Federated States of Micronesia Frequently Asked Questions

Pursuant to the Amended Compact of Free Association, citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia continue to enjoy the privileges of traveling to and residing in the US to seek employment or pursue education, without the need for a visa. These rights and responsibilities are outlined in more detail in the Information Pamphlet for citizens. The actual text of the Compact Agreement is also linked on this website and may be accessed through Forms or through the Office of Compact Management.

General

Is Micronesia part of the South Pacific?

Geographically, Micronesia is not part of the South Pacific as the majority of its islands and atolls lie north of the equator. There are three distinct regions in the Pacific: Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. Within Micronesia, there are several political entities: the Marshall Islands, Palau, the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the US territory of Guam and the Federated States of Micronesia. The Federated States of Micronesia comprises the 4 main island groups which are the States of Chuuk, Yap, Kosrae and Pohnpei. There are approximately 600 islands in the Federated States of Micronesia grouping.

I live on the East Coast. What time is it in Micronesia?

Pohnpei and Kosrae, in the FSM are 16 hours ahead of US Eastern Standard Time. Chuuk and Yap are in the next zone over, thus they would be 15 hours ahead.

Is English Spoken in the FSM?

Yes, English is one of the official languages of communication. However, there are at least nine (9) other Micronesian languages and dialects spoken throughout the FSM.

How do I call the FSM from the US?

When calling the FSM from the US, you must first dial 011 (international), then 691, which is the country code. Each state has it’s own designated prefix, followed by 4 numbers.

Land line prefixes /Cell phone prefixes

  • Pohnpei 320- /920-
  • Yap 350- /950-
  • Kosrae 370- /970-
  • Chuuk 330- /930-

For example: If you are calling the Department of Foreign Affairs from the US, you would dial: 011-691-320-2614. If you are calling a number that is preceded by 930, you are most likely calling a cell phone in Chuuk.

Newcomers

I am a new visitor to the US. What should I do?

Please read the Essential Information for FSM Citizens which can be found on this website. You may also obtain copies from the Embassies and Consulates. It will give you a good idea of what you should and shouldn’t do while residing here in the USA. You may also call the Embassy or the Consulates for more information. We encourage you to join our email list on our website, or call the FSM Embassy in Washington, DC to register your name and address. We are better able to assist you if we know you are here.

I am going to the US. What paperwork do I need?

You must have a valid passport for travel. In the past FSM citizens were able to travel with birth certificates, however, the laws have changed. Please keep your passport up-to-date at all times. As a result of the new I-94 automation process, which was implemented in 2013, I-94 issuance are now automated. Upon entry, your passport information will be processed by US Customs & Border Protection authorities. Your passport will be stamped CFA/FSM for Compact of Free Association and D/S for Duration of Stay. It is important that you retrieve a copy of your I-94 record information through the USCBP website. Your I-94 record information is evidence that you have been admitted to the U.S as a legal non-immigrant. You do not need a visa and you are permitted to stay for the duration of your stay. You should also bring certified copies of your birth certificate, school documents, guardianship papers and/or any other important and necessary papers to ease your transition to the US. Please keep your passport up-to-date and please print out a copy of your I-94 record information on a periodical basis for your records. If for any reason you are unable to retrieve your I-94 record information online because it was issued incorrectly, please visit the following link, U.S CBP Deferred Inspection Sites, or contact the Embassy for assistance.

I-94

My I-94 card has been lost or damaged. What do I do?

If your entry into the U.S was before the new I-94 automation process and your I-94 card has been lost, damaged, or stolen, you need to apply for a replacement as soon as possible. The I-94 card is very important. It is evidence that you have entered the USA legally and it is required by employers and other agencies. It does not expire and is valid until you depart the US. Recent changes by the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) stipulate that all FSM citizens should submit applications for replacement I-94’s with the Homeland Security, USCIS Service Center Office at either one of their designated “Lockbox Facilities”. The application for replacement I-94 card is also known as Form I-102. You must ensure that your application is complete and filed correctly. The current processing fee is $445 and is subject to future changes as authorized by US law. Please make sure to visit this page link (www.uscis.gov/forms) or visit the USCIS main page(www.uscis.gov)to stay informed of future changes to the processing fee and other changes in general.

Detailed instructions for the I-102 application for FSM citizens can be downloaded here: FSM citizen Instructions for Form I-102. You may also download application and instructions from the USCIS website by clicking this link: FORM I-102.

The only other way to have an I-94 card re-issued is to leave the USA (i.e. visit the FSM or another country) and come back whereupon US Customs and Border Protections officials will issue you a new I-94 record information.

SAVE Program

What is SAVE Program and is it necessary?

As a result of the REAL ID Act, there has been a growing volume of electronic verification issues FSM citizens encounter when applying for certain benefits. The USCIS manages the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements(SAVE) Program to assist with the verification of applicants’ immigration and citizenship status. The program was designed to facilitate and ease the verification process but lately has become a hassle for FAS citizens. Since the FAS has an unlimited length of stay in the United States and are able to renew or replace their passports without the need to exit the country, the system is unable to link old I-94s to new or current passports. When these situations occur, the SAVE Program has advised agencies such as DMVs or DPS to push for what they (USCIS) refer to as  the “second step verification process”. Applicants can track the status of their cases by visiting the following link: https://www.uscis.gov/save/save-casecheck.

