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International Travel

English

Country Information

Samoa

Country Information

Samoa
Independent State of Samoa
Last Updated: January 18, 2017
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid at time of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page requirement for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays under 60 days

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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Embassies and Consulates

United Sates Embassy Samoa

ACC Building,
Matafele
Apia, Samoa
Telephone: +685 21436 / 21631 / 21452 or 22696
Business Hours Emergency Telephone: (685) 21631 ext. 2222 or (685) 777-1776
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(685) 777-1776. Please leave a message, and the Duty Officer will return your call.
Fax: +(685) 22030
or

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Samoa for information on U.S. - Samoa relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Travelers must have a valid passport and an onward/return ticket to enter Samoa. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for stays in Samoa of 60 days or less. Non-citizen U.S. nationals will need a visitor permit before travelling to Samoa. 

Non-citizen U.S. nationals can apply for a visitor’s permit at the Samoa Consulate General office in Pago Pago, American Samoa:

Consulate General Of Samoa
PO Box 1313
Iupeli Siliva Building
Fagatogo, Maoputasi
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799
Ph: +684 6335919
Fax: +684 6335929

Visit the Samoa Immigration website for Samoa’s most current visa information. 

You must pay a departure tax when you leave the country (this tax is normally included in airfares).

You can find more information about entry requirements and the departure tax from the Samoa Mission to the United Nations at 800-2nd Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017, ph: +(212) 599-6196 and fax: +(212) 599-0797, or by email.

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to, and foreign residents of, Samoa. Visitors indicating they have tested HIV positive will be subject to questioning by a health professional upon entry. Please verify this information with the Samoan Overseas Mission before you travel.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

In the past, disputes between villages and the central government have led to protests, road blocks, and hostility between the police and villagers. Travelers should be aware of their surroundings as demonstrations can sometimes escalate into violence.

Crime:

  • You should remain aware of your surroundings, lock your doors at night, and do not leave your belongings unattended.
  • Incidents of petty theft and robberies are common in Samoa. Some incidents have involved residential break-ins.
  • While rare, violent assaults, including sexual assaults, have occurred in Samoa. Particular care should be taken near Apia’s downtown bars and restaurants, where a number of violent incidents involving foreigners and Samoans have occurred. No specific groups have been targeted, and there have been no reported racially motivated or hate crimes against U.S. citizens.
  • Police in Apia generally respond quickly to incidents. However, since there is a very limited police presence elsewhere in Samoa (where order is maintained primarily by local village authorities), police response outside of Apia is not as quick or reliable as it is in Apia.
  • See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

  • U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy.
  • Report crimes to the local police at 22222 and contact the U.S. Embassy at 21631. 
  • Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
  • See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide information about the Samoa Victims Support Group that helps victims of crime in Samoa with local law enforcement liaison and other related matters.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Samoa are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines, or death.
  • In Samoa, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport or a copy of your passport with you or if you take pictures of certain buildings.
  • In Samoa, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail.
  • Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Behavior modification facilities:

  • There is one overseas treatment center or Behavior Modification Facility operating in Samoa.
  • Although this facility may be operated and staffed by U.S. citizens, the Samoan government is solely responsible for its compliance with local safety, health, sanitation, and educational laws and regulations, including all licensing requirements of the staff in country.
  • These standards may not be strictly enforced or meet the standards of similar facilities in the United States.
  • Parents should be aware that U.S. citizens and non-citizen nationals 16 years of age and older have a right to apply for a U.S. passport and to request repatriation assistance from the U.S. government, both without parental consent.
  • Any U.S. citizen or non-citizen U.S. national has the right to contact a representative from the U.S. Embassy. Parents may also contact the U.S. Embassy in Apia or the Office of American Citizens Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Stray dogs: In Apia, and in many villages, stray dogs wander the streets.

  • You should not approach or feed them; they can become aggressive in the presence of food or if they feel threatened.
  • There have been several cases of attacks by multiple dogs.
  • Please exercise appropriate caution when you are walking, running, or riding a bike near stray dogs.

Ferry service:

  • Although there have been no major accidents involving the ferry service linking Upolu and Savaii, vessels are sometimes overloaded.
  • One of the ferries, a multi-deck, automobile ferry, sometimes transports passengers on its automobile deck.
  • To avoid injury from shifting vehicles, you should ride only in the passenger compartment, not on the automobile deck during the crossing, if you choose to use this ferry.

Blowholes:  Samoa has numerous “blowholes” (lava tubes open to the sea where wave action produces often spectacular geysers). These blowholes are popular tourist attractions. The footing around the mouths of most blowholes is very slippery. To avoid being swept in, you should not approach too closely and should never stand between the opening of the blowhole and the sea.

Water sports:

  • Snorkeling and diving in ocean lagoons are popular activities for many visitors to Samoa.
  • Tide changes can produce powerful currents in these lagoons.
  • You should consult local residents and tour operators about hazards and conditions at a particular location before you venture into the water.
  • There are virtually no lifeguards in Samoa.
  • You are responsible for your own safety.
  • Carefully investigate the qualifications of guides and tour operators, especially regarding water sports.

