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Norfolk Island is part of the Commonwealth of Australia and is the only self-governing external territory of Australia. Australia's Migration Act 1958 does not extend to Norfolk Island which has enacted its own immigration law through the Norfolk Island Immigration Act 1980. For travel purposes Norfolk Island is treated as if it were another country, despite it being part of Australia, and flights between Norfolk Island and other Australian states and territories are processed as international flights. This means all people travelling to or from Norfolk Island must undergo immigration clearance when arriving in or departing from another Australian state or territory.
Note: The references below to 'Australia' reflect the above. For the purposes of this fact sheet, 'Australia' includes the Australian states and territories but not Norfolk Island.
Travel documents, entry and ticketing requirements
All travellers to Norfolk Island must hold a valid passport. Australian citizens may also use a Document of Identity.
The Norfolk Island Immigration Act 1980 requires every person, except Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents of Norfolk Island, travelling to Norfolk Island to hold a multiple entry Australian visa valid for 30 days beyond the person's intended period of stay. The Australian multiple entry visa is a pre-requisite for entry to Norfolk Island by foreign nationals even if only transiting through Australia.
When applying for a multiple entry visa for Australia foreign nationals should inform the Department of Immigration and Border Protection of their intended travel to Norfolk Island.
The type of Australian visa has no effect on Norfolk Island—the period of validity of the visa is all that is relevant. However, the visa holder will be bound by the period of stay and conditions on the visa when in Australia.
The Norfolk Island Government requires all visitors to hold tickets for an onward or return journey except for:
- Australian and New Zealand citizens
- holders of a passport containing a permanent resident of Norfolk Island sticker
- holders of a temporary entry permit where the permit indicates an exemption from the ticket requirement
- holders of a general entry permit.
Norfolk Island's permit system
The Norfolk Island Immigration Act 1980 allows Australian and most New Zealand citizens to visit, live, do business, invest and work on Norfolk Island without the need to apply for a permit.
Australian and New Zealand citizens entering Norfolk Island are automatically deemed to have been granted an unrestricted entry permit on arrival which remains valid until such time as the permit holder departs Norfolk Island.
An Australian or New Zealand permanent resident visa holder is not eligible for an unrestricted entry permit on Norfolk Island as this is for citizens of Australia and
New Zealand only.
The Norfolk Island Immigration Act 1980 provides for three categories of permit holders for foreign nationals, other than New Zealand citizens. These are:
- Visitor permit—Foreign nationals visiting Norfolk Island staying for less than 120 days are deemed to have been granted a visitor permit on arrival.
- Temporary entry permit—Foreign nationals intending to stay on Norfolk Island for more than 120 days are required to obtain a temporary entry permit on or shortly after arrival.
- General entry permit—General entry permits are for foreign nationals who are seeking to stay indefinitely, or to settle on Norfolk Island.
Further information on the Island's permit system is available on the Norfolk Island Government's website.
See: Norfolk Island Freedom of Information
Australia's Permanent Resident of Norfolk Island visa
Permanent residents of Norfolk Island are not required to hold a visa to travel to Australia. They apply for a Permanent Resident of Norfolk Island visa (PRNIV) on arrival at an Australian airport (other than Norfolk Island) by presenting a current passport endorsed with their permanent resident of Norfolk Island sticker that indicates resident status, and a completed incoming passenger card.
The PRNIV permits foreign nationals who are permanent residents of Norfolk Island to enter Australia and to remain indefinitely. The PRNIV ceases when the holder leaves Australia and a new visa must be obtained for each subsequent entry.
The permanent resident of Norfolk Island sticker in the holder's valid passport is evidence of eligibility for a PRNIV. The grant of the visa is evidenced by a port and date stamp in the holder's passport. Holders of PRNIVs are Australian permanent residents but hold Australian Permanent Resident status only while they are in Australia.
Australian citizen permanent residents of Norfolk Island do not require a PRNIV as Australian citizens do not require a visa to enter Australia.
Enquiries regarding permanent residency in Norfolk Island should be directed to Norfolk Island Immigration at:
Norfolk Island Immigration Service
NORFOLK ISLAND 2899
Telephone: + 6723 22140 (extension 2)
Fax: + 6723 23260
New Zealand citizens who are permanent residents of Norfolk Island
If a New Zealand citizen who is also a permanent resident of Norfolk Island wants to obtain a PRNIV on arrival in Australia, they must inform the border officer when they arrive at their port of arrival in Australia, so the border officer knows not to grant them the usual special category visa granted to most New Zealand citizens.
Border officers will not know of the traveller's 'Permanent Resident of Norfolk Island' status unless the traveller informs them by showing their permanent resident of Norfolk Island resident status as endorsed in their passport by a permanent resident of Norfolk Island sticker.
PRNIVs provide greater benefits to their holders than special category visas, particularly if the traveller intends staying in Australia for an extended period.
Australian permanent residents and resident return visas
Australian permanent visa holders residing on Norfolk Island are outside Australia for the purposes of the Migration Act 1958. This may affect their future entitlement to a resident return visa.
If the holder of a resident return visa remains on Norfolk Island beyond the expiry date of that visa, the visa will cease and another visa will be required to enter Australia. When applying for another resident return visa, the period spent on Norfolk Island will not count as time spent in Australia as a permanent resident under the residential requirement for the resident return visa.
Australian permanent residents who wish to remain permanent residents of Australia need to ensure they continue to hold valid resident return visas for Australia. It is important to check with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection about your Australian permanent visa prior to travelling to ensure the visa remains valid.
Norfolk Island is part of Australia for the purposes of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.
A person residing on Norfolk Island, who is not subject to limitations under the Norfolk Island Immigration Act 1980 is considered to be a permanent resident for the purposes of applying for Australian citizenship. Time spent on Norfolk Island will count as time towards the residence requirement for Australian citizenship.
New Zealand citizens who are permanent residents of Norfolk Island but are not considered to be permanent residents of Australia because they were not in Australia on 26 February 2001, or who do not hold a relevant Centrelink certificate or had not resided in Australia for 12 out of the preceding 24 months immediately before 26 February 2001, should ensure they apply for a PRNIV on arrival in Australia to maintain their permanent resident status while they are in Australia. For more information on Australian citizenship visit the citizenship website.
For more information on Australian citizenship visit the citizenship website.
See: Australian citizenship
Further information relating specifically to immigration in Norfolk Island is available on the Administration of Norfolk Island's Immigration website.
See: Norfolk Island Immigration Department
Fact Sheet 59. Produced by the National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Canberra.
Last Reviewed January 2014.