Visitors must have a valid passport or internationally recognised travel document valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry into PNG.
In PNG there are heavy penalties for overstaying any visa.
Far and away the easiest and cheapest way to get a 60-day tourist visa is to apply on arrival at the airport. The process is simple enough: once inside the terminal change money to get your K100, fill out a form, take your cash and one passport photo to the immigration desk and Bob’s your aunty’s live-in lover. Note that on weekends or at random other times the exchange bureau inside immigration can be closed, and you’ll be sent into the arrivals hall (without your passport or luggage) to change at the Bank South Pacific. This process can be fraught however if you have a same-day connecting flight out of Port Moresby into the provinces – the queues can be very long and the process can take hours. So, far and away the most reliable and stress-free way to get a 60-day tourist visa is to apply at PNG diplomatic mission. In Australia the cost of a tourist visa is A$35.
At the time of writing the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority was advertising its intention to waive the fee for tourist visas in an effort to promote tourism. However, when we inquired, the PNG High Commission in Canberra, Australia, was as yet under no instructions to change its procedure of collecting fees for tourist visas. Watch this space.
Wherever you apply, be sure to ask for the full 60 days, as extending is a nightmare. You might need to show onward ticketing and adequate funds to support yourself.
People coming in by yacht pay K200 for a visa (which must be obtained in advance) and a K300 customs clearance fee when they leave.
Applying for a business visa requires all manner of letters from home (including letters of invitations from businesses) and PNG, as well as details of your business. Approval can take months, so start early. A Business Short-Term Multiple-Entry visa is valid for 12 months and allows stays of up to 60 days each time and costs A$220. If you are seeking an employment visa, you must provide certain medical results, details for a police clearance, a copy of your employment contract and a copy of a Work Permit issued by the PNG Deparment of Labour & Employment.
Church and aid volunteers can enter on a special A$25 visa (plus A$50 ‘transmission fee’) but the issuing authorities are required to wait for special immigration department approval. Researchers, filmmakers and journalists must submit their visa applications with a special application form from the National Research Institute (326 0300; fax 325 0531; PO Box 5854, Boroko). They cost A$25 (visas for journalists cost A$220).
Tourist visas can be extended once only, for one month, for a K200 fee. To do it yourself, go to the Department of Foreign Affairs’ immigration section (323 2010; ground fl, Moale Haus, Wards Strip, Waigani; 9am-noon Mon-Fri), where you’ll battle hordes of agents who are on first-name terms with the staff. Extending a visa takes one to two weeks, though occasionally travellers do it faster.
Stories abound of travellers trying to extend visas by mail from other parts of the country and having, after weeks of waiting, to trek back to Port Moresby to retrieve their passports. Don’t bother.
If money is not too tight, using an agent will save you a lot of grief. Agents can be found in the Yellow Pages under ‘Visa Services’.