Financial transactions: Some businesses in Apia, especially those frequented by tourists, do accept credit cards, but many do not, including gas stations. Major hotels and some restaurants and stores accept major credit cards (Visa, Master Card, and American Express). You can get Samoan currency from ATMs, which are located in Faleolo Airport, Salelologa, and in many locations in Apia. For more information on ATM locations and banking services, visit the ANZ Bank website or the BSP website.

Disaster preparedness:

  • Samoa is located in an area of high seismic activity called the “Ring of Fire” and is subject to earthquakes which can trigger a tsunami..
  • The rainy (or monsoon) season in the South Pacific is from November to April, when strong winds, heavy rains, landslides, and disruptions to services could occur.
  •  For information about tropical cyclone preparedness, visit our Tropical Season – Know Before You Go and Natural Disaster webpages, and NOAA's Tropical Cyclones Preparedness Guide.

Customs:

  • Samoan customs authorities may enforce strict regulations about importing or exporting items such as firearms, fruits, pets and other animals, and drugs.
  • You should contact the Samoan Mission to the United Nations at 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017, telephone: (212) 599-6196 for specific information regarding customs requirements.
  • You can also consult the Samoa Ministry of Revenue and the Samoa Quarantine website.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers:  Same-sex acts are a crime in Samoa, with prison terms of up to seven years. The Crimes Ordinance 1961 and the more recent Crimes Act 2013, which came into effect 1 May 2013, criminalize same-sex acts.

  • There is no recognition of same-sex relationships, marriage or adoption by same-sex couples in Samoa.
  • There are also no anti-discrimination laws in place.
  • Although the country is historically tolerant towards homosexuality, especially with regards to “fa’afafine,” the third-gendered Samoans, efforts to modernize the law under the Crimes Act 2013 were unsuccessful; however, the updated statute did eliminate the section that made it an offence for a male to dress as a female.
  • In many Samoan families it is not uncommon to raise a male child as a girl who plays an important role in domestic duties or the work force to provide for elderly parents and younger siblings.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. While in Samoa, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States.

  • There is no law pertaining specifically to the status of disabled persons.
  • Most major hotels, restaurants, and cafes are actively restructuring their facilities to accommodate persons with disabilities. However, disabled travelers should clarify with the hotel what accommodations are available before they book.
  • Persons with disabilities have easy access to medical facilities.
  • Some family-based beach accommodations in the outer villages are also working to provide accessibility for disabled persons.
  • Many of the new multi-story buildings provide ramps and elevators, but older public buildings do not.
  • The blind and persons in wheelchairs or on crutches will have difficulty navigating in and around Apia because of a limited number of stoplights and sidewalks.
  • Traffic is particularly hazardous for the disabled in rural areas that have no footpaths and sidewalks.
  • Most buses and taxis do not have ramps to accommodate wheelchairs.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health
  • Health care facilities in Samoa are adequate for routine medical treatment but are limited in range and availability.
  • Complex illnesses and life-threatening emergencies, as well as related laboratory work, generally need to be treated elsewhere.
  • Serious medical conditions and treatments that require hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars.
  • The national hospital is located in Apia, and there are several small district hospitals on Savaii and in outlying areas of Upolu.
  • Dental facilities do not meet U.S. standards, but good dental treatment and some emergency medical care is available at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
  • Pharmacies may not carry prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or the medicines may be of a different quality than those available in the United States.
  • There are no hyperbaric chambers on any of the islands for the treatment of scuba diving-related injuries. Serious cases of decompression sickness are evacuated to the nearest treatment center in Suva, Fiji, or Auckland, New Zealand.
  • We do not pay medical bills.
  • Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.  

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance  to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Samoa to ensure the medication is legal in Samoa. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact. The CDC has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects in some fetuses and babies born to infected mothers. For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website.

Vaccinations:  Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:

  • Urban roads in Apia and the main roads circumnavigating and crossing the island are all generally kept in fair condition, although bumps and potholes are common.
  • Side streets tend to be gravel or dirt and their condition varies considerably, particularly during the rainy season when ruts and bumps develop.
  • Roads outside Apia are often narrow, winding, relatively steep, with narrow or no shoulders, and poorly lighted.
  • Pedestrians as well as vehicles and livestock regularly travel these roads.
  • Due to poor and deteriorating road conditions, night driving on unlit rural roads can be dangerous and should be avoided if possible.
  • Roads in Samoa often traverse small streams.
  • You should exercise extreme caution when fording these streams, which can become swollen and dangerous with little warning.
  • Vehicles should never enter a stream if the roadbed is not visible or if the water’s depth is more than the vehicle’s clearance.

Traffic Laws:  

  • Traffic travels on the left in Samoa, and you should exercise extra caution if you are accustomed to driving on the right.
  • Some vehicles in Samoa have left-hand drive steering systems, including rental vehicles and public transportation.
  • There are a few significant differences in the “rules of the road” in Samoa as compared to the United States (e.g., meeting situation at an intersection).
  • Drivers should familiarize themselves with operating requirements and local traffic laws before operating a vehicle in Samoa.

