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Quarantine rules

All international travellers arriving in NSW are required to enter mandatory quarantine. A quarantine accommodation fee applies. Special arrangements apply to travellers from New Zealand. 

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NSW quarantine rules

Travellers from New Zealand 

If you have been in a New Zealand COVID-19 hotspot in the previous 14 days – even if you just transited through – and arrive in NSW on or after 5:55pm on Monday 25 January 2021 you will need to

  • leave Australia if you are not an Australian citizen and it is reasonably practicable for you to do so or
  • go directly to a quarantine facility or
  • go directly to a medical facility if you require medical treatment.

You will be required to stay in the quarantine or medical facility for the quarantine period. However, you will not be charged quarantine fees.

The situation with New Zealand will be reviewed over the coming days.

The areas considered to be a New Zealand COVID-19 hotspot (PDF, 269.91 KB) are

  • Auckland, including Auckland Airport
  • Christchurch, including Christchurch Airport 
  • Dunedin, including Dunedin International Airport 
  • Hamilton, including Hamilton International Airport 
  • Wellington, including Wellington Airport 
  • Queenstown, including Queenstown Airport 
  • Rotorua, including Rotorua Regional Airport.

Travellers from overseas (other than New Zealand)

Mandatory quarantine of relevant travellers is needed to stop the spread of COVID-19 in NSW. 

The quarantine fees will reduce the financial burden of COVID-19 on NSW taxpayers.

Under public health orders, people who arrive in Sydney from overseas or by vessel from another port outside of NSW  must enter into quarantine in a designated accommodation facility for 14 days.

COVID-19 requires an extraordinary response and the quarantine period is necessary for the safety and health of all NSW citizens, including the family and friends of those in self-isolation.

Even if the quarantine fee does not apply to you, you may still be required to quarantine if directed to.

COVID-19 variants

Any returned traveller who is diagnosed with a COVID-19 variant of concern while in hotel quarantine, may have their quarantine period extended in order to further reduce the risk of transmission into the Australian community.

Variants of concern are new variants of COVID-19 emerging from around the world which may have increased transmissibility. NSW Health is taking a precautionary approach to managing ‘variants of concern’ to ensure that people with these variants pose no risk to the community when they are discharged from quarantine.

Returned travellers with variants of concern will not be released from quarantine until

  • at least 14 days after their symptom onset and
  • they have not had any COVID-19 symptoms in the previous 72 hours and
  • they have had a negative COVID-19 test (PCR swab) at the end of their quarantine period.

Who will be charged for quarantine fees
 

All international travellers flying into Sydney, other than from New Zealand, are required to quarantine under the public health orders, and you will be liable to pay quarantine fees, if

  1. you have arrived in NSW by aircraft and you have been in a country other than Australia or New Zealand within 14 days immediately prior to your arrival
  2. you have otherwise been directed to enter into quarantine in accordance with the public health orders.

How the fee system works

The quarantine fee for International Travellers started on 12:01am Saturday 18 July (Australian Eastern Standard Time). 

The NSW Government will invoice travellers a fixed fee at the end of their stay.

Travellers in transit from an international flight, via NSW, for less than 48 hours will not be charged a fee.

A fee will be charged for stays greater than 48 hours and less than 14 days, depending on the length of your stay.  For example, if you stay in quarantine for 72 hours (3 days), you will be charged for 3 days.

Fees for quarantine

The fee is a fixed amount that contributes towards the overall costs of quarantine incurred by NSW Government. 

  • You will not be charged more if you are required to stay in quarantine longer than 14 days.

Travellers will be charged $3000 for one adult.

Fees for additional occupants are

  • additional adults: $1000 each
  • children under 18 years of age: $500 each
  • child under 3 years of age: no additional cost.

All charges are in Australian dollars.

Example calculations

  • A group or family of 2 adults and 2 children (over the age of 3) in one suite or apartment would pay $5000.
  • A group or family of 2 adults and 4 children over the age of 3 would pay $6000.

Fees for shorter quarantine periods

If you stay in quarantine for less than 48 hours, you will not be charged a fee. If you stay longer than 48 hours but less than 14 days for any reason you will be charged a portion of the applicable quarantine fee depending on the length of your stay. For example, if you stay in quarantine for 72 hours (3 days), you will be charged for 3 days.

You may have a shorter stay in quarantine if

  • you are a transiting traveller staying in quarantine
  • you need to be treated in hospital.

Fee waivers

Travellers in transit from a flight via NSW for less than 48 hours will not be charged a fee.

