SAMOA

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Country Description: The Island country of Western Samoa has a stable parliamentary democracy with a developing economy. Tourist facilities are accessible by bus, taxi, and car and are within walking distance of access roads.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: Information about entry requirements may be sought from the Western Samoa Mission to the UN at 820 2nd Avenue, Suite 800, New York, NY 10017, telephone (212) 599-6196, fax (212) 599-0797, Internet: http:www.interwebinc.com/samoa.

Medical Facilities: Health care facilities in Western Samoa are adequate for routine medical treatment, but are limited in range and availability. A national hospital is located in Apia and district hospitals are available on Savai'i and Upolu. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Travelers to Western Samoa may wish to consider obtaining typhoid immunizations before arrival, because immunizations are not currently available to the public in Western Samoa. Supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage including provision for medical evacuation may prove useful. Information on health matters can also be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through its international travelers hotline at (404) 332-4559 or via the CDC home page on the Internet: http://www.cdc.gov/.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Overall crime in Western Samoa is low, though there is a high incidence of petty theft/robberies of personal effects. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the U.S. Embassy. Useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad." It is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Criminal penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect severe jail sentences and fines.

Road Safety: Most major roads are tar-sealed, but secondary roads are predominantly dirt and gravel, and may be overgrown. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for travel on these roads. Travellers should be aware that vehicle safety regulations are rarely enforced and traffic violations occur routinely. Night driving is dangerous and not recommended.

Aviation Oversight: As a result of an assessment conducted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in November, 1995, the FAA has found the Government of Western Samoa's Civil Aviation Authority to be in compliance with international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation at 1-800-322-7873.

Registration/Embassy Location: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the Embassy. They may also obtain updated information on travel and security within the country at the Embassy. The U.S. Embassy in Western Samoa is located in the John Williams Building, fifth floor, Beach Road, Apia. The Embassy is open to the public from 9:30 to 12:30 every morning and by appointment at other times. The Embassy can be reached from the U.S. c/o P.O. Box 3430 in Apia. The telephone number is (685) 21-631. The fax number is (685) 22-030.

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