COVID-19 Test Requirements for Australia and New Zealand (January 11, 2021)

Location: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu

Event: COVID-19 Test Requirements for Australia and New Zealand

U.S. citizens traveling to or from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, or Vanuatu are advised that the governments of Australia and New Zealand recently announced new travel requirements related to COVID-19 testing.

On January 8, 2021, the government of Australia announced that all passengers traveling to Australia must present a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test taken not sooner than 72 hours prior to departure.  The official announcement can be found here.  At this time, an implementation date for this requirement is not confirmed.

In connection with the new requirement, the Australian government imposed stricter passenger caps for flights bound for Australia.  Accordingly, seat availability on flights from Port Moresby to Brisbane and from other international hubs to Australia are expected to be extremely limited for the foreseeable future.

On January 3, 2021, the government of New Zealand announced that all travelers from the United States and the United Kingdom must present a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test taken not sooner than 72 hours prior to departure. The new requirement takes effect for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59 pm on January 15, 2021.

It is expected that similar requirements will soon be imposed for other long-haul flights to New Zealand.  The official announcement can be found here.  Air New Zealand also announced that, as of February 2, 2021, its existing schedule of passenger flights between Auckland and Los Angeles will be modified to add a layover in Honolulu.

Questions about these announcements and any new requirements or restrictions should be directed to airlines and respective foreign government agencies.

U.S. citizens in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu are reminded that the U.S. Embassy regularly updates its COVID-19-related guidance and travel advice here.  All U.S. Embassies and Consulates update similar pages.  A listing of those pages can be found here.

As national governments around the world continue to respond to COVID-19 and new variants of the virus, the Embassy expects that travel between the United States and Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu will continue to be challenging.

U.S. citizens are reminded that the Department of State does not provide direct medical care to private U.S. citizens abroad.  Accordingly, the U.S. Embassy does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations.  U.S. citizens in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, or Vanuatu are advised to follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Actions to Take:

  • If you decide to travel, consult directly with respective airlines, foreign government agencies, and/or reputable travel agents to determine if your planned travel is viable, including whether you are allowed to transit third countries en route to or from the United States.
  • If you decide to travel, consult directly with respective airlines and government agencies to determine if you need a pre-flight COVID-19 test.
  • If you decide to travel, your itinerary requires a transit time in Australia of more than eight hours, and you do not already have a valid visa, obtain a Subclass 771 transit visa.
  • If you decide to travel, your itinerary transits Australia, and you cannot complete your transfer within an a 72-hour window, obtain an exemption from the Australian Border Force in advance of your travel based on a confirmed reservation.
  • If you decide to travel and your itinerary transits New Zealand, obtain a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authorization.
  • Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
  • For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
  • Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
  • Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.

Assistance:

U.S. Embassy Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Phone number: +675 308 2100
Email address: ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/usembassyportmoresby/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/usembassypom?lang=en

U.S. Consular Agency in Honiara, Solomon Islands
Phone number: + 677 27429 or + 677 74 94731
Email address: us_consular@usconsular.com.sb and keithieusa@usconsular.com.sb

U.S. State Department – Consular Affairs
+1 888 407 4747 or +1 202 501 4444
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