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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

Ireland is implementing the new EU ‘traffic lights’ approach to travel, which applies to countries in the EU / EEA. Our current advice for travel to these countries is ‘exercise a high degree of caution’. Our general advice for any other overseas travel remains ‘avoid non-essential travel’ or in some cases, ‘do not travel’.

Our TravelWise app has been suspended while we move to implement the new EU system. We apologise for this inconvenience. Updated information will continue to be provided on this website.

On 13 October, Member States adopted the EU Recommendation on a coordinated approach to travel restrictions in the context of COVID-19. This ‘traffic lights’ approach provides for regions across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based on agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.

In line with the EU Recommendation, there will be no entry restrictions on passengers travelling from green regions. Each Member State will decide what entry restrictions it will apply to passengers travelling from red, orange and grey regions.

Information about what to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Further information about current requirements for entry to Ireland is available on the Irish Government website and the HSE website.

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas, other than to countries that are part of the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach, where the advice is to exercise a high degree of caution. Everyone is asked to comply with restrictions within Ireland, including those under the National Framework for Living with COVID-19. These are listed on the Official website of the Irish Government. The situation in relation to COVID-19 continues to evolve quickly around the world. Citizens who are considering any overseas travel are advised to carefully monitor the official advice and information from the public authorities in their destination.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Should you decide that you need to travel, you should inform yourself about any requirements in the destination to which you are travelling. Information about entry restrictions currently applied by other countries is available on the country-specific travel advice pages. Additional restrictions may be imposed, including during the duration of your visit. Flight restrictions and route cancellations continue to occur worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will operate as scheduled. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time. Any Irish citizen considering any overseas travel should monitor news and information from the public authorities in their country or region of destination. Citizens are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc.

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves. There are significant risks associated with international travel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad, or those already abroad, are advised to monitor our travel advice, and follow us on Twitter. They are also advised to register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Where to go for further travel information:

Overview

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Security Status Last Updated: 16 March 2020

Latest Travel Alert

COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

Emergency responses to the Covid-19 crisis in many countries have included restrictions of flights to/from Europe; imposition of new mandatory quarantine arrangements and new restrictions affecting the admission of Irish people travelling to and within the Asia Pacific region.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade strongly advises against any non–essential travel to the region until further notice.

For more information, please see the latest update on our webpage

Tribal Violence

We advise against all travel to the mountainous area in central Bougainville around the old Panguna mine. We also advise against all but essential travel to Hela and Southern Highlands provinces. This is due to the significantly increased levels of tribal fighting and the declaration of states of emergency by the Papua New Guinea government. 

Outbreaks of tribal 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. 

Latest Alert

Zika

There is currently an outbreak of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in locations including Thailand. Infection with Zika virus has been increasingly linked with a serious birth condition called microcephaly where the baby is born with an abnormally small head and/or brain damage. 

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

Emergency Assistance

Because 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.

EU Directive on Consular Protection

Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Embassy of Ireland or permanent representation. Besides assistance at times of crisis, EU citizens can also benefit from consular protection in cases of serious illness, victims of crime, arrests, or in cases of the loss or theft of passport while abroad.
If you are in a non-EU state without Irish representation, then you can find out what other EU missions are in the country you are located in by visiting https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/eu-citizenship/consular-protection_en
To request Consular Protection, Irish citizens can contact an embassy or consulate of another EU Member State directly, or can first contact the nearest Embassy of Ireland, or the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at +353 1 408 2000.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates   
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide
  • Follow the Embassy of Ireland twitter page, @irlembaustralia, and the Embassy of Ireland Facebook page
  • Irish citizens travelling abroad are encouraged to register their contact details with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade https://www.dfa.ie/travel/citizens-registration/

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’s 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. You must give notice of your intention to visit the island to the Bougainville Provincial Administration (Tel: +675 973 9798), and you must contact the Administration again when you arrive. Don’t 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

There is still unexploded ordnance in Papua New Guinea, particularly along the Kokoda Trail and at Milne Bay and Rabual. Always check with your local contact or tour operator before travelling to these regions and don’t stray off main routes.

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’s 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.  

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.

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. You’ll also need a birth certificate for all applications to replace a lost or stolen passport so we recommend you bring a Garda-certified copy of your birth certificate as well.

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’re 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’re 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’re 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’re travelling during this time; talk to your tour guides or follow the local media to see whether your travel may be affected.

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.

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’re 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 and Trade 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