Nadi International Airport | The Pride of Fiji

FJ

Upon arriving at Nadi International Airport, known locally as the ‘Hub of the South Pacific, you will be gently guided through a handful of different streamlined departments so your travel documents can be verified. This is not any different from any other international port of entry, so there is nothing to be concerned with.  We are going to walk you through these departments, so there are no surprises and they can be maneuvered through with ease.

Table of Contents

Fiji Flight Arrivals and Departures 


Traveler navigating the international airport in Nadi
Airport Guide (Photo: Fiji Airways)

Passport Control Area: Nadi International Airport


Immigration and Passport Control area
Immigration and Passport Control area (Courtesy of AFL)

As you disembark your plane and head eagerly towards the Immigration and Passport Control area, you will most likely be greeted by a welcoming party that will serenade you with local tunes. In this newly refurbished airconditioned area you will find all the normal bathroom facilities, so you can refresh, and acclimatize. This is the perfect time to rummage through your carry-on bag and dispose of any food or items that are listed by the Biosecurity Authority as prohibited, there will be clearly signed bins spaced around this area for your convenience. When you have accustomed yourself to the area you will see directly in front of you two snake-like lines, formed by those retractable belt barriers and posts, with your fellow travelers queuing up to be seen by the immigration officer, for locals there is normally a shorter line with one officer, and a larger line for the non-citizen holidaying in Fiji, more than likely you will fall into the latter.

If this is your first time traveling or feel uncertain about what is required of you let a few of the more experienced travelers go in front of you in the queue and watch what they do. Whilst you are waiting to be seen, take out the following documentation that the border control officer will ask for:

  1. Your passport (that is still valid for 6 months after the date you leave Fiji)
  2. An airplane ticket out of Fiji
  3. A completed Passenger Arrival card (More on this later)
  4. And the Initial address you will be staying at in Fiji.
  5. Visa Approval – (Do you need a visa to enter Fiji? Article)

The whole process minus the waiting times should be less than 1 minute, as this is routine, as long as you have the above checked, you should be all good to go…

Baggage Claim Area: Nadi International Airport Fiji


Baggage and Duty Free Shops on the Lower Ground Level at Nadi International Airport Fiji
Baggage and Duty-Free Shops on the Lower Ground Level at Nadi International Airport Fiji | Image: Supplied

The Baggage Claim Area is located on the lower level of the airport down a single flight of steps, an elevator is also available if required. As you reach this area, opening out directly in front of you will be a set of ever-revolving carousels and baggage trolleys. Each Carousel is designated to a specific flight, and you will see a small screen on the side and at the front with your designated flight number emblazed on the screen, as this is not Gatwick in London, there are normally only one or two flights being processed at any one time. So by the time you have reached the baggage claim area, your luggage has probably already done several full 360-degree circuits of the conveyor belt and is eagerly awaiting to be reunited with its owner.

Upon reconnecting with your luggage, it is time to think about some duty-free purchases, we go into further detail later in the article on the quantities and amounts allowed to be purchased with appropriate website links for convenience.

LOST AND FOUND – Hopefully, you will not need to use this department during your adventures to Fiji, but if you do find yourself in this predicament contact the nearest staff member at the airport they will assist you further. You can also reach Border Police by telephone: at (679) 6722355 or by e-mail: at borderpolicefj@gmail.com if not resolved immediately, for later retrieval.

FJ Experience 1 : ‘Only recently we had the unfortunate need to use this department, we were traveling from Fiji to PNG, with Fiji Airways, of course, via Brisbane. The flight was faultless, upon arriving at our destination we were refreshed and raring to go, throw our bags in the hotel room, and explore the sites, the only issue we had was upon arrival at Port Moresby, are bags had decided to take a siesta in Australia, so we were in a foreign land with only our hand luggage, happier in the knowledge that we had packed a second pair of clothes, in our carryons.’

‘Going to the appropriate department at the airport we spent a good hour, filling out the forms and the staff made the appropriate phone calls, very professional courteous, and proactive, making sure we had the right information. The bags were lost for seven days and finally arrived as we were leaving, although not the ideal outcome, the staff provided us with the ability to claim the costs of any purchased clothing and beauty products during our stay.’

