Marrying and Sponsoring a Papua New Guinean Citizen

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Marriage to a Papua New Guinean Citizen

Every country has its own laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to a Papua New Guinean citizen with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps.

If you want to bring your Papua New Guinean spouse or partner to live in Canada, you must then file a sponsorship application for them to become a permanent resident. If they would like to visit you in Canada while their application is in process, they must also apply for a visitor visa. For more information, please see our family sponsorship page and our visitor visa page.


Processing Time

If you file a Canadian sponsorship application for your Papua New Guinean spouse or partner, this application takes an average of 10-12 months.

A visitor visa application for your spouse or partner to visit you in Canada while the sponsorship applications are processing takes an average of 3 –14 days.

Please see our pages on family sponsorship and Canadian visitor visa for more information on the processing times of these applications.


Papua New Guinean Marriage Basic Requirements

The Marriage Act of 1963, which came into force in 1965, created a dual system of marriage in Papua New Guinea: customary marriage and statutory marriage.

Customary Marriage

  • Section 3 of the Marriage Act states “a native, other than a native who is party to a subsisting [statutory] marriage . . . enter . . . into a customary marriage in accordance with the custom prevailing in the tribe or group to which the parties to the marriage or either of them belong or belongs.” There is no “proof” required for customary marriage beyond compliance with custom. Should a dispute arise, the question of what constitutes the custom of the parties is a matter of fact to be determined by a court.
  • For purposes of the act, “natives” or “automatic citizens” are persons born in Papua New Guinea before Independence (1975) with two grandparents also born in PNG, or a person born after Independence with one parent who is a citizen.
  • It is not clear whether an expatriate (or even a naturalized citizen) can enter into a customary marriage. Section 3 of the Marriage Act (quoted above) would seem to preclude the possibility, but there is a possible conflict with Section 5 of the Customs Recognition Act, which, without specifying place of birth or citizenship, permits custom to be taken into account in matters of marriage, divorce and child custody.
  •  In the absence of judicial review of the issue, it is not possible to say whether a customary marriage between an expatriate or naturalized citizen and a “native” or “automatic citizen” would be valid. It would be advisable for Canadian citizens who plan to obtain benefits of marriage for their spouses and children (i.e. immigration benefits) to comply with statutory marriage laws.

Statutory Marriage

Statutory marriages can be performed by the following persons, provided they have been authorized by the government:

  • Ministers of Religion, District Officers or Registrars.
  • Seven days notice of an intended marriage must be given
  • The parties must declare their ages and eligibility to marry
  •  The parties must be over 21 years of age (persons under 21 years of age may marry with parental consent unless a court has dispensed with this requirement)
  •  The ceremony must be attended by two witnesses and followed by the preparation of a marriage certificate.


Family Members

If your Papua New Guinean spouse has dependent children, this does not affect the Papua New Guinean Marriage document application.

If you have dependent children, they have no effect on the application to marry a Papua New Guinean citizen.


List of Papua New Guinean Consulates in Canada

Click here

Calling Papua New Guinea from Canada

011 – 675 – local number

There are no area codes in Papua New Guinea but the first digit of the number indicates the region:

  • Highlands Region: 5
  • Islands Region: 9
  • Momase Region: 8
  • National Capital District: 3
  • Southern Region: 6

Cell phone numbers begin with 7. Satellite phones begin with 2.


Calling Canada from Papua New Guinea

00- 1 – Area Code – local number

  • 00 – Exit code for Papua New Guinea, and is needed for making any international call from Papua New Guinea
  • 1 – ISD Code or Country Code of Canada

Area Codes of Cada

Province Code Province  Code
Alberta 403 / 587 (southern Alberta)

587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)

Nunavut 867
BC 236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)

236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)

Ontario 226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)

249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)

289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)

343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)

416 / 647 (Toronto)

807 (northwestern Ontario)

Manitoba 204 / 431 PEI 782 / 902
New  Brunswick 506 Quebec 418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)

438 / 514 (Montreal)

450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)

819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)

Newfoundland and Labrador 709 Saskatchewan 306 / 639
Northwest Territories 867 Yukon 867
Nova Scotia 782 / 902


Time Difference

Papua New Guinea is on Australian Eastern Standard Time (GMT+10). Papua New Guinea does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

Canadian Time Zone # of Hours Papua New Guinea is Ahead # of Hours during DST
Pacific (BC, Yukon) 18 hours 17 hours
Mountain (Alberta, western Nunvaut, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan) 17 hours 16 hours
Saskatchewan 16 hours 16 hours
Central (Manitoba, Northwest Territories, central Nunavut, northwestern Ontario) 16 hours 15 hours
Eastern (most of Ontario, most of Quebec) 15 hours 14 hours
Atlantic (Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, eastern Quebec) 14 hours 13 hours
Newfoundland 13.5 hours 12.5 hours


Emergency Information for Canadians in Papua New Guinea

High Commission of Australia in Papua New Guinea

Godwit Road
Waigani NCD, Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea

Telephone: 675 325-9333
Fax: 675 325-9239
E-mail: No Email

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Embassy of Canada in Australia

Commonwealth Avenue
Canberra ACT
Australia 2600

Telephone: 61 (2) 6270-4000
Fax: 61 (2) 6270-4060
E-mail: [email protected]

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The Government of Canada’s Travel Alerts for Papua New Guinea

For travel alerts, click here

Sponsoring a Papuan to Come to Canada

The sponsorship process is lengthy and can be difficult. To learn more about it, click the button below:

Learn More

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