Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Learn About Your Destination > Papua New Guinea International Travel Information
To enter Papua New Guinea, U.S. citizens must have:
Obtain a valid physical visa or eVisa in advance of arrival. The Embassy of Papua New Guinea is located at 1825 K Street, NW, Suite 1010, Washington, DC 20006; telephone: 202-745-3680; email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the website of Papua New Guinea’s Immigration and Citizenship Authority for the most current visa information.
If you transit other countries en route to Papua New Guinea, follow all necessary exit/entry procedures for the countries you transit. You may need to obtain visas or travel authorizations for some of those countries. If you anticipate transiting or visiting Australia, obtain an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) for Australia before leaving the United States.
HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The Government of Papua New Guinea imposes HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors and foreign residents. If you request residency or intend to remain long term in Papua New Guinea, you are required to have an HIV/AIDS test performed at a U.S. medical facility. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Papua New Guinea before you travel.
Crime: Papua New Guinea has a high crime rate.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes and law enforcement-related emergencies to local police by calling 112. In the event you are unable to get through to the police, operators with St. John Ambulance Service may be able to assist you by passing your request to the police control center. You may also contact the U.S. Embassy at +675 308 2100. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Organized Tours and Adventure Travel
Organized tours booked through travel agencies remain the safest means to visit Papua New Guinea, although on rare occasions, even persons participating in organized tours have been subject to violent crime and injury. If you choose to travel to Papua New Guinea with a group tour, here are some things to be aware of:
Diving and Snorkeling: Scuba divers and or snorkelers are advised to check the references, licenses, and equipment of tour operators before agreeing to a tour. Confirm the dive operator is certified through one of the international diving associations, and that their certification is current. Confirm with the diving association directly that the operator is certified. Local dive masters may not consider your skill level when they organize a trip.
Rent equipment only from trustworthy operators and be sure to receive training before using the equipment. Some rental diving equipment may not be properly maintained or inspected. Make sure that your travel medical insurance covers your sport. The Divers Alert Network (DAN) website has information on diver’s insurance.
Deaths and serious accidents have occurred in the past because basic safety precautions were not taken during diving and snorkeling trips. Remember that safety measures and emergency responses may not meet U.S. standards.
Papua New Guinea has one hyperbaric recompression chamber to provide medical assistance for dive-related injuries, located in Port Moresby at the Tropicair Hangar at Jacksons International Airport. However, it may not always be operational. Diving injuries may therefore require medical evacuation to Australia. Many popular dive sites are located near outlying islands, and it may take several hours to reach facilities in the event of an accident.
Other Water Sports: Exercise caution and common sense when engaging in all adventure sports, including but not limited to whitewater rafting, sea kayaking, and windsailing. Make sure your travel medical insurance covers your sport. Never participate in adventure sports alone. Before kayaking, rafting, or windsailing, check water conditions and wear a life jacket and helmet. Water conditions may become extremely dangerous during heavy rainfall, and flash floods are common.
Hiking: Exercise caution if you plan to hike the Kokoda Track, the Black Cat Track, Mt. Wilhelm, Mt. Giluwe, or other established or informal hiking trails in Papua New Guinea. Hikers have been attacked and killed, even along the most well-known routes. Local landowners occasionally threaten to close parts of the tracks due to local land and compensation disputes. Carry a first aid kit and observe all local and trail-specific regulations.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.
Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from relevant local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: Same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea is a conservative country and public displays of affection are generally not understood or welcomed.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Papua New Guinea does not have legislation mandating access to transportation, communication, and public buildings for persons with disabilities. The road network in Papua New Guinea is in poor condition. Foot paths, road crossings, and stairways in most major towns are congested, uneven, and are generally not constructed or maintained with an eye toward access for persons with disabilities.
Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Papua New Guinea prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, or mental disabilities, but is not enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure in both rural and urban areas, including the capital. The availability of rental, repair and replacement parts for aids/equipment/devices, or service providers, such as sign language interpreters or personal assistants is limited.
Women Travelers: Sexual assault and gender-based violence are relatively common in Papua New Guinea. Though most often reported in urban centers and against the local population, these attacks can occur anywhere and also be directed against tourists or foreign residents. Police have limited capacity to respond to such crimes and health workers at local medical facilities may not be adequately trained or have the capacity to provide victim-centered care or administer post exposure prophylaxes. Women are advised of the following precautions:
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Customs: Papua New Guinean customs authorities enforce strict regulations governing firearms, certain prescription drugs, wooden artifacts, animal products, food, and sexually explicit material. Firearms should not be brought into the country. Other products may be subject to quarantine. You should contact the Embassy of Papua New Guinea in Washington, D.C. for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Natural Disasters: Papua New Guinea is among the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Earthquakes, tropical cyclones, destructive tsunamis, exceptionally high tides, seasonal and flash flooding, and landslides can occur with little or no notice. The country has many active volcanoes. Recent eruptions have occurred in in Bougainville, East and West New Britain, and Manam Island. Ash from volcanoes in East and West New Britain occasionally disrupts air and ground operations at the airports in Kokopo and Hoskins.
Documentation: Carry a copy of your U.S. passport and Papua New Guinean visa at all times so that you can demonstrate your proof of identity, U.S. citizenship, and immigration status to authorities if asked.
For emergency services in Papua New Guinea, dial 111 to reach St. John Ambulance Service.
Ambulance services are:
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation, as severe injuries often require medical evacuation to Australia, Singapore, the Philippines, or the United States at a cost of thousands of dollars. Medical evacuations to Australia require a visa or Electronic Travel Authority.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Embassy of Papua New Guinea to ensure the medication is legal in Papua New Guinea.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
Health facilities in general:
General Health: The following diseases are prevalent:
Road Conditions and Safety: Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of serious injury in Papua New Guinea. Road travel outside of major towns can be hazardous due to car jackings, armed robbery, and criminal roadblocks near bridges, curves in the road, or other areas where vehicle speed and mobility is restricted. Be sure to:
Safety risks include:
Traffic Laws: Traffic in Papua New Guinea moves on the left. Police roadblocks to check vehicle registrations are a regular occurrence at night in Port Moresby, and police may not always act in a professional manner. As a driver, you should ensure that your vehicle registration and safety stickers are up-to-date in order to minimize difficulties at police checkpoints.
If You Are Involved in a Road Accident: Crowds can react emotionally and violently after road accidents. Crowds form quickly after an accident and may attack those whom they hold responsible by stoning and/or burning vehicles. Friends and relatives of an injured party may demand immediate compensation from the party they hold responsible for injuries, regardless of legal responsibility. If you are involved in an accident and you feel threatened, go directly to the nearest police station instead of remaining at the scene of the accident.
Public Transportation: Avoid using local taxis or buses, known as Public Motor Vehicles (PMVs), as crimes such as robbery and sexual assault on buses are not uncommon. Use a reliable service provided by your hotel, employer, or colleagues.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
For specific information concerning Papua New Guinea driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, road safety and mandatory insurance, please call the Papua New Guinea’s Motor Vehicles Insurance Limited at 675-325-9666 or 675-302-4600.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Papua New Guinea, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Papua New Guinea’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Papua New Guinea should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.
Persons arriving on or transiting through Papua New Guinea on sailboats or yachts should be aware that small-scale piracy can occur and has recently been reported near Madang and Milne Bay.