Security Alert
May 17, 2024

Worldwide Caution

May 10, 2024

Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

Intercountry Adoption


Country Information

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea
Independent State of Papua New Guinea
Reconsider travel to Papua New Guinea due to crime, civil unrest, and piracy. Exercise increased caution due to kidnapping, unexploded ordnance, inconsistent availability of healthcare services, and potential for natural disasters. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reissued after periodic review with minor edits.

Reconsider travel to Papua New Guinea due to crime, civil unrest, and piracy. Exercise increased caution due to kidnapping, unexploded ordnance, inconsistent availability of healthcare services, and potential for natural disasters. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • Central Bougainville, particularly areas near the Panguna mine, due to civil unrest.
  • The Highlands region, other than the towns of Mt. Hagen and Goroka, due to civil unrest.

Country Summary: Violent crime, including sexual assault, carjackings, home invasions, and armed robberies, is common. There have been reports of criminals attacking resorts popular with foreign tourists to steal goods and money. Tensions between communal or tribal groups may lead to civil unrest involving violence and can occur without warning. Police presence is limited outside of the capital, Port Moresby, and police may be unable to assist due to limited resources. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Port Moresby due to limited transportation infrastructure. U.S. government employees must obtain authorization before traveling to areas of concern, including the central part of Bougainville and the provinces of Southern Highlands, Western Highlands (excluding Mt. Hagen), Eastern Highlands (excluding Goroka), Hela, Enga, Jiwaka, and other areas of Papua New Guinea where one is unable to fly directly.

Piracy is active in the waters surrounding Papua New Guinea. Travelers by boat should reconsider travel to the Bismarck and Solomon Seas along Papua New Guinea's north and eastern coasts. In 2021 and 2022, the Embassy was aware of at least three occasions in which sailboats operated by or carrying U.S. citizens were boarded by criminals. The criminals, who have been known to use physical violence, robbed the boats, and in one incident, severely injured the captain when he attempted to fight back.

Visit our website on International Maritime Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea.

Kidnapping for ransom or political influence occurs in Papua New Guinea, though foreign nationals are not frequently targeted. In February 2023, a foreign citizen was kidnapped. In late 2022, foreign citizens employed by an international company were kidnapped and held for several days.  

Travelers should exercise increased caution when traveling in remote areas of Papua New Guinea due to the presence of unexploded ordnance (UXO) remaining from World War II. UXO is discovered infrequently throughout the country, often on smaller islands.

Papua New Guinea has inconsistent availability of healthcare services which may be difficult to obtain outside of Port Moresby. Pharmaceuticals may be scarce or unavailable.

Papua New Guinea is subject to periodic seismic activity and is home to several active volcanoes. The country does experience regular volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis. U.S. citizens are advised to familiarize themselves with volcano updates, earthquake tracking, and tsunami warnings in Papua New Guinea. U.S. citizens should develop contingency plans in the event of an eruption or major earthquake.  

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Papua New Guinea.

If you decide to travel to Papua New Guinea:

  • Do not use local taxis or buses, known as public motor vehicles or PMVs.
  • Travel with guides from a reputable tour company, particularly if you plan to hike.
  • Avoid walking or driving at night.
  • Avoid areas in the vicinity of active volcanoes.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Do not touch unknown metal objects and avoid traveling off well-used roads, tracks, and paths due to risk of unexploded ordnance.
  • Bring a sufficient supply of over-the-counter and prescription medicines.
  • Avoid sailing around the waters of Papua New Guinea and review the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
  • If sailing, have functioning communication and emergency equipment, such as a satellite phone, VHF radio, and emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB).
  • Review Travel.State.Gov’s Crisis Abroad: be ready page.
  • Review volcano updates, earthquake tracking, and tsunami warnings.
  • Review the CDC’s suggestions on preparing for natural disasters.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to assist you in an emergency.  
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Follow Embassy Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for the Papua New Guinea.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Areas Near the Panguna Mine on the island of Bougainville – Level 4: Do Not Travel

The Autonomous Bougainville Government has designated areas near the Panguna mine as “no go zones" due to the risk of violence from civil unrest. Bougainville police lack the resources to respond to emergency calls.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

The Highlands Region (excluding Mt. Hagen and Goroka) – Level 4: Do Not Travel

There is a heightened risk of civil unrest from tribal violence throughout the region, including the provinces of Southern Highlands, Western Highlands, Eastern Highlands, Hela, Enga, and Jiwaka. The towns of Mt. Hagen (Western Highlands) and Goroka (Eastern Highlands) generally have a more stable police presence than other towns and villages across the Highlands provinces.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.


