Leaving Tonga: Departure Tips & Checklist© TongaPocketGuide.com
Leaving Tonga: Departure Tips & Checklist

Leaving Tonga: Departure Tips & Checklist

© TongaPocketGuide.com

What Happens When You Leave Tonga from Fua’amotu or Vava’u International Airport

The saddest part of your holiday is this very moment; when it comes to an end. You’ve gone through an amazing journey, experienced the warm hospitality of Tongans, and seen some stunning pieces of paradise – we’ve probably even planned a thing or two together here on Tonga Pocket Guide. But now, you need to check-in for your departure flight and leave Tonga. Here’s the final piece of advice we can give you; everything you need to know about leaving Tonga and the full departure process.

5 Tips and Things to Do Before Leaving Tonga

Before we dive into the guide for leaving Tonga, here are a few departure tips:

  1. Exchange any Tongan Pa’anga you have left in cash (except coins) at the airport before leaving, unless you’re returning to Tonga, as exchanging Pa’anga can sometimes be difficult overseas
  2. When packing your bags to leave Tonga, make sure that you put anything that won’t pass through airport security into your check-in luggage
  3. Note that some items from Tonga, such as souvenirs made from wood, shells or coconut fronds may need a phytosanitary certification to pass through biosecurity at your next destination. Check with your destination before departing or request a phytosanitary certification from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forests/Quarantine Division in Tonga
  4. Arrive at Fua’amotu (Tongatapu) or Lupepau’u (Vava’u) International Airport two hours before your flight is scheduled for departure
  5. Have a black or blue pen handy so you can complete the Departure Declaration Card.

Now, let’s continue with more advice for leaving Tonga and what to do on departure.

Leaving Tonga: Departure Tips & Checklist© TongaPocketGuide.com

Fua’amotu and Lupepau’u Airport Check-In Departure Process

You need to arrive at Fua’amotu (Tongatapu) or Lupepau’u (Vava’) International Airport for your departure flight around two hours before your scheduled departure time.

Departure Airport Transfers

There are a number of ways to travel back to Tonga’s international airports from your accommodation. Taxis and your accommodation’s own transfer service are both valid options. For more ways to get to the airport, check out How to Get an Airport Transfer in Tonga.

Check-In for International Departures

The check-in for international departures is at the International Terminal of Fua’amotu International Airport and in the Departures Hall at Lupepau’u International Airport. It will be the same process as your arrival check-in to Tonga; finding your airline’s allocated check-in counter and providing the check-in staff with your passport and booking reference/e-ticket for your departure flight.

You do not need to declare any personal items that you are leaving Tonga with unless you’re carrying TOP$10,000+ or the foreign equivalent in cash. There may be certain items, like food, that you can’t take past the borders of the country you are arriving in (such as New Zealand), so be sure to research the biosecurity measures of your destination/home country. These items, however, you don’t need to declare in Tonga.

You will check-in any larger luggage you may have, and then you will be given a boarding pass and a Departure Declaration Card (see the section below) and asked to go through airport security.

Airport Security

Airport security is located past the check-in counters on your left at Fua’amotu and opposite the check-in counters at Lupepau’u. Before you go to security, consider exchanging any Tongan Pa’anga that you have left at the currency exchange bureau (only available outside of Fua’amotu), as this will be your last chance in Tonga.

Just outside of security, there is a desk where you’ll need to have your passport checked and hand over your completed Passenger Departure Card (more on that below). Once the Immigration and Customs officer is satisfied with the information provided, you’ll be asked to continue through to security.

At security, you will need to put your bags and items like laptops into separate trays to go through X-ray machines. There are certain items you can’t take through airport security, such as sharp objects, sporting goods, matches or lighters, and liquids, aerosols, gels or pastes that are not in 100 ml (3.4 oz) containers.

Leaving Tonga: Departure Tips & Checklist© TongaPocketGuide.com

Tonga Departure Declaration Card

Also part of your Tonga departure entertainment is completing the Tonga Departure Declaration Card. The information you provide on the card is used for survey and statistical purposes for the Tonga Government, as well as by Customs to identify if you are moving large sums of currency out of the country. Note that everyone leaving Tonga is required to complete the Departure Declaration Card. The card needs to be completed in black or blue pen, which isn’t always available so it’s recommended to have one handy!

