A Guide to Passing Through Immigration, Customs and Biosecurity in Samoa
Your final hurdle to an adventure in the islands of Samoa is getting through Immigration, Customs and Quarantine (Biosecurity) when you arrive. With an isolated yet fragile ecosystem, Samoa takes strict precautions when it comes to biosecurity. Travellers will also need to make sure they have their passports up-to-date, an outbound flight booked and meet any other current entry requirements. Then, the waterfalls, cultural experiences and tropical islands are on your horizon!
Make the airport process as smooth as possible for yourself by following the advice in this guide to Samoa airport customs, biosecurity and arrivals process.
Passport, Accommodation Booking and Outbound Travel Confirmation for Samoa
The first thing you will need to organise for your travels to Samoa is your passport. Your passport needs to be valid for at least six months after your intended departure date from Samoa.
As well as a valid passport, visitors are also required to have:
- A confirmed onward travel ticket
- Visas for the next country of destination
- Sufficient funds to support oneself while in Samoa
- A confirmed residential contact address or accommodation arrangements.
As long as you meet the above entry requirements, you will be granted a visitor’s permit on arrival. Check out Samoa Tourist Visa: Do You Need a Visa to Visit Samoa? to learn more about the entry requirements.
Do You Need a Vaccine to Visit Samoa?
There are no current vaccination mandates to enter Samoa unless you are coming from a yellow fever area. We list all the recommended and/or mandatory vaccines for a visit to Samoa in Do You Need Vaccines to Travel to Samoa?
Packing for Samoa
Before you depart for Samoa, it’s a good idea to check what items are restricted or prohibited so that you don’t risk the item being confiscated at Quarantine on arrival. On top of that, you will need to check that any outdoor gear or sports equipment that you pack is clean.
What You Can’t Bring into Samoa
- Certain foods, such as fresh vegetables, fruit, honey and more – see Taking Food to Samoa
- Some animal products without treatment or a permit
- Certain plant products without treatment or a permit
- Dirty camping and sports equipment
- Certain biological items without treatment or a permit
- Illicit drugs
- Weapons, firearms and ammunition without a permit
- Indecent goods/material
- Copyright or trademark-infringing materials
- Endangered species of flora or fauna without a permit
- Live animals without a permit
- Medicines unless prescribed to you or over the counter
- Alcohol and tobacco over the duty-free allowance
- Other dutiable goods over the duty-free allowance.
If you do want to bring some of these items, then make sure you declare them. More on that in the “Passing Through Customs and Quarantine (Biosecurity)” section below.
Cleaning Your Gear for Arrival in Samoa
Although you are allowed to bring sports and camping gear into Samoa, they must be free from dirt and soil in order to pass through Quarantine. Otherwise, you may either be requested to clean them at the airport or have the item sent for treatment at your expense. So be sure to clean equipment, such as:
- Used footwear
- Camping equipment
- Snorkelling gear
- Scuba diving gear
- Fishing equipment
- Golf clubs, etc.
More Packing Advice for Samoa
For more tips on what to pack for Samoa, check out What to Pack for Samoa: A Full Samoa Packing List.
The Samoa Passenger Arrival Declaration Card
Skipping to your final direct flight to Samoa, it will involve the first part of the Samoa Customs and Biosecurity process: completing the Passenger Arrival Declaration Card. The form to complete asks for your personal details, as well as your inbound and outbound flight details, Samoa accommodation details and passport number, so make sure you have all this information readily available.
The Passenger Arrival Card also asks a series of Yes/No questions concerning Customs and Quarantine. Answer all of these questions honestly. If you are unsure of the answer, just tick “Yes” and you’ll be able to explain yourself to a Customs or Quarantine Officer once you arrive in Samoa. There are sometimes Health questions to answer too, which change depending on the current public health issues.
Keep ahold of your Passenger Arrival Declaration Card until you are asked for it after landing in Samoa and going through the border process.
For more information on the Arrival Card and how to complete it, check out our guide to the Samoa Passenger Arrival Card: What You Need to Know.