Hague Convention Participation

Hague Adoption Convention Country?

Hague Convention Information

Papua New Guinea is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F). Under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the accreditation requirement and standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also apply in non-Convention or “orphan” cases. The UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider acts as a primary provider in every case, and that adoption service providers providing adoption services on behalf of prospective adoptive parents be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. Adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents should review the State Department’s Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 webpage for further information. Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Convention countries continue to be processed under the Orphan Process with the filing of the Forms I-600A and I-600. However, adoption service providers should be aware of the information on the USCIS website on the impact on Form I-600A and Form I-600 adjudications under the UAA, including the requirement that all home studies, including home study updates and amendments, comply with the Convention home study requirements, which differ from the orphan home study requirements that were in effect before July 14, 2014.

According to the Papua New Guinea Adoption Act of 1968, prospective adoptive parents who wish to adopt a child from Papua New Guinea must be resident in Papua New Guinea for a period of six months before they can be eligible to adopt.

U.S. Immigration Requirements

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Papua New Guinea, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.

Who Can Adopt

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Papua New Guinea:

  • Residency: Prospective adoptive parents must be resident in Papua New Guinea for a minimum of six months before they are eligible to adopt.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: Prospective adoptive parents must be 21 years of age or older, healthy, fit, and capable of caring for the child.
  • Marriage: Prospective adoptive parents must be legally married.
  • Income: Prospective adoptive parents must be financially stable. Though there are no stated guidelines, a home study determines eligibility
  • Other: Adoption by same sex couples is not permitted in Papua New Guinea.

Who Can Be Adopted

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Papua New Guinea has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:

  • Relinquishment: The relinquishing parent(s) must provide verbal and written consent to a social welfare officer for the child to be adopted.
  • Abandonment: The Office of Lukautim Pikinini (Child Welfare) will evaluate the best interests of the child if one or both parents are alive. The Government of Papua New Guinea gives preference to domestic over foreign adoptions.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: The child must be under the age of 18.
  • Sibling Adoptions: Siblings may be adopted together by the same prospective adoptive family.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Living conditions of prospective adoptive parents must be conducive to the child’s needs as determined by a home study.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: There is no mandated waiting period.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.

How to Adopt

Papua New Guinea’s Adoption Authority

The Office of Lukautim Pikinini (Child Welfare), under the Department for Community Development and Religion, oversees intercountry adoption.

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Papua New Guinea generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be found eligible to adopt
  3. Be matched with a child
  4. Adopt (or obtain custody of) the child in Papua New Guinea
  5. Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
  6. Bring your child home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider

The recommended first step in adopting a child from Papua New Guinea is to decide whether to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.

There are no adoption agencies in Papua New Guinea. Prospective adoptive parents may use the services of a local attorney during the process. Prospective adoptive parents should also contact the Office of Lukautim Pikinini (Child Welfare) for guidance.

2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

In order to adopt a child from Papua New Guinea, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Papua New Guinea and U.S. immigration law. You must visit the Office of Lukautim Pikinini (Child Welfare) for an interview to be found eligible to adopt. If the Office of Lukautim Pikinini (Child Welfare) finds you eligible, then you may proceed with the adoption through a local lawyer, who will guide you through the process.

To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.  As of July 14, 2014, unless an exception applies, the home study must comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311 and 22 CFR Part 96.47.

3. Be Matched with a Child

If you are determined to be eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the Office of Lukautim Pikinini (Child Welfare), Department for Community Development and Religion in Papua New Guinea will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Papua New Guinea’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of orphan under U.S. law in order to immigrate to the United States.