You will need to provide evidence to Revenue NSW and meet conditions for a fee exemption if you are

  • an international traveller who purchased an international airfare prior to 11.59pm on 12 July 2020 (Australian Eastern Standard Time), or arrived prior to 12:01am on 18 July 2020 (Australian Eastern Standard Time)
  • a domestic traveller from Victoria who purchased an airfare prior to 5pm on 5 August 2020 (Australian Eastern Standard Time) or landed prior to 12:01am on 7 August 2020 (Australian Eastern Standard Time)
  • a NSW resident returning from Victoria who purchased an airfare prior to 5pm on 5 August 2020 (AEST) and landed after 12:01am Friday, 11 September 2020 (Australian Eastern Standard Time).

You will still be required to

  • quarantine in government-arranged accommodation
  • provide proof of your airfare purchase date to Revenue NSW.

Documents required

To apply for a fee waiver you will need to provide documents for all members of the group that landed in Sydney including

  • purchase receipt for airfares
  • flight confirmation from airline or travel agent
  • for all international travellers: copy of passport for each member of the group, showing the name and date of birth
  • for interstate travellers: copy of driver’s licence or birth certificate for each member of the group.

You will need to include the reason for your request, relevant documents and contact details.

If you provide Revenue NSW with proof of purchase documents, and they approve your fee waiver prior to your departure from the quarantine accommodation, you will not receive an invoice.

If you believe you have received an invoice in error, contact Revenue NSW to discuss your situation.

Apply for a quarantine fee waiver


Conditions and requirements

  • You cannot choose your quarantine accommodation and all attempts have been made to source suitable accommodation for quarantine purposes. Every attempt will be made to ensure the rooms meet the requirements of the individuals or families.
  • The names of the travellers on the flight’s confirmation documents must match the names of travellers that travelled to Australia and quarantined. Names will be compared to passports and travel documentation.
  • If, following purchase of flights prior to the deadline, the airline changes the day and/or time of the flight or the airline cancels the flight, travellers will not be charged providing they can supply evidence that their original flight was purchased prior to the deadline.
  • Any bookings made prior to the deadline and then cancelled by travellers are not able to be used as evidence of pre-booked travel for the purposes of a quarantine fee waiver.

Invoicing and payment

If you entered quarantine alone you will receive an invoice from Revenue NSW after you check out of quarantine.

If you entered quarantine as part of a group, the primary occupant (identified at quarantine check-in) will receive an invoice from Revenue NSW with other occupants of your group identified on the invoice.

If you entered as an unaccompanied youth (under 18 years of age) you will be invoiced as a child ie $500 and your invoice will be sent to your next of kin.

You will receive your invoice by email (if you provided this at quarantine check-in) or sent to you by mail at the address you provide.

The invoice recipient will have 30 days to pay the invoice, the due date will be stated on the invoice.

You may be subject to penalties if you do not pay your fees on time. Find out what to do if you think you may be unable to pay on time.

  • The NSW Government will liaise with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Smart Traveller and consulates) and relevant airlines to spread the information.
  • No additional application will be required. All international travellers will automatically be directed into quarantine accommodation per the current process.
  • When you arrive at the quarantine accommodation, you will be given a notice which formally informs you of the requirement to pay quarantine fees. This would be done at the same time traveller contact details are collected, per the current check-in process.
  • After you check out of quarantine, Revenue NSW will send an invoice to you by email or post. You will have 30 days to pay the invoice. The due date will be stated on the invoice.

Payment options

Payment details will be on the invoice and payment must be made in Australian dollars.

A range of payment options are available to you to finalise your account:

  • online payment with a Visa or Mastercard
  • telephone payment with a Visa or Mastercard
  • BPAY
  • Australia Post in person
  • payment plan with Revenue NSW.

For further information contact Revenue NSW on 1300 433 476 from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

If you are experiencing hardship

After you receive your invoice, you can contact Revenue NSW if you think you will have difficulty paying the fee by the due date. You will need to provide your invoice number when you contact Revenue NSW. Revenue NSW can grant an extension of up to 14 days and can assist you to establish a payment plan.

If the Payment Plan or an extension to pay is still not affordable, contact Revenue NSW who will work with you to determine your capacity to pay the fees. You will be asked questions about your financial and personal circumstances that may be affecting your ability to pay.

You may be required to provide supporting evidence of your financial circumstances. Revenue NSW will provide you with options to resolve your fees.

You can get help from a financial counsellor by contacting the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

Financial counsellors provide free, independent and confidential advice to help you manage your debts or negotiate with creditors.

Unlike financial planners or advisors, they don't provide investment advice or recommend products, and they don't receive commissions.

For step-by-step guides and useful information on how to deal with specific types of debts visit the National Debt Helpline website.

Contact your travel insurance company directly to find out whether your insurance policy covers your quarantine accommodation fee.

For related information on this topic, see the NSW Fair Trading website for guidance on travel cancellations.

Common questions about quarantine

Mandatory quarantine is needed to stop the spread of COVID-19 in NSW.

