Chapter 04 - Immigration-Status

Chapter 04 - Immigration-Status

41.0401 Exclusion of persons not Nationals of the United States.


(a) The Immigration Board is authorized to exclude any person who does not qualify as a National of the United States, or as a spouse or child of an American Samoan, unless the person establishes to the satisfaction of the Board that:

(1) he is of good moral character;

(2) he offers a skill or expertise not readily available in the American Samoan community and the skill or expertise is needed in American Samoa;

(3) an alien has a local sponsor as required by this title and the rules of the Board;

(4) he will not become a financial burden on any Samoan family or the Government; and

(5) he is not excludable nor deportable under chapter 06 of this title.

(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), the Board is authorized to allow cultural and family interchanges between persons in American Samoa and Western Samoa, on such terms and conditions as the Board shall determine necessary, and within the numerical limitations of chapter 03.

41.0402 American Samoans entitled to permanent residence.


(a) All American Samoans are entitled to permanent residence in American Samoa.

(b) Any person, who established American Samoa as his permanent residence on or before 1 January 1950, and his spouse and children, are entitled to permanent residence in American Samoa, provided they have continuously resided in American Samoa since said date.

41.0403 Persons entitled to apply for permanent resident status.


(a) The following persons shall be entitled to apply for permanent resident status:

(1) any person who is physically and legally present in American Samoa for a continuous period of at least 20 years and of good moral character; “continuous period” means uninterrupted residence in American Samoa except for periods not to exceed 3 consecutive months;

(2) any person who at the time of being legally adopted by an American Samoan was 21 years of age or younger: except that any person legally adopted by an American Samoan prior to 31 December 1980, shall be entitled to apply;

(3) any person who has been legally married to an American Samoan or a United States citizen, and has resided in American Samoa, for at least 10 years;

(4) any person who meets the criteria contained in section 41.0303(a)(1) and (a)(6) and who has resided in American Samoa for at least 10 years.

(b) The number of persons who may be granted the status of permanent resident in any fiscal year shall not exceed 50. There shall be no numerical limitation to the number of persons who may be granted the status of permanent resident under subparagraphs (a)(2), (a)(3) and (a)(4).

(c) Except when authorized by the Attorney General, no alien who has failed to register pursuant to this title is entitled to apply for permanent resident status.

(d) Notwithstanding subparagraph (b) above, all applications filed for permanent resident status before December 31, 2001, shall not be subject to any numerical limitations and may be reviewed by the Attorney General and approved or denied.

41.0404 Application for permanent residence.


(a) Each person other than American Samoans desiring permanent residence status must file an application with the Attorney General on forms prescribed by the Attorney General.

(b) The Attorney General shall review all applications for permanent residence in order of date of application filed pursuant to this section and shall hold such hearings as necessary for determination of any issue presented by any application.

(c) Upon being satisfied that the applicant is entitled to permanent residence status, the Attorney General shall issue a certification that the applicant is a permanent resident of American Samoa.

41.0405 Loss of permanent resident status.


(a) Permanent residents may lose their status if they reside outside American Samoa for a period in excess of 6 months without authorization from the Attorney General.

(b) The Attorney General may revoke the permanent resident status of any non-American Samoan permanent resident if that person is:

(1) a convicted felon;

(2) a person who has been convicted of 2 or more crimes regardless of whether the conviction was in a single trial or whether the offense has arisen from a single scheme or misconduct and regardless of whether the offense involves moral turpitude;

(3) a person who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of such a crime: except a person who has committed one such crime while under the age of 18 years, unless the crime resulted in confinement in a prison or correctional institution; and

(4) a person who:

(A) is a prostitute;

(B) has engaged in prostitution;

(C) directly or indirectly procures, attempts to procure, or has attempted to procure or import persons for the purpose of prostitution or for any other immoral sexual purpose;

(D) is or has been supported by, or has received in whole or in part, the proceeds of prostitution; or

(E) is engaging in any other unlawful commercial vice whether or not it relates to prostitution.

41.0406 Rights-Adopted children.


(a) Children legally adopted by American Samoans shall have the same rights as American Samoans under the immigration laws, provided:

(1) the child was lawfully admitted and is residing in American Samoa with his adopted parent or parents; and

(2) the child is 12 years of age or younger at the time of adoption and has been living with its adopted parents for 5 years.

(b) Any other adopted persons must apply to the Board for permission to remain.

41.0407 Loss of status upon which entry or stay was based.


(a) When any person ceases to hold the professional, business, employment, matrimonial or other status which entitled him under the provisions of this title or the rules of the Board to enter or remain in American Samoa, he shall for the purposes of this title, be deemed to be a person seeking to enter American Samoa from the date when he ceases to hold such status.

(b) If the person has not notified the Attorney General within 15 days of his change of status, his presence and the presence of his family and dependents in American Samoa shall become unlawful.

41.0408 Sponsors for persons permitted to remain.


(a) Every person who applies for permission from the Board to remain in American Samoa is required to have a sponsor.

(b) The following persons are eligible to act as sponsor:

(1) all American Samoans, and nationals of the United States;

(2) any partnership or corporation authorized to do business in American Samoa.

