COVID-19 Information for Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu

Last updated November 17, 2020. Please scroll down for conditions in each country.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Country-Specific Information:

The government of Papua New Guinea has confirmed COVID-19 within its borders, and the country is experiencing a marked increase in the number and geographical spread of cases. Testing and overall health care capacity in the country are limited. However, most services are operating as normal under mitigation and social distancing requirements.

For the most up-to-date information on confirmed COVID-19 cases and the government’s response to the pandemic, please visit the government’s COVID-19 information portal.

Entry and Exit Requirements:

Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter?

Yes, but please read this section carefully. U.S. citizen are allowed to enter with a valid visa and written approval to enter from the National Pandemic Controller. Under measures instituted by the National Pandemic Controller, incoming travelers are only allowed to enter by air at Port Moresby International Airport. In general, travelers should not attempt to enter the country via its sea and land borders unless they have explicit approval to do so. Visas on arrival are not available at this time.

U.S. citizens who wish to enter the country must submit to covid19-travel@police.gov.pg the following, preferably within at least two weeks of travel:

  • Completed Air Passenger Travel Form, including date of travel to Papua New Guinea, selected quarantine hotel/location, and a copy of the traveler’s passport
  • Letter to the National Pandemic Controller, including:
    • Reason for travel and any compelling circumstances
    • Passport biodata, including issuance and expiration date
    • Papua New Guinea visa details
    • Papua New Guinea work permit details, if applicable
    • Papua New Guinea resident permit details, if applicable
  • Copy of the traveler’s passport biodata page
  • Copy of Papua New Guinea visa, work permit, or resident permit
  • Copy of the traveler’s 14-day reservation at a government-approved quarantine site
  • Copy of traveler’s travel itinerary

If the traveler is approved for entry, the submitted documents will be returned with the National Pandemic Controller’s office with an approval stamp and signature. The traveler will need to present a copy of these stamped documents at check-in for flights and upon disembarking in Papua New Guinea to both the health screening personnel and immigration and customs officials. The traveler should not commence travel until approval has been received.

Travelers commencing travel to Papua New Guinea on or after September 21 must complete on online health declaration form and save the barcodes as evidence of submission. In the event the online form is not functioning, passengers have been allowed to complete a physical form at the time of check-in.

If capacity is reached at designated quarantine facilities, all further applications, regardless of their qualifications, will be denied until capacity is available.

U.S. citizens who plan to travel to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) must also secure permission to enter from the Bougainville Emergency Controller. U.S. citizens traveling to Bougainville should (in addition to the requirements above) write to arobcovodi10occ@gmail.com to request permission to enter and provide as much information as possible about their itinerary and need to travel.

Is a negative COVID-19 test required for entry?

Yes. All visitors must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test administered no earlier than seven (7) days prior to entry.  Additionally, visitors who intend to travel to AROB must present a health certificate issued by a competent public or private health facility attesting to their health and fitness to travel.

Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry?

Yes, and all arriving passengers are required to complete quarantine at a government-approved site, or at their home of residence if they are eligible for home-based quarantine.

U.S. citizens who need to extend their visas should consult the Immigration and Citizenship Authority. Please note that extensions of visitor visas beyond a total of 90 days in country are generally not possible.

Movement Restrictions:

Is a curfew in place?

No.

Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel?

No. However, the National Pandemic Controller has delegated authority to provincial governments to establish their own requirements for travel, including on whether negative PCR COVID tests are required. Travelers who intend to travel from the National Capital District to other provinces are strongly encouraged to confirm any requirements with their respective airline(s) prior to travel.

Quarantine Information:

Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine?

Yes. All incoming travelers are required to quarantine at an government-approved quarantine site. Most travelers must quarantine for 14 days. Travelers who have been in any of the following countries for seven (7) days or more prior to their entry in Papua New Guinea may quarantine at home or at a designated hotel for a shortened, seven (7) day quarantine in Papua New Guinea.

