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Country Profile

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is a developing country in the Southwest Pacific. The capital is Port Moresby. Tourist facilities outside major towns are limited. Crime is a serious concern throughout Papua New Guinea (please see the section on crime below). Read the Department of State Background Notes on Papua New Guinea for additional information.

Papua New Guinea


Image of Papua New Guinea
Country Name: Papua New Guinea
Continent: Australia & Oceania
Capital City: Port Moresby
Boundary Countries:


Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

None at this time.

Main Cities:

Port Moresby, Lae, Daru, Wewak, Mount Hagen, Rabaul, Kieta, Madang, Goroka.

Country Size: 462,840 sq km
Population: 5,795,887



Melanesian Pidgin serves as the lingua franca, English spoken by 1%-2%, Motu spoken in Papua region
note: 820 indigenous languages spoken (over one-tenth of the world's total)

Currency: kina (PGK)
Predominant Religions:

Roman Catholic 22%, Lutheran 16%, Presbyterian/Methodist/London Missionary Society 8%, Anglican 5%, Evangelical Alliance 4%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1%, other Protestant 10%, indigenous beliefs 34%

National Holidays: Independence Day, 16 September (1975)
Economic Status:

Papua New Guinea is richly endowed with natural resources, but exploitation has been hampered by rugged terrain and the high cost of developing infrastructure. Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for 85% of the population.


Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF; includes Maritime Operations Element, Air Operations Element).

US Presence:
U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby
Embassy of the United States of America
P.O. Box 1492
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Document Requirements:

Travelers must possess a passport valid for at least six months, onward/return airline ticket, and proof of sufficient funds for their intended visit. Travelers may obtain business or tourist visas (valid for stays of up to 60 days, with extensions available for an additional 30 days) upon arrival at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby. All persons boarding international flights originating from Papua New Guinea must pay a departure fee, which is usually included in airline fares. Travelers may obtain more information on entry and exit requirements from the Embassy of Papua New Guinea, 1615 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20009; tel. 202-745-3680; fax 202-745-3679. Travelers may also visit the Papua New Guinea Embassy website and the Papua New Guinea Customs Service website .

Travelers who plan to transit or visit Australia must enter with an Australian visa or, if eligible, an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). The ETA replaces a visa and allows a stay of up to three months. It may be obtained for a small service fee. Airlines and many travel agents in the United States are also able to apply for ETAs on behalf of travelers. Please note that American citizens who overstay their ETAs or visas, even for short periods, may be subject to exclusion, detention, and removal. More information about the ETA, other visas, and entry requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of Australia at 1601 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036, telephone (202) 797-3000, or via the Australian Embassy home page . Visa inquires may be directed to the Australian Visa Information Service at 888-990-8888.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

Major Airports:

Airports: 578, Airports w/paved runways: 21

Port Moresby – Jacksons International Airport (POM/AYPY)
Port Moresby Airport, Papua New Guinea, PO Box 684, Boroko NCD, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Port Moresby Airport, Papua New Guinea, Civil Aviation Authority, Port Moresby, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Tel: +675 324 4400, +675 324 4755
Fax: +675 325 0833
Customs, hours: 08:30-12:00 & 13:00-16:00

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

Visitors intending to travel to the autonomous region of Bougainville Island should contact the US Embassy in Port Moresby for updated security information. Bougainville Island is not peaceful, law enforcement is weak, and tourist and transportation facilities are limited. We advise travelers to Bougainville, as in other parts of Papua New Guinea, to exercise a high degree of caution.

Civil Unrest/Political Tension: Tension between communal or clan groups, particularly in the Highlands region, occasionally leads to outbreaks of tribal fighting, often involving the use of firearms. Travelers should consult with their tour operator, the US Embassy in Port Moresby, or with Papua New Guinean authorities before visiting the region

CRIME: Papua New Guinea has a high crime rate. Numerous US citizen residents and visitors have been victims of violent crime in recent years, and they have sometimes suffered severe injuries. Carjackings, armed robberies, and stoning of vehicles are problems in and around major cities such as Port Moresby, Lae, Mount Hagen, and Goroka, but can happen anywhere.

Road travel outside of major towns can be hazardous because criminals set up roadblocks near bridges, curves in the road, or other features that restrict vehicle speed and mobility. Visitors should consult with the US Embassy or with local law enforcement officials concerning security conditions before driving between towns. Travel to isolated places in Papua New Guinea is possible primarily by small passenger aircraft; there are many small airstrips throughout the country.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total: 48.46 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: TOTAL 65.62 yrs (male 63.41/ female 67.95)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: None
Recommended: Malaria, Hep A & B, Typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, Boosters: MMR, DPT, as needed

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Malaria risk area in Papua New Guinea: Risk throughout at altitudes below 1,800 m (<5,906 ft).

Dengue, filariasis, Ross River virus, and Murray Valley encephalitis are diseases carried by insects that also occur in the Pacific Island region. Japanese encephalitis is present in Papua New Guinea and the Torres Strait and far northern Australia. Leptospirosis is common on some of the Pacific Islands.

Cases of melioidosis have been reported from Papua New Guinea, Guam, and Australia; risk may exist on other islands.

High attack rates of ciguatera poisoning from eating large reef-dwelling fish have been reported on some of the islands.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical facilities in Papua New Guinea vary from hospitals in Port Moresby and the larger towns to aid posts (including some missionary stations) in remote areas. Medical facilities vary in quality, but those in the larger towns are usually adequate for routine problems and some emergencies. However, equipment failures and sudden shortages of common medications can mean that even routine treatments and procedures (such as X-rays) may become unavailable. A hyperbaric recompression chamber for diving emergencies is available in Port Moresby. Pharmacies in Papua New Guinea are found only in urban centers and at missionary clinics. They are small and may be inadequately stocked. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for medical services.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 0
Referrals: 27
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Periodic outbreaks of measles have occurred on islands with inadequate immunization coverage.

Communications Info:

Country Code: +675  
Internet Code: .pg 


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