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Frequently Asked Questions – asylum seekers

1 What is an Opal card?

An Opal card is a reusable smartcard you can use to travel on public transport in Sydney and surrounding regions. Once you recieve your Opal card, you load value onto it to pay for travel on public transport. The Opal card itself is free and you don't need a credit card or internet access to apply for, or use, an Opal card. But you will need to add value before you travel.

2 What is a Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card?

The Gold Opal card is a type of Opal card available for eligible seniors, pensioners and asylum seekers. Gold Opal card fares are half that of Adult Opal card fares and fares are capped daily at $2.50. The $2.50 Daily Travel Cap does not include the Sydney Airport station access fee.

3 Who can apply for a Gold Opal card?

Asylum seekers

You need to fill in a form and return it by post or via email with supporting documents. Find out more information.

4 How do I know if I qualify for the Gold Opal card as an asylum seeker?

The Gold Opal card is available to NSW residents who are seeking the protection of the Australian Government as a refugee. To prove your status as an asylum seeker, you must provide one of the following:

  • Hold a current Australian Government Evidence of Immigration Status (EIS) Immicard that is issued as a result of a Bridging Visa E (Protection Visa Applicant) being granted or

  • Hold a current Bridging Visa E (Protection Visa Applicant) or a document issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection dated no more than 12 months before your application for a Transport Concession Entitlement Card and Gold Opal card, confirming that a Bridging Visa E (Protection Visa Applicant) has been granted or

  • Be certified as seeking the protection of the Australian Government as a refugee through one of the following designated agencies:

Asylum Seekers Centre

Refugee Support Service, St Vincent De Paul Society

Jesuit Refugee Service

Settlement Services International

House of Welcome

NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)

Australian Red Cross

Marist Youth Care

Life Without Barriers.

Those who are able to provide one of the above documents can apply for a NSW Transport Concession Entitlement Card and a Gold Opal card which can only be mailed to a New South Wales address.

There is no age limit and a family of up to eight individuals can apply using the same application form. Find out more information.

5 I'm an asylum seeker, how do I apply for a Gold Opal card?

To apply go online to download the application form. Note that a family of up to eight individuals can apply via one application form. Complete the form and post it to the return address with one of the following documents for each applicant:

  • A current Australian Government Evidence of Immigration Status (EIS) Immicard that is issued as a result of a Bridging Visa E (Protection Visa Applicant) being granted or

  • A current Bridging Visa E (Protection Visa Applicant) or a document issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection dated no more than 12 months before your application for a Transport Concession Entitlement Card and Gold Opal card, confirming that a Bridging Visa E (Protection Visa Applicant) has been granted or

  • Written confirmation from one of the following designated agencies that you are receiving support on the basis that you are seeking asylum or intending to seek asylum:

Asylum Seekers Centre

Refugee Support Service, St Vincent De Paul Society

Jesuit Refugee Service

Settlement Services International

House of Welcome

NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)

Australian Red Cross

Marist Youth Care

Life Without Barriers

If your application is approved you will receive a Gold Opal card and a NSW Transport Concession Entitlement Card (for each applicant) in the post. You need to carry your NSW Concession Entitlement Card when travelling with a Gold Opal card or you can be fined. Allow approximately two to three weeks for processing and delivery.
6 Can children and school students who are asylum seekers get a Gold Opal card?

Yes, anyone who meets the eligibility criteria can get a Gold Opal card. Children aged 4-15 years inclusive (or anyone else enrolled in a New South Wales school) are also entitled to use a Child/Youth Opal card, if they wish. Some families may prefer for their children to use the Child/Youth Opal card instead as it is available over the counter from retailers, without any application process. There is no need to get an Opal card for children who are under four years old, as they travel for free on all Opal services.

7 Does it cost anything to apply for a Gold Opal card?

No, all Opal cards are free. But you do need to add value to travel with a Gold Opal card.

8 Do I need to submit a separate application form for each member of my family?

A family with up to eight applicants can apply via the one application form. When submitting the application, remember to include a photocopy of each person's Immicard, or that each applicant's name appears in other supporting documentation you provide. See the FAQ 'I'm an asylum seeker, how do I apply for a Gold Opal card?' for a list of approved supporting documentation.

