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Papua New Guinea

If you’re travelling to Papua New Guinea, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

For the latest update please read the General COVID-19 Travel Advisory >

Overview

Security Status

High Degree of Caution

Latest Travel Alert

Citizens planning travel abroad should take into account the ongoing risk of testing positive for COVID-19 while abroad and are advised to take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes COVID-19 cover. Before departure and during travel, citizens are advised to monitor our Travel Advice, follow us on Twitter, and register with their nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate.

Travel to Papua New Guinea

There is widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea and it has spread throughout the country, impacting the capacity of local health services.

Passengers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have a valid visa to enter Papua New Guinea.

If you test positive for COVID-19 on arrival, you may be required to quarantine for 7 days. This will be at a designated hotel or your place of residence.

Commercial options for travelling, to and from Papua New Guinea remain extremely limited and are subject to entry restrictions. Many airlines require passengers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Check with your airline or travel provider for more information.

General Travel Advice

General elections took place from July 9 to 22, 2022. During the vote counting, violent incidents have occurred, including in Port Moresby. They resulted in numerous casualties. Clashes between protesters and security forces have happened.

Tribal fighting and civil unrest may escalate quickly and turn violent at any time. Violent incidents could also happen in various areas throughout the country. Local authorities have advised people to stay home.

If you are currently in the country:

  • Limit your movements and keep a low profile
  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for the latest

We advise against all travel to the mountainous area in central Bougainville around the old Panguna mine.

Outbreaks of violence have happened in settlements, marketplaces and urban centres, and during elections including:

  • Port Moresby
  • Lae
  • Madang
  • Mt Hagen (Western Highlands)
  • Mendi
  • Porgera
  • Goroka
  • Tari

Outbreaks of violence may occur with very little warning and may escalate very quickly. You should avoid large crowds and public gatherings as they may turn violent. 

There have previously been outbreaks of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in several South Pacific Island locations including PNG.  If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and plan to travel to areas affected by the Zika Virus, you are advised to discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider and to consider postponing your travel to affected areas. Irish Citizens are advised to follow the guidance of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

As there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Papua New Guinea, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Embassy of Ireland in Canberra.

We suggest you learn as much as you can about Papua New Guinea before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you are in Papua New Guinea, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Demonstrations

Avoid protests and other large public gatherings in Port Moresby and other major towns as they can turn violent. Always keep yourself informed of what is going on around you by monitoring local media for information about potential conflicts or the security or political situation of specific areas and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.

Highland Provinces

Inter-tribal disturbances can happen without warning in the Highland Provinces, in particular the Southern Highlands and Enga Provinces. Be extremely careful, as law enforcement in these areas is weak.

Bougainville Province

Bougainville Province (including Bougainville Island) has recently emerged from a period of separatist conflict. Do not enter the mountainous area in central Bougainville around the old Panguna mine as it is a ‘No Go Zone’. Foreigners who have entered the Zone without authorisation from the Papua New Guinean government have been questioned by the authorities and had their passports confiscated on departure from the Zone.

Landmines

Unexploded ordnance and landmines are present in many islands, including Bougainville and East New Britain.

Avoid walking or hiking off marked roads and trails.

Crime

Crime is common in Papua New Guinea, especially personal crime. It tends to be opportunistic and can happen anywhere and at any time. However, it is especially prevalent in areas such as Lae, Mt Hagen and other parts of the Highland provinces and the capital city Port Moresby is particularly dangerous. We advise you to be extremely careful and take sensible precautions: 

  • Do not carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
  • Do not carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
  • Avoid walking after dark in Port Moresby and other urban areas. If you have to travel at night, do so by car
  • Rape and sexual assault are problems across the country
  • Violence and use of 'bush knives' (machetes) and guns often accompany assault and robberies. Car-jacking, assaults, bag-snatching and other robberies, including in shops and restaurants, are common
  • If you are arrested or detained, you are entitled to request that the local police notify the Embassy of your detention.  
  • Criminals tend to target areas and establishments often frequented by foreigners, including hotels, restaurants and bars, places of worship and tourist areas.

Lost or stolen passports

Always keep your travel documents secure at all times. If your passport is lost or stolen, getting a replacement can take some time, given the distance between Papua New Guinea and the nearest Irish Embassy in Canberra. Getting a replacement passport will be easier if you can provide a copy of the lost or stolen one, so keep photocopies of your passport. 

Reporting a crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Papua New Guinea, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Canberra, in Australia if you need help.

Driving

If you are planning to drive in Papua New Guinea, you should be extremely careful. Driving is on the left. Roads are generally poor, particularly outside towns and cities and standards of driving are erratic. If you want to drive, bring your full Irish driver’s licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance

Car jacking

Car jacking is a risk of travelling in Papua New Guinea. Always keep your car doors locked and windows closed, particularly if you are travelling at night or through urban areas.

