PALIKIR, Pohnpei—Prior to the convening of the 1st Special Session of the 22nd Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) on July 19 , 2021, His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the FSM, has submitted a proposed Bill for an Act that would amend Section 205 of Title 50 of the FSM Code, as amended by Public Laws 10-140, 14-28, and 14-85, to state that “a passport issued…shall be valid for a period of ten (10) years from the date of issuance or renewal….”
At present, any FSM citizen’s passport has a maximum lifetime of five (5) years. The practical effect for many FSM citizens living in the United States of America is that upon the expiration of their passport, and subsequent renewal for a new one, they often travel to Canada or Mexico for the singular purpose of easily updating their I-94 documentation with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. As an FSM citizen’s I-94 documentation is linked with their FSM passport number—which, like most passports around the World, changes upon renewal—not renewing a passport or updating an I-94 in a timely manner can, and for hundreds of citizens has resulted in, loss of one’s employment.
In his letter to the Honorable Wesley W. Simina, Speaker of the FSM Congress, President Panuelo wrote “One major challenge faced by our citizens in the United States as a result of frequent renewal of passports is the numerous cases of mismatch of immigration information between the new passport and their I-94 records. When a new passport is issued to our citizens, it requires a whole set of process and protocol from the U.S. side to register the new passport [number] and synchronize it with the unexpired I-94. This tedious process causes…our citizens to lose their jobs because their records were not fixed in a timely manner. This bill will [help to] address this difficulty.”
If passed, the bill would also grant the President the power to provide, by regulation, different periods of passport validity.