An unincorporated, organized territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean, Guam is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. The largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands, and the largest island in Micronesia, Guam has a long history of colonization and the Guam Organic Act of 1950 established the island as an unincorporated organized territory of the U.S.. While its 161,000 residents are entitled to U.S. citizenship, Guam is not a U.S. state so citizens residing on Guam cannot vote in presidential elections and their congressional representatives are non-voting members of Congress. Guam does make provisions for the sharing of its records with the public.
Guam Public Records Laws
The Sunshine Law of 1987 was the original public records law in Guam and was revised in the Sunshine Reform Act of 1999, which can be found in Chapter 10, Article 1-3 of the Statutes. The Law states that “every person” has the right to inspect and take copies of public documents in Guam. The reason for the request does not need to be stated, and records may be used for any purpose once obtained.
Records that are covered under the law include any records from a public agency, including the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Records that are not included, or are exempt, include:
- Personnel records
- Tax returns
- Police blotters
- Pending litigation records
- Security-related records
- Medical records
- Library records
- Test questions
- University of Guam Financial Aid records
- Investigatory records
Guam Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks
Background checks in Guam are administered by the Guam Police Department. They have no forms or instructions available on their website but do refer to these as a Police Clearance. These record checks for the Territory of Guam only and are used for such things as pre-employment, adoption, licensing, and criminal justice cases. Records returned are usually for convictions within the last 11 years, except for DWI, which doesn’t expire. Fingerprinting may be required to run these reports.
Guam Jail and Inmate Records
To learn about the corrections program on Guam, find services for victims, or to locate an inmate, you can visit the Guam Department of Corrections website. Guam has only one correctional facility called Hagatna Adult Correctional Facility in Mangilao County (#3 Mashburn Lane, Mangiloa, GU 96913). There is no online search function to locate inmates, but you can call the DOC at (671) 734-4566 with questions about location and visitation.
Guam Court Records
Information on any of the courts in Guam can be found on its administrator of the courts website. The only online searches that can be done are of the court calendars for the Supreme Court and the Superior Court and the Guam Law Library, which is limited. You can obtain copies of court documents by making a public records request with the clerk of the court in the courthouse where the case was heard.
Guam Vital Records
Vital records in Guam, such as birth, death, and marriage certificates are administered by the Department of Health & Social Services, Office of Vital Statistics. The office has birth and death records from October 26, 1901 to present. There is no date available for marriage certificates.
To obtain a birth, death, or marriage certificate, you must either be the person listed on the certificate or prove that you are a spouse, parent, child, or legal representative. Send a completed application with proper documentation and payment to: Office of Vital Statistics, 123 Chalan Kreta, Mangilao, Guam 96913.
Copies of divorce certificates must be requested directly from the court, and the cost of copying will vary. Your request should go to: Clerk, Superior Court of Guam, Guam Judicial Center, 120 West O’Brien Drive, Hagatna, Guam 96910.