Work and Travel in Northern Mariana Islands

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The Northern Mariana Islands were the sites of famous battles during the Second World War. Today, the islands are far more peaceful, even if they do have high levels of poverty.

Anyone who wants to work in the Northern Mariana Islands will have to get off the beaten path and travel half way across the world. But the rewards of work and travel in the Northern Mariana Islands are significant.

Our travel guide to the Northern Mariana Islands is going to show you everything you need to know about making the most of your trip here.

1. Volunteer with Turtles in the Northern Mariana Islands

Turtles are a huge part of why people come to travel in the Northern Mariana Islands every year. The Pacific migration route of turtles runs straight through these islands.

You'll find grottos across this territory that house these majestic creatures. Efforts are being stepped up to ensure that they are kept safe from harm.

You can help protect these Pacific turtles with one of the many conservation volunteer opportunities in the Northern Mariana Islands.

It's a great way to make a difference!

2. Work with the Homeless in the Northern Mariana Islands

Like many territories in the Pacific Ocean, these islands suffer from a high level of poverty. There's a huge gap between rich and poor.

Furthermore, government resources are thin. It falls to charities and volunteers like you to help.

Many volunteers choose to work in soup kitchens when they travel in the Northern Mariana Islands.

It gives them the chance to connect with local people and to learn about what it's really like to live here, beyond the crystal clear waters and white, sandy beaches.

3. Reconstruct the Infrastructure of the Island

The island of Saipan was devastated by Typhoon Yutu. This super typhoon knocked out Internet services and made thousands of islanders homeless.

It will take years for this US territory to fully recover. If you want to work in the Northern Mariana Islands, now has never been a better time to do so.

Anyone with carpentry, decorating, or just basic DIY skills will be able to help reconstruct the infrastructure of the island.

There are so many charities dedicated to this that you'll be spoiled for choice.


The Northern Mariana Islands are a US territory. For more info click here. They are close to Japan and were split into the Northern Mariana Islands, where the island of Saipan is, and the territory of Guam.

Citizens of the UK, the European Union (EU), Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand are able to stay for 30 days without a visa, which can be extended by another 60 days after you arrive.

Anyone from South Africa, China, or Russia must apply for a visa specifically to visit the Northern Mariana Islands.

However, we recommend applying for a US visa. It's much easier and it entitles you to 30 days in the territory. The only catch is you need to have a multi-entry visa to be able to do this.

Due to the way flight paths work, many nationalities may find it necessary to enter the mainland US first.



The spring season is the second half of the dry season. It's an ideal time to visit and work in the Northern Mariana Islands.

You'll find the weather easy to handle, with lower levels of humidity, and you'll be able to work outside without experiencing bad weather.

We recommend involving yourself in construction-based projects. Another option is to work with the homeless or disadvantaged children.

As long as you're charismatic and come with a strong work ethic, you'll find volunteer opportunities in the Northern Mariana Islands easy to secure.


The summer season is the beginning of the wet season. The rains can be extremely heavy and make many volunteering projects unworkable.

The one big volunteering project is working with green turtles coming in from the wider Pacific Ocean.

The summer is their time to nest and it's the threat from poachers is significant. That's why charities guard the nesting sites and ensure that the eggs can't be stolen.

It's also the main period of the year where scientists will spend their time studying these creatures.

There's no better way to get closer to turtles than a summer volunteering project like this.


We would caution against visiting this territory in autumn. It's the typhoon season, and as we saw recently, they can present a threat to life.

Besides, there are no specific seasonal backpacking skills available at this time of year.


The winter period marks the beginning of the dry season. It's the most common time to visit the Northern Mariana Islands.

All the volunteering projects you read about in the 'Spring' section continue to be available in the winter.

Many volunteers use this time to involve themselves in educational projects. Even though the new school year starts in summer, there are always spaces for eager volunteers.

You should bear in mind that because this is a US territory you will need to show evidence of qualifications. It's possible to get around this by working on a private basis, but these jobs are not easy to come by.


The Northern Mariana Islands may be a part of the Commonwealth of the United States of America, but don't expect to find anything resembling the mainland here.

The islands are closest to the nation of Japan, and for years this was one of their possessions. Only the Second World War changed things.

But the islanders have managed to retain their culture and they continue to show warmth towards visitors who make the long trip to the territory.

You should be aware that this is not a rich island and natural disasters are common, though. So be mindful about any paid work you may decide to pick up.

Are you ready to work and travel in the Northern Mariana Islands?

Recent Contributors

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