(c) Persons sponsoring aliens for domestic purposes shall comply with the following requirements:

(1) Persons may be sponsored for the purpose of domestic work, including agricultural labor, provided the Board is satisfied of the need for the domestic help and of the lack of permanent residents for such employment and the person is within the numerical limitations established in chapter 03. No person may sponsor more than one person for domestic work unless it is clearly established to the satisfaction of the Board that more than one domestic worker is necessary by reason of age or infirmity of the sponsor or a member of his family, and no person may sponsor more than one person for agricultural work unless the Board is satisfied that the sponsor needs the additional workers and can afford their care in all ways while they are in American Samoa;

(2) Where a person sponsors more than one alien for domestic or agricultural work without approval of the Board gained after satisfaction of the foregoing criteria, the additional aliens shall be subject to termination of sponsorship and deportation from the territory;

(3) All aliens sponsored for domestic or agricultural purposes shall reside with their sponsors. Failure to comply shall be grounds for termination of sponsorship and deportation.

(d) Persons may be sponsored for purposes of other employment provided the Board is satisfied of the need and of the lack of permanent residents for such employment, and the person is within the numerical limitations established in chapter 03. The Board furthermore shall have the right to limit the number of aliens sponsored for other employment by a sponsor as dictated by the circumstances.

(e) A sponsor shall be responsible for all medical bills, taxes, transportation, to the alien’s native country, educational costs, legal expense of the public defender, and other public debts of the alien and dependents.

(f) Any person sponsoring another must reside in American Samoa during the period of sponsorship. Should it appear to the Board that the sponsor has departed from American Samoa for an indefinite period of time, the person sponsored may have his permission to remain revoked. A sponsor shall lose his authority to sponsor a person if he fails to pay all costs as established by (e) above, or if he resides outside American Samoa in excess of 3 consecutive months.

(g) A sponsor may revoke his sponsorship or terminate the employment of any person sponsored by giving written notice to the Board and to the person sponsored.

(h) Sponsorship of persons may be transferred from one employer to another provided the board is satisfied of the need and of the lack of permanent residents for such employment.

(i) Unless otherwise noted, persons who are in American Samoa and are sponsored shall have the right to remain in American Samoa for up to 20 days following revocation of sponsorship or termination of employment; the Board may order deportation in less than ten days for cause pursuant to chapter 06. The sponsor’s obligations under subsection (e) above shall continue during this period.

(j) Persons who are in American Samoa and subjected to domestic or family violence by his or her sponsor or that sponsor’s household or family members shall have the right to remain in American Samoa for up to 45 days following revocation of sponsorship or termination of employment. To qualify as someone “subjected to domestic or family violence” the court must make a specific finding as such.

(k) Should an alien have a case pending against his or her sponsor, the alien may remain in American Samoa until a judgment has been reached in his or her case.

41.0409 Foreign investor entry permits.


(a) The Attorney General or his designee, at his discretion, may issue to individual applicants for a certificate of foreign investment pursuant to section 27.2301 et seq., special entry permits. These permits allow unrestricted access into and departure from the Territory for a period of time set by the Attorney General of his designee not to exceed one year per permit.

(b) The special entry permit vests no rights in the holder to establish or attempt to establish citizenship, nationality or permanent residence in the Territory.

Applicants shall apply to the immigration office for issuance of the special entry permit and must provide proof or prior submission of or intent to immediately submit an application for a certificate of foreign investment pursuant to section 27.2601 et seq. The applicant must leave on the date of expiration of the entry permit and re-apply for a new entry permit. In no case may an entry permit extend more than 25 days beyond the calendar date of the statutory deadline for the final decision of the director on the application for a certificate of foreign investment.

(c) Any entry permit may include the spouse of an applicant and not more than 2 other persons whose skills or knowledge is necessary to the enterprise.

(d) Permits authorized under this section shall not be issued to applicants after the date of approval of a certificate of foreign investment. Persons must apply for permits for residence pursuant to the provisions of section 41.0801 et seq.

41.0410 Employment of aliens-Penalty.


(a) No person may knowingly employ any alien without written approval of the Board before the person commences work.

(b) No alien may seek employment or become employed without prior written approval of the Board.

(c) If after a hearing the Board finds that any person has been guilty of a violation of subsection (a), or (b), he/she shall be subject to a fine as follows:

(1) first offense, $500 per person employed illegally; $1,000 per person employing a person illegally;

(2) second offense, $1,000 per person employed illegally; $3,000 per person employing a person illegally;

(3) third or more offenses, $2,000 per person employed illegally; $6,000 per person employing a person illegally.

(d) The fines levied by the Board pursuant to subsection (c) shall be paid to the treasurer of American Samoa.

(e) Any employee violating this section on the first offense is guilty of a class B misdemeanor, and on the second or more offenses is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

(f) Any employer violating this section is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

(g) Violation of this section by aliens shall be a deportable offense in addition to fines.

(h) Subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall not apply to guest workers who are admitted and are employed under the provisions of chapter 09 of this Title.