American Samoa Immigration: Staying legal in Paradise
A common question about American Samoa is from people visiting and people considering a move to the island. What is American Samoa Immigration like? As you may notice, there is not much information online about what is and is not the rules.
The fact is that American Samoa immigration is like the United States but it is self-ran and they do have a little different policies. You can be in American Samoa and not be legally in the United States. Many Asians live on island because they can’t get a visa to America.
The following is what I understand from living in American Samoa.
Who needs a visa and who doesn’t?
US Citizens and Nationals are on US Soil. Period. Americans can come to the island, live as long as they want and start a business if they like. There is no reservations as far as legally for American citizens.
Those in the Freely Associated States of Marshall Islands, Micronesia, or Palau can come to American Samoa for as long as they want as well. Then, there is a list of about a dozen nations of the wavier free program for the United States. American Samoa honors that.
If you are from another country, you can come with a sponsor in place if long term and they are pretty flexible for tourists. They will just want to make sure that you actually leave American Samoa. Many want to come and “forget” where the airport is. I do not understand why it is so hard to find but many immigrants claim it is.
American Samoa Immigration will be on the radar!
In the United States, the battle to reform the immigration is in full swing. It will only be a matter of time before major changes come to American Samoa. The government in Saipan is now under federal border control. I expect it will only be a matter of time before American Samoa is as well.
As things are right now, many Filipinos, Koreans, and Chinese are working in American Samoa but do not have visas to the United States. The border between the island and Hawaii remains quite tight because of this.
There was also wide corruption with the American Samoa Immigration office a few years ago that will only make the process for people coming from the island more intense in the future.