Walt F.J. Goodridge presents…the


Relocation Guide

 © Walt Goodridge. All rights reserved by a company called W


Welcome & Overview


What's the ecconomy like right now? What are the political parties? What's the weather like? Are there typhoons? What currency do they use there? Can I own land there if I'm NOT of Northern Mariana Descent?

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The People


Saipan has a unique population of Chamorros, Carolinians, Pacific Islanders, Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Thailanders, Bangladeshis and US mainland transplants! What language is spoken there? Are the people friendly?

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Do US citizens need a visa to visit Saipan? How long can I stay on Saipan with a tourist visa?

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Minimum wage, job availability and more! What types of jobs are available? Where are the job vacancy announcements? What's the going rate for my profession?

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Cost of Living


Your daily expenses Is it expensive to live there? Can I survive on my pension or disability? How much is trash pickup? Are utilities cheap? Are the private schools affordable?

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Doing Business


Making money on Saipan What sort of business should I start? What sort of businesses are needed? Would a Starbucks succeed on Saipan? Are there any entrepreneurs I can speak with?

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Are there any websites, books, maps, directories or other resources that can help me make my decision? MORE... Learn more at :

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Frequently Asked Questions


Here are more questions answered in the Relocation Guide MORE...

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About Walt G., SaipanLiving founder


Learn Walt’s story of escape to this tropical paradise!

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Discover for yourself what it's like to live, work, do business, invest, vacation, or retire on the Pacific island of Saipan, CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), a US territory.

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where is saipan map of saipan
Located in the western Pacific, a short flight from Guam and 3 hours from Japan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a popular tourist destination rich in history, culture and natural resources. Saipan, just 5 miles wide by 13 miles long, is the largest and most populated of the 15 islands making up an archipelago that stretches 400 miles (north to south) along the edge of the Marianas Trench.

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Saipan Living Updated for 2023! The Relocation Guide!

cover of Saipan Living Relocation Guide
Saipan Living! A comprehensive guide for moving to, finding a job, working, living, retiring or simply vacationing in the Northern Mariana Islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota.
Where exactly is Saipan? Is it a place I can escape to? Can I retire comfortably there? What taxes will I need to pay? Will I be able to vote in the US elections? Do I need a visa or passport to go there? Find out the truth from current, on-the-ground information not even the CIA website, travel guides, or blogs can reveal! Learn everything you need to know about visa & passport requirements, job opportunities, labor laws, expat communities, pets, churches, schools, gun laws, crime stats, the economy, dating, land ownership and much, much, much more! (162 pages; 7" x 10"; ISBN: 978-1481277297)
An "on the ground" overview of life on Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) researched, compiled and presented by a (former New York City dweller turned rat race escapee) CNMI resident and author with over 10 years of experience observing, exploring, writing about, offering tours of, answering questions and personally enjoying Saipan living!
Where exactly is Saipan? Is it a place I can escape to? What's it really like? Can I retire comfortably there? What taxes will I need to pay? Will I be able to vote in the US elections? Do I need a visa or passport to go there?
Read Saipan Living 2023, and discover Saipan for yourself! Find out what it's really like to live on Saipan from current, up-to-date, on-the-ground information that not even the ! Get answers and information and learn everything you need to know about visa & passport requirements, job opportunities, labor laws, expat communities, pets, churches, schools, gun laws, crime stats, the economy, dating, land ownership and much, much, much more!
This unique volume includes:
An A to Z index of relevant topics from "accommodations" to "zoning laws" with specific, up-to-date information and answers to the most frequently-asked questions as well as "tropical island lifestyle" details you probably haven't even thought about thinking about--details and nuance that the CIA website, travel guides, and even blogs don't get quite right. Indexed TWO ways for your convenience: (1) by Frequently Asked Questions and (2) by topic!
You get: The truth about Saipan including the good, the bad and the ugly
• Reassurances for your concerns from to mosquitoes to humidity to crime
• A step-by-step checklist for your relocation
• Tips and advice for a smooth transition and adjustment
• Support and resources for your unique lifestyle
• Contact numbers, websites & email addresses for vendors, organizations and all govt offices
• The latest updated information including entry requirements, cost of living, job search, school life and more!
• The latest census information with "reality check" modifications from those who actually live there!
• Facts as well as valuable opinions from past, current and even future residents!
• Completed tax forms with instructions to show how to pay taxes on Saipan!
• 10 years of questions collected from the website, along with the actual responses from past, present, and even future residents.
• Actual "relocation scenarios" featuring people's real concerns and the answers they received!

