In response to the emergence of the Omicron B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, NSW introduced changes to quarantine arrangements for overseas arrivals. These changes are:

  • All passengers who arrived in NSW on or after 28 November 2021 and who have been to a country of concern in the previous 14 days must go to quarantine facility regardless of vaccination status
  • All passengers who arrived in NSW before 28 November 2021 and who have been to a country of concern in the previous 14 days must self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of vaccination status
  • All fully vaccinated passengers who arrive in NSW after 28 November 2021 must self-isolate for 3 days and then comply with these guidelines
  • All international flight crew members, regardless of vaccination status, or arrived before or after 28 November 2021 must self-isolate for 14 days or until they depart on a flight leaving Australia. Flight crew must comply with the NSW Health Air Transportation Guidelines, which includes directions for self-isolation.

These guidelines are supplementary to the current Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 4) 2021 (the Order) and should be read in conjunction with the Order.

These guidelines apply to:

  • fully vaccinated international passengers (including a child under 12 who accompanies an adult who is fully vaccinated)
  • international passengers arriving in NSW with a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination and any child under 12 who accompanies them.
  • children and young people under 18 years of age who are not fully vaccinated who arrive unaccompanied, and young people aged over 12 and under 18 who are not fully vaccinated and arrive with a fully vaccinated parent or guardian, or a parent or guardian who has a medical contraindication.

    All travellers should practice social distancing, wear a mask when in indoor public spaces, and practice good hand hygiene, especially in the first 7 days after arrival.

    All travellers must continue to be vigilant for symptoms of COVID-19, and must immediately have a PCR test for COVID-19 and isolate until they receive a negative result should they develop symptoms at any time.
Last updated: 28 November 2021
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Part 1: Fully vaccinated arrivals

A fully vaccinated arrival is a person who, before arriving in New South Wales, has received the number of doses required for a complete course of a COVID-19 vaccine, or a person aged under 12 years who, before arriving in New South Wales, has not received the number of doses required for a complete course of a COVID-19 vaccine, but only if they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated person who is aged 18 years or more. For further information on vaccination requirements please visit the Australian Government website.

What happens after arrival into NSW?

If you meet the requirements of vaccination and pre-departure testing, and you have not been to a country of concern in the last 14 days, you must self-isolate at your residence or accommodation for a minimum of 3 days. You must get tested and self-isolate at your home or accommodation immediately.

You must travel directly from the airport to their home via private vehicle. Further information on travelling to your accommodation can be found in Part 4: Other matters.

You must comply with the testing requirements below, and you must not enter high risk settings.

Testing requirements

After arriving in NSW, you must have a COVID-19 nose and throat PCR test:

  • within 24 hours of arriving in NSW
  • on or after day 6 after arriving in NSW.

A test on day 12 after arriving in NSW is strongly recommended for children who are not fully vaccinated.

Getting tested for COVID-19 is free, convenient and easy.

Rapid antigen tests and self-administered COVID-19 tests taken at home should not be used.   To find your nearest COVID-19 testing clinic please visit the NSW Government website.

If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 at any time while in NSW, you must immediately have a PCR test for COVID-19 and isolate until you receive a negative result, or until you have been released from self-isolation, whichever is later.

Restrictions on entry to certain premises

You must not go to any high-risk settings (aged care, disability care, healthcare, and correctional facilities) until at least 7 days have passed, and you have received a negative result from your day 6 test.

While fully vaccinated persons of any age may enter these high-risk settings after 7 days if they have a negative result from a test taken on day 6, there are additional rules for children under 12 years of age who are not fully vaccinated.  These children:

  • must not attend school or childcare until at least 7 days have passed and they have a negative result from their day 6 test
  • must not enter any high-risk settings (aged care, disability care, health care and correctional facilities) for 14 days after arriving in NSW.

This does not include accessing personal medical care, aged or disability care services.

 

Part 2: People arriving in NSW with a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination

In accordance with an exemption made to the Order, international travellers arriving in NSW with a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination are permitted to enter the NSW community after clearing border control. They must comply with the conditions of the exemption.

They must travel directly from the airport to their home via private vehicle. Further information on travelling to your accommodation can be found in Part 4: Other matters.

You must self-isolate at your residence or accommodation for a minimum of 3 days. You must get tested and self-isolate at your home or accommodation immediately. You must comply with the testing requirements below, and you must not enter high risk settings.

Testing requirements

After arriving in NSW, people with a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination must have a COVID-19 nose and throat PCR test:

  • within 24 hours of arriving in NSW
  • on day 5 or 6 after arriving in NSW

A test on day 12 after arriving in NSW is strongly recommended.

Getting tested for COVID-19 is free, convenient and easy.

Rapid antigen tests and self-administered COVID-19 tests taken at home should not be used.  To find your nearest COVID-19 testing clinic please visit the NSW Government website.

If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 at any time while in NSW, you must immediately have a PCR test for COVID-19 and isolate until you receive a negative result, or until you have been released from self-isolation, whichever is later.

Restrictions on entry to certain premises

People with a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination must not go to any high-risk settings (aged care, disability care, healthcare, and correctional facilities) for at least 14 days after arriving in NSW.  They must also not attend childcare, schools or other education settings during this time.

This does not include accessing personal medical care, aged or disability care services.

