Considering a move to the beautiful Pacific island of Guam? If so, you may be wondering what kind of paperwork you need to make the move.
In other words, can Americans live in Guam without a visa?
Absolutely! U.S. citizens and permanent residents don’t need a visa to live on Guam. After all, Guam is a U.S. territory. If you have the legal right to live in the 50 U.S. states, you also have the legal right to live on Guam—no additional paperwork required.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to have a valid, unexpired passport on hand. However, as an American citizen or permanent resident traveling to a territory like Guam, it’s not required, unless your full itinerary includes a destination outside the U.S.
However, it wasn’t always as easy to get to and from Guam, believe it or not. Stick with us for a quick history lesson—and some more Q&A about who can live on Guam.
Guam: A Really Quick History
The island of Guam has a rich and interesting human history that stretches back around 4,000 years. For the purposes of talking about who can come and go from Guam, we’ll give you a much abbreviated version below. However, if you want to take a deeper dive on the history of Guam, check out our article, a Brief History of Guam.
Guam: A Very Short History
- ~4,000 years ago – Humans first arrive on Guam from Southeast Asia, likely from Taiwan.
- 1521 – Europeans first land on the island, led by explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
- 1565 – Spain formally claims Guam.
- 1898 – In the course of the Spanish-American War, the United States captures Guam on June 21. The island is officially ceded to the U.S. under the Treaty of Paris and placed under the governance of the U.S. Navy.
- 1941 – For security reasons, Executive Order 8683 is issued, establishing the Guam Island Naval Defensive Sea Area and Guam Island Airspace Reservation. This gives the U.S. Navy the power to require non-Guamanians to apply for security clearance to come to Guam. This order is enforced during several time periods until 1962, when President John F. Kennedy’s Executive Order 11045 officially revokes the earlier Executive Order once and for all.
- 1950 – The Guam Organic Act establishes the first civilian government on Guam.
- 1952 – U.S. citizenship is granted to everyone born on Guam on or after April 11, 1899, via the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952.
In summary, since 1962, U.S. citizens and permanent residents can enter and leave Guam without special permission or paperwork. However, while the Guam Island Naval Defensive Sea Area and Guam Island Airspace Reservation was in effect, non-Guamanians had to apply for a security clearance from the Secretary of the Navy to visit Guam. In fact, it’s reported that Ford Q. Elvidge, the recently-appointed governor of Guam, was nearly denied entrance to the island in 1953 for not presenting the appropriate security clearance.
Now that you understand some of the history that led to Guam’s current status as a territory—and why U.S. citizens and permanent residents can come and go as they wish—let’s answer a few more common questions we get in this arena.
Does a U.S. Citizen Need a Visa to Go to Guam?
No. U.S. citizens and permanent residents don’t need a visa to go to Guam—or live on Guam. In fact, American citizens and residents traveling to Guam technically don’t even need to present their passports/Green Cards. However, having your passport and/or Green Card at the ready is always a good idea, just in case.
Can an American Citizen Move to Guam?
Yes, absolutely. American citizens and permanent residents can move to Guam. Additionally, they’re legally eligible to work on Guam.
If you’re considering a move to Guam, we’ve got plenty of resources to help you research your decision, including the following articles:
- Moving to Guam? Here Are 9 Things You Need to Know!
- Is Guam a Good Place to Live?
- Is Guam Safe? Health and Safety Tips for Island Visitors & Residents
- What’s the Real Cost of Living on Guam?
How Long Can a U.S. Citizen Stay in Guam?
U.S. citizens and permanent residents can stay on Guam as long as they want. Whether they want to enjoy the island for a few days, a few years, or a lifetime, Guam is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents indefinitely.
Are Babies Born in Guam U.S. Citizens?
Yes. With the passing of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, everyone born on the island of Guam on or after April 11, 1899 are U.S. citizens.
The same is true for babies born in other incorporated U.S. territories, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands. One notable exception is those born in American Samoa, who are considered non-citizen nationals. However, that issue is currently the subject of a lawsuit and may change soon.
How Do You Become a Resident of Guam?
If you wish to become a bona fide resident of Guam—or any U.S. territory—the Internal Revenue Service recognizes three tests:
- A presence test – Where did you physically spend your time during the year in question? Were you physically present in Guam for at least 183 days out of the year?
- A tax home test – Where was your “tax home,” the place where you primarily work or do business? Was it Guam?
- A closer connection test – Is Guam the location where you have the most significant connections, including things like your primary residence, personal belongings, and core family?
If you meet these three tests, you’ll officially be considered a resident of Guam, at least where the IRS is concerned.
Will I Need a New Driver’s License in Guam?
If you’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident moving to Guam, you’ll have 30 days to obtain a Guam Driver’s License. You can get more information here on the official website for the Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation.
What If I’m Not a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident? Can I Visit Guam? Or Move to Guam?
If you’re not currently a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, the requirements for visiting Guam or moving to Guam are the same as they would be for visiting or moving to the continental U.S.
You can read more about the requirements for your country on the U.S. Department of State website.
Have More Questions About Moving to Guam?
Check out our step-by-step Guam Moving Guide. We’ll give you an overview of what to expect once you make the move—and we’ll answer the most common questions we get about relocating to the island.
And when you’re ready to plan your move, we’d love to help! Reach out to a member of our team for a complimentary quote. We specialize in safe, easy, and affordable moves to Guam.
Tell us about your move!