  • Australia (except for the State of Victoria)
  • New Zealand
  • Fiji
  • Solomon Islands
  • New Caledonia
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Nauru
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Vanuatu
  • Cook Islands
  • Samoa
  • Palau
  • Niue

Additionally, U.S. citizens who first enter Papua New Guinea via Port Moresby and then travel to AROB and who are not in possession of a medical health certificate attesting to their health and fitness to travel may be required to undergo an additional 14 days quarantine in AROB.

COVID-19 Testing:

U.S. citizens in need of a COVID-19 test may be able to obtain government-paid testing services in Port Moresby at local health clinics, Port Moresby General Hospital, the Rita Flynn Sport Complex, and the Taurama Aquatic Center drive-through testing site. U.S. citizens outside of Port Moresby may be able to obtain testing services by visiting a provincial hospital or by calling 1800 200 and asking for more information.

U.S. citizens who prefer to obtain non-government testing services should refer to Pacific International Hospital in Port Moresby. Testing services may cost as much as 250 USD. Test results may be reported to the government.

Transportation Options:

Are commercial flights operating?

Yes, but please read this section carefully. There are extremely limited options and varying requirements depending on the airline and routing. U.S. citizens intending to travel from the United States to Papua New Guinea may face considerable difficulty finding availability due scaled back airline schedules and per flight passenger limits on flights bound for Australia. Travel from Papua New Guinea to the United States is generally more viable than travel from the United States to Papua New Guinea.

Air Niugini operates regular flights between Port Moresby and Brisbane, as well as Cairns, Australia. There are currently only very limited options for travel between Brisbane and the United States (see more below).  Air Niugini also recently resumed weekly service to Hong Kong, which is open for two-way transit in certain circumstances. (Note: Air Niugini also operates regular flights to Singapore and Manila, but these flights are generally not viable for travel between the United States and Papua New Guinea. See more information below regarding transit requirements in Singapore. End note.)

U.S. citizens intending to enter or depart Papua New Guinea are advised to review the following routes:

  • Air New Zealand – Brisbane-Auckland and Auckland-Los Angeles
  • Qatar Airways – Brisbane-Doha nonstop and Doha-multiple U.S. destinations
  • Emirates – Brisbane-Dubai nonstop and Dubai-multiple U.S. destinations
  • Cathay Pacific – Hong Kong-London and London-multiple U.S. destinations

U.S. citizens should check with airlines to verify any requirement, such as pre-flight COVID-19 tests and transit hub requirements and limitations.

Outbound travel from Papua New Guinea is generally more viable than inbound travel.  Due to limited flights and per flight passenger caps on flights arriving in Australian ports, some airlines may not have seat availability or may cancel reservations leading up to travel as they fill flights and prioritize commercial value, passengers with emergency travel, or repatriations. However, international passengers who transit Brisbane en route to a third country in eight (8) hours or less may be exempted from these passenger caps in some cases. U.S. citizens intending to travel between the United States and Papua New Guinea via Brisbane may find it beneficial to work directly with the airline(s) or a travel agent to book or wait-list single, complete itineraries and to work with the airlines and/or agent to request that the reservation be exempted from the passenger caps based on the fact that the traveler is only transiting Australia. However, in general, seat availability is extremely limited or may be booked out months in advance.

Domestic travel within Australia, even to catch onward international flights is generally not recommended and is only viable with traveler-specific quarantine exemptions from respective state governments (see the “apply for a quarantine exemption” on this page). Accordingly, U.S. citizens should look for options that minimize transit time in Brisbane to the greatest extent possible. Transit times of more than eight (8) hours require a valid Australian transit visa or Electronic Travel Authority and also require quarantine for the duration of transit, as directed by local authorities. Transit passengers quarantined for less than 24 hours will not be charged. Quarantine times of 24 hours or more will be invoiced to the traveler(s). Transit times of more than 72 hours require an Australian Border Force exemption. U.S. citizens should carefully review all requirements for transiting Australia.

