Passport, visa and customs
Unlike France’s Overseas Departments (DOM), New Caledonia, as one of the French Overseas Territories and Communities, is not part of the Schenghen area. As a result, entry requirements for visitors to New Caledonia, particularly for nationals from European Union countries, are different.
Passport & visa
Overseas visitors entering New Caledonia must hold a current passport. In any event, unless you have opted to travel to New Caledonia by boat (and without docking in any other country!), your flight to “Le Caillou” (the local nickname for New Caledonia) will entail stops in Asia (Tokyo, Osaka), Australia or elsewhere, where you’ll need to have a current passport.
French nationals simply need to be in possession of a current passport. Nationals from other European Union countries need to hold a passport valid for at least 6 months after their date of departure from New Caledonia, and may stay for a maximum of 3 months without a visa.
Visitors from Switzerland, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand can also spend up to 3 months in New Caledonia without having to apply for a visa, provided their passports comply with the specified requirements.
Unless they hold a visa, visitors from Canada, the US and Japan are restricted to a stay of one month maximum in New Caledonia.
If you are from one of the above countries, you will need to obtain a visa if you are intending to stay for longer than the specified periods.
Nationals from countries other than those listed above must be in possession of a visa to enter New Caledonia, however long they intend to stay in the country.
Customs formalities & plant health checks
International regulations on the import of arms, narcotics and counterfeit goods are, of course, enforced in New Caledonia but specific regulations also apply to the import of various foodstuffs.
To ensure New Caledonian livestock is protected from infection, it is prohibited to import cheese and processed meat.
To preserve New Caledonia’s immense wealth of endemic plant species, one of the greatest in the world, the import of plant products (seeds, plants, flowers) is also prohibited, unless you hold a phytosanitary certificate authorising such import.
And it should be noted that import quotas apply to some commodities, such as tobacco, alcohol, coffee and perfume. Please ensure you know exactly what restrictions apply before boarding or making purchases to avoid any hassle at customs on arrival!