9 Can I link all my family members' Opal cards to one account?

Yes, once your Opal cards arrive, call 13 67 25 (13 OPAL) or visit opal.com.au to register your Opal card. When you register you get an Opal account, you can then add the other cards to your account and manage them as required.

10 Will my Gold Opal card expire?

Yes, your Gold Opal card will expire after 12 months. The expiry date cannot be extended. You can however apply for another Gold Opal card. There's no charge for applying for a Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card and having it delivered to a New South Wales residential address.

11 Can the 12 month expiry of my Gold Opal card be extended?

No, the expiry date cannot be extended. You can however apply for another Gold Opal card. There's no charge for applying for a Gold Opal card and having it delivered to a NSW residential address.

12 When my Gold Opal card expires can I get a refund on any value left on the card?

Yes, you can get a refund if you apply within 90 days of your Opal card expiry. To apply, visit opal.com.au to download an Opal card refund form, complete and return with your expired Opal card. Or call 13 67 25 (13 OPAL) to request a form and an Opal Customer Care representative will mail one out to you.

13 How do I link my Opal card to someone else's account, so they can pay for my travel?

The Opal account holder needs your Opal card number, entitlement data, name and date of birth, then they can call 13 67 25 (13 OPAL). An Opal Customer Care Representative can then assist with linking the card and add value, or set auto top up.

14 When travelling with a Gold Opal card do I need to carry a concession card?

Yes, you need to tap on and tap off correctly and carry your NSW Transport Concession Entitlement Card or you can be fined. Revenue Protection Officers and NSW Police Officers may ask to see your Opal card and your proof of concession entitlement.

15 Do I get a discounted fare on the AirportLink station access fees for the Sydney Domestic or International Airport train stations?

Yes, the Sydney Airport station access fee for Gold Opal card customers is $12.40. The Sydney Airport station access fee is capped at $24.50 each week. The Opal week runs from Monday to Sunday.

16 How will my personal information be managed?

Transport for NSW (TfNSW) is committed to protecting the privacy of your personal information, in accordance with the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) (NSW privacy laws). Personal information provided by you is collected for the purpose of administering and managing your entitlement to concession travel. You may choose not to provide your personal information to TfNSW. However this may mean that it is not possible or practicable for us to deal with your application for concession travel. TfNSW will not otherwise disclose your personal information unless you consent, or we are permitted or required to by law. For information about how your personal information is collected, used and disclosed in the Opal ticketing system, read our Opal Privacy Policy, available at opal.com.au/en/footer/privacy. TfNSW will keep your information at 18 Lee Street Chippendale NSW 2008. You can ask to access or amend your personal information held by us at any time during business hours, by contacting TfNSW at privacy @transport.nsw.gov.au or Locked Bag 5085 Parramatta NSW 2124.

17 Where can I travel with a Gold Opal card?

With an Opal card you can travel on trains, buses, ferries and light rail in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Illawarra, Hunter and Southern Highlands.

18 If I'm travelling outside the Opal network how do I get concession travel?

When travelling outside of the Opal network simply show your NSW Transport Concession Entitlement Card to purchase concession tickets, including the $2.50 Country Pensioner Excursion Ticket and the $2.50 Regional Excursion Daily ticket on local buses in regional areas or half-fare concession tickets.

19 My Opal card has stopped working, what should I do?

To report that your card isn't working, and request a replacement (if applicable), call 13 67 25 (13OPAL).

20 My Opal card has been lost or stolen, what should I do?

Call 13 67 25 (13 OPAL) to request a replacement Opal card (a fee may apply). If your Opal card is registered, any remaining balance at the time of your call can be transferred to another Opal card, or added to the replacement card that can be posted to you.

21 I've lost my NSW Concession Entitlement Card, what should I do?

You can order a replacement NSW Concession Entitlement Card (a fee may apply) by calling 131 500. Travel with an Adult Opal card until your replacement concession card arrives. If you travel with a Gold Opal card without a proof of concession entitlement you can be fined.

22 Will transport staff be able to check my Opal card?

Yes, Revenue Protection Officers and NSW Police Officers can check your journey information using a portable Opal card reader. If you don't tap on and tap off correctly and also carry your NSW Concession Entitlement Card, you can be fined.