This information applies to unaccompanied minors. An unaccompanied minor is a person under the age of 18 years old and who is travelling without a parent or guardian.

Last updated: 13 August 2021

Is quarantine mandatory for unaccompanied minors?

Yes. Due to the increasing number of international COVID-19 cases and the emergence of variants of concern, all unaccompanied minors must enter hotel quarantine. A parent, guardian or other adult authorised by the parent/guardian are encouraged to accompany the minor into quarantine. Both the minor and parent/guardian will need to stay in quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

How will the minor get from the airport to the quarantine accommodation?

Any arriving unaccompanied minors should make themselves known to the NSW Health staff at the health screening station. After completing the arrival process into NSW, the minor will be escorted to transport arranged by NSW Health and taken to  a hotel quarantine facility. The parent(s) or guardian(s) who will be accompanying the minor into quarantine should arrange to be at the accommodation when the minor arrives there.

Can a parent or guardian join the minor in hotel quarantine?

Yes. NSW Health recommends that a parent or guardian enters hotel quarantine to provide support to the minor during the quarantine period. Any parent/ guardian entering hotel quarantine will require an exemption to permit them to enter the facility.

The exemption application is processed by the NSW Health Quarantine Exemptions Unit and the parent or guardian's contact details will be provided to the appropriate quarantine facility. The parent or guardian will be contacted by  the NSW Health Quarantine Exemptions Unit, who will provide them with information about the 14 -day quarantine period.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is strongly recommended for all persons entering hotel quarantine.

If you are not vaccinated, this may be discussed the NSW Health Quarantine Exemptions Unit prior to entry.

What happens if there is nobody available to quarantine with the minor?

Parents and guardians should reconsider the travel of the unaccompanied minor if there is no suitable guardian available. Where a minor is quarantining on their own, they will be allocated to the NSW Health Special Health Accommodation (SHA) and given a room close to the nurses' station to allow for frequent observation. Allied health and nursing staff will monitor their wellbeing, provide them with activities, and encourage completion of school work if relevant.

Does an unaccompanied minor have to pay for quarantine?

Quarantine facility fees will be waived for all unaccompanied minors. Parents and guardians who accompany the minor into a quarantine facilitywill have fees waived also.

This fee waiver is not applicable for a minor who is travelling into Australia with an adult.

What happens if the minor is transiting through NSW to another State or Territory?

An unaccompanied minor will be required to complete quarantine in the State or Territory that they arrive in. Requests to transit in NSW and onward travel to their home State or Territory to complete quarantine will be considered via an exemption process. Unaccompanied minors that do not reside in NSW should make all efforts to fly directly to their home State or Territory, rather than transiting through NSW.

Due to the risk of transmission of COVID-19 on commercial flights, exemptions to transit in NSW and travel to a home jurisdiction to undertake quarantine are not generally supported.

In the event that an unaccompanied minor who normally resides in other jurisdictions arrives into NSW, they will need to complete their quarantine in a NSW government quarantine facility.  Parents/guardians are asked to travel to NSW to meet the minor and accompany them into quarantine in NSW.

How does a  minor apply for an exemption from hotel quarantine?

All unaccompanied minors must enter hotel quarantine for 14 days.

Exemptions from completing hotel quarantine are rarely granted, and generally are only considered if the medical, psychological and social needs of the minor cannot be met within NSW quarantine facilities. NSW government quarantine facilities have a wide range of services to provide appropriate care for children within the facilities. As such, it is expected that the minor will enter quarantine upon arrival in NSW. The ability to self -isolate in the community alone is not a sufficient reason for an exemption to be granted, given the risk to public health if transmission occurs.

To apply for an exemption from quarantine in a government hotel facility for an unaccompanied minor, you will need to complete an online application available at Exemptions for air and maritime quarantine.

The Quarantine Exemptions Unit will assess each case on an individual basis, considering public health risks and factors relating to the safety, welfare and wellbeing of the child. The Exemptions Unit Medical Review Panel will take into consideration matters such as:

  • the particular health needs of the child, and whether these can be met in quarantine (noting that in the majority of cases these needs can be met in quarantine),
  • risk factors relating to where the child has arrived from,
  • demonstrated independence of the minor,
  • appropriate accommodation arrangements for self-isolation, should an exemption be granted,
  • maturity of suggested guardians in the community.

How does a parent or guardian apply for an exemption to enter hotel quarantine?

Any parent/guardian entering hotel quarantine with a minor will require an exemption to enter. To apply for an exemption to enter a hotel quarantine facility, you will need to complete an online application available on the NSW Health website at Exemptions for air and maritime quarantine.

Length of quarantine and testing requirements

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 travellers have tested negative for COVID -19. Travellers that do not wish to have COVID-19 testing will be required to remain in quarantine for 24 days.

Minors quarantining in NSW Police managed hotels will be expected to be tested on day 2, 7 and 12 of their quarantine period. Parents and guardians who are accompanying a minor will be expected to be tested on the same days.

Unaccompanied minors quarantining in NSW Health Special Health Accommodation will be expected to be tested on arrival into NSW at the airport (day 0), day 7, day 10, and on day 13.

Minors and their accompanying parent or guardian are also required to seek testing for COVID-19 on day 16 (2 days after leaving quarantine). If they do not have symptoms, they do not need to self-isolate while waiting for their test result.

If symptoms do not develop within the quarantine period, it is very unlikely that they have been infected. However, everyone returning from overseas, including unaccompanied minors, should remain alert for symptoms. If these occur, please seek testing and self-isolate immediately until a negative result is received.

More information and support

For more information and support while in quarantine:

Current as at: Friday 13 August 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW