a car with the windows open and air conditioning not on recirculation

  • told to wear their face masks and observe hand hygiene recommendations 

  • called to make sure they arrive home.

NSW Health is provided the contact details of everyone who enters NSW from Victoria.

Permits

Except for permits issued on compassionate grounds, permits issued prior to 22 July will no longer allow a person to enter NSW if that person is not already in NSW before that date. 

If a permit holder is in NSW then their permit will continue unless they leave NSW, when the permit will cease. 

Anyone who has a permit that requires them to comply with a condition must continue to comply with that obligation. For example, if you entered NSW with a permit that requires you to self-isolate, then you must continue to self-isolate.

Apply online via Service NSW website.

Border entry permits are not required if you

  • need emergency medical, hospital, dental or veterinary care
  • provide emergency or law enforcement services 
  • are avoiding injury or harm or are in an emergency such as family or domestic violence.

You may be asked for details of how you fall into a particular category and, where possible, you should have documentary evidence, such as a letter from your doctor or hospital.

Less than 10 minutes.

Your permit will specify how long it lasts for. 

Permits will generally expire after 14 days, except transit permits which generally expire after 3 days. Permits granted on compassionate grounds may vary according to circumstances.

Exemptions on compassionate grounds are assessed according to the urgency of the request. It is not possible to provide a specific timeframe. 

Conditions are written clearly on your permit. You should receive your permit within 10 minutes of submitting your application online. 

Border zone residents

As you are aware, NSW has temporarily imposed border restrictions with Victoria and people need a border entry permit to enter NSW from Victoria.

This is to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and jobs of NSW residents and these arrangements will remain in force until it becomes safe to ease them.

The new border restrictions came into place on 21 July.

Border Zone (Transitional) Permits were created for people who lived inside the new border zone but couldn’t get a new border zone permit because in the two weeks before 21 July they’d travelled outside the 2km border zone.

This was a temporary measure to support border zone residents and these Border Zone (Transitional) Permits all expire 4 August at 11:59pm.

Border zone residents can apply for a new Border Zone Residents Permit, assuming they have not travelled outside the new border zone.

Visit Service NSW to apply for a new permit.

View the border zone maps approved under the amended public health order and check if your address or the place you’re travelling to is in the border zone.

Border zone maps

Border zone postcode check: find out if your residential address is in the border zone which is eligible for a permit as a cross-border resident.

If you are a border zone resident, you are eligible for a permit to enter NSW if you are

  • going to or returning from work if you can’t work from home
  • going to or returning from school or an educational institution if learning from home is not possible
  • obtaining non-emergency medical care, supplies or health services in NSW that are not available in Victoria or cannot be delivered remotely
  • accompanying and providing care to a person who needs to go to NSW for non-emergency medical care, supplies or health services
  • providing care or assistance for a vulnerable person which includes providing or receiving personal care, mental health or domestic violence services or services to victims of crime.

If you do not fall into the above categories, you cannot enter NSW under a border zone resident permit.

If you are a border zone resident and require non-emergency medical care, work in a school or university outside of the border zone, are a critical services provider or otherwise are eligible for another type of permit, you can obtain that permit and comply with the conditions that it imposes.

An exemption is in place for remote communities. View the list of exempt remote communities

NSW border residents are restricted to the specific reasons described in the public health order (work, education, or to obtain medical care or supplies) for travelling into the Victorian side of the border zone without self-isolating.

  • If a NSW border resident goes into any part of Victoria, including the border zone, for a reason that is not work, education or to obtain medical care or supplies, they need to self-isolate when they return. 
  • If they travel beyond the border zone into Victoria, they will be required to self-isolate for 14 days when they return. 

Any other NSW resident who enters Victoria or has been there in the last 14 days, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to NSW.

All NSW residents are strongly urged not to travel to Victoria at this time.

You should not cross the border if you have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have symptoms, however mild, get tested.

The public health order does not restrict travel for NSW residents. However, NSW Health advises NSW border residents to avoid all non-essential travel.

Continue to practise physical distancing, maintain good hygiene, and stay at home if you experience symptoms.

The public health order does not prevent NSW residents from entering Victoria, however you will need a border entry permit for when you return from Victoria back into NSW and you will be required to self-isolate

If you have any further questions, the COVID-19 hotline is available with advice and support. It operates 24/7 on 13 77 88.

Travel within the border zone is only permitted for work or education (where the person cannot work or learn from home) or to access health/medical care or supplies.