EAD

Do I need an EAD card to work?

Under the amended Compact, FSM Citizens are no longer required to apply for the EAD card for employment purposes. HOWEVER, it is very helpful and strongly recommended by the Embassy to have an EAD card to use for identification purposes. The only documents an FSM citizen must provide in order to be eligible to work are a valid passport and I-94 card. You may either visit the following link (www. uscis.gov/I-765) or click here to download the application.

Employing FSM Citizens

I employ FSM citizens here in the US. Is the EAD required?

Not under the amended Compact. Only a valid passport and I-94 is required of an FSM citizen to work in the US. Please refer to DHS’s Employer Information Bulletin #106 for details on how to report or file for employees who are FSM citizens.

Does the I-94 that is issued upon entry to FSM citizens expire?

No. The I-94 issued to FSM citizens upon entry into the US is valid until the date they leave the US. Upon return or re-entry to the US, a new I-94 will be issued. Most other foreign nationals who visit the US are given I-94’s with an expiring date. This is not the case for FSM citizens. The Compact of Free Association allows for FSM citizens to enter the US freely to work, study and/or reside without any specific date of expected departure.

U.S. Social Security Card

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My SS card has been issued with a legend that says “valid for work only with DHS authorization” or a similar legend. What should I do?

If your SS card was issued with a prohibitive legend, then it has been issued incorrectly. You may visit the nearest US Social Security Office to have your card reissued. Under the amended Compact, FSM citizens continue to be eligible to apply for US social security numbers. The only change is that FSM citizens may only apply for an SS number while they are residing in the US.

If you are experiencing difficulties in getting an
SS card re-issued, you may contact the FSM Embassy in Washington, DC or the Consulates in Guam, Hawaii, or Portland for assistance. You will be asked to fax a copy of your SS card, your passport and your I-94, as well as your complete home address and all contact or telephone numbers .

If you have lost your SS card, you will be asked to provide your SS number.

If you are new in the US and are a first-time applicant for an SS card and are experiencing difficulties, please provide copies of your passport and I-94, your home address and phone number. Also, please provide copies of any communications you have had with Social Security office.

If you have lost your passport and your SS card, you must FIRST apply for a new FSM passport from FSM Immigration before we can get your SS card re-issued.

Am I eligible for a US Social Security Number?


Yes, FSM citizens are eligible to apply and be issued a US Social Security number. The card should be issued with only the SS number and without any legend such as valid for work only with DHS authorization.

Am I eligible for social security disability benefits?

You must file an application with Social Security and they will determine your eligibility.

Download U.S. Social Security Card Application

Welfare & Social Services

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Am I eligible for Medicaid or other related welfare assistance?

This type of assistance is not guaranteed under the Compact. Most issues of social welfare are handled by the governments of each State. Each state has different requirements for applicants of welfare assistance. You must check with the State to reside in to determine your eligibility.

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Education & Students

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I am a student. Am I eligible for US Federal Financial Aid?

Yes, FSM citizens are eligible to receive the PELL Grant. You are an eligible non-citizen.

Please refer to the following US Department of Education website for more information.

Am I eligible for loans?

No, not anymore.

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Military

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I am in the military. I am being reassigned to post in the US. My wife is not an FSM citizen nor a US citizen. Can I bring her back to the US with me?

Yes, if you are active military and you are married to a foreign national, you may bring your family into the US and bypass any visa requirements that might normally be required for foreign nationals to enter the US. This privilege is authorized only under the newly amended Compact of Free Association (Article IV Section 141 (a) (5)).

I am retired military, can I bring non-US citizen, wife and dependents to the US?

No, only active duty military personnel may bring in third-country dependents into the US under the Compact of Free Association entry privileges.

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US Selective Service

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Do I have to register for the US Selective Service?

No. Please refer to the US Selective Service website for more information.

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FSM Citizens Traveling

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My passport is expired. Can I travel back to Micronesia for an emergency?

Yes, if your FSM passport is expired, you can return to the FSM by traveling directly from the US to the FSM (travel via Hawaii or Guam). A travel authorization document issued by the Embassy or the Consulates would be required to accompany your expired passport. Please contact the Embassy or the Consulates to inquire about the requirements.

My passport is expired. Can I travel to another country outside the US and the FSM?

No.

How do I get a travel document to go back to the FSM with my US-born child?

Please fax a copy of birth certificate and copy of FSM passport of parent travelling with the child to the FSM Embassy in Washington at (202) 223-4391. You must include your full name and address including contact phone numbers, fax number and email address where we may reach you. Documents may take up to a week for issuance. Please plan ahead as last-minute requests cannot always be guaranteed.

Do I need a Machine Readable Passport(MRP) to travel?