Public Transportation:

  • Taxis are widely available and used by Samoans and visitors alike.
  • Some taxis are unlicensed, so you should use care in choosing a taxi and driver.
  • Buses are slow, crowded, uncomfortable, undependable, and rarely used by visitors.
  • You can use rental cars, but be aware that limited roadside assistance is available.
  • Most major roads are tar-sealed, but secondary roads are predominantly dirt and gravel and may be rough and/or overgrown with vegetation.
  • A four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended for travel on secondarye roads.
  • You should be aware that vehicle safety regulations are rarely enforced, and traffic violations occur routinely.
  • See our Road Safety page for more information. 
  • Visit the website of the  Samoa Tourism Authority  for road safety information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Samoa’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Samoa’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
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U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
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Learn why the Hague Abduction Convention Matters.
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

United Sates Embassy Samoa

ACC Building,
Matafele
Apia, Samoa
Telephone: +685 21436 / 21631 / 21452 or 22696
Business Hours Emergency Telephone: (685) 21631 ext. 2222 or (685) 777-1776
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(685) 777-1776. Please leave a message, and the Duty Officer will return your call.
Fax: +(685) 22030
or

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General Information
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Hague Abduction Convention
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Return
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Visitation/Access
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Retaining an Attorney
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Mediation
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Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Samoa is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Samoa did not change.

Samoan law places restrictions on the "overseas adoption" of Samoan children by any person who is not a citizen of Samoa. See the "Eligibility Requirements" section below for further details.

The American Embassy Apia, Samoa, does not process immigrant visas. This process must be completed through the American Consulate General in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Who Can Adopt

To bring an adopted child to United States from Samoa, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Samoa also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: There is no specific requirement that the applicants be residents of Samoa.
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be of the age of majority, which is 21.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents may be married or single.
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be able to demonstrate a sufficient income to comfortably provide for an adopted child.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Samoa has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Samoa unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.

In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her back to the United States. Learn more about these U.S. requirements.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment Requirements: A form confirming the relinquishment of the rights of the natural parents over the child is included in the Court adoption application.
  • Age Requirements: The child must be below the age of 21 years old.
  • Waiting Period
  • OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Samoan law requires that before any Samoan court grants an adoption of a Samoan child to a citizen of another country, the Samoan Attorney General must certify that:
    • the child has no suitable family members in Samoa who are willing and able to care for the child in Samoa; and
    • there is no other suitable arrangement available in Samoa.
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How to Adopt

SAMOAN ADOPTION AUTHORITY

The government offices responsible for adoptions in Samoa are the Ministry of Justice & Courts Administration, and the Office of the Attorney General.

THE PROCESS

The process for adopting a child from Samoa generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Samoa
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
  6. Bring Your Child Home
  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

    The first step in adopting a child from Samoa is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.

    Samoan law requires that adoption agencies, prior to facilitating adoptions in or from Samoa, must be registered with the Samoan Government and have the prior written authorization from the Attorney General.

    The U.S. Embassy in Apia maintains a list of attorneys.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    To bring an adopted child from Samoa to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

    In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Samoa as described in the Who Can Adopt section.

  3. Be Matched with a Child 

    If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Samoa will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Samoan requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.

  4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Samoa

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Samoa generally includes the following:
    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Attorney General must certify that the child has no family or other possibilities within Samoa before an adoption degree may be granted.
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: Adoption applications must be made to the District Court.
    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: To facilitate the adoption of a child.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION: Prepared by law firm who is also an adoption agency.
    • TIME FRAME: The adoption process may take from several months to a year or more .
    • ADOPTION FEES: Attorneys' fees range from ST$900- ST$3000. In addition, prospective adoptive parents should expect to pay approximately ST$300 for justice and court administration fees. [As of the date of this flyer, the exchange rate is approximately ST$3 to USD$1.]
    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:
      • Original Birth Certificates for adoptive parents
      • Original Marriage Certificate for adoptive parents
      • Proof of Citizenship - Naturalization Certificates/Passports
      • Original birth certificate for adopted child
      • Proof of ownership of home from adoptive parents - proof of adequate space in the home to accommodate an additional household member.

    NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how

  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption

    After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Samoa, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.

  6. Bring Your Child Home Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
    • Birth Certificate 
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

    • Samoan Passport
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Samoa.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the Consulate General in Auckland for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Consulate General for final review and approval of the child's I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Learn more

      The U.S. Embassy in Apia, Samoa does not handle immigrant visa applications or issue immigrant visas. Immigrant visa applications for Samoan citizens are handled at the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland, New Zealand. Processing an immigrant visa may require both the adoptive parent(s) and the child to travel to Auckland for the formal interview after all documentation is in order. Adoptive or prospective adoptive parents of Samoan children should contact the U.S. Embassy in Apia for additional information and guidance as soon as possible after locating a child. This is particularly true if it appears that the Samoan court is expected to act favorably on the adoption application. The U.S. Embassy in Apia will then notify the Immigrant Visa Section at Consulate General in Auckland of the prospective case, so that the adoptive parents can be provided with the visa forms and medical examination instructions.

