Papua New Guinea ban on visas on arrival for Australians starts 1 March


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The ban on visas on arrival for Australians entering Papua New Guinea comes into effect on Saturday 1 March, making it harder for Australians to enter PNG now than for many other countries.

Anecdotal evidence suggest the ban is already having an impact, with some Australians facing missed flights into PNG because they hadn’t lodged their written visa applications early enough.

Australian passport holders entering PNG on or after 1 March are now required to apply for their visas in advance of their arrival, from the nearest PNG overseas mission or post, or from an Australian mission or post where there is no PNG representation. PNG has Australian missions in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.

The ban follows Australia’s refusal to grant reciprocal visa on arrival rights to PNG citizens.

PNG’s National Executive Council made the decision to stop issuing visas on arrival for Australians last December, but deferred its implementation until after the PNG/Australia Ministerial Forum in Canberra in December and Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop’s visit to Port Moresby earlier this month.

PNG’s Chief Migration Officer Mataio Raburo said in a public notice that Australians without a valid visa ‘would be repatriated on the next available flight’, which could be to Singapore.

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Australia defends its position

In a fact sheet issued by the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby, the Australian government said it does not have a visa on arrival system for any country.

It says the turnaround time for an online application is 10 working days and about 95% of visas are granted. Between June 2012, and June 2013, some 18,000 visas were granted to PNG citizens. 

PNG has become the first country to have online visa applications for its citizens and ‘is now easier and quicker than ever before for PNG citizens to apply for a visa to enter Australia’.

Last month, a majority of respondents to a poll conducted by Business Advantage PNG said the ban would have an impact on their business.


  1. Good points Anja Blyton
    No more waste of Kangaroo Years. This discussion has been on the table for a lot more time than necessary.
    The decision(s) have been made – on both sides of the Torres Strait. Our Aussie friends need not complain about this anymore.
    Every businessmen/women knows how and what it takes to run business.
    There’s nothing unorthodox about travel and business plans.

  2. Anja Blyton says

    Let’s get some perspective to the nonsensical quote about it being now easier and quicker than ever before for PNG citizens to apply for a visa to enter Australia. Firstly, the online application only benefits those that have access to a fairly quick internet service. (Read, miniscule proportion of PNG’s population). Which means the majority of the travelling population are still lodging a 13 page form with 42 questions which requires a minimum of 10 attachments (depending on the category). Secondly, it’s not even the Oz HiCom you’re lodging at so if you want to know the status/reasons/updates on yr application….er “we don’t know, we are only the agent for them and you’re not allowed to contact the AHC direct” (so tough titties!) Thirdly, please understand, Oz Immigration, that if there had been less barriers to entering Australia between June 2012 and June 2013, you probably would have granted 40,000 visas to png citizens (and enjoyed the economic benefits of that).
    My final word has to be on the effect on business from the point of view of an immigration agent operating in the country. There is far too much rorting of the system here with business people waltzing in and out of the country on business visas (which do not allow employment in PNG) who are actually in paid employment in the country. I hope it will teach this category of people to respect the borders of this sovereign nation. Australia says it does not have visa on arrival arrangements with other countries, neither should we.

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