American Samoa travel ban lifted
The Government of American Samoa has lifted a ban on people travelling from Samoa into the U.S. territory but has warned that any applications to travel will now be subject to a review period of 15 days.
Previously entry permits to American Samoa were typically processed inside 48 hours. The new review period applies to all countries who require entry permits to enter the American territory and will be extended to 30 days for countries other than Samoa itself.
American Samoa's Governor, Lolo Matalasi Moliga, announced the relaxation of the travel restrictions in a decree issued on Thursday Samoan time.
The Governor emphasised that although the ban on entry permits was lifted strict restrictions will remain, due to the ongoing threat posed by the Pacific measles epidemic to the U.S. territory's public health.
“All entry permits from the Independent State of Samoa will require a 15 day review period while those from other countries will be under review for 30 days," the Governor said.
"Entry permits for those travelling through the United States or its territories are excluded from this review period.
“However all entry permits request, regardless of country of origin must include documented proof of vaccinations.”
Governor Lolo added that American Samoa border control agencies will be ensuring that all travelers are compliant with the new entry rules.
“All vessels entering [American Samoa Government] waters must continue to receive prior to approval to navigate our waters. All restrictions at the airport and seaport for travelers and the public remain in effect," he said.
On Friday Talofa Airways began contacting customers who had booked flights to Pago Pago International Airport that anyone travelling via Samoa and the Independent State of Samoa must provide proof that they have received a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine before being allowed to check in.
“[The] proof must show [...] immunisation has been received at least 14 days before arrival in American Samoa," the airline said in a statement.
“Passengers without the required proof of immunization will be denied boarding."
Citizens of the 42 countries who are part of American Samoa's Visa Waiver Programme will still need to contact the American Samoa Attorney General's office for approval in advance of any flights to receive immigration approval.