U.S. citizens transiting Auckland must have a valid New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, must transit no more than 24 hours in Auckland, and must not leave the airport. U.S. citizens should carefully review all requirements for transiting New Zealand. Travelers should not book separate itineraries when transiting Auckland. Any travel that involves transit via Auckland should, to the greatest extent possible, be in a single itinerary.

U.S. citizens traveling via on Qatar Airways and Emirates should look for nonstop routes between Brisbane and Doha or Brisbane and Dubai, respectively (not routes that stop in Sydney first).

U.S. citizens who wish to travel between the United States and Papua New Guinea via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific can presently meet the Air Niugini flight (PX 019) and transit requirements by booking into Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific or Air France. Passengers may only transit Hong Kong if they meet the following requirements:

  • Their itinerary is contained in a single booking
  • They meet the entry requirements of their final destination
  • They have their baggage checked through to their final destination, which may require re-booking of baggage at a pre-Hong Kong transit point
  • They have been issued their onward boarding pass to their final destination, which may require check-in/printing of boarding passes at a pre-Hong Kong transit point
  • Their connecting time on Hong Kong is less than 24 hours

Singapore Airlines also operates commercial air service between Brisbane and Singapore and between Singapore and Los Angeles. In some cases, U.S. citizens may be able to use the route for outbound from Papua New Guinea to the United States via Singapore, but are strongly advised to review the guidance on this page and/or check with Singapore Airlines before booking travel.

Air Niugini also operates direct flights between Singapore and Port Moresby. However, at present, the Port Moresby-Singapore route is generally not viable for non-Singaporean passengers, as the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority has limited transit operations at Changi Airport to travel from certain approved ports. Moreover, transit rules at Changi Airport require the traveler to be on one itinerary and use a single carrier for their inbound and outbound flights (e.g., transit passengers are not allowed to arrive in Changi on one carrier and depart on another regardless of the direction they are traveling).

U.S. citizens who have emergency need to transit Singapore en route to the United States (e.g., a repatriation) and are unable to find alternative routes should write us at ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov.

Is public transportation operating?

Yes, though U.S. citizens are advised to review our Travel Advisory and Country Specific Information regarding security risks in Papua New Guinea.

Fines for Non-Compliance:

US. citizens are advised to wear face masks at all times while in public places, and may face fines or harassment by police or security forces for non-compliance.

Consular Operations:

American Citizen Services: The Embassy has resumed online scheduling for routine in-person U.S. citizen services, including passport applications and renewals, consular reports of birth abroad (CRBA), notarial services, and acceptance of voter materials. Passport and CRBA services will be conducted on Monday and Wednesday mornings and notarial services will be conducted on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. U.S. citizens who wish to request services are advised to review fully information about services and requirements on our website and use our online scheduling tool when they are ready to make appointments.

Walk-ins strictly for purposes of picking up passports or dropping off voter materials can be done Monday-Thursday afternoon. The Embassy is closed on U.S. and local national holidays.

The Embassy continues to monitor local and international conditions with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to protect the health and well-being of our customers and staff, visitors to the Embassy are required to wear a facemask at all times. Customers experiencing flu-like symptoms on the day of their appointment are asked not to come to the Embassy and should re-schedule. Customers must arrive at the time of their scheduled appointment so that the consular section and the local guard force can effectively manage the flow of people through security screening and limit the number of people in the waiting room to the greatest extent possible. Walk-ins to collect passports or drop off voter materials will be subject to the same COVID-19 mitigation and social distancing measures.

The Embassy expects that the number of appointment slots available will remain limited for the foreseeable future. One appointment slot should be scheduled per person. Families who require services for multiple family members and who are unable to find sufficient appointment slots on the same day may write us at ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov to request accommodation.

Visa Services
: As of March 17, 2020, the Embassy cancelled all routine non-immigrant visa appointments. We continue to provide limited non-immigrant and immigrant visas services for emergency or mission critical cases, including repatriations, adoptions, family reunification, emergency travel, or other situations of a sufficiently compelling nature. If you believe your case meets one of these criteria, or if you are student or exchange visitor planning to matriculate in or resume your studies, please write to ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov.