Lessoned learned: when you pack your bags, with your distinctive mark or tie-on for easier identification, snap a few photos of your luggage, from different positions, as the hardest part was describing the bags.

Biosecurity And Scanned Baggage Area

This is the final opportunity to declare any of the items listed as prohibited by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji. Take a few moments, to familiarize yourself with the items, for the majority of holidaymakers this will be an item of food, taken to eat on the flight.

If unsure, you have any items, check and double-check, declare, or simply discard them in the nearest amnesty bins. The respected officer will ask you for your Passenger Arrival Card and ask you verbally if you have any items to declare. If you are still unsure or have some restricted items, immediately tell the officer and he/she will guide you to a side desk and help you further. For if you openly mislead this government official, you could be open to a hefty fine. you have been warned, so please take this relatively easy task seriously and build it into your traveling repertoire. The final requirement is your luggage be scanned by the state-of-the-art x-ray machine, lighting up the contents of the bag like Las Vegas Boulevard, nothing can hide.

After making your way through this final step you will walk through the award-winning arrival lounge

Duty-Free Purchases

The table below outlines the duty-free allowances when entering Fiji (First Entry in the Table) followed by the different countries’ Duty-Free allowances that have direct flights. Remember it must be for personal use and not for resale

SpiritsTobacco ProductsOther
FIJI2.25 litres of spirits or 4.5 litres of wine or beer. (only if aged 18 years and older)200 cigarettes or 200g of cigars or 200g of tobacco.Other dutiable goods to the value of FJD 1,000
AUSTRALIA2.25 litres of spirits only (if you’re over 18).50 cigarettes or 50g of cigars or tobacco.Other goods over 18 – the limit is AUD 900, (if under 18 – the limit is AUD 450)
NEW ZEALAND3 bottles of spirits (not exceeding 1.125 litres each) and 4.5 litres of wine or beer50 cigarettes or 50g of tobacco products (including a mixture of cigarettes and other tobacco products)Other goods (including gifts) to the value of NZD700
HONG KONG
1 litre of spirits (over 30% volume) only (if you’re over 18).19 cigarettes or 1 cigar or 25g of tobacco
KIRIBATI2.25 litres of alcohol or 4 litres of wine. (only if aged 21 years and older200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco productsOther goods to the value of AUD200
SAMOA
2.25 litres of spirits (only if aged 21 years and older)200 cigarettes or 250 grams of cigars or tobaccoOther goods to the value of SAT$500
SINGAPORE
1 litre of Spirit, 1 litre of wine and 1 litre of beer or, 2 litres of wine and 1 litre of beer or, 1 litre of wine and 2 litres of beer. (Only if aged 18 years and older)Other goods to the value of SGD$600
SOLOMON ISLANDS
2 litres of spirits or wine200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco products (only if aged 18 years and older)Other goods – over 18 years old – limit is SBD$3000 (If under 18 – limit is SBD$1500)
TONGA
2.25 litres of spirits or 4.5 litres of wine or beer250 sticks of cigarettes or 250 grams of cigars or tobacco product (only if aged 18 years and older)Other goods to the value of TOP$500)
VANUATU
2 litres of spirits and 2 litres of wine, 9 litres of beer250 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco or 25 cigars or 100 cigarillos100ml of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette – Other goods to the value of VUV50,000
USA
1 litre of spirits.200 cigarettes or 100 cigarsOther goods up to a value of USD 800
HONOLULU Refer to United States of America allowance. When travelling to Honolulu via Apia, you will not be able to carry any of the following items through transit if purchased from Nadi Airport or Fiji Airways duty free inflight: duty free liquor, handicraft items, all liquids, aerosols and gels over 3.2oz or 94ml.

Customs, Border Control & Restricted Items: Nadi International Airport


Team Photo of the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji
Biosecurity Authority of Fiji | Image: Supplied

The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) is a Public Enterprise (Act 2019) that was established under the Biosecurity Act of December 2008. BAF’s primary objective is to prevent the establishment and spread of pests and diseases that might adversely affect the native animals, plants, human beings, and environment of the Fiji Islands at different points of border entry. This can be through legislation, proactive work, and the monitoring and control of the nation’s borders. The first and sometimes last line of defense.