4. Adopt or Obtain Legal Custody of Child in Papua New Guinea

The process for finalizing the adoption (or obtaining legal custody) in Papua New Guinea generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority: The Office of Lukautim Pikinini (Child Welfare) under the Department of Community Development and Religion oversees all adoptions, conducts personal interviews with prospective adoptive parents, conducts home studies, and works with the lawyer(s) responsible for the adoption case. 
  • Role of the Court: The prospective adoptive parents must file an Application for Adoption, through their lawyer, with the National Court. The court may approve an adoption order only when it receives the written consent of the Director of the Office of Lukautim Pikinini (Child Welfare) and is satisfied with the home study and any other evidence submitted.
  • Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no adoption agencies in Papua New Guinea. Prospective adoptive parents work with the Office of Lukautim Pikinini (Child Welfare) and with a local lawyer. 
  • Adoption Application: The Office of Lukautin Pikinini (Child Welfare) does not maintain a standard application form for prospective adoptive parents applying to adopt a child from Papua New Guinea. Once the prospective adoptive parents have identified a prospective child, they must work through the Office of Lukautim Pikinini (Child Welfare). Prospective adoptive parents must visit this Office before they consult with a lawyer.  If the Office does not find the case viable, it may be impossible to proceed. A favorable opinion of the Office is required for the court to hear the case. The Office strongly recommends working with a local lawyer who has performed recent foreign adoptions.
  • Time Frame: An adoption in Papua New Guinea may take nine months or longer to finalize, not including the mandatory six-month residency period.
  • Adoption Fees: The Office of Lukautim Pikinini (Child Welfare) does not collect any fees with the adoption application. Prospective adoptive parents can expect to pay a minimum of K10,000 to K12,000 in legal fees to their lawyer for paperwork and to file documents with the court. The fee is paid after the adoption is finalized. The UAA and the Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA) make it unlawful to improperly influence relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing Central Authority functions.
  • Documents Required: The following documents are required to complete an adoption in Papua New Guinea:
    • Birth certificate
    • Medical reports for the prospective adoptive parents
    • Medical report for the prospective adoptive child, obtained through a physician determined by the court
    • Police background check
    • Employment and academic references
    • Bank statements
    • Marriage certificate
    • Family photos

Note: Additional documents may be requested. Some documents must be signed by a Papua New Guinea Commissioner of Oath.

  • Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that documents from the United States are authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office may be able to assist.

5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status

After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Papua New Guinea, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. At the time you file your Form I-600 petition, the adjudicating officer will determine whether the UAA applies or if your case is UAA grandfathered. For more information on UAA grandfathering and transition cases, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012. Unless an exception applies, you must identify a primary provider in your case and the adjudicating officer may ask for the name and contact information of the primary provider if not provided in your Form I-600 petition. This information is required and, without it, your Form I-600 petition cannot be approved. 

6. Bring Your Child Home

Once your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:

Birth Certificate

If you have finalized the adoption in Papua New Guinea, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

After the adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents will submit an application for a new Birth Certificate together with the Court Order to the Civil Registry Office under the Department of Community Development and Religion.

Papua New Guinea Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Papua New Guinea.

After the adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents should immediately apply for a Papua New Guinea passport for the child by submitting a passport application, copies of the passport fee receipt of K100.00, court order, and birth certificate to Papua New Guinea Immigration and Citizenship Services Authority (PNGICSA).

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you.  As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy in Papua New Guinea’s website.

The U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby’s Consular Section provides immigrant visa services on Monday and Wednesday mornings, by appointment only, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.   After the final interview, the visa is usually issued the following morning. Generally it is not possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby before making final travel arrangements.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible.  Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Papua New Guinea

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Papua New Guinea, see the Department of State’s Country-Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip

Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country-Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Papua New Guinea, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

Papua New Guinea does not have any post-adopting reporting requirements.

Post-Adoption Resources

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Papua New Guinea
Embassy of the United States of America
P.O. Box 1492
Port Moresby, N.C.D. 121
Papua New Guinea
Tel: +(675) 321-1455
Fax: +(675) 320-0637

Papua New Guinea’s Adoption Authority
National Office of Child and Family Services
P.O. Box 6959
Boroko, 111
National Capital District
Director: Simon Yanis – Ph: +675 7326 1278; Email:
Deputy Director -Program and Compliances – Mr. Otto Trur – phone: +675 7026 6390
Deputy Director – Policy and Regulatory (NCDC Child and Family Services)– Mr. Jerry Wap -phone: +675 7332 2974

Embassy of Papua New Guinea
1779 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Suite 805
Washington, D.C.  20036
Tel: (202) 745-3680
Fax: (202) 745-3679

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI, SA-17A, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C.  20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1-913-214-5808

For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Port Moresby
Harbour City Road, Konedobu
P.O. Box 1492
Port Moresby, NCD 121
Papua New Guinea
+(675) 308-9100
+(675) 7200-9439
No Fax

Papua New Guinea Map