COVID-19: Border crossing information


Last updated: 04 Sep 2020 4:43pm

COVID-19 and Cross Border management

Restrictions on non-essential travel and gatherings apply in all states and territories, and you must comply with any border rules of the state or territory you are entering or leaving. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

Conditions are changing, and you need to seek advice from the relevant state or territory.

Movement restrictions remain in place between some states and territories. To find a summary visit the Office of the Cross Border Commissioner.

It is vital that individuals and communities remain vigilant and continue to follow health and safety guidelines and maintain physical distancing. For more information see the industry guidelines for COVID safe workplaces or visit the NSW Government COVID-19 website.

What happens if I need to cross a state border?

New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have enacted movement restrictions across state and territory borders.

Some exemptions for cross-border travel allow for cross-border movement from New South Wales to Queensland, Victoria and South Australia for essential travel, workforce movements, freight, and specific compassionate grounds.

NSW/Victoria border

You’ll need a valid permit to enter NSW if you've been in Victoria in the last 14 days, except if you're entering NSW:

  • as an emergency or law enforcement services worker
  • to access emergency medical, hospital, dental or veterinary care
  • to avoid injury or escape a risk of harm.

All NSW residents are strongly urged not to travel to Victoria. If travel is essential, then permits are in place to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and jobs of NSW residents.

For more information, visit Service NSW.

If you live in the border region and are providing a critical service within the border region, you can apply for a NSW border entry permit to cross the border into NSW, with certain conditions.

Under the public health order, critical services include

  • movement of freight on a commercial basis
  • movement of persons on a commercial basis
  • medical, hospital, dental or veterinary care
  • Commonwealth defence and security services
  • mining, agriculture, construction, energy or manufacturing (only frontline workers who are undertaking direct and essential operational activities to ensure major infrastructure and essential services are maintained and not interrupted)
  • environmental cleaning and disinfection in a workplace or other non-residential premises to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on a commercial basis that is not available locally.

Visit the NSW Government website for more information and for new border region maps.

Effective 12 September, the amendments made to the critical service (agriculture) class of permit allow:

  • NSW residents to re-enter NSW after travelling 100km into Victoria (other than in a restricted area or COVID-19 area of concern) to provide certain critical agriculture services, without having to fly to Sydney and enter mandatory quarantine as a returning NSW resident.
  • Victorians to move within Victoria (other than in a restricted area or COVID-19 area of concern) and remain eligible to travel up to 100km into NSW to provide critical agriculture services.

The person must have documentary evidence that the critical service meets the criteria (this must be signed by the head of the organisation that employs you, or if you are self-employed, the person you are providing the service to).

If the person is a Victorian resident, the person must:

a) self-isolate except when providing the service, and

b) not travel more than 100 km north of the border.

If the person is a NSW resident, the person must:

a) not travel more than 100 km south of the border, and

b) self-isolate on returning to NSW except when providing a critical agriculture service in NSW, unless the NSW resident self-isolated for the whole time the person was in Victoria except when providing the critical agriculture service.

The employer, or the client (if applicable), will need to certify that they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan (PDF, 283 KB) in place.

For more information regarding eligibility and how to apply for a Critical Services (Agriculture) Permit,or to seek an exemption, contact Service NSW.

The Highly Specialised Critical Service permit for critical service workers in a non-border region is available for NSW and Victorian residents.

Effective Wednesday, 2 September, the NSW Government introduced a new process for highly specialised critical services border permit applications for the NSW - VIC border. 

The transition from the current self-validation system to this new process is designed to remove any potential for confusion and provide businesses a clear path to registering critical workers.


To ensure continuity the head of an organisation can apply for new permits under the new system for their workers while their previous permit is valid. Workers could then receive a new registration code prior to the expiry of their current permit. 

The new process will take approximately five working days. This will ensure that the application can be appropriately reviewed and validated by NSW Government.

There is a separate COVID-19 Safety Plan specifically for employers who are obtaining services from a Victorian resident permitted to enter NSW under a critical service (agriculture) permit. 

The requirements in this COVID-19 Safety Plan are more stringent than in the COVID-19 Safety Plan for agriculture. 

For more information see the COVID-19 Safety Plan for critical agricultural workers from Victoria.

More information about the NSW-Victoria border restrictions and permits is available on the NSW Government website.

Under this permit, the criteria are as follows:

A person providing a critical service that is highly specialised and:

(a) not able to provided by the person remotely, and

(b) for a person providing the critical service in NSW - not available in NSW in the same or substantially the same form, and

(c) for a person providing the critical service in Victoria - not available in Victoria in the same or substantially the same form.

