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.

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 six types of permits including Work, Transit, Residential, Tidal Recreational Fishing, Recreation and Visitor Permits. 

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. 

Other than Tidal Recreational Fishing Licences and Permits, which are issued immediately, permit applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. You must submit all of the required information when lodging an application.  Complete info enables 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

Permit Contact Centre

If you have any questions about the system or the application process, please use our new Contact Centre to record your query, and an NLC staff member will get in touch as soon as possible.
Click here to access the Contact Centre

You can use the Contact Centre without being logged-in. Otherwise, contact us at permits@nlc.org.au, or contact us directly on 1800 645 299.

Permit Access Map

Use our Permit access map to find where you need a permit and where you don’t. Roads and locations are colour coded on these maps.  You can use the Permit access map without being logged-in.

Click here to access the NLC Permit access map

Requirements during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Work, Transit, Residential and Visitor applications are available. Work includes applications for essential services, media, research and in conjunction with a valid Land Use Agreement, such as tourism agreements. 

Currently due to Covid-19, applications for recreation purposes are temporarily unavailable. For special circumstances, please download the permit application pack from the NLC website. Once completed, submit the pack via the Contact Centre.

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, and following an acceptable Covid-19 Safety Plan if you are working. Click here to access the NT Government Safety Plan checklist. 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
Standard Permit Terms and Conditions