Note to our readers: Background Notes are no longer being updated or produced. They are being replaced with Fact Sheets focusing on U.S. relations with countries and other areas and providing links to additional resources. For archived versions of Background Notes, visit http://www.state.gov/outofdate/bgn/.
More information about Micronesia is available on the Micronesia Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
Following World War II, the islands of what is now the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) became part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, administered by the United States. Micronesia became independent in 1986, when it entered into a Compact of Free Association with the United States. An Amended Compact entered into force in 2004. The basic relationship of free association continues indefinitely.
The Governments of Micronesia and the United States maintain deep ties and a cooperative relationship. Reflecting a strong legacy of trusteeship cooperation, over 25 U.S. federal agencies operate programs in Micronesia. Under the Compact, the United States has full authority and responsibility for the defense and security of Micronesia. This security relationship can be changed or terminated by mutual agreement. Also under the Compact, Micronesians can live, work, and study in the United States without a visa. Micronesians volunteer to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces at approximately double the per capita rate as Americans; they are also eligible for admission to U.S. Service Academies. Americans can live and work freely in Micronesia without the need for a visa.
U.S. Assistance to Micronesia
The Compact between the two countries obligates the U.S. Government to provide grant and program assistance to Micronesia. The United States provides over $130 million in direct assistance, including additional federal grants and services, every year until 2023. This assistance also includes the systematic reallocation of a portion of the direct aid to a jointly managed Trust Fund. The Compact’s overall goal is to assist Micronesia on its path to economic self sufficiency post 2023. A Joint Economic Management Committee, consisting of representatives of both nations, is responsible for ensuring that assistance funds are spent effectively, with the aim of fostering good governance and economic self-reliance. Grant assistance under the Amended Compact focuses on six sectors: education, health, infrastructure, public sector capacity building, private sector development, and the environment. The U.S. Department of the Interior is responsible for monitoring and implementing the Amended Compact.
Micronesia is highly vulnerable to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. U.S. foreign assistance focuses on strengthening Micronesia’s climate resilience through disaster management.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Micronesia's national government plays a central role in the economy as recipient and domestic administrator of Compact funds. The national and state-level governments employ over half of the country's workers. The United States is Micronesia's largest trade partner.
Micronesia's Membership in International Organizations
Micronesia and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank. Micronesia also belongs to the Pacific Islands Forum, of which the United States is a Dialogue Partner.
Micronesia maintains an embassy in the United States at 1725 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; tel: 202-223-4383.
More information about Micronesia is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
Department of State Micronesia Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Micronesia Page
U.S. Embassy: Micronesia
USAID Pacific Islands Page
History of U.S. Relations With Micronesia
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Travel and Business Information