      Once a Samoan court has approved an application for adoption by American prospective adoptive parents, those parents must file a Form I-600, Petition for Orphan Classification, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) division of the Department of Homeland Security. If the adoptive parents already have an approved Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition , from USCIS, they may file the I-600 either in the United States or in person at the Consulate General in Auckland at the same time as the visa application on behalf of the adopted child. If the I-600 is filed in Auckland, generally both parents must be present. If one parent cannot be present, then the non-traveling parent must sign the I-600 before a U.S. notary public, and then the traveling parent will file the I-600 in Auckland. Please see the "Additional Information" section below for links to USCIS web pages where additional important guidance is available.
      Please note: once a visa application has been lodged in Auckland, the applicant may need to wait up to 3 months until a consular officer has the opportunity to visit Samoa in order to conduct any necessary interviews with the adopted child's birth parents, and conduct any necessary investigations before USCIS can approve the I-600 petition.

      Note: Once the I-600 is approved and on file, and all documents are in order, the immigrant visa process in Auckland should take approximately 1-2 days.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.

* Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Samoa. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Samoa, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Samoa registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does Samoa require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Samoa and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country's history of positive experiences with American parents.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Samoa 
th Floor, ACB Building,
Matafele Street
Apia, SAMOA 
Tel: (685) 21436
Fax: (685) 22030
Email: AmEmbApia@state.gov

Samoan Adoption Authority 
Ministry of Justice & Courts Administration
APIA
Tel: (685) 22-671
Fax: (685) 21-050

Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 27, APIA
Tel: (685) 20-295
Email: attorney.general@samoa.ws

Embassy of Samoa: Samoa does not have an embassy in Washington, DC. The only Samoan representation in the United States is:

Permanent Mission of Samoa to the United Nations
800 Second Avenue, Suite 400J
New York, New York 10017
Tel: 212 599 6196
Fax: 212 599 0797
Email: samoa@un.int 

Office of Children's Issues 

U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 60 Months
V-2 None Multiple 60 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 60 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth and Death Certificates

Available from the Registrar General of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Adoptions, Department of Justice, Apia. Requests for birth certificates must include the child's name, place of birth, date of birth, parents' names, and sex of child. There may be fees for these services.

American Samoa: Western Samoan and other residents /former residents of American Samoa

Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates

Available. Fee payable: $5.

Apply to:

American Samoa Government
Office of Vital Records Office
P.O. Box 6894
Pago Pago, AS 96799

Phone : 684-633-1405 and 6

Divorce Decrees: $5

Obtain from:

High Court of American Samoa
Tutuila, Pago Pago,AS 96799

Police Records:

Apply to:

American Samoan Police Dept. of Public Safety
P.O. Box 4567
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799

Ph: (684) 633-1111

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage and Divorce Certificates

Available from the Registrar General of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Adoptions, Department of Justice, Apia. There may be fees for these services.

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update.

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Identity Card

Please check back for update.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available from the Commissioner of Police, P.O. Box 53, Apia, Attention: C.R.O. There may be a fee for this service.

Prison Records

Unavailable.

Military Records

Unavailable.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

On July 1, 2003, some Samoan diplomatic and consular establishments began issuing regular (tourist) passports with a new, more secure, design. The Samoan government began issuing these passports in Apia on July 15. The new design passports are ICAO standards-compliant. Equipment for printing machine-readable version of these documents should be on-line in Apia and at the Samoan Consulate General in Auckland in October.

The new passport series begins with number T161001 and will end at T171000. The new passports come in both 36 and 48 page books. Their design retains the blue cover with gold embossed national crest of the former design. Interior pages have watermarks and carry a printed image of the national crest against a background of curved lines. The prayer page (printed on the interior of the back cover) and the signature page (page 1) contain lines of micro printing. A security laminate with UV features covers the bio-data page. The new passports do not employ intaglio printing. Presently, bio-data sheets are being printed separately and inserted on the bio-data page along with the bearer's photograph before the laminate is applied. In October, when Samoan authorities begin to issue machine-readable passports, bearer information will be printed directly onto the bio-data page.

The Samoan government has discontinued issuance of the Samoan Government Printing Office-produced documents on which it has relied since March to supplement the dwindling stock of passports from its previous supplier. The government will soon begin to recall the Printing Office-produced documents, which have no standard security features, and which were issued in Apia in the number sequences T158501-T161000 and T171001-T171-500.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Apia, Samoa (Embassy)

Street Address:
Accident Compensation Board (ACB) Building
Fifth Floor
Apia, Samoa

Mailing Address:
U.S. Embassy
P.O. Box 3430
Apia, Samoa

Tel: (685) 21631/22696

Fax: (685) 22030

E-mail: usembassy@samoa.ws

Auckland, New Zealand (Embassy)

Visa Services

Emergency, Diplomatic and Official visas may be processed by the U.S. Embassy in Apia, Samoa. Applications for nationals of Western Samoa are processed by the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland, New Zealand.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

New York, NY (212) 599-6196 (212) 599-0797

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

United Sates Embassy Samoa
ACC Building,
Matafele
Apia, Samoa
Telephone
(685) 21436/21631/22696
and 21452
Emergency
(685) 21631 ext. 2222 or (685) 777-1776
Fax
+(685) 22030
Samoa Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Samoa
Independent State of Samoa
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid at time of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page requirement for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays under 60 days

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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Embassies and Consulates

United Sates Embassy Samoa

ACC Building,
Matafele
Apia, Samoa
Telephone: +685 21436 / 21631 / 21452 or 22696
Business Hours Emergency Telephone: (685) 21631 ext. 2222 or (685) 777-1776
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(685) 777-1776. Please leave a message, and the Duty Officer will return your call.
Fax: +(685) 22030
or

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Samoa for information on U.S. - Samoa relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Travelers must have a valid passport and an onward/return ticket to enter Samoa. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for stays in Samoa of 60 days or less. Non-citizen U.S. nationals will need a visitor permit before travelling to Samoa. 

