Arriving at Sea Ports in PNG

Everyone on board a vessel who is not listed as crew is considered a passenger. Passengers who are not citizens of Papua New Guinea should hold a valid passport and a valid visa before they arrive in Papua New Guinea regardless of whether they are transiting or disembarking. The visa will generally appear as a label in the passenger's passport.

Passengers who travel to Papua New Guinea on board a vessel without a visa must apply for a Border Visa at the first port of arrival. A Border Visa allows one entry into Papua New Guinea with a maximum stay of 30 days only. Only officers of the Department of Immigration can grant these visas. As officers from the Department are not permanently present at the ports, these passengers may suffer considerable inconvenience and delay on arrival.

Each passenger is required to be cleared by a clearance officer. Passengers, regardless of nationality, must present a valid passport and a completed passenger declaration to the clearance officer.

At the first port of arrival, the Master must provide two copies of a passenger list detailing:

  • passengers disembarking at that port
  • passengers disembarking at subsequent ports (in port order), and
  • transit passengers (passengers departing Papua New Guinea on the same vessel during the course of the same voyage).

The list must include for each passenger:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • passport number and country of issue
  • citizenship
  • intended address in Papua New Guinea.

At each subsequent port, the Master is to provide Customs with a copy of the list of passengers disembarking at that port.


A Customs officer must give approval before a crewmember is permitted to sign-off a vessel. Approval to sign-off is subject to a letter from the Master guaranteeing the crewmember's departure within a specific period and the crewmember holding an acceptable travel document.

Crew signing off their vessel and wishing to have a holiday in Papua New Guinea need a visitor visa. It is advisable that the visa be obtained before the crewmember travels to Papua New Guinea. They can also apply for the visa at an office of Immigration in Papua New Guinea before signing-off their vessel. Failure to do so will make them unlawful and subject to detention and removal from Papua New Guinea.

Non-Papua New Guinea crew intending to join a vessel in Papua New Guinea must obtain a visa overseas or on arrival at the airport which will allow them to sign onto the vessel within 72 hours of their arrival in Papua New Guinea.

On departing a port in Papua New Guinea, the Master must report to Customs any crewmember who was on board the vessel on arrival at that port but is absent, with or without leave, when the vessel departs that port. This does not include crew who have signed off. Failure to report absent crew could result in a large fine.