 

Part 3: Children and young people (aged under 18 years) who are not fully vaccinated and arrive unaccompanied, and young people aged over 12 and under 18 years who are not fully vaccinated

In accordance with exemptions made under the Order, children (under 18 years) who are not fully vaccinated and who arrive unaccompanied, as well as young people aged over 12 and under 18 years who arrive with a parent or guardian who is a fully vaccinated arrival or who arrive with a parent or guardian who has a medical contraindication do not have to enter quarantine. However, the exemptions require the child or young person to:

  • travel directly from the airport to their home with their parent or guardian via private vehicle, taxi or ride-share.  They must not travel by public transport (bus, train or plane.) All people over 12 years of age in the vehicle must wear a mask.   Children under 12 are encouraged to wear a mask under direct supervision.  Babies and toddlers under 2 years of age should not wear a mask as this can be a choking hazard.
  • self-isolate for at least 7 days after arriving in NSW, and until the child or young person receives a negative COVID-19 nose and throat PCR test for COVID-19 on a test taken on day 5 or 6 after arriving in NSW.  This means that they must not leave their residence for any reason, other than to seek medical care (including COVID-19 testing) or in an emergency.  No other person is allowed to enter their residence unless they also live at the residence, or in an emergency. They can only attend school or childcare after 7 days have passed, and they have a negative result from a test taken on day 5 or 6. 

Under the exemption, after arriving in NSW, the child or young person must have a COVID-19 nose and throat PCR test:

  • within 24 hours of arriving in NSW
  • on day 5 or 6 after arriving in NSW.

A test on day 12 after arriving in NSW is strongly recommended.

Rapid antigen tests and self-administered COVID-19 tests taken at home should not be used.  To find your nearest COVID-19 testing clinic please visit the NSW Government website.

If the child or young person develops any symptoms of COVID-19 at any time while in NSW, they must immediately get tested for COVID-19 and isolate until they receive a negative result, or until they have been released from self-isolation, whichever is later.

Restrictions on entry to certain premises

For a further 7 days after leaving self-isolation, the child or young person must not go to any high-risk settings (aged care, disability care, healthcare, or correctional facilities).

This does not include accessing personal medical care, aged or disability care services.

 

Part 4: Other matters

Before you book an international flight to Sydney you should:

You must not travel if you:

  • have any COVID-19 symptoms, even if your symptoms are mild
  • have been in contact with a COVID-19 case in the last 14 days or if you have been directed to self-isolate by a Health Authority or other Government Official.

Movement through airport arrivals terminal

Face masks must be worn at all NSW airports and on flights into or out of NSW.  You must follow the face mask rules while at the airport and in the community.

While moving around the airport, make sure to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others.  When entering businesses (cafes or lounges), use the COVID Safe Check in feature in the Service NSW App or check in by opening your camera and pointing it at the QR code to check in your details . In shops at the airport, where possible, pay by contactless card.

If friends or family are picking you up, encourage them to wait outside the terminal.

Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. You should follow the advice for hand washing, and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.

Travelling to your accommodation

When returning to your home or accommodation to self-isolate:

  • You must travel directly to your home or accommodation by a private car (including a rental vehicle), taxi or ride-share
  • You must wear a face mask at all times
  • You must only travel with people who are self-isolating with you
  • You must not travel by public transport
  • You must not travel on a domestic flight

A person travelling to reach an appropriate location for self-isolation must comply with the following precautions.  You must:

  • travel directly to the destination
  • must not stop in busy areas or rural and remote towns
  • handle your own belongings and luggage
  • ensure your vehicle has enough fuel and any necessary refreshments required for the journey
  • rest breaks or emergency stops should be taken within the car, or in an outdoor location where physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres can be maintained at all times
  • practice good hygiene including using alcohol-based hand sanitiser to wash your hands before and after touching surfaces
  • Avoid leaving the vehicle but if it is unavoidable:
  • wear a disposable surgical mask that covers your nose and mouth, and practice good hygiene including using alcohol-based hand sanitiser to wash your hands before and after touching surfaces
  • wipe down any surfaces such as petrol bowsers, toilet doors and locks with disinfectant wipes before and after use
  • if required to stop for fuel, use contactless payment methods where available (e.g. using contactless-enabled credit or debit card instead of cash)
  • maintain a record or log of all locations attended, including:
    • Date, time and duration of time spent at each location
    • Description of travel, including starting point, destination, and any rest stops 

These records must be provided to NSW Health within 4 hours of requesting the information.

To organise testing

The locations and opening hours of your nearest COVID-19 testing clinics can be found at COVID-19 testing clinics.

If you need to see a doctor, and you have symptoms of COVID-19, please call ahead and make sure they are aware of your symptoms and that you have recently returned from overseas.

COVID-19 rules in NSW

While you are in NSW, you must follow the face mask rules and use the COVID Safe Check in feature in the Service NSW App for any businesses you visit.

Seek help if you develop symptoms

Get tested immediately and self-isolate until you receive a negative result if you experience any of the following symptoms (however mild) at any time:

  • 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 include fatigue, headache, acute blocked nose (congestion), muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite.

What happens if you don't comply with these guidelines

Not following these guidelines puts family, friends and 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. An on the spot fine of $1,000 may be issued.

More information

Current as at: Sunday 28 November 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW