Apply for a permit

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 $1,000.

The NLC is responsible for administering the permit system for Traditional Owners in the Top End. 

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.

Anyone who applies for a permit must now be registered in the NLC Permit Administration System.

Application Requirements during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Anyone seeking permission to access Aboriginal land must complete a travel declaration as part of their permit application and disclose any relevant health or travel matters for all individuals listed on the application. 

Applicants for work permits should also submit a copy of their approved COVID-19 Safety Plan. You can access the COVID-19 Safety Plan by following this link: 

The NLC will use this information when deciding whether to grant a permit under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern TerritoryAct 1976). All applications will be considered on a case by case basis.

Travel Restrictions due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

At this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, NLC will not grant permits to enter Aboriginal land for non-essential travel (being broadly travel for non-work related purposes or not in conjunction with a valid Aboriginal Land Use Agreement). 

NLC may consider applications in special circumstances.  For example, applications to attend a funeral or for workers already in the community.

Apply for a Permit

Click HERE to apply for a Permit.

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.

To download a pdf on how to use the Permit Administration System click HERE

For a limited time, NLC will continue to support initial permit application by submission of the following permit application pack. Note that this will start a process of registration into the Permit Administration System and ongoing management of the application and potential permit will be an online process.

Click HERE to download the permit application pack.