HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia is requiring permanent residents and people travelling for an essential reason to complete an application before entering the province.

The application process comes into effect at 8 a.m. Friday. People will have to apply through the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in and should submit their request about a week before they plan to travel.

Applications will only be considered for permanent residents of Nova Scotia and people travelling for essential reasons.

Applications for child-custody visits and exempt travellers, such as military, first responders, airline crew and people accessing essential health services, will be approved automatically.

All others will be reviewed within three business days. People cannot enter the province until they receive approval.

Those who have already completed the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in do not have to re-apply if they are travelling up to and including May 19. Starting May 20, only approvals through the new process will be accepted.

"This approval does not change our 14-day self-isolation requirement. This remains the most important public health measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19," Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said in a news release.

Strang says he also encourages people to get tested at the beginning and end of their isolation.