Non-citizen U.S. nationals can apply for a visitor’s permit at the Samoa Consulate General office in Pago Pago, American Samoa:

Consulate General Of Samoa
PO Box 1313
Iupeli Siliva Building
Fagatogo, Maoputasi
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799
Ph: +684 6335919
Fax: +684 6335929

Visit the Samoa Immigration website for Samoa’s most current visa information. 

You must pay a departure tax when you leave the country (this tax is normally included in airfares).

You can find more information about entry requirements and the departure tax from the Samoa Mission to the United Nations at 800-2nd Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017, ph: +(212) 599-6196 and fax: +(212) 599-0797, or by email.

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to, and foreign residents of, Samoa. Visitors indicating they have tested HIV positive will be subject to questioning by a health professional upon entry. Please verify this information with the Samoan Overseas Mission before you travel.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

In the past, disputes between villages and the central government have led to protests, road blocks, and hostility between the police and villagers. Travelers should be aware of their surroundings as demonstrations can sometimes escalate into violence.

Crime:

  • You should remain aware of your surroundings, lock your doors at night, and do not leave your belongings unattended.
  • Incidents of petty theft and robberies are common in Samoa. Some incidents have involved residential break-ins.
  • While rare, violent assaults, including sexual assaults, have occurred in Samoa. Particular care should be taken near Apia’s downtown bars and restaurants, where a number of violent incidents involving foreigners and Samoans have occurred. No specific groups have been targeted, and there have been no reported racially motivated or hate crimes against U.S. citizens.
  • Police in Apia generally respond quickly to incidents. However, since there is a very limited police presence elsewhere in Samoa (where order is maintained primarily by local village authorities), police response outside of Apia is not as quick or reliable as it is in Apia.
  • See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

  • U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy.
  • Report crimes to the local police at 22222 and contact the U.S. Embassy at 21631. 
  • Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
  • See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide information about the Samoa Victims Support Group that helps victims of crime in Samoa with local law enforcement liaison and other related matters.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Samoa are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines, or death.
  • In Samoa, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport or a copy of your passport with you or if you take pictures of certain buildings.
  • In Samoa, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail.
  • Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Behavior modification facilities:

  • There is one overseas treatment center or Behavior Modification Facility operating in Samoa.
  • Although this facility may be operated and staffed by U.S. citizens, the Samoan government is solely responsible for its compliance with local safety, health, sanitation, and educational laws and regulations, including all licensing requirements of the staff in country.
  • These standards may not be strictly enforced or meet the standards of similar facilities in the United States.
  • Parents should be aware that U.S. citizens and non-citizen nationals 16 years of age and older have a right to apply for a U.S. passport and to request repatriation assistance from the U.S. government, both without parental consent.
  • Any U.S. citizen or non-citizen U.S. national has the right to contact a representative from the U.S. Embassy. Parents may also contact the U.S. Embassy in Apia or the Office of American Citizens Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Stray dogs: In Apia, and in many villages, stray dogs wander the streets.

  • You should not approach or feed them; they can become aggressive in the presence of food or if they feel threatened.
  • There have been several cases of attacks by multiple dogs.
  • Please exercise appropriate caution when you are walking, running, or riding a bike near stray dogs.

Ferry service:

  • Although there have been no major accidents involving the ferry service linking Upolu and Savaii, vessels are sometimes overloaded.
  • One of the ferries, a multi-deck, automobile ferry, sometimes transports passengers on its automobile deck.
  • To avoid injury from shifting vehicles, you should ride only in the passenger compartment, not on the automobile deck during the crossing, if you choose to use this ferry.

Blowholes:  Samoa has numerous “blowholes” (lava tubes open to the sea where wave action produces often spectacular geysers). These blowholes are popular tourist attractions. The footing around the mouths of most blowholes is very slippery. To avoid being swept in, you should not approach too closely and should never stand between the opening of the blowhole and the sea.

Water sports:

  • Snorkeling and diving in ocean lagoons are popular activities for many visitors to Samoa.
  • Tide changes can produce powerful currents in these lagoons.
  • You should consult local residents and tour operators about hazards and conditions at a particular location before you venture into the water.
  • There are virtually no lifeguards in Samoa.
  • You are responsible for your own safety.
  • Carefully investigate the qualifications of guides and tour operators, especially regarding water sports.