If you travel outside of the border zone in Victoria, you will be required to self-isolate upon entering NSW if you are a NSW resident and if you are a Victorian resident you will not be permitted entry to NSW. 

If you

  • live within the border zone and work within the border zone, then you may be able to get a border zone permit and cross the border for work
  • live either outside the border zone or work outside the border zone, a border resident permit will not allow you to travel from home to work
  • are a critical service provider you may be eligible for a critical services permit to enter NSW (critical services workers are not limited in how far they can travel but will be required to comply with their permit conditions at all times)
  • have symptoms, however mild, get tested and do not cross the border, even if you are a critical service worker. 

Self-isolation and quarantine

Your permit will indicate if you need to self-isolate for 14 days, get tested for COVID-19 or any other conditions. Almost all permits will require you to self-isolate. Check your eligibility

When you arrive at your place of residence or suitable accommodation, you must self-isolate and remain at that place for 14 days from the time you entered NSW. 

During the 14-day self-isolation period, you must not leave the residence or place except:

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

If you leave the residence or place for any of these reasons, you must take all reasonable steps to minimise contact with other people.

You must comply with the NSW Health Self-Isolation Guidelines.

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.

You and your family must apply for a NSW border entry permit and provide proof of having completed your quarantine in Victoria.

You must travel to NSW by the most direct, practicable route.

No, provided you travel directly home after your quarantine.

Working across the border

Victorian residents who travel to NSW to perform critical services will need a border entry permit and will have to comply with any conditions on the permit.

All critical service providers except freight workers are required to self-isolate on arrival in NSW, except when providing the critical service or directly leaving NSW.

A person moving freight on a commercial basis must comply with the relevant COVID-19 Safety Plan at all times.

Seasonal workers are not critical workers, so are not eligible for a critical services permit.

However, if you are a seasonal worker who lives in Victoria and inside the border zone, you can apply for a border zone resident permit to undertake farm work in the border zone on the NSW side of the border.

Seasonal workers who access this permit must not travel outside the border zone in Victoria within 14 days of crossing into NSW.

A border zone resident permit does not allow you to go into any part of NSW that is outside the border zone.

No, if you have a border zone resident permit you do not have to self-isolate when not at work. However, a border zone permit only allows a border zone resident to come into the NSW side of the border zone for very specific reasons.

If you are a seasonal worker with a border zone permit who is going to work, you should only go straight to the place where you work in NSW, then return to Victoria after you finish work.

If you leave the border zone in Victoria, you will not be permitted to return to NSW for 14 days.

A border zone resident permit does not allow you to go into any part of NSW that is outside the border zone, so you must stay within the border zone if you want to continue to work.

Yes, the agriculture industry is a critical service however seasonal workers are not. You will need a border entry permit to enter NSW and you will have to comply with any conditions on the permit.

Agricultural service providers are required to self-isolate for 14 days except when providing critical service.  

Yes, freight will continue to move freely across the border, including the transportation of livestock.

Drivers of freight vehicles will need a border entry permit and they must comply with the relevant COVID-19 Safety Plan.

No, the racing industry is not listed in the critical services in the order. 

Breeders are considered agriculture, which is a critical service. You will need to comply with the conditions on your permit, including having a relevant COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Check the ACT Government’s isolation and border conditions to ensure you are adhering to its COVID Safe guidelines. 

  • Individuals are responsible for their own permits.
  • Permits will be granted for critical service workers.
  • If you are crossing the border from outside the border zone, you will need to self-isolate at all times when you are not performing your critical service work (unless your critical service is freight in which case you must comply with your COVID-19 Safety Plan).

Even if you are a critical service worker, you should not cross the border if you have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have symptoms, however mild, get tested.
 

If you

  • are living in NSW and have not been to Victoria since Wednesday 8 July, you do not need a permit to stay in NSW
  • have been in Victoria in the last 14 days you will need a permit to enter NSW
  • live in the border zone and wish to come into the NSW part of the border zone for work, education or medical supplies or medical care you may be able to get a border resident permit
  • live outside the border zone you will only be allowed to cross the border and enter NSW if you have a relevant class of permit.

Be sure to always carry documents that prove your temporary residence in NSW.

No. You must self-isolate for 14 days every time you return to NSW from Victoria. If you are a critical service worker who needs to cross the border, you must self-isolate whenever not at work.

Even if you are a critical service worker, no one should cross the border if they have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have symptoms, however mild, it is important that you get tested.

Cross-border travel

Moving house is not a permitted reason to enter NSW.

