Islands under the control of U.S. Dept of Interior

USA
American Law Made Easy

Territories

  • American Samoa
  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

Freely Associated States

  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Palau

American Samoa

Political Status

American Samoa became a U.S. territory by deed of cession, starting in 1900. The matai (local chiefs) of Tutuila, the largest island in American Samoa, ceded the island to the United States in 1900. Manu’a followed in 1904. Swain Island joined the territory in 1925 by an act of the Congress. Authority over American Samoa was initially placed with the U.S. Navy which oversaw the territory until 1951.

Authority was transferred to the Department of the Interior (DOI) in 1956, where it resides.

Even without an organic act or other explicit Congressional directive on governance, the people of American Samoa adopted their own constitution in 1967 and first constitutional elections were in 1977. Unlike citizens of other U.S. territories who are U.S. citizens, American Samoans are U.S. nationals. However, neither citizens nor nationals of U.S. territories vote in Federal elections and pay Federal taxes. American Samoa came under Federal minimum wage rules in 2007 and controls its own immigration and border matters.

Travel Requirements

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not exercise jurisdiction in American Samoa. No one may enter American Samoa unless he or she complies with certain entry requirements of the American Samoa Government. To enter the territory, a U.S. citizen or national must have in his or her possession: (1) a valid U.S. passport or certified birth certificate demonstrating his or her U.S. nationality and (2) a ticket for onward passage out of American Samoa or proof of employment in American Samoa. The requirements for an alien’s entry into American Samoa mirror those for a U.S. citizen or national. In addition to a ticket for onward passage out of American Samoa, an alien must have in his or her possession a valid passport containing a photograph or fingerprint of the holder and authorizing him or her (1) to return to the country from where he or she came or (2) to enter some other country. Whether a U.S. citizen or national or an alien, once lawfully admitted, a tourist or business person may stay in American Samoa for up to thirty days. With the approval of the Attorney General of American Samoa, a tourist or business person may stay in American Samoa for thirty days beyond the initial thirty-day period. At the present time, the American Samoa Government does not require any vaccinations for entry into the territory.

American Samoa Leadership

Lemanu Peleti Mauga​
Governor of American Samoa
Office of the Governor
Executive Office Building
Third Floor, Utulei
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799
1 (684) 633-4116
1 (684) 633-2269 Fax
Website
Uifa’atali Amata Coleman Radewagen
U.S. Representative
US. House of Representatives
1339 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515Fagatogo Office
Fagatogo Square
Fagatogo, AS 96799
(202) 225-8577
(202) 225-8757 Fax
Website684-699-8577

Guam

Political Status

Guam became a U.S. territory in 1898 and placed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy.  The Guam Organic Act of 1950 conferred U.S. citizenship on Guamanians and established the territory’s government.  The Act also transferred Federal jurisdiction over Guam from the U.S. Navy to the Department of the Interior.  First elections were held in 1970.

Guam Leadership

Lou Leon Guerrero, Governor of Guam​
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 2950
Hagåtña, Guam 96932

Madeleine Bordallo, Guam Governor’s Liaison
Washington Office
Governor of Guam
444 North Capitol Street
Washington, DC 20001
202-434-4855

Michael San Nicolas, U.S. Representative​
U.S. House of Representatives
2442 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20515-5301
(202) 225-1188
Website

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Political Status

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) emerged from the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) which the United States administered on behalf of the United Nations from 1947 until Palau, the last member of the TTPI to choose its own political future, became an independent country 1994. The Federal law (the Covenant) making the CNMI a U.S. territory passed in 1975. The CNMI adopted its constitution in 1977, and its first constitutional government took office in 1978. The CNMI came under Federal minimum wage regulations in 2007 and immigration law in 2008. In June 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security takes over the CNMI’s immigration and border controls.

CNMI Leadership

Ralph DLG Torres
Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands
Office of the Governor
Caller Box 10007
Capital Hill
Saipan, MP  96950
1 (670) 664-2280
1 (670) 664-2211 Fax
Gregorio Camacho Sablan
U.S. Representative
U.S. House of Representatives
2411 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Telephone (202) 225-2646
Fax (202) 226-4249
Website

U.S. Virgin Islands

History & Political Status

The Caribbean island chain known as the Virgin Islands was divided into two parts in the 17th century, one English and the other Danish.  The Danish part had been in economic decline for quite some time, owing to losses in sugarcane production after slavery was abolished in 1848.  In 1917, the United States purchased the Danish part for $25 million, mainly for strategic reasons to assure tranquility in the Caribbean Ocean.  U.S. citizenship was conferred on U.S. Virgin Islanders in 1927.  Federal authority over the new U.S. territory was placed in the Department of the Interior in 1931, where it resides.  The Organic Act of 1936 laid the foundation for self-government and a more elaborate governmental structure emerged from the revised Organic Act of 1954.  The first elections for constitutional officers were held in 1970.