Although the following is an extreme example that happened hundreds of years prior it provides a clear illustration of how easily a single act by one individual can cause considerable damage to a country’s environmental, economic, and social structure and equilibrium, specially brought to the fore after two years of restrictions of COVID.

1875: Fiji Measles Pandemic – After Fiji ceded to the British Empire, a royal party visited Australia as a gift from Queen Victoria. Arriving during a measles outbreak, the royal party brought the disease back to their island, and it was spread further by the tribal heads and police who met with them upon their return.

Spreading quickly, the island was littered with corpses that were scavenged by wild animals, and entire villages died and were burned down, sometimes with the sick trapped inside the fires. One-third of Fiji’s population, a total of 40,000 people, died. (History, 2021)

On a lighter note – Working together alongside this department upon entry to the country by simply understanding and carefully following steps and any direction they need, will considerably help their daily duties and protect the paradise we all cherish for future generations to appreciate.

Fiji Passenger Arrival Card


Fiji Passenger Arrival Card
Fiji Passenger Arrival Card | Image: Supplied

During the final stages of the flight to Fiji, the Flight attendants will hand out a double-sided ‘Fiji Passenger Arrival Card’ the standard size of a pamphlet, you will need your passport and ticket at hand so you can document your Passport and Departure Numbers. This is the time when you wish you had carried a small pen, as normally there is not enough to go around, so you may have to wait your turn until everyone has completed the routine task.

On the front side of the card, they ask you to fill out your standard personal details, with your country of residence and the main reason for visiting Fiji. On the reverse, they ask a series of YES and NO questions categorized under CUSTOMS and HEALTH AND BIOSECURITY, and each ONE HAS TO BE ANSWERED, if you have any queries or do not understand a particular question, please ask, as this card is a legal document, and has to be answered with complete honesty, with your signature and date authenticating the information documented. The reason we stipulate the importance of this document is that it allows the first line of defense against any biological contagion that could affect our carefully balanced environment.

A separate card has to be filled out for every member of your family, including children. So spend a few minutes with a cool refreshing drink, pause the movie, and carefully fill out the details.  Make it Legible, contain the information within the white boxes printed on the card and it must be in English, as this is the universal language within Fiji.  Fiji Passenger Arrival Card – PDF

Restricted Items


BioSecurity Bins Declare of Bin and BCR Poster
BioSecurity Bins Declare of Bin and BCR Poster | Image: Supplied

To avoid the introduction of foreign plant and animal pests and diseases, Fiji prohibits the importation of vegetable matter, seeds, or any animal product without a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forests.

MOST PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS ARE NOT PERMITTED UNLESS WITH VALID DOCUMENTATIONS.

The information in the table below gives examples gathered from Fiji Airports Official website, detailing the different categories and the most common items encountered.  If you are unsure about any item PLEASE ASK, as if found in possession of any of the items listed without the appropriate forms or without being officially declared, you can face a steep financial penalty.  

Table: Restricted Items


ALL OF THE ITEMS BELOW MUST BE DECLARED OR BINNED
FOOD– Meat, Eggs, Dairy products, Dried mushrooms & Fungi, Honey and honey products, Seeds for human consumption and processing into food, Nuts, Spices, Herbs and un-popped popcorn, Dried, cooked, or preserved fruit and vegetables, Fresh fruit or vegetables
PLANT AND PLANT PRODUCTS – Fresh or dried flowers, Items made of bamboo, cane, rattan, coconut straw, Items made of wood, e.g. drums, carvings, spears, masks, utensils, or tools, Corn and straw souvenirs, including items stuffed with seeds and straw
ANIMAL AND ANIMAL PRODUCTS – All uncanned meat including fresh, dried, frozen, cooked, smoked, salted, or preserved products from all animal species sausages, salami, and sliced meats, Airline food including sandwiches containing meat, Special diets (prescribed/religious/allergen free/lactose-free, etc), Fish (fresh/frozen/dried) and other seafood products, Shells, Animal skin or items made of animal skin, Feathers, Bones, Wooden masks with animal fur or hair, Eggs, Honey and honey products, Pet food – including canned products and rawhide chews, Noodles, Mayonnaise
BIOLOGICAL ITEM AND OTHER GOODS – Vaccines, Culture, Blood, Live/dried or preserved insects or fungi, Any other kind of biological specimens, Equipment used with animals, Fish plants, Bee-keeping equipment, Saddle, Any other kind of used equipment/planting products, Soil, Rock, Earth, Mineral sample, Tools used in farms
CAMPING AND SPORTING EQUIPMENT – Tents, Used sporting/tracking boots/ tracking shoes/ tracking suits/gears
‘Working Together we are Stronger’

