Permits

Commonwealth and Northern Territory law says that entry to Aboriginal land requires a written permit. The Northern Land Council is responsible for administering the permit system for traditional owners in the Top End.

On this page

For the best experience and online security when using the NLC Permit Administration System, we recommend using one of the following supported desktop browsers - Microsoft Edge, Safari, Firefox and Chrome.
User interface issues will occur when using Internet Explorer.

Introduction

Commonwealth and Northern Territory law says that entry to Aboriginal land requires a written permit. The Northern Land Council is responsible for administering the permit system for traditional owners in the Top End. 

Aboriginal people have the legal right to grant or refuse permission to people wishing to enter or travel through their land. Unauthorised entry to Aboriginal land and waters in the Northern Territory can result in a fine of up to $2,800. 

You need to apply to the NLC for a permit if you wish to undertake any of the following activities on Aboriginal land in the NLC's area: 

  • Enter Aboriginal land or waters for any purpose 
  • Travel by road through Aboriginal land (Note: this does not apply to public roads) 
  • Enter or visit an Aboriginal Community (Note: some exceptions apply) 

The NLC Permit Administration System is designed to help protect the privacy of Aboriginal communities, preserve Aboriginal culture, safeguard the natural environment and promote visitor safety. 

The NLC issues five types of permits including residential, work, transit, visitor and recreation. 

Currently, NLC is limiting applicants to Transit, Residential and Work applications. Work includes applications for essential services, media, research and in conjunction with a valid Land Use Agreement, such as tourism agreements.

How to apply

The NLC has upgraded its permit system and you can now manage your permits online. We encourage you to register for the NLC permit system. This will make your permit process faster and more efficient. 

Permit applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. You must submit all of the required information when lodging an application to enable NLC to decide on your application within 10 business days. Note - complex applications may require additional time. 

Click here to apply for a permit

For guidelines about how to use the Permit Administration System (PAS): How to use PAS

Requirements during the COVID-19 Pandemic

NLC continues to require travel declarations and disclosures as part of your permit application. Applicants who have been in areas of elevated COVID-19 risk should wait 14 days before entering Aboriginal land. 

Additional conditions of entry include acting on symptoms and maintaining hygiene and separation. These conditions align with the principles established by Safework Australia, WorksafeNT and the NT Government. 

More Information 

For the best experience and online security when using the NLC Permit Administration System, we recommend using one of the following supported desktop browsers - Microsoft Edge, Safari, Firefox and Chrome. User interface issues will occur when using Internet Explorer.

Permit Application Pack
Permit Administration System (PAS) – How to use PAS