• This fact sheet applies to overseas travellers who have applied to NSW Health for an exemption to the Air Transportation Quarantine Order and have been granted one.
  • Self-isolation for recently returned travellers exempt from hotel quarantine is enforceable under the current Public Health Order.
  • All people who are granted an exemption from hotel quarantine must self-isolate in the premises nominated on their exemption, and comply with the NSW Health COVID-19 Self-Isolation guideline.
  • This fact sheet contains additional information to the NSW Health Self-Isolation Guideline.
Last updated: 07 July 2021
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Length of quarantine period

The quarantine period for all travellers returning from overseas starts on the day the traveller arrives in NSW (day 0) and ends when at least 14 full days have passed and, having regard to any testing for COVID-19, the Chief Health Officer is satisfied the traveller does not pose a risk of infecting any other person with COVID-19. 

You are required to remain in self-isolation for the full 14-day quarantine period even if you have a negative COVID-19 result.

Please refer to Testing requirements for further information. Travellers that do not wish to have COVID-19 testing will be required to remain in self-isolation for 24 days.

Testing requirements

You are required to be tested on:

  • Day 0 on arrival at the airport
  • Day 7 of your quarantine
  • Day 12 of your quarantine, so that you can be released from quarantine after 14 days of isolation if your test result is negative and you do not have any symptoms.
  • Any other day as stated on your exemption instrument

If you, or a member of your family develop any symptoms of COVID-19 during your self-isolation period, you should arrange COVID-19 testing immediately. This does not replace the need to have routine tests as detailed above.

Testing for COVID-19 is free and you can get tested as many times as needed. As you are required to self-isolate, home testing, or drive-through clinics, are the two recommended means of accessing COVID-19 testing. 

To organise testing:

  • Home testing - Relevant phone numbers to assist with arranging home testing kits can be found on COVID-19 testing at home.
  • Drive through - Locations and opening hours of COVID-19 testing drive through clinics can be found on COVID-19 testing clinics.

You can seek assistance from your local Public Health Unit should you require further options for testing or to access rapid testing. You can contact your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.

If you have trouble arranging testing, please advise a member of the NSW Health team during the daily follow up call.

If you need to see a doctor, please call ahead and make sure they are aware that you are self-isolating.

If you become severely unwell or experience a medical emergency while in self-isolation, you should phone 000 for an ambulance. You should tell the operator and ambulance staff that you are in self-isolation for COVID-19 due to your recent arrival from overseas.

Travel requirements

You will need to travel safely to the place where you will undertake your self-isolation, as well as to access your Day 7 and Day 12 COVID-19 tests.  You must travel to your destination by the most direct route and follow the conditions listed on your exemption instrument in relation to travel.  Travel options may include:

  • Private car. You may only travel with other people who are isolating with you.
  • In a hire car with a professional driver (not a family member or friend)
  • Taxi or ride-share is not permitted.
  • Public transport is not permitted.

When travelling from the airport to your self-isolation accommodation, or from your self-isolation accommodation to a testing clinic, please refer to NSW Health factsheet Appropriate transportation for essential travel for certain groups of people.

NSW Health COVID-19 Self-Isolation Guidelines

You must comply with the NSW Health COVID-19 Self-Isolation guideline.

The guideline provides information on how to safely self-isolate, including if you are required to self-isolate while sharing a residence with others.

Support from NSW Health during self-isolation

A representative from NSW Health will call you daily during your quarantine period to see if you have developed symptoms, check on your welfare, provide further information on testing requirements, and ensure that you are complying with the quarantine requirements. This is also an opportunity for you to ask NSW Health for any assistance or further information that you may require.

Monitor symptoms and seek help if you develop symptoms

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, or are tested and receive a negative result, this does not mean you will not become sick later in your quarantine period. People who have been exposed to COVID-19 may only test positive a day or two before symptoms appear.  This is why it is so important for you to monitor for any symptoms of infection and get tested as soon as possible after they appear. Watch particularly for:

  • fever (37.5°C or higher), night sweats or chills
  • cough
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • loss of smell or loss of taste.

Other reported symptoms of COVID-19 include fatigue, acute blocked nose (congestion), muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite.

What happens if I don't follow self-isolation rules?

Not following these guidelines puts family, friends and the community at risk. Not following these rules is also 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.

What happens after I leave self-isolation?

After you have completed your quarantine period and been released from self-isolation you may return to daily activities including taking public transport, going to work and seeing friends and family.

You should continue to practice good hygiene and physical distancing to reduce the spread of all contagious diseases:

  • stay 1.5 metres away from people you don't live with
  • wash your hands often for 20 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • avoid touching your face, especially your eyes and mouth
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use your flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
  • wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth if you cannot maintain social distancing, or it is required. For further information on face mask rules please visit NSW Government - Face mask rules
  • keep up to date with the NSW Government’s COVID-19 rules by visiting NSW Government - COVID-19 rules.

You should still be alert for symptoms after your isolation period. If symptoms develop, please get tested immediately and self-isolate until you receive a negative result. 

As the COVID-19 situation changes, it is important to keep up to date with the rules in NSW by visiting NSW Government - COVID-19 rules.

Where can I find more information or support?

For more information and support while in self-isolation:


Current as at: Wednesday 7 July 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW