Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. James Marape, took a significant step on Thursday, June 15, 2023, by presenting the long-awaited reciprocal visa waiver agreement between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea to Parliament for ratification.
Originally signed by Indonesia and PNG in 2014, the agreement had remained inactive until now. However, it received unanimous support from Parliament, marking a crucial development in bilateral relations. Indonesian President H.E. Joko Widodo visits PNG on July 6, 2023.
The agreement facilitates visa-free travel for holders of official and diplomatic passports, enabling them to visit each other’s countries and obtain visas on arrival.
Prime Minister Marape emphasised the significance of this waiver agreement, stating, “This pivotal agreement allows diplomatic and official passport holders from Papua New Guinea and Indonesia to travel between our nations, obtain visas on arrival, and stay for a specified period of time.”
He further highlighted that this reciprocal visa arrangement acknowledges the necessity for seamless and efficient movement of officials and state representatives during their official duties.
The Prime Minister noted the timeliness of this arrangement, particularly considering the anticipated increase in government business between Indonesia and PNG. Recognising the vast business and tourism potential of Indonesia, he expressed the intention to explore visa on arrival options for business and tourism travelers in the future.
“The existing air service agreement between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, combined with the reciprocal visa waiver for official and diplomatic passport holders, will alleviate the burdensome visa preparation process,” added PM Marape.
Furthermore, he mentioned that PNG already has a similar agreement in place with all Melanesia Solidarity Group (MSG) countries and proposed the potential expansion of such agreements to include neighbouring nations like Indonesia in the future.
The visa waiver agreement marks a significant milestone in strengthening diplomatic ties, fostering increased economic cooperation, and promoting cultural exchange between Indonesia and PNG.