A Guide to Quarantine and Customs Declarations in Samoa
Samoa’s borders have strict rules on what visitors can bring into the country. The majority of restricted or prohibited goods are those which pose a threat to the health and biosecurity of the country. For this reason, it’s best to be mindful about what you pack in your luggage and, more importantly, know what to declare when arriving in Samoa.
What Does “Declaring” Mean?
The guide below will go over the most common examples of things that you will need to declare to Customs and Quarantine when arriving in Samoa. Declaring is done through the Samoa Passenger Arrival Declaration Card, which is given to you to complete during your flight. You can also declare verbally when you are passing through Customs and Quarantine on arrival.
For a complete guide on the Customs and Quarantine formalities, head to Arriving in Samoa: Airport Customs, Biosecurity & the Arrival Process. Otherwise, continue reading to learn about what specific items you should declare when arriving in Samoa.
What Happens if You Have Risk Goods?
The most important thing to remember when arriving in Samoa is to: Declare, Declare, Declare! If you are unsure whether you need to declare something or not, declare it anyway. You will not face penalties for declaring something you didn’t need to. You are likely to face penalties for not declaring something you did.
Disposing of Risk Items Before Passing Through Biosecurity
Quarantine amnesty bins are available at Faleolo International Airport before passing through Quarantine so that you can dispose of any declarable or risk items that you have not declared on your Passenger Arrival Declaration Card. Dispose of any potential risk items that you have not declared into these bins. Ask a Quarantine Officer for advice if you are unsure.
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 that you have not declared on your Passenger Arrival 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.
Declaring Food When Arriving in Samoa
You must declare all food that you are bringing into Samoa. No matter what type of food it is, whether it’s cooked, uncooked, fresh, preserved, packaged or dried, you should declare it anyway. While some foods are allowed to pass through the border, many foods will be inspected and dealt with accordingly. Food that is considered a risk item will be inspected and likely confiscated if it is deemed unsafe.
For a list of food that you can and cannot bring into Samoa, check out our guide, Taking Food to Samoa: What You Need to Know.
Declaring Animals and Animal Products
Any kind of animal, including reptiles, birds, aquatic life, etc. must be declared. A permit must be obtained to import live animals into Samoa.
On top of that, any animal products must be declared. Animal products refer to (but are not limited to):
- Dairy products
- Bee products
- Raw wool
Declaring Plants and Plant Products
All plants and plant materials must also be declared when arriving in Samoa. Some plant products will either need to be treated, need a permit or are strictly prohibited.
Examples of plant products that you need to declare are (but are not limited to):
- Parts of plants
All plant and plant products that need to be declared include those for religious offerings or medicinal use.
Sporting and Outdoors Equipment to Declare
There are also other declarable items that don’t fall into the above categories, including biological items, camping, sports and farming gear. Some of these items may be a carrier of pests and diseases. Although things like camping and sports gear are allowed to pass through Quarantine, they may need to go through an inspection first. Make sure you clean all gear thoroughly before packing them for Samoa.
Other declarable items include:
- Animal medicines
- Biological cultures
- Agricultural or household pesticides
- Equipment used with animals, plants or water, including for gardening, beekeeping, fishing, watersports or diving activities
- Items that have been used for outdoor or farming activities, including any footwear, tents, camping, hunting, hiking, golf or sports equipment.
Declaring Goods Subject to Duty
Travellers to Samoa must also declare any goods that might be subject to duty tax. This includes goods that are over Samoa’s duty-free allowance. Questions concerning duty are asked on the Passenger Arrival Declaration Card. The items that might be subject to duty include:
Your personal items, such as clothing, clothing, footwear and articles of personal hygiene and grooming, etc. are free of duty as long as you own them at the time of arriving in Samoa and they are for your own personal use. The items in your luggage must be what a passenger would reasonably be expected to have in their bags.
Alcohol and Tabacco
You may bring alcohol and tobacco into Samoa as long as the traveller is no younger than 21 years old.
There are also allowances on the amount of alcohol and tobacco you can bring into Samoa, which are as follows:
- Any type of alcohol (including but not limited to wine and spirits) not exceeding 2.25 litres (76 oz)
- Cigarette sticks not exceeding 200 (the equivalent of one brick/carton) or Tobacco not exceeding 250 grams (8.8 oz).
See The Duty-Free Allowances for Samoa for more information.
Other Dutiable Goods
You may bring other dutiable goods purchased from overseas into Samoa, such as gifts, souvenirs, electronic equipment, jewellery, watches and sporting equipment, as long as their value does not exceed ST$500. The goods must be with you and intended for personal use (i.e. not intended for business, commercial or trade purposes).
If you are in possession of ST$20,000 or more in cash or the foreign equivalent then this needs to be declared. You will need to fill out the appropriate currency reporting form at Customs. The Border Currency Report (BCR) form can be found at the bottom of the Central Bank of Samoa website.
Prohibited and Restricted Imports (What You Can’t Bring into Samoa)
Finally, there are some goods that are strictly prohibited from being imported into Samoa, as well as goods that are restricted (i.e. need a permit).
Goods that you cannot bring into Samoa include:
- Illicit drugs and narcotics
- Indecent goods/material
- Copyright or trademark-infringing materials.
There is a wide range of goods restricted from being imported into Samoa. In other words, a permit from the appropriate government department is required to import restricted goods. Restricted goods include fruit, meat, vegetables, animal products and plant products, as covered in the sections above. They also include the following goods:
- Weapons, firearms and ammunition
- Endangered species of flora or fauna
- Live animals
- Medicines (unless prescribed to you or over the counter)
Although you may be able to bring some of these items into Samoa, you must hold the certification and/or import permit issued by the relevant department of the Samoa Government.
More on What to Declare When Arriving in Samoa
That’s it for our guide on what to declare when arriving in Samoa. For more advice, check out the following guides about Customs and Quarantine:
- Arriving in Samoa: Airport Customs, Biosecurity & the Arrival Process
- Samoa Passenger Arrival Card: What You Need to Know
- The Duty-Free Allowances for Samoa
Finally, make the process of arriving in Samoa as smooth as possible following our Arriving at Faleolo Airport, Samoa: A Step-by-Step Guide.