The Marriage Act of 1963, which came into force in 1965, created a dual system of marriage in Papua New Guinea: customary marriage and statutory marriage.
Customary Marriage: Section 3 of the Marriage Act states "a native, other than a native who is party to a subsisting [statutory] marriage. . . enter. . .into a customary marriage in accordance with the custom prevailing in the tribe or group to which the parties to the marriage or either of them belong or belongs." There is no "proof" required for customary marriage beyond compliance with custom. Should a dispute arise, the question of what constitutes the custom of the parties is a matter of fact to be determined by a court.
For purposes of the act, "natives" or "automatic citizens" are persons born in Papua New Guinea before Independence (1975) with two grandparents also born in PNG, or a person born after Independence with one parent who is a citizen. It is not clear whether an expatriate (or even a naturalized citizen) can enter into a customary marriage. Section 3 of the Marriage Act (quoted above) would seem to preclude the possibility, but there is a possible conflict with Section 5 of the Customs Recognition Act, which, without specifying place of birth or citizenship, permits custom to be taken into account in matters of marriage, divorce and child custody. In the absence of judicial review of the issue, it is not possible to say whether a customary marriage between an expatriate or naturalized citizen and a "native" or "automatic citizen" would be valid. It would be advisable for American citizens who plan to obtain benefits of marriage for their spouses and children (i.e. immigration benefits) to comply with statutory marriage laws.
Statutory Marriage: Statutory marriages can be performed by the following persons, provided they have been authorized by the government: Ministers of Religion, District Officers or Registrars. Seven days notice of an intended marriage must be given, the parties must declare their ages and eligibility to marry, the parties must be over 21 years of age (persons under 21 years of age may marry with parental consent unless a court has dispensed with this requirement), and the ceremony must be attended by two witnesses and followed by the preparation of a marriage certificate.
Work Permits in Papua New Guinea
Work permits are job-specific, and may only be issued for positions which have been approved by the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) for non-citizen recruitment. Approval, once given, is valid for up to three years. Extensions beyond the three-year limit are also possible. It is not possible, however, for persons arriving as tourists or visitors for business to change status to employment visas. The address of the Department of Industrial Relations, Employment and Training Division, is: P.O. Box 5644, Boroko, N,C.D. 111, phone: (675) 321-2043; fax: (675) 321-4805.
The prospective employer must obtain individual permission from the DIR for each position for which the employer hopes to recruit a non-citizen. Such permission is given as part of the employer's submission of "Training and Localization Program." Once the permission is received and a prospective employee is identified the employer must provide the following information to the Immigration and Citizenship Division (ICD) of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT): a written sponsorship letter containing the prospective employee's name, position number, position title, period of DIR approval, salary, and guarantees of accommodations and transportation to place of recruitment; an original maintenance bond for the prospective employee and dependents; a copy of the work permit approval letter from the DIR; the application fee of 250 kina (USD 192); the PNG Embassy/Consulate/High Commission at which rhe prospective employee will apply for a visa.
At the same time, the prospective employee should complete an "Entry Permit Application" and lodge it with the nearest P.N.G. Embassy, High Commission or Other Representative (in many countries the Australian Embassy or High Commission provides visa services for Papua New Guinea). The prospective employee should attach to the completed application a police clearance*, a medical clearance (with IIV test and X-ray results), and a phone/fax/telex charge of 50 kina (USD 38.50).
The details of the application will be sent to the ICS and the DIR in Port Moresby. If both offices approve the application, the ICD will notify the PNG Embassy, which will issue the visa. The visa permit is a white and yellow computer-coded sticker placed in the passport. This is both the visa and the work permit the applicant may now travel to Papua New Guinea.
The following companies can provide professional assistance in obtaining professional assistance in obtaining work permits and visas. Their inclusion in this information sheet does not constitute a recommendation and the Embassy assumes no responsibility for their professional ability or integrity.
*Please note: the FBI does not provide U.S. police clearances to individual applicants, and will not do so if requested. The FBI will respond to requests for criminal-record checks received from other law-enforcement agencies only. Applicants are advised to contact the Commission of Police, P.O. Box 85, Konedobu, N.C.D. 125; phone (675) 322-6100; fax: (675) 322-6113. Should the Office of the Commissioner of Police agree to initiate the criminal record check, it should contact the Office of the Legal Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia, giving the applicant's complete name, any aliases or maiden names, and date and place of birth. The address of the Legal Attache is: U.S. Embassy, Moonah Place, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600; phone (616) 270-5982; FAX: (616) 270-5970. Applicants should not contact the Embassy in Port Moresby with the requests for police clearances. Applicants may also wish to contact the local or state police force(s) in their previous place(s) of residence in the U.S. in order to obtain local police clearances.