• Photos of the islands you won't find anywhere else.
• "The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly!" Yes, it's not all peaches and cream!
• Chamorro, Carolinian, Filipino, Chinese, Russian, Korean, American, Japanese viewpoints and perspectives on Saipan living.
Yes, you get all this and more to help you decide if Saipan is the right place to visit, vacation, venture into business, retire or simply escape the rat race!
Another goal of this book is to help shape the on-going transition of what Saipan living means and could mean in the future. It includes: • Predictions of Saipan's future • A manifesto on what Saipan really needs • Interviews with people who've lived there since the 1970s

What People Are Saying


“You've pretty much answered most of my questions. I can't believe how much was covered in this book. I read it in one day. I didn't want to stop reading.”

— Brittany (from the Amazon website)


“I am very impressed. I never thought of early retiring there until seeing this website. I am interested in finding out more.”

— Jim W (from the forum (

“Just finished your book and very much did enjoy it I am sure I will read again and again it has a lot of very good information and answered most of my questions.. p.s. keep me in the loop please.”

— Keith P.

“I've just read Saipan Living, the relocation guide, and it's excellent! My husband and I are relocating to Saipan at the end of the month, and current resources about the island are extremely difficult to find. Thank you, Mr. Goodridge, for making available such up to date, well-written, and helpful information. It's already been useful, and I'm sure it will be tremendously so when we hit the ground in a few weeks. Finding for a place to live, furniture to purchase, and perhaps even a job will all be much easier with this inside scoop!”

— LeeAnn (2017 from Amazon website)


“I have read great things about you and your assistance. I have already found your book to be of great assistance. It is awesome! Thanks so much.”

— B. Manuel

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Also Available

There's Something About Saipan!
A visitor's guide to fantastic facts, tantalizing trivia, startling statistics, dramatic diaries and hair-raising history from America's most colorful island territory
by Walt F.J. Goodridge
There's Something About Saipan cover
Yes, there's something about Saipan that endears it to visitors and residents alike. But what is it exactly? Is it the weather? Is it the unique history? Is it the warm, welcoming indigenous Chamorro and Carolinian people? Is it the unique mix of guest workers and expats from all over the world? Is it the unique, possibly magical. energetically enhanced proximity to the Marianas Trench, a combination of all these or something as yet unidentified?Read More!
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Saipan Now!
A photo adventure
by Walt F.J. Goodridge, Ferdinand Ramos,
Saipan Now book cover
Author, local photographers and visiting tourists team up to create a photo book capturing the beauty, culture and lifestyle of contemporary Saipan! 100 pages; 8" x 10"; PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1493736379) Read more at
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These are the topics, conversations, latest developments, pending legislation and stuff that will affect life, business and tourism on Saipan, Tinian, Rota and the rest of the CNMI
Typhoon Yutu (October 2018)
"Super Typhoon Yutu hit the Northern Mariana islands of Saipan and Tinian on October 25, 2018. With winds of over 180 miles per hour, there was tremendous devastation that has left hundreds of men women and children homeless. However, beyond the homelessness, there is also a unique loss that many are experiencing--and that is the loss of a hopeful future. I was inspired to launch this campaign after a brief two minute meeting with..." READ MORE AND please consider CONTRIBUTING ANY AMOUNT to the campaign: MORE..
The Casino Situation (2023)
Yep, you guessed it! The casino is no defunct, shuttered and equipment is being auctioned off! Despite historical opposition by the general population voiced in public referanda over the years, local lawmakers pushed through an approval of allowing a company to build and operate a casino on Saipan. Construction continues to be slow and the project seems to be languishing. MORE..
The Contract Worker "Cap"
The Situation
This is likely the most urgent situation in the CNMI. The Consolidated Natural Resources Act (CNRA) of 2008 requires that Saipan's Contract Worker ("CW") program be gradually phased out and was scheduled for complete elimination by 2019. The cap--the maximum number of contract workers allowed in the CNMI--is being reduced each year. According to a Nov 2017 article in the Saipan Tribune: "After several weeks’ delay, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services finally set the CW-1 cap for fiscal year 2018 last night, establishing the number of slots at 9,998—a reduction of 3,000 slots.
The History
The CNMI has historically managed its own immigration and labor laws separate from US law. For many years, the CNMI economy has relied on a foreign labor force. During the garment factory era of the 80s to 2009, thousands of workers--primarily from China--worked in the 36 factories throughout the island and, during its height, generated 1 billion dollars in revenue.
CW Cap by year:

