January 20, 2022

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Papua New Guinea Travel Advisory

12 min read

Reconsider travel to Papua New Guinea due to COVID-19.  Exercise increased caution in Papua New Guinea due to crime, civil unrest, health concerns, natural disasters, and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Papua New Guinea due to COVID-19. 

Papua New Guinea has lifted stay at home orders, and resumed some transportation options and business operations.  Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea.

Reconsider travel to:

  • Areas near the Panguna mine in Bougainville due to civil unrest.
  • The Highlands region due to the long-term effects of a natural disaster that occurred in February 2018 and civil unrest.
  • Areas in the vicinity of Mt. Ulawun on the island of New Britain due to natural disaster.

Country Summary: Violent crime, including sexual assault, carjackings, home invasions, kidnappings, and armed robberies, is common. Tensions between communal or clan groups may result in violence at any time without warning. Police presence is limited outside of the capital Port Moresby, and police may be unable to assist due to limited resources.

Public demonstrations, especially in population centers, are common and may turn violent. Even peaceful demonstrations may present opportunities for criminal elements or other actors to exacerbate local political tensions.

On August 21, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Level 2 Travel Notice for Papua New Guinea regarding an outbreak of vaccine-derived poliovirus in the Morobe Province. Refer to the CDC for additional information and advice on the outbreak.

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 special authorization before traveling to areas of concern, including Bougainville.

Read the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Papua New Guinea:

Areas Near the Panguna Mine – Reconsider Travel

The Autonomous Government of Bougainville has designated areas near the Panguna mine as “no go zones” due to the risk of violence and civil unrest. Bougainville police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

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 special authorization before traveling to areas of concern, including Bougainville.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

The Highlands Region – Reconsider Travel

An earthquake has damaged infrastructure and disrupted local services. There is a risk of tribal violence in the region.

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 special authorization before traveling to areas of concern, including Bougainville.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Areas in the Vicinity of Mt. Ulawun – Reconsider Travel

Recent years have seen regular volcanic activity at Mt. Ulawun, a volcano on the eastern end of the island of New Britain. A major eruption occurred in June 2019, leading to widespread ash fall, the displacement of local communities, and the temporary closure of the international airport in Hoskins.

Smaller, but still significant, eruptions occurred in August and October 2019.Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

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