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Border controls

Strict border controls apply in the Northern Territory (NT) for all access points by:

  • road
  • rail
  • air
  • sea.

People not eligible for exemption arriving at a Northern Territory border must complete 14 days of mandatory quarantine.

Some people are exempt, or can apply for exemption, from the 14-day forced quarantine. Read more about the exemption categories.

  • We are all working together to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Territory.

    NT Police and Australian Federal Police are manning border controls.

    Every person who is required to be in quarantine will be checked on.

    NT police and public and environmental health officers will undertake quarantine compliance checks to ensure people are doing the right thing. Fines will apply if you are not.

  • Anyone seeking to enter the NT must fill in a border arrival form PDF (459.6 KB) to declare:

    • where you have travelled in the last 30 days
    • your personal and contact details
    • information about where you intend to stay whilst in the Territory.

    Get the border arrival form PDF (459.6 KB).

    This form will also be available at border access points.

    There are special requirements you should follow if you will be entering the Territory by sea.

  • There are strict border controls in place for all arrivals to the Territory, including returning Territorians.

    You should reconsider all non-essential travel.

    Only travel if you feel well. Get more information about what to do in the Territory if you feel unwell.

    Interstate arrivals

    All people entering the Northern Territory (NT) are required by law to quarantine for 14 days at an appropriate location.
    Border control measures are enabling the gradual adjustment of restrictions for the Territory population to establish the new normal.

    The quarantine period begins at the time of your arrival to the Territory (as confirmed on your border arrival form PDF (459.6 KB)) and ends at midday on the 14th day after arrival.
    People in quarantine will be subject to compliance checks and can be fined for breaches of quarantine.

    Until 15 June 2020

    All people arriving in the NT from interstate before 15 June must enter mandatory, monitored quarantine at a location determined by the NT Government.

    You are required to pay a fee to cover the costs of the mandatory quarantine. Find out about the quarantine fee.

    If you are travelling with a pet, arrangements must be made to accommodate your pet prior to arriving in the NT and at your own expense. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure all vaccinations are current.

    Some people are exempt, or can apply for an exemption, from mandatory quarantine.

    From 15 June 2020

    On 15 June, the Northern Territory will transition from mandatory monitored quarantine to mandatory self-quarantine.

    International arrivals still need to undertake Government-mandated and supervised quarantine.

    From 15 June, anyone arriving in the NT from interstate will be able to choose their own self-quarantine arrangements.

    This may be in their own home, in private accommodation, or at a commercial accommodation provider at their own expense.

    Self-quarantine will still need to be undertaken in an appropriate location that meets the conditions of the Chief Health Officer’s directions.

    If you are travelling with a pet, arrangements must be made to accommodate your pet prior to arriving in the NT and at your own expense. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure all vaccinations are current. Some people are exempt, or can apply for an exemption, from mandatory quarantine.

    Read more about the exemption categories to find out if you are eligible.

    Essential travellers

    Caravans and motorhomes

    All arrivals, including Territory residents, will be screened.

    If you are deemed a non-essential visitor, you will be required to quarantine for 14 days at a hotel in the nearest township – not a campsite with shared amenities.

    Flights

    If you are flying, you should contact your airline to check the status of your flights.

    When flying, you should practise good hygiene to slow the spread.

    Remote communities

    Only essential travel is allowed to remote communities in the Northern Territory.

    Find out more about essential air services for remote communities.

  • Travel restrictions

    There is a ban on Australians travelling overseas.

    Find out more on the Smartraveller website.

    There are significant restrictions on who can travel to Australia. There are also border controls in place for all arrivals to the Territory.

    If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you and your immediate family members can return to Australia.

    Quarantine rules

    From 28 March 2020, all international arrivals will be placed into quarantine for 14 days.

    You won't be able to transit to another location until you have completed your quarantine.

    You will be housed and monitored in accommodation provided by the government.

    This provides additional safety for the Territory community.

    Find out more on the Australian Government's Home Affairs website.

    Anyone entering a forced quarantine period now covers accommodation expenses.

    At the airport

    If you are unwell, airlines must refuse to let you fly. There will be extra screening of passengers at Australian airports to identify anyone who is unwell.

    For more on screening and reporting of ill passengers, visit the Australian Government's Department of Agriculture website.

    At overseas airports, Australian Border Force liaison officers will work with airlines to identify travellers who should not board.

    In-flight

    If you are on an international flight and show signs of an infectious disease:

    • the airline must report you to biosecurity officers
    • biosecurity officers will assess you before you get off the plane
    • you may be isolated or referred to a hospital.

    If you are unwell on a flight, you will be identified and referred for assessment when you arrive at your destination.

    Australians travelling overseas

    The Australian Government has banned overseas travel from 25 March.

    If you are currently overseas you should visit the Smartraveller website for advice.