The person must:

(a) travel to New South Wales by aircraft landing at Sydney Airport, and

(b) self-isolate except when providing the critical service, and

(c) have documentary evidence that the critical service meets the criteria and signed by

  • the head of the organisation that employs the person, or
  • if the person is self-employed - the person to whom the critical service is provided

The provision of veterinary care is included as a critical service in the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order 2020, amended 20 July 2020, under Part 1, clause 3.1 (d) medical, hospital, dental or veterinary care. Vets are therefore eligible to apply for a border entry permit.

If a vet is travelling to provide an emergency service a permit is not required. The individual must travel by the most practicable direct route— (a) to the place where the service is provided, and (b) from the place where the service is provided to the person’s place of residence.

Commercial freight workers are eligible to apply for a permit to enter NSW, but MUST have a NSW COVID Safety Plan in place, and must comply at all times.

The permit is available through Service NSW. NSW COVID-Safe plans and guidelines to assist the industry to align with the requirements of this permit category are available.

If you provide a critical service that consists of the movement of freight or persons on a commercial basis you must:

(a) for the movement of freight on a commercial basis—comply with the 
relevant COVID-19 Safety Plan at all times, or 

(b) for the movement of persons on a commercial basis—self-isolate 
except when providing the critical service.

Freight operators are reminded to be conscious of the significantly increased health risk in Victoria, and to remain vigilant and continue to follow health and safety guidelines and maintain physical distancing.

For more information about the border entry rules see the guide to border restrictions or visit the NSW Government website.

The border between NSW and Victoria on the Murray River is the high-water mark on the southern bank. The river below the high water mark is NSW. Persons venturing past this point enter NSW and the restrictions in the Border Control Order apply.

Recreational fishers living in NSW may continue to boat and fish on the Murray River, but they must stay within NSW waters.

NSW Police are patrolling the area and enforcing border entry requirements. For more information, contact your local police.

See the Service NSW border restrictions page for further information and to apply online for a border entry permit.

A single border region has been reinstated that extends to around 50 km on either side of the border. The new border region and ‘border region resident’ permit came into effect at 12:01am on Friday, 4 September 2020.

To view the border region map or to check if your address is within the border region , visit Service NSW.

Information for residents in the NSW-Victoria border region, including critical service workers in the border region, is available on the Service NSW website.

FAQs about the temporary border restrictions with Victoria

Depending on the conditions of your permit, you may be required to quarantine at a quarantine facility or self-isolate.

View the quarantine rules or visit the NSW Government website for more information about the NSW-Victoria border restrictions.

If you are a freight operator, you do not need to indicate where you will be staying overnight in NSW.

If you are a farmer performing critical duties and intend to stay overnight in NSW, put down your usual place of residence or suitable accommodation in your application.  If you are not staying overnight in NSW, put down your usual workplace address.

If you live in and are providing a critical service in a border region, and you are

  • a NSW resident – you must self-isolate when you are not providing the critical service, unless you self-isolated in Victoria when you were providing the service
  • a Victorian resident – you must self-isolate when you are not providing the critical service.

From Friday 31 July, seasonal workers who have resided in the defined New South Wales and Victoria border region will be able to cross the border daily to undertake farm work in NSW by accessing a border region permit.

In order to access the permit, seasonal workers will be required to declare they have not travelled in Victoria, outside the border region, in the last 14 days. They will also be required to produce evidence of their place of residence and place of work.

Restrictions on seasonal workers accessing the permit for “critical services” still apply, as seasonal workers are not in the same permit category as agricultural services.

Seasonal workers who have been residing and working outside the border region will be prohibited from entering NSW from Victoria under the current NSW border restrictions with Victoria.

A seasonal worker includes Working Holiday Maker, Seasonal Worker Program and Pacific Labour Scheme visa holders as well as any person engaged in primary production who is a temporary visa holder.

Yes. Unless you are undertaking a critical service, you will be required to self-isolate. Your permit will indicate if you need to self-isolate for 14 days, get tested for COVID-19, abide by a COVID-19 Safety Plan, or any other conditions. For more information, visit the COVID-19 self isolation guidelines and information.

No. Recreational fishing is not included in the list of eligible criteria for a border crossing permit. For an eligibility list visit Service NSW.

This will depend on what type of permit you have.

If you live in a border region and are providing a critical service within the border region, you can apply for a NSW border entry permit to cross the border into NSW, with certain conditions.

If you live in and are providing a critical service in a border region, and you are

  • a NSW resident – you must self-isolate when you are not providing the critical service, unless you self-isolated in Victoria when you were providing the service
  • a Victorian resident – you must self-isolate when you are not providing the critical service.

