Health and Travel Alert – Update on Commercial Air Service for Return to the United States

Location:  Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu

Solomon Islands and Vanuatu: As of May 28, the Embassy is not aware of flight options for entering or exiting Solomon Islands or Vanuatu.  U.S. citizens who wish immediately to return to the United States from Solomon Islands or Vanuatu are advised to continue monitoring the availability of commercial air or charter flights that might facilitate their travel.  If they have not done so already, U.S. citizens who wish to depart immediately should also complete our repatriation interest form.

Papua New Guinea:  U.S. citizens in Papua New Guinea who wish immediately to return to the United States are again advised to take advantage of the two remaining Virgin Australia flights between Brisbane and Los Angeles.  In addition to these trans-Pacific flights, there are currently multiple commercial options for immediate return to the United States from Papua New Guinea via Brisbane and Doha, Qatar, on Qatar Airways.

U.S. citizens are further advised that the Australian government recently announced that foreign nationals arriving in and departing from Australia at the same airport and who do not leave the airport do not need to obtain an exemption to Australia’s restrictions on transit and entry for non-Australian citizens and residents.

Overnight stays in Brisbane, exit from the airport, and transit times of greater than eight hours  may still require as many as three approvals prior to traveling: a valid visa or Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), an approved Queensland Travel Pass, and an approved exemption to Australia’s restrictions on transit and entry for non-Australian citizens and residents.

Domestic transfers within Australia, even to catch on onward international flight, are still not allowed.

Same Day Transit in Brisbane en route to Los Angeles via Virgin Australia (less than 8 hour transit time)

  • Saturday, May 30 or June 6 – Port Moresby to Brisbane via Air Niugini
  • Saturday, May 30 or June 6 – Brisbane to Los Angeles via Virgin Australia

Overnight Transit in Brisbane en route to Los Angeles via Virgin Australia

  • Friday, May 29 or June 5 – Port Moresby to Brisbane via Air Niugini
  • Saturday, May 30 or June 6 – Brisbane to Los Angeles via Virgin Australia

For the overnight transit option, U.S. citizens will need:

  1. A valid Australian visa or ETA. Note that processing of new ETAs is suspended.  U.S. citizens who do not currently have a valid visa or ETA are advised to apply online for a Subclass 771 (transit of less than 72 hours) or Subclass 600 (visitor) visa.
  1. An approved Queensland Travel Pass allowing the traveler to enter Queensland and exit the Brisbane airport to complete quarantine at a designated site (usually a hotel near the airport) for the duration of your transit. When applying for the Travel Pass, U.S. citizens should select the “compassionate grounds” exemption and provide the address of your intended hotel in Brisbane, recognizing that state health officials may direct you to another designated hotel.
  2. An approved exemption to Australia’s restrictions on transit and entry for non-Australian citizens and residents. U.S. citizens are advised to include in their request detailed information about their confirmed itinerary, their approved Queensland Travel Pass, as much information as possible to explain their situation as to why they are unable to complete a transit in fewer than eight hours, as well as any other information requested.

Transit in Brisbane en route to the United States via Qatar Airways

  • Multiple options are available, some of which may be subject to Australian federal or state requirements detailed above. U.S. citizens should consult a travel agent or review possible itineraries  on the websites of Air Niugini and Qatar Airways.

The Embassy has no authority to facilitate exemptions to Australia’s border and immigration policies and assumes no liability for delays or disruptions in travel.  Additional international commercial air services facilitating return to the United States may continue to be limited for the foreseeable future.

U.S. citizens are advised that the above routes and transit options may be suspended at any time with little or no notice and are subject to Australian federal and/or state requirements, as applicable.  U.S. citizens may find that online forms linked to above do not take into account their specific situation, but you should make an attempt to obtain approvals as required and with the best information available to you at the time.

U.S. citizens who need to undertake domestic air or ground transportation otherwise restricted under PNG’s State of Emergency (SOE) requirements may apply for an exemption from the SOE Controller by accessing the “Vehicle Pass” and/or “Air Travel Request” links at the PNG government’s COVID-19 website.  Approval of travel in exemption of relevant SOE orders is being decided based on strict criteria, which include emergency transport, essential services, and one-way travel for the purpose of returning to the traveler’s habitual place of residence.

Actions to Take:

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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