As of October 1986, it is not possible to homestead in Alaska on federal land, notes BLM.gov. For 88 years prior to that time, homesteads were available to residents. The process involved steps such as filling out a claim at a Lands Office, meeting certain government criteria and receiving a document called a land patent from the United States government.
U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Homestead Act in May 1862. Homesteading was the practice of giving people a land patent for federal land to establish small farms or homes. People who filled out a claim for homesteading needed to meet certain requirements that included being 21 years of age or older or the head of a household. Immigrants were also eligible for homesteads on the condition that they became citizens. The purpose of homesteading was for the settlement of newly acquired lands by the U.S government.
Although people in other states were allowed to have homesteads from 1863, it was not until 1898 that homesteading was allowed in Alaska. In the United States, homesteading came to an end in 1976 through a federal land policy act. Because Alaska was a relatively new state, there was a 10-year extension permitted for homesteading in this state, notes BLM.gov.
Although homesteading is no longer allowed by law, there are programs available as of 2015 that offer the possibility to the public of owning state land in Alaska, notes Alaska.gov. The programs include sealed bid auctions, remote cabin site staking draws and over-the-counter residential subdivisions with land for sale.