Asia and Oceania

Samoa Flag of Samoa

Still current at: 10 June 2008
Updated: 29 May 2008


This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Health section (prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Samoa). The overall level of the advice has not changed.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

 

Travel advice for this country


Travel Summary

  • There is no resident British diplomatic mission in Samoa.  Routine consular matters are covered by the British High Commission in Wellington.  See the General (Consular Representation) section of this advice for more details.

  • You should avoid driving out of built up areas at night.

  • Most visits to Samoa are trouble-free but incidents of petty theft are fairly common. We are not aware of any British nationals who required consular assistance in Samoa in 2007.

  • Samoa lies on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” and regularly experiences seismic and volcanic activity. On 28 September 2006, an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale was recorded 185 miles south-west of Samoa. See the Natural Disasters section of this advice for more details.

  • The tropical storm season in Samoa normally runs from November to April. See the Natural Disasters (Tropical Storms) section of this advice for more details.

  • There is a low threat from terrorism in Samoa.  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.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  See the General (Insurance) section of this advice for more details.  See the General (Insurance) section of this advice and Travel Insurance for more details.

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.
 
For further information see Terrorism Abroad.
 
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.
 
Political Situation
 
Samoa Country Profile
 
Local Travel
 
Road Travel
 
Night time driving out of built-up areas should be avoided.  Drivers and pedestrians should be aware that vehicle safety regulations are rarely enforced and traffic violations occur routinely.  Roads in Samoa often traverse small streams, and drivers should exercise extreme caution when crossing these streams.
 
For further information see Driving Abroad.
 
Swimming
 
Tide changes can produce powerful currents in ocean lagoons.  Take local advice on safety before swimming.

Local laws and customs

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, fruits, pets and drugs.

You are advised to 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 Travel Advice Relevant to You.

Entry requirements

Visas
 
Entry visas are not required for stays of up to 30 days.  As a visitor you must have an onward or return ticket.  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. 

A visa is required for visits of longer than 30 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).
 
Passport validity
 
Your passport must be valid for at least six months. 
 
Departure tax
 
All visitors (including children over 11 years) are required to pay a departure tax ($ST 40).

Health

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.

You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.

You should 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 you should visit the websites of the National Travel Heath Network and Centre NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
 
For more general health information see Travel Health
 
Natural Disasters
 
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 40,000 kms 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 of collisions of crustal plates.
 
On 3 May 2006, an earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale was recorded 95 miles off the coast of Tonga.  Tsunami alerts were earlier in place for Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa and Hawaii.  On 28 September 2006, another earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale was recorded 185 miles south-west of Samoa.
 
Tropical Storms
 
The tropical storm season in Samoa runs from November to April.  Flooding can occur.  You should monitor local and international weather updates from World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).  You can also access http://www.met.gov.fj for updates.  Please also see Hurricanes for more detailed information about what to do if you are caught up in a tropical storm.

General

Insurance
 
We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check 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.
 
Consular Representation
 
There is no resident British diplomatic Mission in Samoa.  Routine consular matters are covered by the British High Commission in Wellington.
 
Register with our 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.  More information about registering with LOCATE can be found here.
 
Replacing your passport

If you need a new passport, application forms can be downloaded from the Internet or obtained from the Honorary British Consul.  You should send your completed passport application by courier to the British High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand (contact details can be found on the FCO Travel Advice: New Zealand).  Where possible, you are advised to apply at least one month before your passport is due to expire.  We strongly advise you to keep a photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport, to avoid any complications.

Travel advice for this country

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contacts

New Zealand, Wellington, British High Commission

Address:

Non-resident British High Commissioner
(resides in Wellington, New Zealand)

British High Commission
44 Hill Street
Wellington 1

Mailing Address:
P O Box 1812
Wellington

Telephone:

(64) (4) 924 2888

Fax:

(64) (4) 473 4982 Economic/Trade Policy Section
(64) (4) 924 2831 Chancery
(64) (4) 924 2809 Management
(64) (4) 924 2810 Passports
(64) (4) 924 2822 Immigration

Email: PPA.Mailbox@fco.gov.uk

Email: consularmail.wellington@fco.gov.uk

Email: passportmail.wellington@fco.gov.uk

Email: visamail.wellington@fco.gov.uk

Office hours:

GMT:
Sun-Thurs: 2045-0500
Local Time:
Mon-Fri: 0845-1700
Enquiries in person to Consular Section should be made between 0900-1400 only

Website: http://www.britishhighcommission.gov.uk/newzealand