What to Do When Passing Through Biosecurity in Fiji
Once you start exploring the pristine islands of Fiji, swimming in the crystal clear waters and sampling the local food, you’ll see why Fiji is a country worth protecting. Fiji is free from all serious plant and animal pests and diseases and works hard on maintaining this privileged status. For this reason, you will have to go through a relatively strict Biosecurity procedure when arriving in Fiji. There are a few items, some of which are quite common, that you’ll need to declare when arriving in Fiji. We’ll go through that and more in this guide to Customs and Biosecurity in Fiji.
While you’re here, you might also be interested in Arrival at Nadi International Airport: Step-by-Step and Everything You Need to Know About Arriving in Fiji.
What to Expect When Arriving in Fiji
The arrival procedure in Fiji may be stricter than what you are used to in your home country. However, there’s nothing to worry about as long as you are honest with Immigration and Biosecurity officers (and you’re not a hardened criminal). These are the processes you will go through when arriving in a Fiji international airport from overseas:
- Complete the Passenger Arrival Card – this will be given to you during your flight by in-flight staff
- Land in Fiji and pass through Passport Control with your passport and Passenger Arrival Card
- Collect your luggage from the Baggage Claim area
- Pass the first stage of Biosecurity – vocally declaring any declarable items and handing over your Passenger Arrival Card
- Put your luggage through the Biosecurity X-rays
- Enjoy your holiday in Fiji!
Fiji Passenger Arrival Card
During your flight or cruise to Fiji, you will be given a Fiji Passenger Arrival Card to complete before arriving at Customs in Fiji. The form is displayed on a narrow double-sided card. Each individual arriving in Fiji must have a completed Fiji Passenger Arrival Card, even children. Passenger Arrival Cards must also be completed in English.
The Fiji Passenger Arrival Card asks for your personal details, such as your name, address, passport number, occupation, flight number/name of ship, etc. You must also tick from a multiple-selection question, what is your main reason for visiting Fiji (holiday, business, etc.). The back of the Fiji Arrival Card then asks “yes” or “no” questions about items that you have in your possession or in any of your luggage concerning health and biosecurity. We’ll go into more detail about biosecurity in the section below.
See What You Need to Know About the Fiji Passenger Arrival Card to see what questions are asked on the card.
Passing Through Biosecurity in Fiji
Once you have landed at a Fiji international airport, such as Nadi International Airport, get your Passenger Arrival Card and passport ready for inspection at the Passport Control arrivals desk or “Primary Line”. Here, the officer is likely to ask you questions in relation to the answers you have stated or ticked on the Passenger Arrival Card. If you have ticked “yes” to any of the Health & Biosecurity questions on the back of the Arrival Card, it’s likely that you’ll be asked to explain what items you are referring to or more details about it. After this quick process, you will go through to the Baggage Claim area.
What to Declare
After collecting your luggage from the Baggage Claim area, you will need to take your luggage to the Biosecurity area. Here, large signs are displayed to remind you of what you need to declare to the Biosecurity officers. Again, you may be asked if you have anything to declare, such as the items you refer to when you ticked “yes” on the back of the Passenger Arrival Card. As a reminder, those items refer to:
- Obscene articles or printed matter
- Cigarettes or alcohol above the duty-free allowance (see here for the duty-free allowances for Fiji)
- Goods for commercial purposes
- Personal goods which exceed FJ$1,000 (excluding personal items that would be reasonably expected in luggage)
- Currency with the combined value of FJ$10,000 or more
- Food of any kind
- Animals, reptiles, aquatic organisms, birds or any kind of animal products
- Biological specimens
- Equipment used with animals, fish or plants
- Soil, rock, earth and any used outdoors equipment like camping gear, sports shoes, etc.
- Any items used in a farm, forest or a place with farm animals, abattoirs or packing premises
- Holy Water
- Human Remains (ash)
In addition to the above, you will also be asked to declare a drone if you have one with you. You will be required to complete some extra paperwork for bringing a drone into Fiji, which will require you to write the serial number of your drone (usually found under the drone – you will need to remove the battery to see it).
Prescription medicines and controlled drugs also need to be declared. The medication should have a copy of the prescription on the medication packaging or on paper form in your name or the name of someone travelling with you.
If you are unsure whether you declare an item or not, declare it anyway! The more honest you are through the Biosecurity process, the quicker and easier it will be.
For a complete list of declarable items, see our What to Declare When Arriving in Fiji.
The final stage of Biosecurity is passing all your luggage, including handbags, camera bag, laptop bags, etc., through an x-ray. This is the final check for Biosecurity officers to make sure you are not bringing any restricted or prohibited goods into the country. After that, you may be asked some further questions then you will be good to go!
What Happens if a Risk Good is Found in Your Luggage
Disposing of Risk Items Before Passing Through Biosecurity
Amnesty bins are readily available before passing through Biosecurity so that you can dispose of any declarable or risk items that you have not declared on your Passenger Arrival Card. Dispose of any potential risk items that you have not declared into these bins. Ask a Biosecurity officer for advice if you are unsure.
What Happens to Undeclared Risk Items?
When passing through Biosecurity, if any restricted, prohibited or declarable items are found in your luggage or in your possession, which you have not declared on your Passenger Arrival Card, you may be fined an instant FJ$400. You are also liable for prosecution with a maximum fine of FJ$20,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment.
What if Your Declared Item is Prohibited?
If you have declared an item that is deemed to be unsafe by Biosecurity officers, then the item may require treatment at your expense. Alternatively, you may have the option of the item being destroyed immediately or re-exported to the country of origin under Biosecurity supervision at your expense.