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SOLOMON ISLANDS

Country-Specific Information:

In early October, the government of Solomon Islands confirmed the first case of COVID-19 within its borders. The government has undertaken a number of measures to prevent the further importation and spread of COVID-19, including effectively closing of the country’s international borders. Testing and overall health care capacity in the country are limited. Most in-country services are operating as normal under social distancing and mitigation requirements.

Entry and Exit Requirements:

Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter?

Yes, but only under special or compelling circumstances and subject to the availability of very limited flight options. Travelers should not attempt to enter the country via its sea borders without pre-approval. Prospective travelers must submit request to enter through the Office of the Secretary to the Prime Minister or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trad by writing to the head of the government’s COVID-19 committee, Permanent Secretary James Remobatu (jremobatu@pmc.gov.sb). Prospective travelers should clearly describe any compelling circumstances.

Is a negative COVID-19 test required for entry?

Yes. Travelers coming from the United States, or any other country with an infection rate that is increasing, consistently serious, or with widespread community transmission, must provide three (3) negative COVID-19 PCR tests administered 21, 10, and two (2) days prior to travel. Pre-departure forms used to submit proof of these tests may be obtained by writing Samantha Kanai (skanai@mfaet.gov.sb). During mandatory quarantine, recently arrived travelers must submit to three COVID-19 PCR tests administered 5, 10, and 14 days after arrival.

Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry?

Yes, and all arriving passengers are required to complete quarantine at a government-approved site.

U.S. citizens who need to extend their visas should consult the Immigration Division of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour, and Immigration.

Movement Restrictions:

Is a curfew in place?

No.

Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel?

No.

Quarantine Information:

Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine?

Yes. All arriving passengers are required to complete quarantine at a government-approved site for 14 days, during which the government will administer at least three (3) mandatory COVID-19 tests. All foreign nationals are required to pay for their own quarantine costs.

COVID-19 Testing:

The government of Solomon Islands has limited COVID-19 capacity. Testing services for individuals who meet the government’s case definition may be obtained at the National Referral Hospital in Honiara.

Transportation Options:

Are commercial flights operating?

Domestic flights are operating as normal. Regular commercial international flights are cancelled until at least January 2021. Extremely limited options to enter or exit the country are available in connection with the government’s repatriation of Solomon Islands citizens. For more information on possible flight options, please visit Solomon Airlines.

U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or holders of valid U.S. visas who are currently in Solomon Islands and who wish to depart en route to the United States at the earliest opportunity should complete the Embassy’s repatriation interest form, which will facilitate communication and coordination in the event outgoing flights become available.

Is public transportation operating?

Yes, public ground transportation and inter-island ferries are operating as normal.

Fines for Non-Compliance:

At present there are no social distancing or mask requirements.

Consular Operations:

American Citizen Services: The U.S. Consular Agency in Honiara is operating as normal. Please write to us_consular@usconsular.com.sb or keithieusa@usconsular.com.sb to request U.S. citizen services, including assistance with passport renewals. U.S. citizens who wish to renew full validity (10 years) U.S. passports issued when the bearer was at least 16 years old may pay passport fees online and submit their physical application materials to the Embassy using an international courier service. Please see here for more details.

Visa Services: Most visa services require an in-person appearance at Embassy Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. Due to the lack of regular flights to and from Solomon Islands, and limited flights and entry requirements in Papua New Guinea, most visa services are not available at this time. Please contact ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov if you need more information.

Local Resources:

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VANUATU

Country-Specific Information:

The government of Vanuatu has confirmed COVID-19 within its borders. The government has undertaken a number of measures to prevent the further importation and spread of COVID-19, including closing of the country’s international borders. Testing and overall health care capacity in the country are limited. Most in-country services are operating as normal.

Entry and Exit Requirements:

Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter?