Financial transactions: Some businesses in Apia, especially those frequented by tourists, do accept credit cards, but many do not, including gas stations. Major hotels and some restaurants and stores accept major credit cards (Visa, Master Card, and American Express). You can get Samoan currency from ATMs, which are located in Faleolo Airport, Salelologa, and in many locations in Apia. For more information on ATM locations and banking services, visit the ANZ Bank website or the BSP website.

Disaster preparedness:

  • Samoa is located in an area of high seismic activity called the “Ring of Fire” and is subject to earthquakes which can trigger a tsunami..
  • The rainy (or monsoon) season in the South Pacific is from November to April, when strong winds, heavy rains, landslides, and disruptions to services could occur.
  •  For information about tropical cyclone preparedness, visit our Tropical Season – Know Before You Go and Natural Disaster webpages, and NOAA's Tropical Cyclones Preparedness Guide.

Customs:

  • Samoan customs authorities may enforce strict regulations about importing or exporting items such as firearms, fruits, pets and other animals, and drugs.
  • You should contact the Samoan Mission to the United Nations at 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017, telephone: (212) 599-6196 for specific information regarding customs requirements.
  • You can also consult the Samoa Ministry of Revenue and the Samoa Quarantine website.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers:  Same-sex acts are a crime in Samoa, with prison terms of up to seven years. The Crimes Ordinance 1961 and the more recent Crimes Act 2013, which came into effect 1 May 2013, criminalize same-sex acts.

  • There is no recognition of same-sex relationships, marriage or adoption by same-sex couples in Samoa.
  • There are also no anti-discrimination laws in place.
  • Although the country is historically tolerant towards homosexuality, especially with regards to “fa’afafine,” the third-gendered Samoans, efforts to modernize the law under the Crimes Act 2013 were unsuccessful; however, the updated statute did eliminate the section that made it an offence for a male to dress as a female.
  • In many Samoan families it is not uncommon to raise a male child as a girl who plays an important role in domestic duties or the work force to provide for elderly parents and younger siblings.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. While in Samoa, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States.

  • There is no law pertaining specifically to the status of disabled persons.
  • Most major hotels, restaurants, and cafes are actively restructuring their facilities to accommodate persons with disabilities. However, disabled travelers should clarify with the hotel what accommodations are available before they book.
  • Persons with disabilities have easy access to medical facilities.
  • Some family-based beach accommodations in the outer villages are also working to provide accessibility for disabled persons.
  • Many of the new multi-story buildings provide ramps and elevators, but older public buildings do not.
  • The blind and persons in wheelchairs or on crutches will have difficulty navigating in and around Apia because of a limited number of stoplights and sidewalks.
  • Traffic is particularly hazardous for the disabled in rural areas that have no footpaths and sidewalks.
  • Most buses and taxis do not have ramps to accommodate wheelchairs.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health
  • Health care facilities in Samoa are adequate for routine medical treatment but are limited in range and availability.
  • Complex illnesses and life-threatening emergencies, as well as related laboratory work, generally need to be treated elsewhere.
  • Serious medical conditions and treatments that require hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars.
  • The national hospital is located in Apia, and there are several small district hospitals on Savaii and in outlying areas of Upolu.
  • Dental facilities do not meet U.S. standards, but good dental treatment and some emergency medical care is available at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
  • Pharmacies may not carry prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or the medicines may be of a different quality than those available in the United States.
  • There are no hyperbaric chambers on any of the islands for the treatment of scuba diving-related injuries. Serious cases of decompression sickness are evacuated to the nearest treatment center in Suva, Fiji, or Auckland, New Zealand.
  • We do not pay medical bills.
  • Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.  

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance  to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Samoa to ensure the medication is legal in Samoa. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact. The CDC has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects in some fetuses and babies born to infected mothers. For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website.

Vaccinations:  Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:

  • Urban roads in Apia and the main roads circumnavigating and crossing the island are all generally kept in fair condition, although bumps and potholes are common.
  • Side streets tend to be gravel or dirt and their condition varies considerably, particularly during the rainy season when ruts and bumps develop.
  • Roads outside Apia are often narrow, winding, relatively steep, with narrow or no shoulders, and poorly lighted.
  • Pedestrians as well as vehicles and livestock regularly travel these roads.
  • Due to poor and deteriorating road conditions, night driving on unlit rural roads can be dangerous and should be avoided if possible.
  • Roads in Samoa often traverse small streams.
  • You should exercise extreme caution when fording these streams, which can become swollen and dangerous with little warning.
  • Vehicles should never enter a stream if the roadbed is not visible or if the water’s depth is more than the vehicle’s clearance.

Traffic Laws:  

  • Traffic travels on the left in Samoa, and you should exercise extra caution if you are accustomed to driving on the right.
  • Some vehicles in Samoa have left-hand drive steering systems, including rental vehicles and public transportation.
  • There are a few significant differences in the “rules of the road” in Samoa as compared to the United States (e.g., meeting situation at an intersection).
  • Drivers should familiarize themselves with operating requirements and local traffic laws before operating a vehicle in Samoa.