U.S.V.I. Leadership

Albert Bryan, Jr.​
Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands
Office of the Governor
Government House
21-22 Kongens Gade
Charlotte Amalie
St. Thomas, VI 00802
1 (340) 774-0001
1 (340) 693-4309 Fax
Website
Stacey Plaskett
U.S. Representative
U.S. House of Representatives
509 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-5501
(202) 225-1790
(202) 225-5517 Fax
Website

In 1947, the United Nations placed several Pacific Islands, including the current Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the Republic of Palau (Palau) under the Trusteeship System established in the U.N. Charter and establishsed the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Trust Territory) with the U.S. as the Administering Authority. The Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands each signed an original Compact with the United States in 1982 and 1983, respectively, and are now operating under amended Compacts, which were concluded in 2003 and entered into force in 2004. In 1986 Palau signed a Compact with the United States which entered into force in 1994. In 2010, pursuant to that Compact, the United States and Palau signed a Compact Review Agreement (CRA), which was amended and brought into force in 2018.

Federated States of Micronesia

Political Status

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) emerged from the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) which the United States administered on behalf of the United Nations from 1947 until 1978.  The FSM adopted its own constitution and became an independent country in 1979; it entered into a Compact of Free Association with the United States in 1986 and became a member of the United Nations in 1991. The first financial package of the Compact covered 15 years, from 1986 to 2001. Under provisions of the Compact, the Compact was extended for two years while the United States and the FSM completed negotiations for a new financial package in 2003, covering 2003-2023. A Trust Fund was also created to contribute to the long-term budgetary self-reliance of the FSM when the financial grant provisions of the Compact expire in 2023. 

Under the Compact, the United States provides financial assistance, defends the FSM’s territorial integrity, and provides uninhibited travel for FSM citizens to the U.S.  In return, the FSM provides the United States with unlimited and exclusive access to its land and waterways for strategic purposes.  The close ties between the United States and the FSM that go back to the end of World War II are also reflected in the fact that hundreds of FSM citizens serve in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and further their education in the United States. The FSM also uses the U.S. dollar as its currency.

The Marshall Islands

Political Status

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) was a district of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) which the United States administered on behalf of the United Nations from 1947 until 1978.  The RMI came into being as a sovereign country in 1979 and entered into a Compact of Free Association with the United States in 1986.  The first financial package of the Compact lasted 15 years, from 1986 to 2003.  By the provisions of the Compact, the United States and the RMI negotiated a new financial package in 2003, covering 2003-2023.    Under the Compact, the United States provides economic and financial aid and defends the RMI’s territorial integrity.  In return, the RMI provides the Untied States with unlimited and exclusive access to its land and waterways for strategic purposes. A Trust Fund was also created to contribute to the long-term budgetary self-reliance of the RMI when the financial provisions of the Compact expire in 2023. The close ties between the United States and the RMI that go back to the end of World War II are also reflected in the fact that the RMI uses the U.S. dollar as its currency.  Strategically, the RMI hosts the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Reagan Missile Test Site, a key installation in the U.S. missile defense network.

Republic of Palau

Political Status

The Republic of Palau (Palau) emerged from the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) which the United States administered on behalf of the United Nations from 1947 to 1978. Palau was the TTPI’s last district to choose its political future and become a sovereign country. Upon independence in 1994, Palau entered into a 50-year Compact of Free Association (U.S. Public Law 99-658) with the United States, similar to that of its neighbors, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau. Palau also joined the United Nations in 1994. Under the Compact, the United States, through the Department of the Interior, provides economic and financial assistance, defends Palau’s territorial integrity, and allows uninhibited access by Palauan citizens to the United States in return for exclusive and unlimited access to Palau’s land and waterways for strategic purposes. The close strategic and economic ties between the United States and Palau that go back to the end of World War II are also reflected in the fact that hundreds of Palauan citizens serve in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and choose to further their education in the United States. Palau also uses the U.S. dollar as its currency.


Source Information: U.S Dept of Interior

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