2011: 22,417
2013: 15,000
2014: 14,000
2015: 13,999
2016: 12,999
2017: 12,998
2018: 9,998
2019: 4,999 back up to 13,000 per new law (see below)*
2020: 13,000 (not including an additional 3,000 were approved for 2020-2022 for Typhoon recovery)

*According to this news alert at:

On July 24, 2018, President Trump signed the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018 (the Workforce Act), extending the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker program (the CW-1 program) through 2029 and increasing the CW-1 cap for fiscal year (FY) 2019. The CW-1 program allows employers within the CNMI to apply for permission to employ foreign (nonimmigrant) workers who are otherwise ineligible to work in the CNMI under other nonimmigrant worker categories.

Why (and for whom) this is an issue:
The thousands of non-citizen Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese, Bangladeshis, etc., who now comprise the workforce will be forced to leave and employers on island--hotels, tour companies, etc--will be required to hire and train a "local" labor force--American citizens within the CNMI. With the new figures, any CW who misses the filing deadline will not be renewed regardless of years in the CNMI, and regardless of the number of dependent family members living in the CNMI, and they will be forced to leave the island and reapply if they wish to return as part of next year's allotment. This situation has already started to have dire consequences for employers, spouses and children of contract workers on Saipan, Tinian and Rota. MORE..

The Minimum Wage
The current minimum wage on Saipan is $7.55/hour (as of Jan 2023). Per the Fair Minimum Wage Act of May 2007, it was mandated to increase 50 cents each year until it was in line with the federal minimum wage. A number of companies are already paying higher than average wages in an effort to compete with the higher wages that Best Sunshine Casino is paying.
The Corona Virus Situation
As of January 2023, the Corona virus situation has definitely affected tourism here in the CNM. Airlines that have canceled or suspended flights are Hong Kong Express, China Eastern Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, and Beijing Capital Airlines. The streets and hotels are practically empty of Chinese tourists. (i.e., There are very few pink Ford Mustangs on the road! ) However, flights from Korea (Asiana) are still arriving. Many in the local community are simply going about their daily lives. However, there is a certain amount of apprehension given how dependent Saipan is on tourism. In addition, while there have been no cases of infection on the island, some people have been seen wearing masks as they go about their days. Stay tuned to the home page of the, and also my own for updates.
The Contract Worker cap (June 2019)
This is likely the most urgent situation in the CNMI. With the total number of allowable contract worker contracts decreasing each year towards the goal of a total phaseout by the USCIS recently announced that this year's "cap" of 12,999 CNMI work permits has been reached. Consequently, any contract worker with a CW1 visa whose renewal application was not filed, will not be renewed regardless of years in the CNMI, regardless of the number of dependent family members living in the CNMI. This decision has already started to have dire consequences for employers, spouses and children of contract workers on Saipan, Tinian and Rota....
The Minimum Wage (2023)
The minimum wage in the CNMI is now $7.55/hour. Here's what you need to know if you are looking for a job here. MORE..
The State of Tourism (2023)

The Visa Waiver Program that allows citizens of Russia and China to visit the CNMI without securing a visa in advance has been modified. The Russian waiver is no longer in existence as of September 2019. The length of time Chinese passport holders are allowed to stay on island has been reduced from 45 days to 14 days as of October 2019. MORE..
The Land Ownership Debate (2019)
Article XII (12), the section of the CNMI constitution that limits land ownership to those of Northern Mariana descent only is up for re-evaluation. MORE..
Military use of these islands
Both Tinian and Pagan have been subjects of debate MORE..
Can I really retire there? (2007-2018...)
What's the voting situation? What's the cost of living? Read what other people have frequently asked over the years...!MORE..
What's there to do on Saipan?
Jetskiing, trekking tours, submarine rides, parasailing, wakeboarding and much more!MORE..


Breaking News from Walt:

A few weeks ago, a former workshop attendee and coaching client revealed that she nominated me to be considered for this year’s Governor’s Humanities Award here on Saipan. I thanked her, but I didn’t really believe I qualified because...(read why at
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