Yes, but Vanuatu’s international borders are effectively closed until at least December 31, 2020. Individuals who wish to enter the country, and who are able to find air transportation, must be at least one of the following:

  • Vanuatu citizens
  • Permanent residents (having physically resided in Vanuatu for at least three years)
  • Foreigners with valid residency permits issued before April 2020
  • Dependents of valid residency visa holders who are currently in Vanuatu (dependents must apply for residency visa before traveling to Vanuatu)
  • Foreigners with a valid Special Category Visa issued before April 2020 (foreigners who meet this requirement must also lodge a new application to the Department of Immigration and Passport Services. Partners must also have a valid residency or Special Category visa.)

Is a negative COVID-19 test required for entry?

The government has not determined whether a negative COVID-19 test is required for entry, as Vanuatu’s international borders are effectively closed. However, any inbound traveler must present a medical certificate before boarding a flight to Vanuatu. There are no regular commercial flights that would permit international travel to or from Vanuatu at this time.

Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry?

Yes.

U.S. citizens who need to extend their visas should consult the Department of Immigration and Passport Services.

Movement Restrictions:

Is a curfew in place?

No.

Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel?

Yes, in response to the country’s first confirmed COVID case, there is currently a ban on inter-island travel to and from the main island of Efate.  This ban is expected to be reviewed periodically as health officials continue contact tracing efforts.

Quarantine Information:

Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine?

Yes. All arriving passengers are required to complete quarantine at a government-approved site for 28 days. However, at this time there are no regular commercial flights that would facilitate travel to Vanuatu.

COVID-19 Testing:

The government of Vanuatu has limited COVID-19 capacity. Testing services for individuals who meet the government’s case definition may be obtained at the Port Vila Central Hospital.

Transportation Options:

Are commercial flights operating?

Domestic and inter-island flights are operating as normal. There are also very limited options (until December 2020) for outbound international air travel for U.S. citizens, U.S. residents, and holders of valid U.S. visas who wish to travel en route to the United States, or to a third country via the the United States. Air Vanuatu is operating a limited schedule of flights for cargo and outbound passengers to Auckland, New Zealand; Brisbane, Australia; and Noumea, New Caledonia. Limited transit options in Auckland and Brisbane are available.

Please see the Embassy’s latest STEP message on Updated Outbound Flight Options from Port Vila, Vanuatu. Due to a recent reduction in Air New Zealand flights between Auckland and Los Angeles, it is no longer possible to depart Vanuatu on Auckland-bound flights and complete transit at the Auckland airport in less than 24 hours. Accordingly, the most viable option from travel from Vanuatu to the United States is via Brisbane on the occasional Air Vanuatu flights referenced in the link above and then via Dubai on Emirates. This option would require at least one overnight in Brisbane. U.S. citizens who need to transit in Australia for more than eight (8) hours need a valid Australian ETA or Subclass 771 visa and, upon landing in Brisbane, are required to quarantine in a designated hotel at the direction of Queensland state officials.

U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and U.S. visa holders are also urged to complete our Repatriation Interest Form, if they have not done so already. This will enable the Embassy to follow up with you directly and, if needed, to liaise with government officials regarding travel on the outbound flights. Please note, however, that all travelers are responsible for contacting DFAT and Air Vanuaut directly, making their own travel arrangements, and ensuring they are eligible to transit any third country. The U.S. Embassy is not coordinating these flights and is not liable for any delays or disruption in travel

Is public transportation operating?

Yes.

Fines for Non-Compliance:

At present there are no social distancing or mask requirements.

Consular Operations:

American Citizen Services: The ability of Embassy Port Moresby to provide routine services to U.S. citizens in Vanuatu is limited. U.S. citizens who wish to renew full validity (10 years) U.S. passports issued when the bearer was at least 16 years old may pay passport fees online and submit their physical application materials to the Embassy using an international courier service. Please see here for more details.

If you are in need of other services, please write to ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov.

Visa Services: Most visa services require an in-person appearance at Embassy Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. Due to the lack of regular flights to and from Vanuatu, and limited flights and entry requirements in Papua New Guinea, most visa services are not available at this time. Please contact ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov if you need more information.

Local Resources:

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