The NSW-operated XPT service from Sydney to Melbourne will not operate for the duration of the border control period. V/Line services originating in Melbourne will turn around at the border. 

No.

You must apply for a NSW border entry permit, which is usually in effect for 3 days if you

  • transit through an airport in Victoria, provided you do not leave the airport
  • travel by a direct route through Victoria after disembarking the Spirit of Tasmania
  • travel by a direct route through Victoria from South Australia by road or rail. 

The permit requires you to travel to NSW by the most direct practicable route.

Yes. You will need a border entry permit which will allow you to stop if you need to

  • take a break for a meal or rest, which includes an overnight stay or
  • stop and deal with an emergency.

You are only eligible for a permit if you are lawfully allowed to enter Queensland. If you are refused entry at the Queensland border you may not be allowed to stay in NSW.

The only reason you may leave a station or airport is for

  • direct travel to suitable accommodation
  • dealing with an emergency.

You may not leave the station or airport during your transit if an overnight stay is not part of your journey.

No. There is not a relevant class of permit that would allow entry to NSW for this reason.

Children and education

You are eligible to apply for a NSW border entry permit if you are carrying out child access and care arrangements.

When you apply for your permit you will be advised whether you need to either

  • self-isolate or
  • comply with a COVID-19 Safety Plan which Service NSW will provide to you.

Yes. Under the amended public health order, a Victorian resident who is a student, parent of a student, or school staff member can travel to NSW for the purpose of education.

However, anyone entering NSW from Victoria must self-isolate for 14 days and must produce a negative swab result between day 10 and day 14 of self-isolation. If they return to Victoria for any reason, including weekend visits, they must start a fresh, 14-day isolation period .

Yes. However, they will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after entering NSW if they return.

With the exception of students and staff who live in the border zone and day school visitors, any students and staff that have been in Victoria in the 14 days prior to school starting should be excluded and not attend school until 14 days have passed since they were last in Victoria.

Any student who attends a boarding school or university college in NSW and has been in Victoria in the last 14 days will be required to self-isolate. They will also be required to take a COVID-19 PCR test on or after day 10 of isolation and obtain a negative COVID-19 swab result.

If students or staff re-enter Victoria for any reason, including for weekend visits, they must commence the 14-day self-isolation period again on re-entry to NSW.

Find out more about requirements for a

Health services

You will require a permit to enter NSW for medical reasons. 

You can only enter NSW from Victoria for medical or hospital services that are not available to you in Victoria or remotely. You must travel directly to where the service is being provided.

If you have been in a Victorian hot spot (currently Greater Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire), you will not be allowed to enter NSW.

If you have a medical emergency, seek treatment immediately at your closest emergency department.

Access to emergency medical, hospital, dental or veterinary care will be allowed without a permit if you enter NSW and travel by the most direct practicable route to where the services are provided, and then from that place back home to your place of residence.

You can apply for a NSW border entry permit on compassionate grounds.

Holidays and recreation

If you are travelling from Victoria to Queensland by road, rail or air, you will need a NSW border entry permit and a QLD border declaration pass.

When travelling, you must transit through NSW by the most practicable direct route. You are required to be legally allowed to enter the place that you are travelling to in order to be allowed to transit through NSW.

Follow the prompts when you apply for a NSW border entry permit. If you are eligible for a permit, the system will guide you to the correct one.

Yes, providing you do not get out of your car and you take the most practicable direct route. You will still however need a permit to enter NSW. 

If you have not been in Victoria in the last 14 days then there is no reason for you to leave NSW or take any specific action.

If you have been in Victoria and are transiting through NSW to another state or territory, you must be allowed to enter that state or territory.

If you are not able to enter that other state or territory you should leave NSW by the most practicable direct route.

If you are hiking in Victoria and are not a NSW resident or otherwise have a permitted reason to enter NSW, then you must not enter NSW. 

If you are a NSW resident, then you must self-isolate upon entering NSW. 

If this is not possible, you'll have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in NSW from Victoria. 

Penalties

Anyone in the community can report public health order breaches via Crime Stoppers.

Breach of a public health order is a serious criminal offence with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 6 months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both).

They could also incur a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues.

Corporations that fail to comply with a direction are liable to a fine of $55,000 and a $27,500 fine each day the offence continues.

Anyone who breaches the public health order may be fined and/or imprisoned.

The on the spot fines that can be issued are:

  • $4,000 for failing to provide or falsifying information to an enforcement officer
  • $1,000 for individuals or $5000 for corporations in other cases.

Last updated: 4 August 2020

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