Customs and Immigration Regulations

If you’re from an English-speaking country or Europe you probably won’t need a visa to visit most of the South Pacific countries as a tourist. Even American Samoa does not require a visa of most tourists. Check the exact requirements HERE. Everyone must have a passport, sufficient funds, and a ticket to leave. Your passport should be valid six months beyond your departure date.

Immigration officials will often insist on seeing an air ticket back to your home country, no matter how much money you’re able to show them. And make sure the name on your passport is exactly the same as the name on your plane ticket (no nicknames or married names). Some officials object to tourists who intend to camp or stay with friends, so write the name of a likely hotel on your arrival card (don’t leave that space blank).

The easiest way to obtain a residence permit in a South Pacific country is to invest money in a small business. Almost every country and territory has a special government department intended to facilitate investment and the local tourist office will be able to tell you who to contact. As little as US$50,000 capital may be required and lots of low-tech opportunities exist in the tourist industry. Drawbacks are that you may be obliged to accept a local partner, your residence permit will end as soon as you cease to be actively involved in the business, and you’ll be subject to immediate deportation if you get on the wrong side of local politicians. Unconditional permanent residence and citizenship are rarely granted to persons of ethnic origins other than those prevailing in the countries.

Agricultural regulations in most Pacific countries prohibit the import of fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, seeds, honey, eggs, dairy products, meat (including sausage), live animals and plants, as well as any old artifacts that might harbor pests. Processed food, biscuits, confectionery, sugar, rice, seafood, dried flowers, mounted insects, mats, baskets, and tapa cloth are usually okay. If you’ve been on a farm, wash your clothes and shoes before going to the airport, and if you’ve been camping, make sure your tent is clean. If in doubt about something you want to bring home, ask about having your souvenirs fumigated by the local agricultural authorities and a certificate issued prior to departure.