Residential Permit

You may apply for a Residential Permit if you are a family member of a community resident or a worker. A Residential Permit allows you to reside on Aboriginal land, usually in a community, but also in workers' camps, commercial accommodation or staff accommodation. Applications for an annual Residential Permit will be considered.

Residential Permits may include transit legs, enabling permit-holders to use a private road on Aboriginal land to access their residence.

Who can apply?

  • People intending to live in an Aboriginal community for work e.g. nurses, teachers, police officers, rangers, shire workers and other similar occupations where the applicant will work and reside in a community
  • Spouses and adult family members of a person who has a residential permit, and who will also be living in that community
  • Persons who will be living in that community and who are the spouse or adult family member of a person, who is an Aboriginal person entitled to live in the area (s 71 ALRA)

How to apply?

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. To apply for an NLC permit:

For guidelines on how to use the Permit Administration System (PAS) see:How to use PAS.

Application process

Your application for an NLC permit must specify the purpose of your visit, the dates, places and access routes, and your vehicles, passengers and accommodation. The NLC will consider your application and seek approval from relevant traditional Aboriginal owners. Please allow up to 10 days for processing and contact us about access restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Permit contact centre

If you have any questions about the system or the application process, please use our contact centre to record your query and an NLC staff member will get in touch as soon as possible. You can use the contact centre without being logged-in. Otherwise, email us at, call 1800 645 299, or contact a NLC Regional Office.

Entry without a permit

Unauthorised entry could result in a fine of 50 penalty units (currently $11,100) under Commonwealth law or 8 penalty units (currently $1,264) under Northern Territory law. The acceptance of insurance claims on Aboriginal land may rely on a valid permit.