YES. The FSM Immigration Office is now issuing MRPs. If your current passport is not an MRP and is not expired yet, you can still use it to travel. Please be advised, however, that some foreign countries are now requiring MRP. Contact the Embassy or Consulates for more information.

My passport is expired. Can the Embassy or Consulates renew or extend my passport?

No, neither the Embassy or Consulates is authorized to renew or extend validity of expired passports. All applications for issuance or renewal must be completed and submitted to FSM Immigration in Micronesia. You may download an FSM Passport Application from this website.

Can my US-born child travel with me to the FSM?

Children that are born in the US to FSM parents may travel back to the FSM with their parents. You may obtain a special travel document from the Embassy or Consulates for return travel to Micronesia. Children without passports and carrying the Embassy’s travel document, may only travel directly to the FSM. You may not travel through a third country (i.e. Japan).

Is the Embassy-issued travel document valid for other travel?

The Embassy-issued travel document is only valid for children born in the US to FSM parents. It is only valid for one-time travel to the FSM from the US. It is not valid for travel to any other country. It is not valid for transit through another country. If the child plans to travel in the future, a passport must be obtained from the FSM Government.

Do I need a visa to travel to Israel?

No, not for visits less than 3 months. Please also visit the visa section on this website.

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FSM Citizens Traveling

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Are visas required to visit the FSM?

No. Valid passport, sufficient funds and proof of onward travel are sufficient to grant entry for 30 days. Under the amended Compact of Free Association, US citizens need only valid passport for entry.

I want to make reservations with a travel agent, but I don’t know what the airport code is for the FSM?

There are 4 airports in the FSM and the codes are as follows:

  • Pohnpei – PNI,
  • Kosrae – KSA,
  • Chuuk – TKK,
  • Yap – YAP.

You must know your specific island destination as the islands are spread out over almost one million square miles of ocean. You can only get from one to the other by airplane.

How do I get to Micronesia?

United Airlines is currently the only US airline that flies to the Federated States of Micronesia. The routes to Micronesia are either through Hawaii to the east or Guam and Japan to the west of the FSM.

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New Postal Rate

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How much does it cost to mail a letter to Pohnpei?

Effective January 2006, new postal rates to the FSM took effect at the US Post Office. These changes are effective under Compact II. In five years postal rates to the FSM will be at the regular international rate. For the first five years beginning in 2006, postal rates to the FSM will only rise by 1/5 each year until the full international rate is achieved in 2010. For complete details on rates and services, please visit the US Postal website.

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Citizenship

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I am an FSM citizen, my child was born in the US. Is my child a US citizen?

Currently, children born in the US are US citizens by birth. The FSM Constitution allows for such children to hold dual citizenship until they reach the age of 21, then they must choose either FSM or US citizenship.

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Voting

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Can I vote in the US elections?

No.

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Deportation & Non-admissible Persons

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Can I be deported from the US?

Yes. FSM citizens may enter the USA under a special status accorded under the Compact of Free Association, however if an FSM citizen is found guilty of breaking or disregarding the laws while in the US, then they will be treated as any other foreign national and deported if convicted of a deportable crime.

Once I am deported back to the FSM, can I come back to the US?

No. Normally once a person is deported from the US, they are forever barred from returning into the US or its territories (i.e. Guam). That also means that you are barred from transiting through any US territories (i.e. transiting through Guam to go from Pohnpei to Yap). You may wish to file an appeal to the US government and this is done using Department of Homeland Security Form I-212

What is a deportable crime?

Crimes that are considered crimes of moral turpitude, i.e. rape, sexual harassment, theft, spying, trespassing, etc. are usually deportable crimes. If you have been convicted by the courts of a felony and/or have been convicted of a crime carrying a sentence of 1 year or more, you are usually deportable. If you are a repeat offender of DUI (Driving Under the Influence), you may also be considered deportable.

Non-admissible Persons

If for any reason you feel that you are being denied entry for no legitimate reasons. Please visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Travelers Redress Program to file a complaint.

FSM Officials

I am on official travel and I need a visa to go to Canada. Can I obtain a visa in Washington or New York?

Yes. Most countries will issue visas to officials traveling on official business through their Washington Embassy or New York UN Mission. So that our respective offices may better assist you, we require the following in advance. Please fax or email copies of the above.

  • FSM Passport
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Letter of Invitation or Letter of Credentials
  • Visa application (completed and signed)
  • Any Attachments

All original documents with photos must be presented upon arrival in Washington, DC. If all paperwork is received in advance and all paperwork is in order upon arrival, official visas may normally require 2-3 days for processing. Most consular offices only accept visa applications in the morning from 9 to noon.

I am an FSM official traveling to DC for meetings. What would the Embassy require of me to assist with my visit?

Yes. The Embassy staff is more than happy to help FSM officials traveling to the DC area. Please contact the Embassy for further assistance.

Please contact the FSM Embassy in Washington, DC with any feedback or suggestions. Thank you for visiting our website. Please refer us to your friends and come again soon.