The jet carrying the Hollywood action hero-turned-politician was forced to land 10 minutes after taking off from Santa Monica Airport, west of Los Angeles.
The pilot pulled the jet into a steep descent and fire crews met the plane on the runway at nearby Van Nuys Airport, Schwarzenegger's spokesman Aaron McLear said.
"The Governor's jet was diverted from Santa Monica airport to Van Nuys airport after the pilot reported smoke emanating from the instrument panel in the cockpit," he added.
"There was no visible fire.
"Upon landing the Governor exited the jet and travelled to his house.
"The crew did an outstanding job and everyone aboard landed safely and unharmed."
He said no-one was injured in the incident.