Where are the Northern Mariana Islands?
The Northern Mariana Islands are a group of 14 islands about a 3 hour flight away from Japan and the Philippines. The islands are just north of the equator. Of the 14 islands, only three are inhabited: Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
How can I get to the Northern Mariana Islands?
Saipan is the capital of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. You can fly to Saipan through direct flights via Korea, Japan, Guam, and the Philippines. Seasonly there are direct charter flights available through cities in China and Russia as well.
Can I own land in Saipan, Tinian, or Rota?
Land restriction is limited to persons of Northern Marianas Descent (Pacific Islanders from here). This means that you are only allowed to lease the land for an initial period of 55 years. This lease can be renewed.
However, the law will be up for review in 2011 and will possibly be changed. Recently, Governor Fitial came out in the press and announced that he supports a change in the law allowing unrestricted ownership of land.
What political relationship does the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands have with the United States?
The CNMI does not have sovereignty, it is under the United States, but has its own right of self government negotiated by a legal document call the Covenant entered into in 1986. Under this agreement, the CNMI was granted control of its own immigration and minimum wage. In the earlier part of 2008, the United States Congress passed a law increasing the local Saipan minimum wage to match the US level by 2015. The United States Congress also passed a law to apply US immigration to the CNMI. This law will begin to take effect June 1,2009.