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Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Rico? Full guide

by Catherine Carey | June 8, 2023
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Puerto Rico is an island blessed with sunny weather and dreamy landscapes of blue waters and shiny beaches. It also has a very rich culture influenced by the island’s indigenous Taino population and strong Spanish and African heritage combined with a spectacular rainforest, and countless historical sites like the fortresses of the 16th century and their cobblestone paths.

Where is Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico is located on the continent of North America, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. It’s east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands. It is a beautiful paradise waiting for your arrival, so prepare all your essential documents to travel like your passport or visa and pack your bags. 

Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Rico from the US?

Is Puerto Rico part of the US? Do I need a passport to go to Puerto Rico? US citizens do not need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico because Puerto Rico is a US territory.

This status gives Puerto Rico independence as a country, but is closely tied with the US politically and economically. An example of this is that you won’t have to exchange currencies: Puerto Rico uses the US-Dollar as well. 

Due to its political situation, it is considered a domestic destination for U.S. citizens accessible by a state-issued ID, such as a driver's license or a passport card. Travelling to Puerto Rico from the US is like going to another one of the 50 states.

Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Rico from the UK?

If you are a British citizen travelling to Puerto Rico for tourism, family visits or business purposes, you will need a passport for Puerto Rico.

In addition to the valid passport, you will need to apply, fill in and show a Puerto Rico visa. You can check if you are allowed to apply online for an ESTA here

Do you need a passport for Puerto Rico and visit Castillo San Felipe del Morro?

How do I apply for a Passport for Puerto Rico?

To obtain your US passport, you can visit your local passport agency or apply online through the U.S. Department of State website. If you have to renew, replace or update your British passport, you can do so online via the government site.  You can also get your first ever passport online or by sending the documents via post. 

Remember to apply for the passport for Puerto Rico well in advance of your desired or planned trip. The processing time shouldn’t be long, but it can vary depending on the time of the year and the amount of demand these offices have.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Passport for Puerto Rico?

Although processing times depend on multiple factors, the standard is up to 18 weeks, while expedited processing can take up to 12 weeks. That is why we recommend always being up-to-date with your travelling documents such as the passport and if you need to ask for one to do so well in advance of your trip. 

If for whatever reason you need to get your passport right away, you must make an in-person appointment in your nearest passport agency. 

What are Puerto Rico entry requirements?

To travel to Puerto Rico, you need to meet certain Puerto Rico entry requirements. In general, to travel to Puerto Rico you will need:

  • Valid passport with a machine-readable zone on the biographic page and digital chip with your biometric information.
  • Visa if your nationality requires one. Some countries enjoy visa-free travel to the U.S. based on bilateral agreements and only need to apply for an ESTA visa to stay on the island for up to 90 days without a visa. Other nationalities, will need a visitor visa to visit Puerto Rico.
  • Proof of a fully completed COVID-19 vaccination cycle or a negative antigen test carried out within two days after arriving on the island.
  • Even though purchasing travel insurance isn’t mandatory to visit Puerto Rico, we recommend one. A great travel insurance cover will protect you if you lose your luggage, experience significant travel delays, suffer an unexpected injury, require medical attention or need repatriation.

Get your passport for Puerto Rico and see the sea turtle in Puerto Rico

Can I Travel to Puerto Rico with an Expired Passport?

The short answer is no, you cannot travel to Puerto Rico with an expired passport. You must renew your passport for Puerto Rico before your trip.

What If I Lose my Passport in Puerto Rico?

If you lose your passport in Puerto Rico don’t panic, there is always a solution. You can take the appropriate steps to replace it and get back home. You have to report your lost passport as soon as possible to avoid identity theft or other issues.

You should contact the nearest US or UK embassy or consulate. They are your hometown country representation and the ones able to help you. They can provide you a temporary passport that will allow you to get back to the US or the UK.