The quarantine fee will reduce the financial burden of COVID-19 on NSW taxpayers. 

Queensland and the Northern Territory have introduced fees for quarantine. Visit the websites for other Australian states and territories for the latest information.

People in quarantine who get tested for COVID-19 and the result is negative still need to remain for the quarantine period which starts on the day you arrive in NSW and ends when the sooner of the following occurs

  • at least 14 full days have passed and, as a result of testing, the Chief Health Officer (or delegate) is satisfied that you do not pose a risk of infecting any other person with COVID-19
  • if you refuse to participate in health checks and COVID-19 testing you will be required to quarantine for 24 full days.

A full day means a 24 hour period commencing at 12am (midnight) and ending at 12am (midnight) on the following day).

The quarantine period applies to anyone who entered into quarantine immediately before the commencement of the Amendment Order under the

Not following these rules is a criminal offence and attracts heavy penalties.

For individuals, the maximum penalty is $11,000, 6 months in prison, or both with a further $5500 fine for each day the offence continues.

International transit passengers arriving into Australia can depart on another international flight if your transit time is less than 8 hours and you can stay airside (i.e. in the transit zone). This will be possible only if your bags have been checked through to your next destination. You do not need to apply for an exemption and are able to continue your journey to another country.

If you go through immigration, you will require an exemption.

If your departure flight is between 8 to 72 hours after arrival flight, you will be taken to the quarantine accommodation to wait until your departing flight. An exemption must be approved.

If you arrive in NSW from a country other than New Zealand, you must go into quarantine for the quarantine period before continuing your journey to another state or territory.

After this isolation period, you can transit domestically and travel home.

Australian states and territories have their own quarantine rules in place.

New Zealand travellers entering Australia via NSW should check local requirements prior to travelling there.

Some states and territories may require travellers from safe zone countries to quarantine on arrival.

Some require approval to travel across borders from NSW, or even a further isolation period when you arrive in that state.

 

For the latest information visit Australian Interstate Quarantine.

Flight crews

From 22 December 2020, quarantine rules changed for flight crew.

  • Most international flight crew have to quarantine in a quarantine facility until the end of the quarantine period or they leave Australia.
  • Flight crew who reside in NSW are able to self-isolate at their residence if they are “declared flight crew”, instead of entering government quarantine. This is subject to certain requirements including having a COVID-19 test before leaving the airport and not living in the same household as a “designated worker” (healthcare, residential aged care and disability care worker). Declared flight crew must follow the self-isolation requirements outlined in the Air Transportation Guidelines.
  • Positioning crew are only considered flight crew if they are on the flight manifest or have provided a letter from the airline indicating that they are flight crew and the date they are due to leave Australia.
  • Air crew arriving on a flight from New Zealand are required to declare where they have been in the last 14 days. If they have only been in Australia or New Zealand, they do not need to self-isolate or quarantine. However, if they have been elsewhere, they are treated the same as any other international flight crew.
  • Interstate flight crew can leave the airport to transit to their home jurisdiction if they:
    • are tested for COVID-19 prior to leaving the airport AND
    • provide a declaration that they have not been in contact with a COVID-19 case in the past 14 days and do not have, and have not had in the previous 72 hours, any COVID-19 symptoms AND
    • travel to their jurisdiction via suitable transport, meaning:
      • in a plane with no passengers other than other interstate crew
      • or, in the case of ACT residents, in a private vehicle.

From 14 December 2020, the following changes apply.

  • A "designated quarantine facility worker" cannot carry out services, or continue to carry out services, at a quarantine facility unless the person has been tested for COVID-19 in accordance with the NSW testing program for that class of workers. Similar restrictions apply to a "designated transportation worker". The NSW testing program will be set out in the Quarantine Worker Surveillance and Testing Program, which must be approved by the Chief Health Officer. NSW hotel quarantine worker surveillance and testing program sets out when different categories of worker must be tested – if a worker in that category is not tested in accordance with the program, they cannot provide services at the quarantine facility until they have been tested. As of 14 December, the only category of workers that will be required to be tested in order to provide services will be persons providing security services (but not police officers). The category of workers included in the testing program may expand as time goes on.
  • A person who leaves a quarantine facility because of an emergency is required to comply with the directions of the Commissioner of Police.
  • A designated air crew who are self-isolating are required to comply with the Air Transportation Guidelines. The guidelines will be updated as the situation evolves.

For detailed information read the Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 4) 2020.

Quarantine workers

From 14 December, workers supporting quarantine of travellers in NSW (such as quarantine hotel staff and security) will receive regular saliva tests to ensure the continued health and safety of workers and the wider community.

See more about who needs to be tested and how and when tests will be done.

Contacts and enquiries

If you have any questions or concerns about your quarantine during the quarantine period, contact the reception desk of your quarantine accommodation.

More information

 

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