Quarantine changes

From 30 April 2022, unvaccinated international arrivals will not be required to undertake hotel quarantine. These passengers will follow the same guidelines as fully vaccinated international arrivals and take a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arrival.

Update on COVID settings

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Air and maritime quarantine

In March 2020, Public Health Orders were made by the NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Heavy penalties apply if you don't comply with the orders.

From 1 November 2021, if you arrive into NSW by commercial flight and have been in another country in the previous 14 days, and are not fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), you must complete 14 day mandatory hotel quarantine. This is covered under the Public Health (Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 3).

If you arrive to NSW by vessel you are required to remain on the vessel unless otherwise directed. This is covered by the Public Health (Maritime Quarantine) Order (No 3).

When does the 7-day hotel quarantine period begin and end?

The NSW Public Health (COVID-19 Air and Maritime Arrivals) Order requires you to complete 7 days of mandatory hotel quarantine. The day you arrive in NSW is considered day zero (0) and a full 7-day period of quarantine is required prior to release.

I have been vaccinated against COVID-19, do I still need to enter quarantine when I arrive in Australia?

As of 1 November 2021, quarantine requirements have been removed for incoming travellers who are fully vaccinated.

You are required to comply with the NSW Health Guidelines for All International Arrivals upon arrival to NSW.

What happens when I land at Sydney airport?

Fully vaccinated arrivals:

When you disembark from the plane, you will be directed to go through Immigration and Customs.

Once you collect your bags, you will be permitted to depart the airport to travel to your place of residence in NSW. You will be required to adhere to the NSW Health Guidelines for Recent Fully Vaccinated Arrivals.

Arrivals who are not fully vaccinated:

When you disembark from the plane you will go through Immigration and Customs. Once you collect your bags, NSW Police will direct you to a designated quarantine hotel to commence your quarantine.

If you are a transit passenger with a connecting flight out of Australia with a signed exemption, the police will allow you to leave the hotel to return to the airport to catch your connecting flight.

I am not vaccinated against COVID-19. Can I quarantine at home?

No. There are currently no home quarantine programs for unvaccinated Australians returning to NSW.

NSW is following the guidance of the Australian Health Protection Principle Committee with regards to vaccinations and quarantine. At this time, if you have been overseas in the last 14 days and are not fully vaccinated, you must quarantine for 14 days in a quarantine facility.

Do minors need to enter quarantine?

Children under 18 years of age who are not fully vaccinated and arrive unaccompanied, and any child under 18 who is not fully vaccinated and arrives with a parent or guardian who is fully vaccinated do not have to enter quarantine. They will be required to adhere to the NSW Health Guidelines for Recent Fully Vaccinated Arrivals.

Do unaccompanied minors need to self-isolate?

The child must isolate until they receive a negative result from a COVID-19 rapid antigen test taken within the first 24 hours of arrival. Please see the NSW Health Guidelines for All International Arrivals for further information.

The child must travel directly from the airport to their home or accommodation with their parent or guardian via private vehicle, taxi, or ride – share. Information about how to safely travel and self-isolate can be found in the NSW Health COVID-19 self-isolation guideline and support.

They must not visit any high-risk setting until it has been at least 7 days after they have arrived in NSW, unless they are a patient.

Exemptions for air and maritime quarantine

Exemptions are only granted under exceptional circumstances for medical, health or compassionate grounds, or if the person is transiting out of NSW to an international destination.

If you are not fully vaccinated and would like to apply for an exemption from hotel quarantine, it is strongly recommended that you complete the online application form at Exemptions for air and maritime quarantine to help streamline the process and provide a timely response to your application.

What documents should I provide with my application?

The information you need to provide depends on the reason you are applying for an exemption. Throughout your online application you will be advised of the documentation you must provide.

Providing the right information will make it easier for us to process your application. Providing the requested documentation does not guarantee an exemption will be granted.

How long before I fly to NSW do I need to apply for an exemption?

You should apply at least a week ahead of your travel to allow the exemption to be processed in time. The exemption should be processed within 72 hours of your application.

If you have not heard about your exemption or received it within 48 hours of your flight, please contact NSW Health by email at MOH-COVID19-Quarantine@health.nsw.gov.au again so that it can be provided to you in time.

For further information please contact Service NSW on 1300 288 222.

How long does it take to decide about my application?

You should receive a response to your application within 72 hours prior to your arrival into NSW.

If you have not received a response, this should not delay you from boarding your flight to NSW.

What if I am just transiting through NSW to an international location?

International transit passengers arriving into Australia who are not fully vaccinated, 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 from hotel quarantine and are able to continue your journey to another country.

If you go through immigration, you will require an exemption from hotel quarantine. To apply for an exemption from hotel quarantine refer to Exemptions for air and maritime quarantine.

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 from hotel quarantine must be approved for you to leave the hotel to catch your onward flight.

Travellers in transit from an international flight, via NSW, for less than 48 hours will not be charged a fee for hotel quarantine. A pro-rata fee will be charged for stays greater than 48 hours and less than 7 days. Find out more information about Quarantine fees.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 let a member of the airline know immediately, or if you are in the airport tell a biosecurity officer or a health official.