Once you’ve landed in Samoa, you won’t be swimming with turtles just yet. First up, you’ll need to pass through Immigration.
Declaring Items on the Passenger Arrival Declaration Card
At Immigration, an officer will ask to see at least your passport and Passenger Arrival Declaration Card. The officer may ask you questions regarding the answers you have given on the Passenger Arrival Declaration Card. They will then tell you if any action is required. Otherwise, your passport and Arrival Card will be returned to you and you will move to the Baggage Claim area.
For extra documents to have prepared for this step of the arrivals process, such as vaccination certificates (if applicable) and flight booking confirmations, check out What Documents Do I Need to Travel to Samoa?
Passing Through Customs and Quarantine (Biosecurity)
Once you have picked up your bags from Baggage Claim, you will finally go through the Customs and Quarantine process.
Declaring Risk Goods
This is your last chance to declare a “risk good” that you might have in your possession or packed in your baggage. Declarable items include:
- Goods that may be prohibited or restricted, such as medicines, drugs, weapons, indecent publications or endangered species
- Cigarettes or alcohol above the duty-free allowance for Samoa
- Goods for business or commercial purposes
- Goods purchased duty-free that exceeds ST$500
- Cash with a combined value of ST$20,000 or more
- Food of any kind
- Animals or any kind of animal products
- Plants or any kind of plant products
- Biological cultures, organisms, soil or water
- Equipment used with animals, water or plants
- Equipment used outdoors equipment like camping gear, hiking shoes, watersports equipment, gardening equipment, etc.
- And whether you have visited a forest or properties for processing animals in the last 30 days.
Note that not all “declarable items” are prohibited, but you still need to declare them so that a Quarantine Officer can check the item. See a complete list of declarable items in What to Declare When Arriving in Samoa.
A Quarantine/Customs Officer will ask you questions based on answers given on your Passenger Arrival Declaration Card. You may also be prompted to put your bags through an X-ray machine or to open them for inspection.
What Happens if Risk Goods are Found in Your Baggage
If completing your Passenger Arrival Declaration Card and you realise you packed something in your bag that won’t go through Quarantine, like fresh fruit, for instance, don’t worry. You have the opportunity to dispose of potential risk items in bins before passing through Customs and Quarantine.
If you declare an item and the item is not restricted or prohibited to be imported into Samoa, you will be allowed to pass through Customs and Quarantine without further action.
What Happens to Undeclared Risk Items?
When passing through Quarantine, if any restricted, prohibited or declarable items are found in your luggage or in your possession, which you have not declared on your Passenger Arrival Declaration Card, you may face penalties.
What if You Declare an Item and it is Prohibited or Restricted?
If you have declared an item that is deemed unsafe to enter the country then you may have the item confiscated. You may be given the option for treatment of the item or exported to an overseas address, both at your own expense. For goods that you have to pay duty tax on, you’ll need to pay the duty and complete the relevant Customs forms.
After Customs and Quarantine
The final part of the Samoa airport arrivals process is leaving the arrivals hall to an outside area where you’ll find the Samoa Tourism Information Centre, car rentals (note that some are only open for bookings), stores for the local phone networks, banks, ATMs and foreign exchange, as well as retail stores. Information on all of these facilities and services can be found in our guide, Samoa Arrival Airport: Which Airport to Fly into Samoa.
Check out the Arriving at Faleolo Airport: A Step-by-Step Guide for what to do once you have completed the arrivals process, such as getting an airport transfer to your accommodation.
More About Samoa Airport Customs, Biosecurity and the Arrival Process
That’s it for our complete guide to the Samoa airport arrival process along the what you need to do to pass through customs and biosecurity. For more on the subject, check out our other arrivals guides:
- Arriving at Faleolo Airport, Samoa: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Taking Food to Samoa: What You Need to Know
- How Much Does a Samoa Airport Taxi Cost?
Finally, don’t miss a thing about planning a trip to Samoa by checking out The Best Samoa Travel Guide.