Fire and rescue services
Exercise normal safety precautions in Samoa.
Exercise normal safety precautions in Samoa.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Crime occurs in Samoa but the crime rate is not high.
You're most at risk:
Petty crime is common, including theft from vehicles and accommodation.
Violent house break-ins can occur.
To protect yourself from crime:
You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you're connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth.
Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media.
Demonstrations and protests can happen. Although rare, public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
To protect yourself during periods of unrest:
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Beaches are not patrolled in Samoa. Swimmers have died because of strong tides and powerful lagoon currents.
Risks are even higher when:
Ask local residents and tour operators about safe areas for swimming.
Stray and poorly controlled dogs are common. Dog attacks on people in suburban areas and on beaches are common.
Don't approach or touch dogs. Be mindful of dogs if walking or exercising.
Dive companies and tour operators don't always follow safety and maintenance standards. This includes:
If you plan to do a tour or adventure activity:
If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
Samoa experiences severe weather, including:
Monitor weather updates and warnings via:
If a natural disaster happens:
If your arrival in Samoa is after a natural disaster or during cyclone season, ask your tour operator if services have been affected.
Cyclone season is from November to April. However, tropical storms and cyclones can happen any time of year.
Storms and cyclones can cause flooding and gale-force winds and disrupt services.
The direction and strength of tropical cyclones can change with little warning.
If there's a cyclone or severe tropical storm:
Roads can be cut off. It may take time for services, such as electricity, to be restored.
If a cyclone or severe storm is approaching:
Earthquakes and aftershocks happen often in Samoa.
Ask your host or hotel about what to do if there's an earthquake.
If there's an earthquake:
After an earthquake:
Samoa has a Tsunami Warning System as Tsunamis can happen.
Move immediately to high ground if you:
Don't wait for official warnings.
Once on high ground, monitor local media.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave.
Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care or evacuation. Most health care providers in Samoa expect cash payment before carrying out any treatment, and options for treatment in-country are very limited.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you have immediate concerns for your welfare, or the welfare of another Australian, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or controlled substances, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Samoa. Carry with you enough legal medication for your trip.
Local pharmacies have a limited range of medication.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
Be careful if you're consuming kava. It can be dangerous if it reacts with alcohol or prescription medication, including antidepressants.
Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you go and your travel insurance covers all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuations.
Outbreaks of insert-borne diseases can happen, mostly in the wet season. Diseases include:
If you're pregnant, the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care recommends you:
Find out about Zika virus-affected countries on the Department of Health and Aged Care's website.
Mosquitoes are active during the day. To protect yourself from disease:
You could be at risk from waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases, including:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
Hospital and medical facilities are very limited.
All foreigners are required to pay for health services in Samoa. Doctors and hospitals normally expect cash payment before carrying out any treatment.
There's no helicopter service.
Blood supplies are often limited.
You may need to bring your own bedding and towels to hospital.
If you experience a medical emergency or become seriously ill or injured, evacuation by air to Australia or New Zealand is likely to be the only option for treatment. Medical evacuation can be very expensive, and evacuations may be delayed if you use commercial airlines. Flights are heavily booked in New Zealand and Australian school holiday periods.
Make sure your travel insurance covers medical evacuations.
There are no hyperbaric chambers on any of the islands. If you need treatment for decompression sickness, you'll be evacuated to the nearest treatment centre.
Registered dive companies carry basic treatment equipment to meet Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) standards.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for carrying or using illegal drugs, including cannabis, may include a jail sentence.
By law, you must not own drug-related equipment in Samoa.
If police suspect a drug offence, they may detain you while they investigate.
The legal drinking age is 21 years.
Prostitution is illegal.
Same-sex relationships aren't recognised in Samoa and consensual sex between men is illegal. Penalties include a jail sentence. Public displays of affection should be avoided.
Sunday activities are extremely limited and alcohol can't be sold.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Samoa recognises dual nationals.
Dress and behaviour standards are modest. Take care not to offend.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering.
You can apply for a 90 day Visitor Permit on arrival using the passenger arrival card if you:
If you remain in Samoa and are unable to depart prior to the expiry of your permit you must contact Samoa Immigration to make arrangements to validate your residential status until you can depart.
For other situations and for Business Visitor Permits, see the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet website.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest High Commission of Samoa for the latest details.
Renew your Australian passport well in advance of expiry due to potential delays in delivery to Samoa.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. You can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
Although Australian passports comply with international standards for sex and gender, we can't guarantee that a passport showing 'X' in the sex field will be accepted for entry or transit by another country. Contact the nearest embassy, high commission or consulate of your destination before you arrive at the border to confirm if authorities will accept passports with 'X' gender markers.
The local currency is the Samoan Tala (WST).
Declare amounts over WST 20,000 when you arrive and depart. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
You can change money and find ATMs at the airport on arrival and in the major centres.
Credit cards can be used at most resorts and large shops. Not many small businesses accept credit cards.
You need a temporary Samoan driver's licence to drive.
Get a temporary licence from:
You'll need to show your valid Australian licence and pay a fee.
Driving in Samoa is hazardous, especially at night.
Samoa switched to driving on the left-hand side of the road in 2009. However, many vehicles still have the driver's seat on the left.
If you plan to drive:
Check if your travel insurance policy covers you when riding a motorbike.
Always wear a helmet.
Use only registered taxis and car escort services.
Book through your hotel or resort.
Samoa has a small and irregular bus network. Buses are usually crowded and poorly maintained. Accidents involving buses are common. Travelling on buses should be given careful consideration.
Bus schedules are limited on Sundays.
Petty crime can happen on buses. Take care of your belongings.
Samoa's inter-island ferries may not meet Australian safety standards. They may:
Emergency safety procedures may not work.
If you need to travel by ferry:
If you aren't given safety equipment, or it's not in usable condition, use another provider.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Samoa's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Check the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular help, contact the Australian High Commission in Apia.
Check the High Commission website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.