This means that you can undertake your duty/job on a day to day basis whilst holding this permit, but when you are not actively performing your duty/job, you must;

  • self-isolate at home or in other suitable accommodation when not performing your duty/job for 14 days following your last entry into NSW from Victoria
  • not leave your home/accommodation except for the following reasons: obtaining medical care, complying with a legal obligation, an emergency, providing essential services (your job, for which you have a permit) or leaving NSW
  • not let other people into your residence unless they live there

If you are providing a critical service outside the border region you must have a valid Highly Specialised Critical Service permit and:

(a) travel to New South Wales by aircraft landing at Sydney Airport

(b) self-isolate except when providing the critical service

(c) have documentary evidence that the critical service meets the criteria and signed by -

  • the head of the organisation that employs the person, or
  • if the person is self-employed - the person to whom the critical service is provided

If you have a critical services (agriculture) permit, when you enter NSW from Victoria you must:

    • travel by the most practicable direct route to where the service is provided and your home or accommodation
    • self-isolate except when providing the critical service
    • comply with the relevant COVID-19 Safety Plan - please note that here is a new COVID Business Safety Plan for this permit with additional stringent conditions
    • not travel more than 100km north of the border
    • have documentary evidence that the critical service meets the criteria (this must be signed by the head of the organisation that employs you or if you are self-employed, the person you are providing the service to)

Yes. Agriculture is classed as one of the critical services and therefore individuals working in these industries, including horse breeding,  within the border region can apply for a NSW border entry permit.

If you reside outside of the border region, you should consider utilising commercial freight for the purposes of transporting horses.

In the event that you are requiring veterinary care for your animal in an emergency situation, a permit is not required.

You must travel by the most practicable direct route— (a) to the place where the service is provided, and (b) from the place where the service is provided to your place of residence.

You may be asked for details of how you fall into a particular category and, where possible, you should have documentary evidence, such as a letter from your vet.

For more information see the guide to border restrictions.

No. A COVID-19 border entry permit is issued by Service NSW for a period of 14 days. This aligns with the health and travel history declaration required as part of the application process, including exposure to COVID-19 and travel history within the previous 14 days.

An application for a COVID-19 border entry permit can only be made by the person seeking the permit, unless applying on behalf of someone as their parent or guardian. A declaration is required by the applicant stating they are making the application on their own behalf.

The application process requires the applicant to provide personal information, including their contact details, overseas travel history and exposure to COVID-19 within the last 14 days.

You will need to apply for a border entry permit.

For more information about border closures and restrictions and the guidelines and best practice for the transportation of bees, visit the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council website or view the Best Management Practice for the Transportation of Open Entrance Beehives.

NSW / Queensland border

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer approved a class exemption to the Border Restrictions Direction (No. 12) for Queensland and New South Wales resident farmers and agribusiness workers who need to:

  • perform essential agribusiness services for the agriculture supply chain
  • conduct farming activities
  • provide timely veterinary services
  • care for livestock.

The new exemption commenced on 22 August 2020 and is valid for one month. You cannot complete an electronic Queensland Border Declaration Pass for this exemption, but you will need to complete a written Queensland Border Declaration Pass upon arrival at the border.

You will also need to provide:

  • a copy of the Chief Health Officer's class exemption letter (PDF, 67 KB)
  • evidence of your identity, confirming place of residence
  • evidence you are an agribusiness essential worker (e.g. letter of employment, business contract, evidence of property ownership or lease, evidence of agistment arrangements).
  • Separate exemption processes are also in place for workers providing critical services to Queensland, such as food processors or agribusinesses, and for transporters of freight and logistics (including live animals and bees for commercial beekeepers).

    For full details, head to the Business Queensland website.

    NSW / South Australia border

    Essential travellers living in cross border communities can still enter South Australia, however, they cannot travel further than 50 kilometres over the border into South Australia.

    The Government of South Australia’s website has more information on both cross border travel and travel restrictions, and you can complete your Cross Border Travel Registration on the South Australian Police website.

    NSW / ACT border

    For up to date information on border restrictions, visit the ACT Government COVID-19 website.

    Northern Territory border restrictions

    For up to date information on border restrictions and travelling to the Northern Territory, refer to the Northern Territory Government website.

    Western Australia border restrictions

    For up to date information on border restrictions, visit the Western Australia Government website or G2G PASS.

    Tasmanian border restrictions

    For up to date information on border restrictions and travelling to Tasmania, refer to the Tasmanian Government coronavirus page for travellers and visitors.