The American Samoa governor, Tauese Sunia, has signed into law, legislation that will half the time it takes to qualify for permanent residency in certain categories.
Tauese says the amendment is of great importance to many foreigners who have made American Samoa their home for more than 20 years but could not obtain residency due to the annual numerical restrictions.
The new law is effective in two months and means those who have lived in the territory for more than 20 years and had filed for residency by December 31st 2001 are not subject to the quota limitation.
More than 300 applicants are pending under this category.
Tauese says any person married to an American Samoan or US citizen will also quailfy for residency after living in the territory for 10 years, as will those with American Samoan or US parents.
Other changes see the Immigration Board come under control of the Attorney General and a lift in the number of people granted permanent residency to 50 each year.