Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Rico?
For the millions of visitors to Puerto Rico, the question of whether you need a passport to visit is an important one. For anyone who is a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, then a passport is not required to enter Puerto Rico. Likewise, should any Puerto Rican citizens wish to visit another part of the United States, then they do not need a passport. However, there are still ID requirements and other considerations, so you should plan and prepare to ensure your travel goes smoothly and you don’t fall foul of the checks at ports and airports.
We’ve put together a helpful list of frequently asked questions and concerns that travellers have had so that you have a single resource to help you with your travels. Preparation and research will mean far less stress and anxiety during your travels, letting you enjoy every moment.
As mentioned above, a passport is not required for US citizens, but that doesn’t mean you can simply walk through immigration checks without any proof of citizenship. You should bring some kind of government-issued identification with a photograph, as well as proof of residency or birth certificate. What you will notice here, is that it is all pretty much covered by your passport and so wherever possible, this is always the best form of ID to bring. If you are ever in doubt, speak to experts like ourselves, or the relevant government department.
For non-US citizens or permanent residents, the standard immigration rules for entering the United States count and so you should check online or with your embassy to confirm exact requirements and get your visa documentation ready.
Should you wish to visit any other islands or ports whilst travelling in Puerto Rico, then consider whether they are part of the United States or not. If they are not, then you may well need to bring your passport and obtain the relevant visa documents. Make sure you speak to experts or do your own research about each location, to ensure you have everything you need.
In Puerto Rico, the most frequently used language is Spanish, however, the official languages are Spanish and English. This means that the majority of people will speak a degree of English, particularly in the tourist industry and local authorities, such as police and government officials. If you’re lucky enough to speak Spanish too, then that’s great, otherwise, it may be worth learning a few key phrases to help you along the way.
One of the big wins with Puerto Rico is that because they are part of the United States, they use the dollar and there are no extra foreign transaction fees. Our advice here is to still just check with your bank to ensure they have no barriers to using your accounts there, and when carrying cash around, then just make sure you remain safe and secure.
Cell Phones and Data Coverage
With any travel, its important to check with your cell phone provider to make sure they don’t charge any roaming fees, but in general, because it is part of the United States, you won’t need to use any international add-ons or plans, as cell phones should operate as they do on the mainland.
In terms of data coverage, much like other places, it depends on the location you’re in and the plan you’re currently on. Our best advice is to always check with your phone company prior to travel and download any apps, maps or updates prior to travelling or whilst using Wi-Fi. This will reduce the chances of any surprise charges or being stuck without a map when the cell coverage drops.
Safety and Security
Puerto Rico is similar to many other countries and locations you will visit, in that it is relatively safe to visit but you should always be aware of your surroundings. As with many cities, there will be parts that are less safe than others, but the main tourist areas will be fine. The most obvious thing to do is ensure you don’t wave money around and keep valuables secure, as pickpockets will naturally head towards tourist areas. Once more, this is no different from any other city or country, so don’t worry and just use your common sense.
Puerto Rico has suffered from natural disasters and so this is always a potential risk but they have recovered well since the last one and will have plans in place should another occur. Always consider the time of year that you travel and research on what to do should there be a hurricane or similar event.
According to the CDC, it is likely that as a US citizen you will have all your necessary vaccines anyway. But they do recommend getting your hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations, as an additional safety precaution.
You will have access to pharmacies and support in the usual way should you need it, so there is no need to worry. If you have specific health issues that require attention, then as with any other travel, consult your physician and insurance provider to make sure you have everything you need.
Due to its location, popularity and being part of the United States, it is very easy to book travel for Puerto Rico. There are dozens of flights per day from mainland U.S and you should be able to find the ones that suit you, as well as being at affordable prices.
In summary, Puerto Rico is a fantastic place to go and for US citizens and permanent residents, the fact that there are no requirements for passports, you don’t need to exchange money into a different currency and minimal fees mean it is much more attractive than other locations. As always, do your research first, ask people like us for advice or the relevant government department, so that you don’t get any nasty surprises. That way, you can sit back and relax, ready to enjoy an amazing trip!