Public Transportation:

  • Taxis are widely available and used by Samoans and visitors alike.
  • Some taxis are unlicensed, so you should use care in choosing a taxi and driver.
  • Buses are slow, crowded, uncomfortable, undependable, and rarely used by visitors.
  • You can use rental cars, but be aware that limited roadside assistance is available.
  • Most major roads are tar-sealed, but secondary roads are predominantly dirt and gravel and may be rough and/or overgrown with vegetation.
  • A four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended for travel on secondarye roads.
  • You should be aware that vehicle safety regulations are rarely enforced, and traffic violations occur routinely.
  • See our Road Safety page for more information. 
  • Visit the website of the  Samoa Tourism Authority  for road safety information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Samoa’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Samoa’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
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U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
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Learn why the Hague Abduction Convention Matters.
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

United Sates Embassy Samoa

ACC Building,
Matafele
Apia, Samoa
Telephone: +685 21436 / 21631 / 21452 or 22696
Business Hours Emergency Telephone: (685) 21631 ext. 2222 or (685) 777-1776
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(685) 777-1776. Please leave a message, and the Duty Officer will return your call.
Fax: +(685) 22030
or

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General Information
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Hague Abduction Convention
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Return
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Visitation/Access
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Retaining an Attorney
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Mediation
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Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Samoa is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Samoa did not change.

Samoan law places restrictions on the "overseas adoption" of Samoan children by any person who is not a citizen of Samoa. See the "Eligibility Requirements" section below for further details.

The American Embassy Apia, Samoa, does not process immigrant visas. This process must be completed through the American Consulate General in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Who Can Adopt

To bring an adopted child to United States from Samoa, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Samoa also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: There is no specific requirement that the applicants be residents of Samoa.
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be of the age of majority, which is 21.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents may be married or single.
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be able to demonstrate a sufficient income to comfortably provide for an adopted child.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Samoa has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Samoa unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.

In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her back to the United States. Learn more about these U.S. requirements.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment Requirements: A form confirming the relinquishment of the rights of the natural parents over the child is included in the Court adoption application.
  • Age Requirements: The child must be below the age of 21 years old.
  • Waiting Period
  • OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Samoan law requires that before any Samoan court grants an adoption of a Samoan child to a citizen of another country, the Samoan Attorney General must certify that:
    • the child has no suitable family members in Samoa who are willing and able to care for the child in Samoa; and
    • there is no other suitable arrangement available in Samoa.
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How to Adopt

SAMOAN ADOPTION AUTHORITY

The government offices responsible for adoptions in Samoa are the Ministry of Justice & Courts Administration, and the Office of the Attorney General.

THE PROCESS

The process for adopting a child from Samoa generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Samoa
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
  6. Bring Your Child Home
  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

    The first step in adopting a child from Samoa is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.

    Samoan law requires that adoption agencies, prior to facilitating adoptions in or from Samoa, must be registered with the Samoan Government and have the prior written authorization from the Attorney General.

    The U.S. Embassy in Apia maintains a list of attorneys.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    To bring an adopted child from Samoa to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

    In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Samoa as described in the Who Can Adopt section.

  3. Be Matched with a Child 

    If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Samoa will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Samoan requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.

  4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Samoa

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Samoa generally includes the following:
    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Attorney General must certify that the child has no family or other possibilities within Samoa before an adoption degree may be granted.
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: Adoption applications must be made to the District Court.
    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: To facilitate the adoption of a child.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION: Prepared by law firm who is also an adoption agency.
    • TIME FRAME: The adoption process may take from several months to a year or more .
    • ADOPTION FEES: Attorneys' fees range from ST$900- ST$3000. In addition, prospective adoptive parents should expect to pay approximately ST$300 for justice and court administration fees. [As of the date of this flyer, the exchange rate is approximately ST$3 to USD$1.]
    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:
      • Original Birth Certificates for adoptive parents
      • Original Marriage Certificate for adoptive parents
      • Proof of Citizenship - Naturalization Certificates/Passports
      • Original birth certificate for adopted child
      • Proof of ownership of home from adoptive parents - proof of adequate space in the home to accommodate an additional household member.

    NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how

  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption

    After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Samoa, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.

  6. Bring Your Child Home Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
    • Birth Certificate 
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

    • Samoan Passport
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Samoa.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the Consulate General in Auckland for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Consulate General for final review and approval of the child's I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Learn more

      The U.S. Embassy in Apia, Samoa does not handle immigrant visa applications or issue immigrant visas. Immigrant visa applications for Samoan citizens are handled at the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland, New Zealand. Processing an immigrant visa may require both the adoptive parent(s) and the child to travel to Auckland for the formal interview after all documentation is in order. Adoptive or prospective adoptive parents of Samoan children should contact the U.S. Embassy in Apia for additional information and guidance as soon as possible after locating a child. This is particularly true if it appears that the Samoan court is expected to act favorably on the adoption application. The U.S. Embassy in Apia will then notify the Immigrant Visa Section at Consulate General in Auckland of the prospective case, so that the adoptive parents can be provided with the visa forms and medical examination instructions.

