Applying for a Travel Exemption

Last modified: 
02/01/2021 - 15:12

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer will consider compassionate, family reunification, and other exceptional circumstance exemptions from the travel restrictions on a case-by-case basis

What is considered a Compassionate, Family Reunification or an Exceptional Circumstance Exemption?

Compassionate Exemption

  • Death or illness in the family
  • Childcare needs
  • Fleeing domestic violence

Family Reunification

Reunite with an NWT resident(s) that fall into at least one of the following groups:

  • immediate family members,
  • close relation


  • Retrieval or drop off of family member or property
  • Pre-relocation house hunting trip

If you do not fit one of these categories and are seeking exemption, contact Protect NWT by emailing or calling 8-1-1 or 1-833-378-8297 (outside NWT) for guidance or to submit a request.

Note: Unless otherwise directed by the Chief Public Health Officer, people arriving in the NWT must self-isolate for 14 days in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River, or Fort Smith only. In some cases, the Chief Public Health Officer may allow a person to self-isolate outside of these 4 communities for compassionate reasons. To see if you meet the criteria, please see Thresholds and Criteria For Self-isolation Exemptions to Isolate in a Non-hub Community For Compassionate Or Exceptional Reasons.

How to apply

To seek a compassionate, family reunification or other exceptional circumstance exemption:

  1. Contact Protect NWT at 8-1-1 or 1-833-378-8297 (outside NWT) or email
  2. Explain your situation
    • You must be able to produce documentation to support your request
  3. Submit a self-isolation plan
  4. The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer will evaluate your request and review the documentation required, taking into consideration a public health risk assessment of the circumstance.
  5. A decision will be made, and an exceptional circumstance exemption approval will be issued, or not.
    • Due to a high volume of requests, please allow for as much time as possible. Response times are currently between 5-7 business days for non-urgent requests. Submit self-isolation plans at least 2- weeks (or more) in advance of travel date, if possible.
  6. Before travelling into the NWT, you must have your self-isolation plan approved and receive your CPHO exceptional circumstance exemption approved.

Please note: to be approved for a compassionate, family reunification, or other exceptional circumstance exemption you must be willing to self-isolate for 14 days in either Yellowknife, Hay River, Inuvik, or Fort Smith prior to travelling on to another community. You may or may not be able to self-isolate at a family member’s home.

For those in unsafe situations

We do not want you to be in an unsafe situation because of our orders.

If you are in a dangerous or unsafe situation, please get yourself to safety whether that is at a shelter or in the home of a trusted friend or family member. There is no need to call 8-1-1 for permission. Your safety is most important. We all have a role to play in helping friends and family members stay safe and healthy.

Territorial Family Violence Shelters are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

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