  • Some people are automatically exempt from forced quarantine including:

    • national and Northern Territory security and governance
    • medical transport and emergency services
    • transport, freight and logistics
    • defence and policing
    • flight crews
    • commercial ship crews
    • people with specialist skills that are critical to maintaining key government services, industries or businesses

    Each category has strict eligibility criteria and conditions. Read more about the exemption categories.

    People ’automatically’ exempt   under any of these categories do not need to apply for exemption. However, while exempt from forced quarantine, all people in this ‘automatic’ category must still observe all physical distancing, hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette measures.

    Some people must apply for exemption from supervised quarantine including:

    • NT Health employees
    • persons essential for the proper functioning of the Territory
    • persons experiencing hardship
    • persons governed by a COVID-19 management plan (e.g. commercial fishing, commercial non-cruise maritime crew, mining, construction, energy, agricultural businesses, non-government health services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations).

    All people entering the NT from overseas must complete 14 days of mandatory quarantine. There is no exemption for overseas travellers.

    If you have already undertaken quarantine in another state or territory prior to travelling to the NT, you are still required to quarantine for 14 days upon entry to the Territory.

    How to apply for an exemption

    Applications for exemption on the grounds you are an NT Health employee, essential for the proper functioning of the Territory, experiencing hardship, or are governed by a COVID-19 management plan approved by the Chief Health Officer Delegate are to be submitted to doh.exempt@nt.gov.au for assessment.

    Find out how to apply for an exemption.

  • Caravan and motor-home holidaymakers are strongly urged to cancel their holiday plans to the Northern Territory.

    If you are intending to transit through the Territory to go to another state or territory, you must:

    • not travel through remote communities
    • only stop in townships and take the main roads
    • not nominate parks and reserves as an overnight stop
    • provide your travel plan PDF (139.6 KB) to a police officer at the place of entry, which includes details on:
      • intended route of travel
      • confirms that the traveller has sufficient food and water to last the duration of their travel through the Territory
      • identifies fuel stops
      • take the most direct route practicable
      • not deviate from the route outlined in your travel plan, except in an emergency
      • only stop for fuel
      • only stop for a rest break from driving
      • only stop for overnight accommodation if
        • the person(s) remain quarantined in the accommodation from the time the person checks in to the accommodation to the time the person(s) depart the accommodation and
      • practice physical distancing measures while in the Territory
      • remain in the Territory for no more than 48 hours.

    Roads

    The Territory’s main roads remain open, including the Stuart, Arnhem, Barkly and Victoria highways.

    However, you are strongly urged to restrict all travel and cancel any non-essential travel.

    If you become unwell

    If you develop symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) you should call ahead to a local doctor or emergency department and let them know you have recently travelled to the Territory from interstate.

    Find out more about testing.

    Dining

    Under new restrictions, hotels and roadhouses do not have dining facilities available.

    As part of your forced quarantine measures, you will need to arrange for meals to be delivered to your room if required.

    Fuel stops

    When stopping for fuel, you are reminded to exercise good hygiene practices and physical distancing measures:

    • cover your sneezes and coughs with your elbow or use a tissue (not your hand)
    • remain a minimum of 1.5 metres from others at all times and don’t make physical contact with anyone
    • remember to sanitise or wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap - instructions for correct handwashing techniques are now available in all roadhouses and fuel stops throughout the Northern Territory
    • cashless transactions are the preferred option at this time, so make sure you have your card with you.

    Travelling to a remote community

    Special rules and restrictions may apply if it is your intention to cross the border into the Northern Territory and then travel to a remote community.

    If this applies to you please familiarise yourself with information specific to remote community travel.

  • Freight coming into the Northern Territory

    Freight will continue to come in and out of the Territory. The new quarantine orders will not impact the delivery of essential goods and services.

    Food and freight including petrol will continue. Supermarkets and stores will remain supplied.

    Territory resident FIFO and transport or freight of goods and logistics workers

    If you are a Territory resident fly-in fly-out (FIFO) or a transport or freight of goods and logistics worker, you may be eligible for exemption from forced quarantine on the grounds you are governed by a COVID-19 management plan imposed by your employer. To be eligible for exemption, very strict conditions must be adhered to which will prevent transmission of COVID-19 to the public.

    If you believe you may be eligible for exemption from forced quarantine under this category, please seek advice from the Border Restrictions Workforce on 1800 490 484 or doh.exempt@nt.gov.au

    Find out how to apply for an exemption.

  • Any unaccompanied child arriving in the Northern Territory must quarantine for a period of 14 days.

    This can be completed at either the child’s place of residence in the Territory or another place suitable to remain for the quarantine period.

    If the child is quarantined at a place other than their home, any adult staying with them must also remain quarantined in that place for the entire 14 day period.

    Find out how to quarantine.

  • More information

    Quarantine exemptions  1800 490 484 (7am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, 9am – 4pm, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays)

    Travel, borders and remote communities 1800 518 189 (8am – 5pm, 7 days)