Folded paper airplane with entry stamps on the page of passport

Ways to get a visa to the US overseas territories

Tamerlan Mehdiyev Tamerlan Mehdiyev 15 June 2021
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It is well known that the US consists of 50 states and 1 district of Columbia in which the capital of the US, Washington, is located. What people often forget or even do not know that there are areas overseas that have a strong connection or are fully part of the US. Here is a list of US overseas territories:

5 islands are American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands.

United States Minor Outlying Islands. They are Howland Island, Baker Island, Johnston Atoll, Jarvis Island, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Palmyra Atoll, and Wake Island.

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Some of the things we will cover might cause some confusion, so you better read them carefully. These islands are overseas administrative regions of the US. You might be asking what does that even mean? To put it the simplest way, we can say they have their administrative authority, but they are not independent; they have limited sovereignty. They are categorized based on incorporation and having an organized or unorganized government. Only 5 islands can be visited (only for rare cases such as research, studies, United States Minor Outlying Islands can be open to visitors). So what overseas territories are part of the US? The answer is all 5 of them. What about Minor Outlying Islands? what territories overseas are part of the US? Similar to the 5 inhabited areas, these islands are the official territories of the US. However, they are grouped as one.

Inhabited islands are great tourist attractions with beautiful island nature. If we look at the list of US overseas territories, we will see one island that has separate regulations, visa policies. And it is American Samoa. For this article, we will elaborate on US overseas territories visa online, US overseas territories visa requirements, US overseas territories visa processing time by looking at the islands separately.

American Samoa visa policy

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As we mentioned earlier, American Samoa is the only island with a different visa policy than the US. Its visa policy can change depending on the relations among countries. Having a different visa policy than the US makes it impossible for travellers to travel the island with a United States visa or ESTA. To acquire permission for entry, one should check two ways shown below:

American Samoa Entry Permit Waiver Program:

Entry permit that is applicable for nationals of all countries

Only the nationals of few countries can use the service. You can find the list of these countries on the Pickvisa website in the visa policy section. To benefit from the Entry Permit Waiver Program, applicants should get an OK board, an electronic authorization. What are US overseas territories visa requirements for OK board?

To get one, the applicant should meet the following requirements:

In addition, the applicant should present a copy of the passport which must be valid at least for 6 months after the departure date from American Samoa.

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Ticket bookings, reservations, including a return ticket. Reservations regarding accommodation such as hotel reservations, etc.

These documents should be attached to the website for the US overseas territories visa online. The processing time for that is 48 hours. Note that, US overseas territories visa fee is equal to 50 USD should be paid upon US overseas territories visa application. The main condition for applying OK board is to have a sponsor in American Samoa. The person who takes the position of sponsor should submit all the requirements to the immigration office by attending.

If you can not apply to the OK board due to your nationality, you will need to apply for an entry permit open to nationals of all countries. Bear in mind that it is comprised of several types given below:

Permit up to 7 days – it is applicable for groups that should be comprised of at least 10 people.

Permit up to 14 days – This one is for individuals.

Permit up to 30 days – There is no limitation on people who would like to remain in the island for up to 30 days.

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Permit for multiple entries – Only for people who travel the island for business activities.

Required documents can differ depending on the type. But followings are the main documents that will be asked:

The applicant should present a copy of the passport which must be valid at least for 6 months after the departure date from American Samoa.

Ticket bookings, reservations, including a return ticket. Reservations regarding accommodation such as hotel reservations, etc. 

Clearance provided by American Samoa’s District Court and clearance from the Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center (LBJ) business office.

US overseas territories visa fee for permits is dependent on the types. For groups of 10 to 20 people, it is 200 USD. Permits up to 14 days, 10 USD should be paid. For 30 days, it is 40 USD. In the case of multiple entries, the required fee is 50 USD.

Visa for Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands

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The Visa policies of these islands are the same as the US visa policy. Therefore when you plan to visit these islands, you should take US visa requirements into considerations. What types of visas are there for the 4 islands? We can divide them into two groups, non-immigrant and immigrant visas. There are several ways for US overseas territories visa application. Nationals of some countries are entitled to apply for US overseas territories visa online. Others have to attend US embassies. To find out more about nationals of which countries can use online visa, we advise you to check out the website of pickvisa. You can get detailed information from the visa policy section by clicking the US.

Whether you are eligible for Visa Waiver Program or not and you intend to enter US overseas territories by air or sea, then you must apply for US Electronic System for Travel Authorization.

Non-immigrant visas are desingned for people who intend to visit US overseas territories for temporary purposes such as travel, treatment, etc. To acquire visa an applicant should contact with local US embassy. After meeting requirements, successful candidates will go through US overseas territories visa interview process. During the interview consular may ask about the nature of your travel, reasons, purposes. The result of the interview will be ready at the end of the interview. Therefore, we advise you to be not late and in fact appear few minutes before the planned time. Note that only people from 14 to 79 are obliged to US overseas territories visa interview.

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As for required documents, they will vary based on the type. Following documents will be asked as they are most essentials:

US overseas territories visa application form. A passport that should possess at least one free page. Minimum 6 months validity after the planned stay in US overseas territories. One coloured photo sized 5x5 cm which is not older than 6 months. Document proving your status in your country such as residency permits. Proof that the applicant will be able to sustain himself or herself financially during the days in US overseas territories. It can be a bank statement, bank extracts, etc. No objection certificate or letter, provided by the employer to the applicant. In this letter detailed information on address, name, contact details of the company, work position of the applicant should be given. Copies of hotel booking and flight ticket bookings.

US overseas territories visa processing time for such visas usually does not exceed 10 days. What about the fees? For non-immigration visas minimum fee of 160 USD is asked upon the application. However additional fees can be asked depending on the type.

Immigration visas are designed for foreifner whose aims are to reside and work in US overseas territories. In order to be eligible for an immigration visa, a person should be sponsored by a US citizen. A sponsor can be a relative or an employer residing in the US and has agreed to affirm a petition on behalf of the applicant for the visa. We can categorize these visas into two groups, relative or family-sponsored and Employment immigrants. Bear in mind, that you will undergo an interview for the visa if you are aged between 14 and 79. As for processing time, for these types of visas processing time usually takes more days than non-immigrant visas. It is estimated to vary between 10 and 60 days based on the country you apply from. Regarding the fees, it is more expensive as well. Fees start with a minimum of 160 USD, but for some visas such as a visa for a US citizen spouse, it can rise to 535 USD.

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Tamerlan Mehdiyev

Tamerlan Mehdiyev is a science geek. He is doing a master's in Earth sciences and now planning to research climate change. He loves nature and fond of observing the beauties of the Earth. He believes traveling can help him to grow wise and find inner peace. His life goal is to see different places, cultures, people as many as possible.

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