Samoa Traveler Information - Travel Advice
Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance in our Samoa Traveler Information guide.
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Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: Must be valid at the time of entry.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: One page required for entry stamp.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Not required for stays under 90 days.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: None.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: None.
Embassies and Consulates
United States Embassy Samoa
Telephone: +685 21436 / 21631 / 21452 or 22696
Business Hours Emergency Telephone: +685 21631 ext. 2222 or +685 777 1776
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +685 777 1776 Please leave a message, and the Duty Officer will return your call
Fax: +685 22030
Email: AmEmbApia@state.gov or ApiaConsular@state.gov
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Samoa for information on U.S. - Samoa relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
Travelers must have a valid passport and onward/return ticket to enter Samoa. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for stays of 90 days or less. Non-citizen U.S. nationals will need a visitor permit before travelling to Samoa.
Non-citizen U.S. nationals can apply for a visitor’s permit at the Samoa Consulate General office in Pago Pago, American Samoa:
Consulate General Of Samoa
PO Box 1313
Iupeli Siliva Building
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799
Ph: +684 6335919
Fax: +684 6335929
Visit the Samoa Immigration website for Samoa’s most current visa information.
You must pay a departure tax when you leave the country (this tax is normally included in airfares).
You can find more information about entry requirements and the departure tax fromthe Samoa Mission to the United Nations at 800-2nd Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017, ph: +(212) 599-6196 and fax: +(212) 599-0797, or by email.
Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to, and foreign residents of, Samoa. Visitors indicating they have tested HIV positive will be subject to questioning by a health professional upon entry. Verify this information with the Samoan Overseas Mission before you travel
Safety and Security
- You should remain aware of your surroundings, lock your doors at night, and do not leave your belongings unattended.
- Incidents of petty theft and robberies are common in Samoa. Some incidents have involved residential break-ins.
- While rare, violent assaults, including sexual assaults, have occurred in Samoa. Particular care should be taken near Apia’s downtown bars and restaurants, where a number of violent incidents involving foreigners and Samoans have occurred. No specific groups have been targeted, and there have been no reported racially motivated or hate crimes against U.S. citizens.
- Police in Apia generally respond quickly to incidents. However, there is a very limited police presence elsewhere in Samoa (where order is maintained primarily by local village authorities), and police response outside of Apia is not as quick or reliable as it is in Apia.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.
Report crimes to the local police at 911 and contact the U.S. Embassy at 21631 Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- Help you find appropriate medical care
- Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
- Provide a list of local attorneys
- Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- Provide information about the Samoa Victims Support Group that helps victims of crime in Samoa with local law enforcement liaison and other related matters. They can be reached by telephone number 085-25392
- Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- Replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Advisories, and Alerts.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
- Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Samoa are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
- In Samoa, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Behavior modification facilities:
- There is one overseas treatment center or Behavior Modification Facility operating in Samoa.
- Although this facility may be operated and staffed by U.S. citizens, the Samoan government is solely responsible for its compliance with local safety, health, sanitation, and educational laws and regulations, including all licensing requirements of the staff in country.
- These standards may not be strictly enforced or meet the standards of similar facilities in the United States.
- Parents should be aware that U.S. citizens and non-citizen nationals 16 years of age and older have a right to apply for a U.S. passport and to request repatriation assistance from the U.S. government, both without parental consent.
- Any U.S. citizen or non-citizen U.S. national has the right to contact a representative from the U.S. Embassy. Parents may also contact the U.S. Embassy in Apia or the Office of American Citizens Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Stray dogs: In Apia, and in many villages, stray dogs wander the streets.
- You should not approach or feed them; they can become aggressive in the presence of food or if they feel threatened.
- There have been several cases of attacks by multiple dogs.
- Please exercise appropriate caution when you are walking, running, or riding a bike near stray dogs.
- Although there have been no major accidents involving the ferry service linking Upolu and Savaii, vessels are sometimes overloaded.
- One of the ferries, a multi-deck, automobile ferry, sometimes transports passengers on its automobile deck.
- To avoid injury from shifting vehicles, you should ride only in the passenger compartment, not on the automobile deck during the crossing.
Blowholes: Samoa has numerous “blowholes” (lava tubes open to the sea where wave action produces often spectacular geysers). These blowholes are popular tourist attractions. The footing around the mouths of most blowholes is very slippery. To avoid being swept in, you should not approach too closely and should never stand between the opening of the blowhole and the sea.
Financial transactions: Some businesses in Apia, especially those frequented by tourists, do accept credit cards, but many do not, including gas stations. Major hotels and some restaurants and stores accept major credit cards (Visa, Master Card, and American Express). You can get Samoan currency from ATMs, which are located in Faleolo Airport, Salelologa, and many locations in Apia. For more information on ATM locations and banking services, visit the ANZ Bank website or the BSP website.
- Samoa is located in an area of high seismic activity called the “Ring of Fire” and is subject to earthquakes which can trigger a tsunami.
- The rainy (or monsoon) season in the South Pacific is from November to April, when strong winds, heavy rains, landslides, and disruptions to services could occur.
- For information about tropical cyclone preparedness, visit our Natural Disaster webpages, and NOAA's Hurricane Preparedness Guide.
- For information about all types of natural disasters, visit the CDC webpages.
- Samoan customs authorities may enforce strict regulations about importing or exporting items such as firearms, fruits, pets and other animals, and drugs.
- You should contact the Samoan Mission to the United Nations at 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017, telephone: (212) 599-6196 for specific information regarding customs requirements.
- You can also consult the Samoa Ministry of Revenue and the Samoa Quarantine website.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
- Human Rights Report – see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: Same-sex acts are a crime in Samoa, with prison terms of up to seven years. The Crimes Ordinance 1961 and the more recent Crimes Act 2013, which came into effect in May 2013, criminalize same-sex acts.
- There is no recognition of same-sex relationships, marriage or adoption by same-sex couples in Samoa.
- There are also no anti-discrimination laws in place.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. While in Samoa, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States.
- There is no law pertaining specifically to the status of disabled persons.
- Most major hotels, restaurants, and cafes are actively restructuring their facilities to accommodate persons with disabilities. However, disabled travelers should clarify with the hotel what accommodations are available before they book.
- Persons with disabilities have easy access to medical facilities.
- Some family-based beach accommodations in the outer villages are also working to provide accessibility for disabled persons.
- Many of the new multi-story buildings provide ramps and elevators, but older public buildings do not.
- The blind and persons in wheelchairs or on crutches will have difficulty navigating in and around Apia because of a limited number of stoplights and sidewalks.
- Traffic is particularly hazardous for the disabled in rural areas that have no footpaths and sidewalks.
- Most buses and taxis do not have ramps to accommodate wheelchairs.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
For emergency services in Samoa, dial 911.
Ambulance services are 911.
- Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Samoa Ministry of Customs and Revenue to ensure the medication is legal in Samoa.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In late 2019, Samoa suffered a measles epidemic. Travelers are advised to review their immunity status prior to arrival.
Further health information:
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
Health facilities in general
- Adequate health facilities are available in Apia but health care in rural areas may be below U.S. standards.
- Public medical clinics lack basic resources and supplies.
- Most hospitals and medical professionals require cash payment.
- Hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.
- U.S. citizens have lodged a large number of complaints about unethical business practices.
- Generally, hospital staffing is minimal overnight. Consider hiring a private nurse or having family spend the night with the patient, especially a minor child.
- Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.
- Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available through government institutions
Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery
- Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventionwebsite for more information on Medical Tourism.
- Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on Medical Tourism, the risks of medical tourism, and what you can do to prepare before traveling to Samoa.
- We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
- Your legal options in case of malpractice are very limited in Samoa.
- Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little controls. Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients. Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.
- In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.
- Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.
General Health Language
The following diseases are prevalent:
Use the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mosquito repellents and sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for all travelers even for short stays.
HIV/AIDS: Only minimal treatment is available in Samoa.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Samoa.
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety:
- Urban roads in Apia and the main roads circumnavigating and crossing the island are generally kept in fair condition, although bumps and potholes are common.
- Side streets tend to be gravel or dirt and their condition varies considerably, particularly during the rainy season when ruts and bumps develop.
- Roads outside Apia are often narrow, winding, relatively steep, with narrow or no shoulders, and poorly lighted.
- Pedestrians as well as vehicles and livestock regularly travel these roads.
- Due to poor and deteriorating road conditions, night driving on unlit rural roads can be dangerous and should be avoided if possible.
- Roads in Samoa often traverse small streams.
- You should exercise extreme caution when fording these streams, which can become swollen and dangerous with little warning.
- Vehicles should never enter a stream if the roadbed is not visible or if the water’s depth is more than the vehicle’s clearance.
- Traffic travels on the left in Samoa, and you should exercise extra caution if you are accustomed to driving on the right.
- Some vehicles in Samoa have left-hand drive steering systems, including rental vehicles and public transportation.
- There are a few significant differences in the “rules of the road” in Samoa as compared to the United States (e.g., meeting situation at an intersection).
- Drivers should familiarize themselves with operating requirements and local traffic laws before operating a vehicle in Samoa.
- Taxis are widely available and used by Samoans and visitors alike.
- Some taxis are unlicensed, so you should use care in choosing a taxi and driver.
- Buses are slow, crowded, uncomfortable, undependable, and rarely used by visitors.
- You can use rental cars but be aware that limited roadside assistance is available.
- Most major roads are tar-sealed, but secondary roads are predominantly dirt and gravel and may be rough and/or overgrown with vegetation.
- A four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended for travel on secondary roads.
- You should be aware that vehicle safety regulations are rarely enforced, and traffic violations occur routinely.
- See our Road Safety page for more information.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Visit the website of the Samoa Tourism Authority for road safety information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: he U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Samoa’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Samoa’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Samoa should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.
For additional travel information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
International Parental Child Abduction
For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.