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Leaving Samoa: Departure Tips & Checklist
Leaving Samoa: Departure Tips & Checklist

Leaving Samoa: Departure Tips & Checklist


What Happens When You Leave Samoa from Faleolo International Airport

The saddest part of your holiday is this very moment; when it comes to an end. You’ve gone through an amazing journey, experienced the warm hospitality of Samoans, and seen some stunning pieces of paradise – we’ve probably even planned a thing or two together here on Samoa Pocket Guide. But now, you need to check-in for your departure flight and leave Samoa. Here’s the final piece of advice we can give you; everything you need to know about leaving Samoa and the full departure process.

5 Tips and Things to Do Before Leaving Samoa

Before we dive into the guide for leaving Samoa, here are a few departure tips:

  1. Exchange any Samoan Tala you have left in cash at the airport before leaving, unless you’re returning to Samoa, as exchanging Samoan Tala can sometimes be difficult overseas
  2. When packing your bags to leave Samoa, make sure that you put anything that won’t pass through airport security into your check-in luggage
  3. Note that some items from Samoa, such as souvenirs made from wood, shells or coconut fronds may need a phytosanitary certification to pass through biosecurity at your next destination. Check with your destination before departing or request a phytosanitary certification from the Ministry of Agriculture in Samoa
  4. Arrive at Faleolo International Airport two hours before your flight is scheduled for departure
  5. Have a black or blue pen handy so you can complete the Departure Declaration Card.

Now, let’s continue with more advice for leaving Samoa and what to do on departure.

Leaving Samoa: Departure Tips & Checklist©

Faleolo Airport Check-In Departure Process

You need to arrive at Faleolo International Airport for your departure flight around two hours before your scheduled departure time.

Departure Airport Transfers

There are a number of ways to travel back to Faleolo Airport from your accommodation. Taxis, your accommodation’s own transfer service, and even the local buses are all valid options. For more ways to get to the airport, check out the 10 Best Airport Transfers in Samoa. Note that buses tend to stop operating around 4/5 pm, so this is unlikely to be an option if you’re taking a late-night or early flight.

Check-In for International Departures

The check-in for international departures is at the eastern side of the entrance hall of Faleolo International Airport. It will be the same process as your arrival check-in to Samoa; finding your airline’s allocated check-in counter and providing the check-in staff with your passport and booking reference/e-ticket for your departure flight.

You do not need to declare any personal items that you are leaving Samoa with unless you’re carrying ST$20,000+ or the foreign equivalent in cash. There may be certain items, like food, that you can’t take past the borders of the country you are arriving in (such as New Zealand), so be sure to research the biosecurity measures of your destination/home country. These items, however, you don’t need to declare in Samoa.

You will check-in any larger luggage you may have, and then you will be given a boarding pass and a Departure Declaration Card (see the section below) and asked to go through airport security.

Airport Security

Airport security is located at the far eastern end of the hall (right when facing the departure check-in counters). Before you go to security, consider exchanging any Samoan Tala that you have left at one of the banks or currency exchange bureaus, as this will be your last chance in Samoa.

At security, you will need to put your bags and items like laptops into separate trays to go through X-ray machines. There are certain items you can’t take through airport security, such as sharp objects, sporting goods, matches or lighters, and liquids, aerosols, gels or pastes that are not in 100 ml (3.4 oz) containers.

You will also walk through a metal detector to check for any restricted items on your person. Then, collect your bags and move to the Immigration Area.


There is one more procedure before entering the Departure Lounge, Immigration. Just like when you arrived, queue up, then approach an Immigration counter when asked to do so. The Immigration Officer will check your passport and boarding pass. Then, you’ll move into the Departure Lounge.

Note that if you are carrying ST$20,000 or more, or the equivalent in foreign currency, you must see the Customs desk to complete the appropriate Customs form.

Leaving Samoa: Departure Tips & Checklist©

Faleolo Airport Departure Lounge

The large Departure Lounge at Faleolo International Airport has seating and a cafe downstairs, as well as more dining options, seating, bathrooms, retail outlets and the Faleolo Lounge (business class lounge) upstairs. Elevators are available to take you between levels. Learn more about the shops and services of the Departure Lounge in our guide, Samoa Arrival Airport: Which Airport to Fly into Samoa.

Take the time to complete your Departure Declaration Card (see below). When your flight is nearly ready to board, there will be an announcement about which Gate the flight will board from. Note that this could be two different Gates for the same flight, as sometimes, half of the flight will board downstairs while the rest will board upstairs.

Once your flight is ready to board, you will need to show your passport and boarding pass to staff, and hand over your completed Departure Declaration Card, before boarding the plane.

For the process for disabled passengers, see Accessibility in Samoa: Disabled & Wheelchair Access Guide.

Leaving Samoa: Departure Tips & Checklist©

Samoa Departure Declaration Card

Also part of your Samoa departure entertainment is completing the Samoa Departure Declaration Card. The information you provide on the card is used for survey and statistical purposes for the Samoa Government, as well as by Customs to identify if you are moving large sums of currency out of the country. Note that everyone leaving Samoa is required to complete the Departure Declaration Card. The card needs to be completed in black or blue pen, which isn’t always available so it’s recommended to have one handy!

What Does the Samoa Departure Declaration Card Ask?

The Samoa Departure Declaration calls for information like your name, passport number, flight/vessel number, where you stayed in Samoa, marital status, occupation and whether you are carrying ST$20,000+ in cash.

Of visitors, it also asks survey questions about how much you spent in Samoa, your duration of stay, place of stay, the main purpose of the visit, etc., as well as space to write what could have been improved. You will need to sign and date the form.

Note that visitors can skip Section 2.

Do You Need to Pay a Departure Tax for Samoa?

You do not need to pay the departure tax of ST$65 for leaving Samoa if you are leaving via plane, unless you’re travelling to American Samoa, as the tax is included in the price of your plane ticket. Learn more about the departure tax in Samoa Tipping & Tax Guide for Travellers.

Leaving Samoa: Departure Tips & Checklist©

Leaving Samoa By Sailing Yacht

For those visiting Samoa via sailing yacht, you must clear out via Apia. You must provide Customs with a receipt from the Apia Marina before they will issue your final clearance papers. There is a clearance fee payable to the Customs Office, which closes at 4 pm. We recommend starting the clearing-out process no later than 2 pm on a weekday.

For more information about leaving Samoa via sailing yacht, see our Sailing Guide to Samoa: Tips for Yachting in Samoa.

More About Leaving Samoa and the Departure Process

That’s it for our guide to leaving Samoa and the departure process. For more information about Faleolo International Airport and a few more tips for departure, check out the following guides:

Finally, if there’s anything else you need to plan for your Samoa getaway, you’re likely to find it in The Best Samoa Travel Guide.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Samoa Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Samoa. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Upolu and Savai’i’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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