Puerto Rico is a picturesque land of rich artistry and culture, mouth-watering food, majestic peaks, and pristine palm-lined beaches, making it a paradise of adventure and relaxation.
The breathtaking landscape views are no wonder they attract tourists from all over the world. Hence, this Caribbean paradise contributes over $5 billion yearly to the tourism industry.
So, if you want to visit this fantastic island with your friends and family, there may be some questions like do you need a passport for Puerto Rico or do you need a passport to fly to Puerto Rico which comes to your mind. Like any other country, you should know a few requirements for entering the island.
So, do you need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico? Well, the answer could be both yes as well as no. Sounds ambiguous? We are here to explain why we say both yes and no. So, read on to learn more about the Puerto Rico passport requirements before you start packing your luggage!
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Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico is a perfect destination for unwinding from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Plus, if you are an American citizen, there is an additional advantage of hassle-free traveling to the island without a passport. But, unfortunately, you might need to show your passport when traveling from any other country.
Do American Citizens need a Passport to Go to Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico, a United States commonwealth, has been considered a domestic trip from the continental United States. Even though the government and its citizens do not play a role in casting votes for federal matters, they are very much citizens of the US. Hence, they are entitled to the human rights of US citizenship and vice versa.
This means that the citizens of America do not need a passport for Puerto Rico while traveling from the US. Similarly, Puerto Ricans don’t need a passport to immigrate and depart from the United States of America.
However, it is vital to remember that this protocol applies only within the boundaries of the US and its territories. Therefore, the answer to “can you go to Puerto Rico without a passport” will be no if you are interested in visiting Puerto Rico from a foreign land or port. In that case, you will need to show your passport at the International airport.
Read More: How to Travel with a Temporary Paper License
Nonetheless, although US citizens do not need a passport to travel to and from Puerto Rico, there is still a need for some state-issued identification documents for making the trip. From October 2020, the ID should correspond with the US REAL ID Act. All these are under the rules of the United States Customs and Border Protection to ensure that you are indeed a citizen of the United States.
So, here is a list of all the important identification documents needed to go to Puerto Rico as Americans without a passport.
- A photocopy of the United States birth certificate
- Driver’s License of the United States Department of Motor Vehicles
Can You Travel To Puerto Rico Without a Passport As A Legal Permanent Resident of America?
Yes, it is a kind of relief for a permanent resident of America. So, you can go to Puerto Rico without a passport if you are a legal American permanent resident. However, you must bring a few identification documents while traveling to this Caribbean island.
The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have made it compulsory for United States legal permanent residents to keep their immigration papers, including state-issued photo identity cards, with them when flying to and from Puerto Rico.
Besides, the United States Customs and Border Protection also recommends carrying your passport or green card if they ask you to provide proof of your US legal permanent resident status.
Why Do Non-American Citizens Need A Passport to Go to Puerto Rico?
“Do I need passport to go to Puerto Rico if I am a non-American citizen” is what pops up when you think of making a trip to Puerto Rico. Just like you need a passport to go to most foreign countries, you will also need it to travel to Puerto Rico. You might also wonder whether you need a Visa or not.
Well, it typically depends on the country you are coming from. Like the citizens of the United States who do not need a passport to go to Puerto Rico, about 40 citizens of other countries can fly to Puerto Rico without a visa.
The list of these countries includes:
- Czech Republic
However, citizens of the countries mentioned above still require the US-approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) visa disclaimer to immigrate to Puerto Rico. This disclaimer permits these 40 countries’ citizens to stay in Puerto Rico and other territories of the US for 90 days consecutively. The ESTA remains valid for two years from the day of its issue.
Apart from the citizens of the United States, there are nearly nine countries whose citizens also neither require a passport nor an ESTA to travel to Puerto Rico. Some of these countries include:
- United States Virgin Islands
- Federal State of Micronesia
- Marshall Islands
How Should You Prepare to Travel to Puerto Rico?
First of all, you should ensure to carry all your important immigration documents safely. Other than this, there are some necessary factors that you need to consider when preparing to travel to Puerto Rico. These include:
Mobile Phone Service
Most United States mobile phone service providers concurrently work in Puerto Rico. Hence, there is a possibility that you might not need to buy a new sim card on arrival.
Like all the territories of the United States, the official currency of Puerto Rico is also the US dollar. Although locals of this Caribbean paradise may refer to the currency as the peso, it is still the same thing. Also, here the prices are quite similar to that of the United States, so you don’t need to worry about getting a shock in price.
Read More: How to Fly with an Expired License
Besides, several American banks and ATM services prevail around the island. This is to ensure that the locals and tourists can quickly restore cash on getting out of cash. You can even go cashless with your credit card and make payments using it. However, carrying cash will be more convenient, especially when shopping or eating in smaller shops or restaurants.
There are two official languages in Puerto Rico: English and Spanish. But, then, there is an unofficial mixture of these two languages. Fortunately, most locals, especially in the tourist places like San Juan, decently speak English. So, you do not have to be concerned about a language barrier when visiting these attractive tourist cities.
But, if you have a plan to travel to remote towns, then you should know a basic understanding of the Spanish language even if you don’t have command over the language. Spanish comprehension is important in these remote areas as locals hardly speak or understand English.
It would be helpful for you to book your accommodation before coming to Puerto Rico. Many hotels and Airbnbs are available in major cities, making your stay more comfortable with little or no additional cost. So, getting your hands on this deal is better than enjoying a stress-free vacation.
Transportation to Visit Local Places
Taxis are the best transportation if you want to explore the city for a short stay. You can choose a rental car from San Juan or Culebra Island agencies when staying for more days. However, you need to carry your credit card and driver’s license.
Also, public buses are available for cheaper travel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Puerto Rico A Safe Place to Travel?
Puerto Rico has an annual record of 47.50 crime rates for every 1,000 residents. The central cities are much safer than the outer areas. You may have a probability of 1 in 18 falling victims to crime in northern Puerto Rico, while it drops to 1 in 26 in the central region.
Do US Immigrants Need to Go Through Customs?
No, the citizens of the United States do not need to go through Puerto Rico customs. However, if you are non-American traveling from the states or other international places, the rules differ in that case.
Read More: Can You Fly Domestic Without A Passport?
Are Vaccine Requirements Still Needed?
The rules of the CDC make it mandatory for travelers to get a COVID-19 vaccine before traveling to Puerto Rico. In addition, the organization recommends vaccines for:
- Diphtheria-Tetanus- Pertussis
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
What Are The Things Prohibited To Carry From Puerto Rico?
According to the USDA, travelers are restricted from bringing fresh produce, plants, flowers, and pork. For more information, visit their official website and get a comprehensive list. Nonetheless, the list excludes:
- Plants in soil
- Citrus plants and leaves
- Sweet potatoes
- Pigeon peas
- Land snails
- Live insects
- Palm frond handicrafts
Puerto Rico is indeed a wonderful place to travel with family and friends. The best part is that you do not need to carry your passport for immigration if you are a legal permanent resident of the United States. Nonetheless, you should always carry the necessary documents as proof of being American.
Non-Americans, however, may need to carry their passport to travel to Puerto Rico, depending on which country they are coming from.
So, pack your luggage and catch a flight to reach this sun-kissed paradise on Earth. First, make sure you have put a tick on the preparation list before coming to the island.