About the Northern Mariana Islands

The Northern Mariana Islands are the Commonwealth of the United States in the northwestern Pacific Ocean comprising 15 islands. The region has gained tourist acclaim thanks to its fascinating scuba diving and snorkelling in a sea with vivid marine life and shipwrecks from World War II.

Northern Mariana covers an area of just 464 square kilometres and is inhabited by over 55,000 people: Asians, Pacific Islanders, and other ethnic groups.The country’s official languages are English, Chamorro, and Carolinian.

Saipan, Rota, Tinian, and Pagan are some of the main islands, with Saipan being the centre of all activity and the main tourist destination. The island is also home to the country’s capital, the city of Capitol Hill.

The local economy is driven significantly by tourism and the financial assistance from the United States. US citizens can live and work in the country visa-free. Different entry requirements apply to citizens of other countries, so you are recommended to inquire about the visa arrangements for your country before planning your travels.

The region’s main attractions are its world-famous diving and snorkelling sites, so it’s a good idea to travel during the dry season which runs from December to June. Note that the country is prone to typhoons (especially from August to November) and there are two active volcanoes on the islands of Pagan and Agrihan.

There are not many expats living in Northern Mariana, partly due to the island’s remote location, partly due to the economic situation and limited employment opportunities. Long-term stay on the island can get pricey due to high electricity costs. Also, most commodities are shipped to the island from afar so expect elevated prices for day-to-day shopping. With that said, the island beckons with its mesmerising ocean views and a laid-back island lifestyle. Due to its relationship with the USA, Northern Mariana offers good facilities, and most expats residing in the country are US citizens working for the local government.