|Still current at: 04 September 2011
Updated: 12 July 2011
This advice has been reviewed and reissued without amendment. The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for Samoa.
(see travel advice legal disclaimer)
Safety and Security - Terrorism
There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. See our Terrorism Abroad page.
Safety and Security - Crime
The level of serious crime is low, but incidents of petty theft are fairly common. You should not leave your belongings unattended and should use hotel safes for passports and valuables.
See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.
Safety and Security - Local Travel
Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road Travel
In September 2009 Samoa implemented a policy to switch the side of the road on which vehicles travel from right-side to left-side. As many vehicles currently being driven in Samoa have steering wheels on the left, care should be taken when driving on the roads. Speed limits should be strictly adhered to.
Night-time driving out of built-up areas should be avoided. Drivers and pedestrians should be aware that vehicle safety regulations are not consistently enforced and traffic violations occur routinely. Roads in Samoa often traverse small streams, and drivers should exercise extreme caution when crossing these streams. See our Driving Abroad page.
Safety and Security - Swimming
Tide changes can produce powerful currents in ocean lagoons. Take local advice on safety before swimming. Fatal accidents have occurred at popular beaches when appropriate precautions have not been taken.
Safety and Security - Political Situation
Samoa Country Profile
Gay and lesbian travellers should be aware that, despite examples of men cross-dressing and behaving in a feminine manner within the traditional Pacific culture, homosexual acts in Samoa are illegal.
There are strict regulations concerning the import of firearms, plant and animal products, pets, drugs and pornographic materials.
Check local customs and courtesies with the Samoa Tourist Authority: http://www.visitsamoa.ws.
More information can also be found on the Government of Samoa website: http://www.govt.ws. For more general information for different types of travellers see our Your Trip page.
Entry Requirements - Visas
Entry visas are not required for stays of up to 60 days. As a visitor you must have an onward or return ticket and a valid visa for the next country of disembarkation. Requests for an extension to a visitor’s permit must be made to the local Immigration Office before the expiry date of the initial permit. Further information on entry requirements can be found on the Samoa Immigration Department's website: www.samoaimmigration.gov.ws/
A visa is required for visits of longer than 60 days. Applications for visas can be made at Samoa’s overseas missions in Brussels, Wellington, Auckland, Canberra or New York, or to the Immigration Office at the Prime Minister’s Department (PO Box L1861, Apia, Samoa).
Entry Requirements - Passport validity
Your passport must be valid for at least six months.
Entry Requirements - Departure tax
All visitors (including children over 11 years) are required to pay a departure tax ($ST 40).
Health care facilities in Samoa are adequate for routine medical treatment, but are limited in range and availability. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. In the event of a medical emergency, evacuation to Australia, New Zealand or Hawaii is likely to be the only option for treatment, and you should ensure that your insurance policy covers this. Difficulties may be experienced in obtaining some specialised prescription medicines in Samoa.
Dengue occurs in Samoa and is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against dengue, but there are preventative measures that you can take, as advised on the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) website.
Exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see our HIV and AIDS page.
Seek medical advice before travelling to Samoa and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) or NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
See our Travel Health and Eat and Drink pages.
Samoa is located in a seismic zone call the “Ring of Fire” and is subject to earthquakes.
The “ring of fire” is a horse-shoe-shaped zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that surrounds the basin of the Pacific Ocean. It is 40,000km long and is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, island arcs, and volcanic mountain ranges and/or plate movements.
It is understood that 90% of the world's earthquakes and 81% of the world's largest earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire which is a direct consequence of plate tectonics and the movement or collision of crustal plates.An earthquake measuring 8.3 on the Richter scale struck Samoa on 29 September 2009, which triggered a devastating tsunami. As a result of the tsunami there was considerable loss of life and numerous people injured in addition to localised damage which was largely restricted to the south coast of Upolu.
You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. Check for any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. In the event of a medical emergency, evacuation to Australia, New Zealand or Hawaii is likely to be the only option for treatment, and insurance policies should cover this eventuality.
See our Travel Insurance page.
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then see our When Things Go Wrong page.
General - Consular Representation
There is no resident British Diplomatic Mission in Samoa. Routine consular matters are covered by the British High Commission in Wellington. In an emergency you can contact the Honorary Consul. Contact details below.
General - Honorary Consul
PO Box 1953, Apia
Telephone: (685) 27123
Register with the FCO's LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.
General - Replacing Your Passport
If you need a new passport, application forms can be downloaded from the Internet. Send your completed passport application by courier to the British High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand (contact details can be found on our Travel Advice for New Zealand). Where possible, apply at least one month before your passport is due to expire.
Keep a photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport, to avoid any complications.