AUSTRALIAN passport holders travelling to Papua New Guinea will no longer be able to obtain visas on arrival.
Announced at the end of 2013, the change to visa laws came into effect on 1 March, 2014, following the PNG/Australia Ministerial Forum in Canberra in December and the visit of Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s to Port Moresby in February.
Australian citizens with valid passports are now required to apply for their visas prior to arriving in PNG from the nearest PNG diplomatic mission, or from an Australian diplomatic mission in nations where there is no PNG representation.
The PNG High Commission in Australia is in Canberra, while there are PNG consulates in Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.
People transiting through PNG for less than eight hours do not require visas and should remain within the international transit lounges at the airport.
The ban follows Australia’s decision to refuse to grant reciprocal visa on arrival rights to PNG citizens.
The PNG government had attempted to get Canberra to reciprocate its provision of visas to Australians on their arrival to PNG however the government refused to budge.
In a recent statement, PNG chief migration officer Mataio Raburo said Australians uplifted without a valid visa would be repatriated on the next available flight at the expense of the airline.
“For instance, an Australian uplifted without a visa from Cairns could be repatriated to Singapore if that was the next available f light at the cost of the uplifting airline,” he said.
Australia doesn’t have a visa on arrival system for any country, boasting a quick turnaround for an online visa application of ten days, down from 30.
According to the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby, 95 per cent PNG visa applications are granted.