FSM Department of Justice Guidance on Public Law 19-91

FSM Department of Justice Guidance on Public Law 19-91


In this article, we explore the FSM Department of Justice’s (DOJ) position, and how it affects Public Law 19-91 if at all.

Based on a July 19, 2016 Memorandum from the FSM DOJ to the Chief of Immigration and Labor, the rebuttable presumption of renunciation of another foreign citizenship will be granted to FSM citizens and FSM nationals that have renewed their FSM Passport twice in a row after the age of 21. But for FSM nationals over the age of 21 applying for a FSM passport for the first time, they must naturalize.  (Our next blog we will discuss naturalization).

We have interviewed one of the three naturalized citizen that have been granted naturalization since the law was amended in 2007).

DOJ’s Memorandum states that a FSM passport will be cancelled immediately if a FSM citizen or FSM national obtains a FSM passport under Public Law 19-91 and it is later discovered that the person:

  • Joined the armed forces of a foreign state;
  • Possesses a foreign passport;
  • Voted in a political election of another country;
  • Took an oath of a foreign state or political subdivision; or,
  • Concealed material fact or made a willful misrepresentation in applying for the passport.

What is probably most concerning to FSM citizens and FSM nationals is item number 1, given many of our citizens/nationals are in the U.S. military.    It is our position that item number 1 is a mistake, and it is likely meant to say those that reach officer status in the military or a similar position which requires becoming a citizen of that foreign country.    We will work to confirm #1 from above and will amend the article if necessary.

In the end, DOJ’s position on Public Law 19-91 actually strengthens the law’s effectiveness in that immigration officers are directed to provide the rebuttable presumption for those who qualify for it (i.e. over 21 and renewed FSM passports two times in a row).