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           Government and Status

    Guam is a territory of the United States. This means that Guamanians are disenfranchised U.S. citizens. The U.S. Constitution applies on Guam, as do all federal laws, but Guamanians have no voting representation in the electoral college for the selection of the President, and no U.S. senators. Guam is represented in Washington by one non-voting congressman in the House of Representatives. If you move to Guam and register to vote there (which you can do immediately, if you want to), you can vote in the local elections. If you move from Guam to one of the 50 States, you can change your voter registration to your new location with no problem. Guamanians are full-fledged U.S. citizens, except for the lack of representation. Guam uses U.S. currency and the U.S. postal service with U.S. postage, has access to U.S. federal funds, uses the U.S. court system, and flies the U.S. flag. Guamanians carry standard U.S. passports.

    Guamanians pay U.S. federal income taxes using standard U.S. 1040 forms. However, all federal income tax moneys collected on Guam stay on Guam and go to maintain Guam's local government. Property owners pay property taxes, but there is no Guam sales tax. For more tax information, visit Guam's Department of Revenue and Taxation website. If you earn part of a year's income on Guam and part of it elsewhere, there is a tax form you have to fill out that enables the government to divide up your taxes between the U.S. and Guam.

    If you work for the Government of Guam, then you have a choice of having either Social Security or GovGuam Retirement Fund payments withdrawn from your paycheck.

    Guam's local government includes a governor elected for a 4-year term with a 2-term limit, a somewhat confused judicial system (they are battling over whether the Guam Supreme Court has precedence over the Guam Superior Court, or vice versa), and a Guam legislature that includes 15 senators elected island-wide every two years, with no term limits. In addition, each village has an elected mayor. Guamanians use the United States two-party system, with Democrats and Republicans, although the parties are only loosely modeled on their mainland counterparts, policywise.

    If you are planning to visit or move to Guam from the United States, you should obtain a passport. Even though you may be simply traveling from one part of the United States to another when coming to Guam, you will be required to go through immigration and show your passport when coming to or leaving the island.

by Brenna Lorenz and Mike Pulte.


 
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