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Country Profile

Western Samoa

Samoa consists of the two large islands of Upolu and Savai’i and seven small islets. The country has a stable parliamentary democracy with a developing economy. Tourist facilities are accessible by bus, taxi, and car and are within walking distance of access roads. Infrastructure is adequate in Apia, the capital, but is limited in other areas. Nearly all Internet connections use a relatively slow dial-up method. Samoa has two digital telephone service providers, and visitors can easily purchase prepaid phones that cover virtually the entire country. The Samoa Tourism Authority provides a wide range of information of interest to travelers. Read the Department of State’s Background Notes on Samoa for additional information.

Western Samoa

   
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 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Samoa
Continent: Oceania
Capital City: Apia
Boundary Countries:

No land boundaries.

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:
Main Cities:

Apia, Mulifanua, Matavai, Faleasi'u, Salelologa, Vaitele

Country Size: 2,831 sq km
Population: 219,998

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

Samoan (Polynesian), English

Currency: Western Samoan Tala (WST)
Predominant Religions:

Congregationalist 34.8%, Roman Catholic 19.6%, Methodist 15%, Latter-Day Saints 12.7%, Assembly of God 6.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.5%, Worship Centre 1.3%, other Christian 4.5%, other 1.9%, unspecified 0.1%

National Holidays: Independence Day, 1 June (1962); note: 1 January 1962 is the date of independence from New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship; it is observed in June
Economic Status:

The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, agriculture, and fishing. The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labor force and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, and copra. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products.

Security:

no regular military forces; Samoa Police Force

US Presence:

The U.S. Embassy in Apia is located in the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC formerly and more well known as ACB) Building, Fifth Floor, Apia. The Embassy's mailing address is US Embassy, PO Box 3430, Apia, Samoa 0815. The telephone numbers are (685) 21436/21631/22696 and 21452. The fax number is (685) 22030. An Embassy officer can be reached after hours in an emergency involving the welfare of a US citizen or non-citizen national at (685) 777-1776. The Embassy is open to the public from 9:00a-12:45p, and 1:30p-4:00p from Monday – Friday except Thursdays, when it is open only from 9:00a -12:45p.

Document Requirements:

Visitor permits are not required for US citizens seeking to stay in Samoa for up to 60 days. Visitor permits are required for non-citizen US nationals of American Samoa who reside in American Samoa, who must obtain visitor permits prior to all travel to Samoa. They are no longer permitted to travel to Samoa on certificates of identity except on a case-by-case basis. (US law distinguishes between individuals who are citizens and those who are non-citizen nationals. The US passport bio-page shows one’s status as either a US citizen or a non-citizen national.) Visitor permits to travel to Samoa can be applied for at the new Samoa Consulate General office in Pago Pago, American Samoa. The Samoa Consulate General address is PO Box 1313, Pago Pago, American Samoa, telephone (684) 633-5919, fax (684) 633-5929. A valid passport and an onward/return ticket are required for all Americans (both US citizens and non-citizen nationals) to travel to Samoa. All visitors are required to pay a departure tax of 40 Tala (approximately 17.50 USD) upon leaving the country. Further information about entry requirements and the departure tax may be obtained from the Samoa Mission to the United Nations at 800-2nd Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017, telephone (212) 599-6196, fax (212) 599-0797, or by email. Visit the Permanent Mission of Samoa to the United Nations web site. For the most current visa information, visit the Samoa Immigration web site.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

Major Airports:

Airports:  4;  Airports w/paved runways:  2

Apia Airport, Samoa
Samoa Airport Authority, Private Bag, Apia, Samoa
Tel: +685 23201
Fax: +685 24281
Website: www.livesamoa.com/saa

Customs Tel: +685 21561
Fax: +685 21563
Customs Hours: 08:00-16:30

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

Although Samoa has a low level of crime, visitors should remain aware of their surroundings, lock their doors at night, and not leave their belongings unattended. Incidents of petty theft and robberies of personal effects are common. Some such incidents have involved residential break-ins. While rare, violent assaults, including sexual assaults, have occurred in Samoa. No specific groups have been targeted, nor have there been any racially motivated or hate crimes against US citizens. Police responsiveness in Apia is generally good. Because of the very limited police presence elsewhere in Samoa (where order is maintained primarily by local village authorities), police response outside of Apia is problematic.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR TOTAL: 24.22 deaths/1,000 births
Life Expectancy at birth: TOTAL 71.86 years (male 69.03/ female 74.84)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: None
Recommended: Hep A & B, Typhoid
Boosters: MMR, DPT, as needed

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Occasional outbreaks of typhoid and non-hemorrhagic dengue do occur. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC web site. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) web site. The WHO web site also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Health care facilities in Samoa are adequate for routine medical treatment but are limited in range and availability; complex illnesses and life-threatening emergencies generally need to be treated elsewhere. Dental facilities do not meet U.S. standards, but good dental treatment and some emergency medical care can be obtained nearby at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center in Pago Pago, American Samoa. The national hospital and a small private hospital are located in Apia, and there are several small district hospitals on Savai'i and in outlying areas of Upolu. 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. Serious medical conditions and treatments that require hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Travelers are encouraged to have emergency evacuation insurance. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 0
Referrals: 4
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Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Dengue, filariasis, Ross River virus, and Murray Valley encephalitis are diseases carried by insects that also occur in the Pacific Island region. Protecting yourself against insect bites (see below) will help to prevent these diseases. Japanese encephalitis is present in Papua New Guinea and the Torres Strait and far northern Australia.  Leptospirosis is common on some of the Pacific Islands.

Periodic outbreaks of measles have occurred on islands with inadequate immunization coverage.

Cases of melioidosis have been reported from Papua New Guinea, Guam, and Australia; risk may exist on other islands.

High attack rates of ciguatera poisoning from eating large reef-dwelling fish have been reported on some of the islands.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +685
Internet Country Code:  .ws

 



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