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Quarantine arrangements for international travellers

A mandatory quarantine fee will apply to international travellers returning to NSW and needing to quarantine.

Why we need mandatory quarantine

Mandatory quarantine of international travellers 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. 

Government-arranged quarantine hotels will remain mandatory, with no option to select hotels.

All other aspects of quarantine arrangements in NSW remain in place.

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Quarantine arrangements for overseas travellers 

Under public health orders issued by the Minister for Health and Medical Research, people who arrive in Australia by aircraft from overseas or by vessel from another port outside of NSW must enter into quarantine in a designated accommodation facility for 14 days.

Quarantine applies to all overseas travellers, even if you are currently feeling well. This is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

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.

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 12:00 am (midnight) and ending at 12:00 am (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 $5,500 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 a quarantine hotel to wait until your departing flight. An exemption must be approved.

If you arrive in NSW from overseas, 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. 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.

For flight crew arriving on or after 25 June 2020, international flight crew are no longer automatically exempted from the NSW public health orders relating to quarantine for people arriving from overseas.

Rather, flight crew must self-isolate at their own residence or crew accommodation (within your room) until the end of the quarantine period or until the person leaves on a flight out of NSW.

Flight crew is defined as cabin, flight or positioning crew of passenger or cargo flights.

If you enter Australia as a passenger, you are not considered flight crew and should expect to complete your quarantine in a NSW Health quarantine facility.​

Read more about air transportation guidelines.

How the quarantine fee system works

The NSW Government is charging international travellers for their hotel quarantine accommodation. This applies to travellers who arrive in Sydney from 12.01am Saturday 18 July 2020 onwards.

Fees apply to all international passengers including Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents in hotel quarantine.

Any Australian resident returning from overseas and quarantining in NSW will need to pay for quarantine accommodation. This applies even if you are a resident of another state or territory and only transiting through Sydney.

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

Waivers and exemptions

People already in hotel quarantine before Saturday 18 July 2020 will not be charged. The change is not retrospective.

Travellers in transit via NSW for less than 24 hours will not be charged a fee. A pro-rata fee will be charged for stays greater than 24 hours. 

If you purchased your flight before 11:59pm 12 July 2020 AEST and had a confirmed international arrival date into NSW, even if you arrive on or after 18 July 2020, you will not be charged quarantine accommodation fees. 

  • Conditions do apply and you will need to provide evidence at check-in.

  • You will still be required to
    • quarantine in government-arranged accommodation
    • provide proof of their booking date to NSW Government on arrival at the hotel. 

No invoice would be generated for these travellers on departure.

Find out more about 

Conditions and requirements

  • You cannot choose a hotel 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.

Fees for quarantine

The hotel quarantine fee is a fixed cost which includes meals and hotel room costs.

  • You will not be charged more if you are required to stay in quarantine longer.
  • The NSW Government will continue to fund security, transport and logistics.

Travellers will be charged $3000 for one adult. Additional occupants can be added as

  • additional adults: $1000 each
  • additional children: $500 each
  • child under 3: no additional cost.

Example calculations

  • A family of 2 adults and 2 children over the age of 3 in one room would pay $5000.
  • A family of 2 adults and 4 children over the age of 3 would pay $6000. 

Invoicing and payment

Travellers will be informed in advance that they will receive an invoice at the end of their stay with provisions for claiming financial hardship.

  • 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 hotel quarantine per the current process.
  • When a customer arrives at the hotel, they will be given a notice which formally informs them 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. 
  • At the end of the quarantine period, travellers will receive an invoice to pay the NSW Government within 30 days of quarantine ending.

Payment options

Payment and support details will be noted 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
  • cheque.

You may also contact Revenue NSW to apply for a payment plan. 

About the quarantine fee system

To date the NSW Government has spent $65 million on quarantine accommodation to house international travellers returning to Australia.

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.

Financial hardship

Hardship is a set of circumstances resulting in an inability to pay a fee. This is usually because of increased expenses or a reduction in income and subsequent capacity to pay by the due date.

In the case of a quarantine invoice, this could be a combination of both. For example:

  • an increase in expenses brought on by the cost of quarantine itself, or any other reasonable living expense
  • a reduction in income due to injury, loss of employment or any other reasonable cause – including the quarantine period itself.

People experiencing financial hardship may apply for a payment plan.

Once you have received your invoice, contact Revenue NSW as soon as possible if you think you will have difficulty paying the fee by the due date.

We can, on a case by case basis, grant an extension of up to 14 days and can assist you to establish a payment plan of up to 3 months.

When you contact us, have your invoice number at hand.

If the 14-day extension and the 3-month payment plans are not affordable, contact Revenue NSW. We will work with you to determine your capacity to pay the fees. This involves our team asking you questions about your financial and personal circumstances that may affect your ability to pay.

You will be required to provide supporting evidence of your financial circumstances. We will work with you on options to resolve your fees if you claim hardship.

Contact your travel insurance company directly for more information. See the NSW Fair Trading website for guidance on travel cancellations.  

Contacts and enquiries

Customers can call Service NSW on 13 77 88 or +61 2 8894 1555 from Monday to Friday between 7am and 7pm (AEST). COVID-19 related enquiries are available 24/7. 

For translation and interpreter services, call 13 14 50 and ask the interpreter to phone 13 77 88.

Last updated: 31 July 2020

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