There are several Biosecurity bins spaced around the airport’s arrival area, allowing you to dispose of any of the listed items above, if you have identified an item that is of sentimental or monetary value, and you do not wish to dispose of it, you can approach the declaration desk and they will provide you with the different options, of sending it back to your home destination, this will come at a cost to yourself.

IF UNSURE, DECLARE OR BIN

There are some Financial restrictions, but this will probably not affect the majority of people, so we will keep it short, the full details are provided here (PDF), If you are carrying $10,000 or more (foreign equivalent) in cash or negotiable bearer instruments, such as cheques, traveler’s cheques, bills of exchange, promissory notes, certificates of deposit, money orders, postal orders, bearer bonds, and other debt instruments, declare on your arrival or departure card and complete a Border Currency Report, if ignored a maximum fine of $60,000 or 10 years imprisonment or both can be handed down.

One Final note, Border control will do random checks of passengers’ luggage, so PLEASE account for the minor inconvenience, as this is a job that is normally below the radar and unappreciated, when you understand the necessity and importance of this role, to the safety of the whole nation, a greater appreciation for the raw delicately balanced natural beauty of Fiji will become apparent.

Official Biosecurity Authority Fiji Website

Arrival Lounge: Nadi International Airport


Left: Burger King Customer being served. Right: Kokonui Team
Left: Burger King Customer being served. Right: Kokonui Team | Image: Supplied

As you head around the final passage, a sense of normality hits home again, the sun is blazing through the open entry, and everyone is full of smiles and joys of life. All the normal facilities line the sides of the arrival lounge from the Local phone operators, (Digicel and Vodafone, allowing you to get a sim card for your stay in Fiji, this is highly recommended), Airport Currency Exchange to various Travel Agents, Car Rental Desks, with a few restaurants, squeezed in between. Land Based Transport and Aerial transfer offices are found further along the lounge, with the vehicles and buses themselves observable through the opening to the back and side of the airport. The internationally known shining yellow beacon of the Airport Taxis also line the tarmac outside, waiting to escort you safely to your destination. If you have pre-booked a transfer from your venue, normally a smart dress representative will be holding up a card with your name printed on it. It’s time to start your holiday and enjoy the magic and beauty Fiji has to hold.

Departure Areas at Nadi International Airport Fiji
Departure Areas at Nadi International Airport Fiji | Image: Supplied

YouTube Video: Transformed Nadi International Airport


References

  • Avionio (2020, July 11). Nadi International Airport (NAN) arrivals timetable. Avionio. Retrieved April 11, 2023, from Link
  • Avionio (2020, July 11). Nausori Airport Suva (SUV) arrivals. Avionio. Retrieved April 11, 2023, from Link
  • AT (2018, October 26). Nadi International Airport Terminal Modernisation. Airport Technology. Retrieved April 13, 2023, from Link
  • Chambers, C. (2018, June 5). Our Modern Airport Enhances Our Position As The Undisputed Hub Of Region. Fiji Sun. Retrieved April 13, 2023, from Link
  • FFIU (2021, September 10). Reporting Forms. Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit. Retrieved April 12, 2023, from Link
  • Fiji Airways (2023, January 12). Duty Free Allowance. Fiji Airways. Retrieved April 15, 2023, from Link
  • GCS (2020, August 1). Fiji Airport Codes. Great Circle Search. Retrieved April 12, 2023, from Link
  • History.com Editors (2021, December 21). Pandemics That Changed History. History. Retrieved April 14, 2023, from Link
  • [IniBuilds]. (2022, December 24). IniBuilds Nadi International (NFFN) for Microsoft Flight Simulator [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpUKixUM31c&t=113s

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