      Once a Samoan court has approved an application for adoption by American prospective adoptive parents, those parents must file a Form I-600, Petition for Orphan Classification, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) division of the Department of Homeland Security. If the adoptive parents already have an approved Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition , from USCIS, they may file the I-600 either in the United States or in person at the Consulate General in Auckland at the same time as the visa application on behalf of the adopted child. If the I-600 is filed in Auckland, generally both parents must be present. If one parent cannot be present, then the non-traveling parent must sign the I-600 before a U.S. notary public, and then the traveling parent will file the I-600 in Auckland. Please see the "Additional Information" section below for links to USCIS web pages where additional important guidance is available.
      Please note: once a visa application has been lodged in Auckland, the applicant may need to wait up to 3 months until a consular officer has the opportunity to visit Samoa in order to conduct any necessary interviews with the adopted child's birth parents, and conduct any necessary investigations before USCIS can approve the I-600 petition.

      Note: Once the I-600 is approved and on file, and all documents are in order, the immigrant visa process in Auckland should take approximately 1-2 days.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.

* Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Samoa. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Samoa, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Samoa registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does Samoa require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Samoa and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country's history of positive experiences with American parents.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Samoa 
th Floor, ACB Building,
Matafele Street
Apia, SAMOA 
Tel: (685) 21436
Fax: (685) 22030
Email: AmEmbApia@state.gov

Samoan Adoption Authority 
Ministry of Justice & Courts Administration
APIA
Tel: (685) 22-671
Fax: (685) 21-050

Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 27, APIA
Tel: (685) 20-295
Email: attorney.general@samoa.ws

Embassy of Samoa: Samoa does not have an embassy in Washington, DC. The only Samoan representation in the United States is:

Permanent Mission of Samoa to the United Nations
800 Second Avenue, Suite 400J
New York, New York 10017
Tel: 212 599 6196
Fax: 212 599 0797
Email: samoa@un.int 

Office of Children's Issues 

U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 60 Months
V-2 None Multiple 60 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 60 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth and Death Certificates

Available from the Registrar General of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Adoptions, Department of Justice, Apia. Requests for birth certificates must include the child's name, place of birth, date of birth, parents' names, and sex of child. There may be fees for these services.

American Samoa: Western Samoan and other residents /former residents of American Samoa

Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates

Available. Fee payable: $5.

Apply to:

American Samoa Government
Office of Vital Records Office
P.O. Box 6894
Pago Pago, AS 96799

Phone : 684-633-1405 and 6

Divorce Decrees: $5

Obtain from:

High Court of American Samoa
Tutuila, Pago Pago,AS 96799

Police Records:

Apply to:

American Samoan Police Dept. of Public Safety
P.O. Box 4567
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799

Ph: (684) 633-1111

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage and Divorce Certificates

Available from the Registrar General of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Adoptions, Department of Justice, Apia. There may be fees for these services.

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update.

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Identity Card

Please check back for update.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available from the Commissioner of Police, P.O. Box 53, Apia, Attention: C.R.O. There may be a fee for this service.

Prison Records

Unavailable.

Military Records

Unavailable.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

On July 1, 2003, some Samoan diplomatic and consular establishments began issuing regular (tourist) passports with a new, more secure, design. The Samoan government began issuing these passports in Apia on July 15. The new design passports are ICAO standards-compliant. Equipment for printing machine-readable version of these documents should be on-line in Apia and at the Samoan Consulate General in Auckland in October.

The new passport series begins with number T161001 and will end at T171000. The new passports come in both 36 and 48 page books. Their design retains the blue cover with gold embossed national crest of the former design. Interior pages have watermarks and carry a printed image of the national crest against a background of curved lines. The prayer page (printed on the interior of the back cover) and the signature page (page 1) contain lines of micro printing. A security laminate with UV features covers the bio-data page. The new passports do not employ intaglio printing. Presently, bio-data sheets are being printed separately and inserted on the bio-data page along with the bearer's photograph before the laminate is applied. In October, when Samoan authorities begin to issue machine-readable passports, bearer information will be printed directly onto the bio-data page.

The Samoan government has discontinued issuance of the Samoan Government Printing Office-produced documents on which it has relied since March to supplement the dwindling stock of passports from its previous supplier. The government will soon begin to recall the Printing Office-produced documents, which have no standard security features, and which were issued in Apia in the number sequences T158501-T161000 and T171001-T171-500.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Apia, Samoa (Embassy)

Street Address:
Accident Compensation Board (ACB) Building
Fifth Floor
Apia, Samoa

Mailing Address:
U.S. Embassy
P.O. Box 3430
Apia, Samoa

Tel: (685) 21631/22696

Fax: (685) 22030

E-mail: usembassy@samoa.ws

Auckland, New Zealand (Embassy)

Visa Services

Emergency, Diplomatic and Official visas may be processed by the U.S. Embassy in Apia, Samoa. Applications for nationals of Western Samoa are processed by the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland, New Zealand.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

New York, NY (212) 599-6196 (212) 599-0797

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

United Sates Embassy Samoa
ACC Building,
Matafele
Apia, Samoa
Telephone
(685) 21436/21631/22696
and 21452
Emergency
(685) 21631 ext. 2222 or (685) 777-1776
Fax
+(685) 22030
Samoa Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.