The Tonga Departure Card – Front of Form

The front of the Tonga Passenger Departure Card outlines how to complete the departure card. Section 1 of the card must be completed by every passenger. It asks for your flight number/name of ship, passport number, nationality, name, date of birth, gender, occupation, your destination, marital status and date of departure.

Declaring Prohibited or Restricted Goods

Section 1 also asks questions concerning Customs, such as “Are you carrying TOP$10,000 or more?” and “Are you carrying any prohibited or restricted goods?” Prohibited or restricted good refers to the following:

  • Articles of Tongan culture, including Tao, Tao-Fotoi (barbed spear), Mataa (club), Likuvalu (club), Tao Niu (spear of coconut), Kolo (throwing club), Kaufana (bow), Ngauhau (arrow), Ualulu (club), Tau uluilulu (spear with owl’s head), Tuipapanu (club), Mo`ungalaulau (club), Makata (club), Tuitapavalu (club), Malumulekeleka (throwing club), Tui (club), Tutanga’akau (club), Soki (spikes in ground), Totoko (club), Povai (club), Falevatu (axe), Vulaono (axe), Tao Ngututokotoko (bayonet), Paletau (shield), Meleihe (short stick), Fala Vala and Fala Fatu
  • Raw coral
  • The amount of TOP$10,000 or more in cash (or the foreign equivalent) without permission of the Governor of the National Reserve Bank of Tonga
  • Any other goods where the exportation of which is prohibited or restricted under any other law in force in Tonga.

For information on restricted imports, see What to Declare When Arriving in Tonga.

The Tonga Departure Card – Back of Form

Passengers who do not normally reside in Tonga must complete Section 2 of the Tonga Passenger Departure Card. The section will ask for the full contact and residential address of where you were staying while in Tonga (you can just name the hotel/accommodation you stayed in). It will also ask for your country of residence, length of time spent in Tonga, the main reason for visiting Tonga, and approximately how much money, in Tongan Pa’anga, did you spend while in Tonga.

Visitors to Tonga can skip Section 3 and just sign Section 4.

Do You Need to Pay a Departure Tax for Tonga?

You do not need to pay the departure tax for leaving Tonga if you are leaving via plane, as the tax is included in the price of your plane ticket. Learn more about the departure tax in Tonga Tipping & Tax Guide for Travellers.

Leaving Tonga: Departure Tips & Checklist© TongaPocketGuide.com

Fua’amotu Airport Departure Lounge

The Departure Lounge at Fua’amotu International Airport has seating, a cafe, bathrooms and retail/duty-free outlets. Note that the Departure Lounge of Lupepau’u Airport has very limited facilities with just a bathroom and seating. Learn more about the shops and services of the Departure Lounge in our guide, Tonga Arrival Airports: Which Airport to Fly into Tonga.

Once your flight is ready to board, there will be an announcement and passengers will be asked to approach the front kiosk determined by seat number. You will need to show your passport and boarding pass to staff before boarding the plane.

For the process for disabled passengers, see Accessibility in Tonga: Disabled & Wheelchair Access Guide.

Leaving Tonga: Departure Tips & Checklist© TongaPocketGuide.com

Leaving Tonga By Sailing Yacht

For those visiting Tonga via sailing yacht, you must clear out via one of Tonga’s ports of entry. You must provide Customs with an Outward Report (Small Vessels) Form before they will issue your final clearance papers.

For more information about leaving Tonga via sailing yacht, see our Sailing Guide to Tonga: Tips for Yachting in Tonga.

More About Leaving Tonga and the Departure Process

That’s it for our guide to leaving Tonga and the departure process. For more information about Fua’amotu International Airport and a few more tips for departure, check out the following guides:

Finally, if there’s anything else you need to plan for your Tonga getaway, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Tonga Travel Guide.


Robin (Lopini) C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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