Samoa - Consular Information Sheet
April 6, 2000
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The island country of Samoa has
a stable parliamentary democracy with a developing economy. Tourist
facilities are accessible by bus, taxi, and car and are within
walking distance of access roads. The Samoan Visitor's Bureau,
which has a wide range of information of interest to travelers,
can be contacted at http://www.samoa.co.nz.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and an onward/return ticket
are required for travel to Samoa. Visas are not required for a
stay of up to 30 days. Further information about entry requirements
may be obtained from the Samoa Mission to the United Nations at
800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017, telephone (212)
599-6196, fax (212) 599-0797.
CRIME INFORMATION: Overall crime in Samoa is low, though
there are incidents of petty theft/robberies of personal effects.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police, and the nearest U.S. Embassy
or Consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's
pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad" for ways to promote a more trouble-free
journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent
of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs
or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Health care facilities in Samoa are
adequate for routine medical treatment, but are limited in range
and availability. A national hospital is located in Apia and district
hospitals are available on Savai'i and Upolu. Serious medical
problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to
the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals
often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas
may face extreme difficulties. Check with your own insurance company
to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision
for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made
to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed
later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include
coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains
in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies
abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in
the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure
"Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available
via the Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Samoa is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Not Available
Most major roads are tar-sealed, but secondary roads are predominantly
dirt and gravel, and may be overgrown. A four-wheel drive vehicle
is recommended for travel on these roads. Travelers should be
aware that vehicle safety regulations are rarely enforced and
traffic violations occur routinely. Night driving on unlit rural
roads can be dangerous and should be avoided if possible. For
information concerning the operation and rental of motor vehicles,
contact the Samoan Visitor's Bureau via the Internet at www.samoa.co.nz.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The FAA has assessed the Government
of Samoa's Civil Aviation Authority as Category I -- in compliance
with international aviation safety standards for oversight of
Samoa's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers
may contact the Department of Transportation in the United States
at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Samoa's customs authorities may
enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into
or export from Samoa of items such as fruit, pets, firearms, and
drugs. It is advisable to contact the Samoan Mission to the United
Nations for specific information regarding customs requirements.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and do not always afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Samoa's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs
in Samoa are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Some overseas treatment centers,
known as Behavior Modification Facilities, operate in Samoa. Though
these facilities may be operated and staffed by U.S. citizens,
the Samoan government is solely responsible for compliance with
local safety, health, sanitation and educational laws and regulations,
including all licensing requirements of the staff in the country.
These standards, if any, may not be strictly enforced or meet
the standards of similar facilities in the U.S. Parents should
be aware that U.S. citizens 18 years of age and older have a right
to apply for a passport and to request repatriation assistance
from the U.S. government, both without parental consent. Any U.S.
citizen enrollee has the right to contact a representative from
the U.S. Embassy. For further information, consult the Department
of State's Fact Sheet on Behavior Modification Facilities, available
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
Parents may also contact the U.S. Embassy in Apia or the country
officer in the Office of American Citizens Services, Bureau of
Consular Affairs at 202-647-5226.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Samoa is located in an area of
high seismic activity. Although the probability of a major earthquake
occurring during an individual trip is remote, earthquakes can
and will continue to happen. General information regarding disaster
preparedness is available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov/crisismg.html,
and from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) home
page at http://www.fema.gov.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption
of children or international parental child abduction, refer to
our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens are encouraged
to register at the Embassy. The U.S. Embassy in Samoa is located
in the John Williams Building, Fifth Floor, Beach Road, Apia.
The Embassy is open to the public from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
every morning and by appointment at other times. The Embassy's
mailing address is U.S. Embassy, P.O. Box 3430, Apia, Samoa. The
telephone number is (685) 21-631. The fax number is (685) 22-030.
Americans may obtain updated information on travel and security
for Samoa at the U.S. Embassy or by visiting the Embassy's home
page at http://travel.state.gov/samoa.html.