Permits are needed in order to be able to travel to certain star systems within Elite Dangerous. Only commanders who possess the appropriate permit may enter a system that is permit-locked. Fleet Carriers are barred from traveling to any permit-locked system, regardless of whether their owners have the permit. Possession of a permit may be granted on a permanent or temporary basis.
The Pilots Federation holds the authority to place permit restrictions on systems, and will seal off systems at the request of a faction, or in response to the presence of significant hazards or threats. Generally, it is up to the permit-holder for a restricted system to decide whether or not to distribute permits, and acquiring a permit requires meeting specific critera set by the permit-holder. Many permit-locked systems do not allow their permits to be distributed. Permit-locked systems may offer exclusive commodities, ship and module discounts, or simply access to unique locations.
- According to Drew Wagar, author of the official Elite Dangerous novels Elite: Reclamation and Elite Dangerous: Premonition, there was originally intended to be an explanation in the game's narrative for why multiple areas of the galaxy required "Unknown Permits". One such permit-locked area near Barnard's Loop was also reserved for certain content that was apparently shelved or retconned out in late 2017, and subsequent narrative developments such as Aegis and Eagle Eye represented a change in direction from the original plans for the game.