I am transiting in Sydney to an international destination. I am confused about what the different exemptions mean.

The exemption that may be provided by NSW Health is an exemption from the mandatory 14 days in hotel quarantine which allows you to leave your hotel to catch your next flight out of Australia.

Apart from this, you should also consult the Australian Department of Home Affairs, to see if you are required to have a visa for your transit through Australia. Please refer to Department of Home Affairs - COVID-19 and the border: Transiting Australia.

Note that some may be exempt from this requirement.

Do not confuse a transit visa exemption with the exemption from hotel quarantine that may be provided by NSW Health.

What if I am transiting through NSW to another location in Australia?

If you are not fully vaccinated and you arrive in NSW from overseas, you must go into quarantine for 7 days before continuing your journey to another state or territory. After this quarantine period you can transit domestically and travel home.

Across Australia, states and territories may have their own quarantine rules in place. For the latest information visit Australian Interstate Quarantine.

I am transiting through Australia. If my flights are changed by the airline, is the exemption which I have already been granted still valid for the new dates and times?

No, your exemption will need to be updated with your new flight details.

You should advise NSW Health by email to MOH-COVID19-Quarantine@health.nsw.gov.au of your new flight details so that we can inform Australian Border Force (who control entry to Australia) and the NSW police (who manage the hotel quarantine process).

Please remember to ensure that your transit time in Sydney remains under 72 hours with your new flights.

What if I am travelling with other people or with children?

If you are not fully vaccinated everyone, including children, must enter hotel quarantine. If you make an application for an exemption, please ensure there are separate applications for each person. Please ensure you include the details of other people or children you are travelling with, so we can process the applications together.

When I go into a quarantine hotel, can my partner/ family come and stay with me?

No. To protect our community and reduce COVID-19 transmission in the NSW community, members of the general public cannot stay in the quarantine hotels with other family members or loved ones, unless there are exceptional or compassionate circumstances. An application for exemption must be made.

I have a medical condition that is usually under control. What support is there for me in quarantine?

All the quarantine hotels have medical and nursing support provided by Health Care Australia. If you need a prescription repeated this can be done, and the script can be filled from a local chemist and delivered to your room.

There is also psychological support. Any medical or psychological assessment is available upon request at the hotel. Many consultations are provided by telephone where possible due to the risk to the doctors and psychologists providing these services.

If you have a condition that becomes unstable, you will be assessed by a medical doctor and if required, transported from the hotel for any necessary tests or consultations. Similarly, if your condition requires it, you will be transported to hospital as you would otherwise be at any other time.

I have a family travelling with me. How will we manage in a hotel room?

There are varied accommodation facilities available. You may be accommodated in a hotel with adjoining rooms or possibly an apartment, depending on availability. This is not pre-arranged.

I live interstate and I want to isolate at home. Is this possible?

If you are not fully vaccinated you are required to enter mandatory hotel quarantine at the first point of entry into Australia. This is not a reason for an exemption from hotel quarantine in NSW.

What if I need to travel interstate to visit my relative who is in palliative care, who is ill or has died and I want to attend the funeral?

If you are fully vaccinated please visit the Australian Interstate Quarantine website for entry requirements to other states and territories.

If you are not fully vaccinated onward travel to another state is not permitted until a traveller completes quarantine in their port of arrival. International travellers are not permitted to travel on domestic flights until after they have completed quarantine.

In extremely rare situations, onward travel may be allowed. For these requests, NSW Health must notify the Chief Health Officer in each state or territory of any individuals wishing to enter on these grounds. Approval and an exemption are required from the other state or territory before you can travel there.

You will also need to apply for entry or exemption from quarantine arrangements through the relevant state or territory government website. We advise you not to book your onward travel from Sydney unless you have been granted an exemption.

As some states and territories have border restrictions in place, applications for entry or exemption from quarantine arrangements can be submitted through the relevant government website. This applies even if you are a resident of that state or territory.

It is important to know that other states and territories might also require you to enter hotel quarantine when you arrive there. You may even have to start 14 days quarantine again or comply with additional requirements.

Can I leave hotel quarantine early to catch an onward domestic flight?

NSW Health may consider exemptions to leave hotel quarantine a few hours early for the purposes of catching a flight out of NSW. An application for exemption should be submitted.

In some jurisdictions you may be required to repeat your hotel quarantine when you arrive if you have not completed the full 14 days x 24 hours in NSW.

Please ensure your onward travel arrangements are after your scheduled departure time at the end of the quarantine period.

Can I go to a health facility to visit a relative after I arrive to NSW?

On arrival to NSW if you are fully vaccinated you are required to adhere to the NSW Health Guidelines for Recent Fully Vaccinated Arrivals and may not go to any high-risk settings, such as aged care, disability care, healthcare, and correctional facilities for the specified period.

If you would like to apply for an exemption from these restrictions, it is strongly recommended that you contact the facility you wish to enter and complete the online application form at Exemptions for air and maritime quarantine.

Current as at: Saturday 30 April 2022
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW