Foreign travel advice

Samoa

Summary

There’s no resident British diplomatic mission in Samoa. Emergency consular services are provided by the British Honorary Consul. If you need consular assistance you should contact the British High Commission in Wellington in the first instance.

In an emergency you may be referred to the Australian or New Zealand High Commission in Apia.

UK health authorities have classified Samoa as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Roads often cross small streams; you should avoid driving at night outside built up areas. See Road travel

Most visits to Samoa are trouble-free but incidents of petty theft do happen from time to time.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Samoa, attacks can’t be ruled out. See Terrorism

Safety and security

Crime

The level of serious crime is low, but incidents of petty theft are fairly common.  Don’t leave your belongings unattended. Use hotel safes for passports and valuables.

Road travel

Samoa switched to driving on the left in 2009, however, many vehicles still have the steering wheel on the left of the vehicle. You should take care when driving on the roads, observing speed limits. You should avoid driving at night out of built-up areas.

You should avoid driving at night out of built-up areas. Vehicle safety regulations are not consistently enforced and traffic violations occur routinely. Roads in Samoa often cross small streams. Take care when crossing these streams.

Swimming

Tide changes can produce powerful currents in ocean lagoons. Take local advice before swimming. Fatal accidents have occurred at popular beaches. 

Terrorism

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Samoa, attacks can’t be ruled out.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.

Local laws and customs

Gay and lesbian travellers should be aware that, despite examples of men cross-dressing and behaving in a feminine manner, 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

More information can also be found on the Government of Samoa website   

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

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 (if required) for the next country to which you are travelling.  Requests for an extension of your stay must be made to the local Immigration Office.  Further information on entry requirements can be found on the Samoa Immigration Department’s website. 

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).

Passport validity  

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Samoa. 

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Departure tax  

All visitors (including children over 11 years) are required to pay a departure tax of $ST 40.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry and exit from Samoa. Your ETD must be valid for at least 6 months.

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website.

Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.
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. You may find it hard to get some specialised prescription medicines in Samoa.

Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

UK health authorities have classified Samoa as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Cases of dengue fever have been confirmed in Samoa. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, hepatitis, filariasis and tuberculosis) occur.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 996 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Natural disasters

Samoa is located in a seismic zone called the “Ring of Fire” and is subject to earthquakes.

An earthquake of magnitude 8.3 struck Samoa on 29 September 2009, which triggered a devastating tsunami.

The tropical cyclone season normally runs from November to the end of April. Flooding can occur.  Monitor local and international weather updates from World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the Samoa Meteorology Division website or the Fiji Meteorological Service website. See our tropical cyclones page for advice about what to do if you’re caught up in a tropical cyclone.

Travel advice help and support

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send us a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.