Hiring a vehicle

If you are hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you are allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Public buses (PMVs)

We recommend that you avoid using public buses known locally as PMVs. There have been incidents of armed hold-ups of PMVs and of passengers being attacked and robbed of their personal belongings. Many PMVs are considered to be un-roadworthy.

Taxis

Taxis are available in some major centres, but they can be badly maintained, and you should check about their reliability with your hotel or guesthouse. If you use a taxi, make sure that you agree a fare before getting into the vehicle, even if there’s a meter.

Kokoda Track

If you intend to walk a trail or track in Papua New Guinea, particularly on the Kokoda Track, we strongly advise you to travel with guides from a reputable tour company and pay the relevant fees before you set out. You can get details through the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority or the Kokoda Track Authority. Although community leaders have assured tourists of their safety and well-being while walking the Kokoda Track, there have been serious attacks and robberies at both ends of the Track and you should be cautious.

Flying

Flying in Papua New Guinea carries an increased level of risk due to the poor condition of airfields, remote locations, difficult terrain, extreme weather and poor maintenance of aircraft.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Citizenship

The government of Papua New Guinea does not recognise dual-national citizenship once a person is over 18 years of age. If you are travelling there as a Papua New Guinea citizen, your Irish citizenship will not be recognised. This means we may be hindered in giving you consular assistance should you need it.

Local customs

Standards of dress and behaviour in Papua New Guinea are quite conservative so even though the climate is hot, dress conservatively when in public. Adultery is also an offence and those convicted may be liable for compensation payments. Public displays of affection may cause offence so we advise discretion and caution at all times.

LGBT

Homosexual acts are unlawful - and punishment if convicted can include imprisonment.

Forbidden products

The sale and possession of pornographic material is a criminal offence in Papua New Guinea. As a general rule, you are prohibited from entering Papua New Guinea with drugs, weapons, firearms, censored films, and obscene literature.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. 

Photography

Always get permission before taking photographs of people or important cultural or spiritual sites.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Earthquakes

Papua New Guinea is in an active seismic zone and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions happen regularly, particularly around Rabaul, Bougainville, West New Britain and the Manam Islands. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Tsunami

Depending on the severity and conditions of the seismic activity in the region, there may be a threat of tsunamis. If you are travelling to coastal areas, be alert for tsunami warnings that may be issued by the authorities.

Wet season

During the wet season in Papua New Guinea (November to May) weather can damage infrastructure (roads, airstrips), cause flooding and landslides and contribute to the spread of infectious disease. Take care if you are travelling during this time; talk to your tour guides or follow the local media to see whether your travel may be affected.

Volcanoes

Papua New Guinea has a number of active and extinct volcanoes.

  • Mount Ulawun Volcano, on the island of New Britain, erupted three times in 2019 causing airport closures. A brief eruption occurred on 2 June 2022.
  • Mount Bagana in Bougainville erupted on 13 August 2019.
  • Manam Island volcano, one of Papua New Guinea’s most active, erupted on 25 August 2018 forcing thousands to flee to the mainland. Further low level activity has occurred since then, most recently in April 2022.
  • Kadovar Island volcano erupted in January 2018, leading to an evacuation of the island. If you’re planning travel in affected areas, check with your travel provider or airline before travelling.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Irish citizens are currently on a list of countries that are allowed to apply for a free tourist visa upon arrival in Papua New Guinea.


However, the Embassy recommends that prior to travel you check the up to date entry requirements for Papua New Guinea including visa and other immigration information from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Papua New Guinea

Your passport must be valid for 6 months from the time of your travel (date of departure from Papua New Guinea back to country of origin). 

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see what vaccinations you need for Papua New Guinea. Be aware that if you have a compromised immune system you may be at greater risk of falling ill or contracting disease while travelling in this country.

HIV and AIDS

HIV and AIDs are increasingly common in Papua New Guinea, so we strongly encourage victims of violence, particularly victims of sexual assault, to seek immediate medical assistance.

Cholera

Cholera is endemic in Papua New Guinea so you need to take precautions; only drink ‘safe’ chlorinated or boiled water and avoid ice-cubes or uncooked food. Maintain high personal hygiene standards such as washing your hands frequently.

Mosquito-borne diseases

Mosquito-borne diseases are present in Papua New Guinea and you should get up-to-date medical advice about immunisations and prophylaxis before travelling. When you arrive, avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by using bed nets and repellents, and wearing closed shoes, long sleeves and trousers.

Other diseases

Food and water-borne diseases are also common, as is tuberculosis. Swimming in Papua New Guinea may expose you to water-borne parasites, particularly if you are swimming in rivers. Stings from marine animals are also a risk and can be fatal.

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

If you require emergency assistance from the Embassy, please contact us on +61 2 62140000
If you call outside normal working hours, you will be given instructions to call another number to speak to a Duty Officer.

You may also wish to contact the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin on +353 1 408 2000

Embassy of Ireland
20 Arkana Street
Yarralumla
ACT 2600
Australia

Tel: +61 2 6214 0000
Fax: +61 2 6273 3741

Contact us