Moving from the mainland to adopting an island lifestyle in Guam can be a big decision. Whether you’re a U.S. military member who’s being relocated or you’re looking for a change of pace, there’s a lot to know about moving to this beautiful destination. Here’s the complete guide to moving to Guam.
- Where is Guam?
- Who Can Move to Guam?
- What Documentation is Required in Guam?
- What Can I Bring to Guam?
- What is it Like to Live in Guam?
1. Where is Guam?
Guam is a beautiful island that is located in the Pacific Ocean. It’s 3,800 miles west of Honolulu and 1,600 miles west of Manila. Guam is situated in the Mariana Islands chain. The island spans about 8.5 miles wide at its largest and 30 miles long. It’s around 220 square miles in area.
2. Who Can Move to Guam?
Guam is part of the United States, so the requirements are similar to any other U.S. state. If you’re already a U.S. citizen, you can move to Guam with some documentation requirements covered later in this guide. If you’re not a U.S. citizen, each country will have different requirements for entry, which you can find out here.
As a citizen of the U.S., as long as you have a valid passport and no warrants, you can move to Guam like any other location in the country.
If you’re a member of the military, there are three bases on the island, so it’s a typical move for those on active duty. There’s a strong sense of community for the individuals who make up the U.S. Naval Base, the Andersen Air Force Base, and Camp Blas Marine Corps Base. Those being relocated here are encouraged to start looking for housing as soon as possible, as the market can be competitive. If you are military, we suggest contacting your Living On Guam Realtor as soon as you get your orders. Bringing your family with you to Guam is simple, but you’ll need to ensure everyone has valid passports or other government identification and a copy of your PCS order.
If you want to bring your fluffy family members with you, you can absolutely do so, as long as you follow the strict quarantine rules. Guam is rabies-free, so they have a tight protocol in place to keep rabies off the island.
You have a few options as a pet owner. You can do a full 120-day commercial quarantine if your pet does not pass or complete a rabies test or is not arriving from an exempt area, like Japan or Australia. If you’re a military member moving from another U.S. base, you might qualify for a home quarantine of 120 days. Your pet needs proper documentation from your vet and will have to meet the island’s microchip requirements. Service animals may qualify for a quarantine bypass.
3. What Documentation is Required on Guam?
A valid passport is ideal for traveling to Guam, even though it’s not technically required. If you don’t have one, a government I.D. will suffice. A valid passport speeds up the process significantly, and a birth certificate is required for children under 16 years old.
Your passport and applicable visa are required for those who are not U.S. citizens. If you want to work in Guam, you’ll need either an H1B or an H2B visa. Student visas are also available.
Guam does not have any specific mandated vaccines that are required for traveling, but the CDC recommends that you have vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B and Typhoid. You should also have your COVID-19 vaccines up to date when traveling anywhere.
4. What Can I Bring to Guam?
Moving to an island like Guam is a bit more challenging than packing up a moving truck and driving to another city. Guam has its own set of rules and customs, so there are many federal and local regulations to follow.
When moving, it’s good to keep in mind that affordable Guam homes are on the smaller side (average of 1200 sq ft) So it would be a good idea to downsize as much as possible. If you’ve had all your household items in your possession for at least three months, they can come into the territory, and you cannot bring anything intended for resale purposes.
Any prescription medications should be carried with you along with a doctor’s note just in case. There are limits on the amount of duty-free alcohol and tobacco you can bring, so be sure to double-check the allowance if you want to bring these items.
You are not allowed to bring produce, meat or meat products, milk, live plants, flowers, explosives, weapons, dangerous toys, toxic, poisonous or hazardous materials, or illicit drugs. If you have firearms, you can bring them if you follow the correct procedure. Please talk to the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency to get clear answers if you have questions on certain items. It’s always better to ask as many questions as needed rather than being held up at customs.
Moving from the mainland also means you have to decide if you want to bring your car to Guam or sell it and purchase a new car or a "Guam bomb" once you’re there.
Guam has rules for imported vehicles, including Environmental Protection Agency exemptions, Department of Transportation exemptions, how long you’ve owned it, how old it is, and more. You’ll also need to provide all the necessary documentation, like registration, title, and proof of insurance.
Moving a car to Guam can be pricey, so if you don’t plan on staying for a long time, or it’s an older vehicle you’re likely going to need to replace in a few years, it might not be worth the price tag.
5. What is it Like to Live on Guam?
Life on a beautiful island is very different than on the mainland, but there’s no shortage of benefits to living on Guam. Locals are welcoming and friendly. If you’re a military member, you already have a built-in family from the day you arrive. Guam is overflowing with warm hospitality and natural beauty with the large tourism industry.
Guam has an incredible climate, where it’s warm and humid all year round. The average lows are 76-79°, and the average highs are 86-89°. The dry and sunny season is from December to June, and the wet and rainy season is from July to November.
If you know anything about Guam, it’s probably the extraordinary beaches. If you love to spend time in the water or on the beach, you’ll love the lifestyle that comes with living on Guam. You can spend your days on sandy beaches, snorkeling, swimming, paddle-boarding or surfing. With such an enormous tourist population, there’s world-class golfing, shopping, and dining nearby.
The hub of tourism is the village of Tumon. It’s where all the excitement happens. It’s a beautiful spot home to plenty of hotels, shopping, restaurants, entertainment, and gorgeous beaches. Tumon Bay is one of the most incredible beaches in the world.
Tumon is also home to one of the two USO on Guam. The nonprofit organization offers our military members services, resources, and community. USO Guam “lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families.” There is a facility for members to relax, grab some complimentary refreshments, play pool, watch movies, and use a computer. It’s considered a home away from home for many members.
Due to Guam being an island with import laws, it’s naturally more expensive than other places in the U.S. because everything is imported. Fuel, food, and utilities are more costly, but there are some ways to save money.
Visiting local produce stands and shopping on base (if you have base access) makes costs more reasonable. Residents can also order things like pet supplies, personal items, and electronics online to save some money.
Renting a one-bedroom place in Guam’s downtown area would cost between $1500 and $2200 per month. Outside of downtown, you’ll likely find lower rent prices around $1040 and $1500. Utility costs are about 150% higher than the national average on Guam, and a shared home with two people can typically cost over $300 per month.
If you’re looking to purchase a home on Guam, you’ll be searching for your dream home in a diverse market. Prices for properties range from $120,000 to $2.5 million (as of the time of this blog writing). There are many vacant lots available that are perfect if you want to build your dream home, and prices range from $20,000 to $30 million.
Relocating to Guam can be an excellent decision for you and your family, whether you’re an active military member (being stationed there for work) or you just want to take advantage of the island lifestyle. It’s a beautiful place with incredible nature to explore, the best amenities, and an endless list of things to do.