Making the most of your move to Puerto Rico
Whether you’re moving for the Caribbean white sand beaches, the culture or business tax incentives, Puerto Rico has a lot to offer new residents. But since relocating to “the Island of Enchantment” can be a bit more complicated than moving within the continental U.S., you’ll need to hire a moving company to transport your things.
Full-service movers will handle everything for you, but they also come at a premium price. If you’d rather stick to a budget, it’s possible to save money by handling the moving labor yourself with a DIY service like U-Pack®. U-Pack has the experience to help you move to Puerto Rico from anywhere in the United States at prices typically 2-3 times lower than full-service movers.
What’s required for Americans to move to Puerto Rico
Because Puerto Rico is an unincorporated United States territory, U.S. citizens do not need a passport to go there. However, you will need a proper ID (a valid driver’s license or state ID) and paperwork when relocating and shipping belongings to the island.
If your household goods have a used value of more than $2,500 (for a single item or the total shipment), you must complete an Electronic Exportation Information Form (EEI) to declare your items to the Puerto Rican government. Custom fees do not apply, but household goods are subject to an excise tax.
If you’re moving with U-Pack, our local service center can file the EEI and clear the shipment on your behalf with the following documentation:
- Completed EEI form for anything with a used value over $2,500
- Completed EEI authorization form and Schedule B commodity list
- Declared total value of the shipment (at the time of reservation and listed on your Bill of Lading)
- Receipts for any new items
- Copy of photo ID
- Copy of Social Security card
- Employer Identification Number (EIN) if applicable
- Puerto Rico physical address
Once your shipment arrives in Puerto Rico, tax officials will check everything, apply the tax and clear your shipment. It’s important to report the cost of items accurately since any discrepancies can result in penalty fees.
FAQs about living in Puerto Rico
How big is the island?
Approximately 3.2 million residents inhabit Puerto Rico’s 3,515 square miles.
What’s the weather like?
The tropical marine climate of Puerto Rico has year-round average temperatures of 80 degrees with 80% relative humidity. Average annual rainfall varies depending on the part of the island, ranging from about 30 to 171 inches. Hurricanes frequently impact the island between August and October.
What’s the official language?
Spanish and English are both recognized as official languages, though Spanish is more common for government websites and in cities outside the tourist areas of Puerto Rico.
Are Puerto Ricans U.S. citizens, and can I still vote if I live there?
Yes, people born in Puerto Rico are United States citizens and can vote in local elections and U.S. Presidential Primaries. However, residents are not able to vote in the U.S. Presidential elections.
How do I establish residency in Puerto Rico?
You’ll need to obtain a Puerto Rican driver’s license or ID card, register with the local tax office and reside in the territory for at least 183 days of a calendar year with no taxable home off the island. It’s okay to own a vacation home elsewhere, but your primary residence must be in Puerto Rico to qualify as a resident.
Is the island a good place for families?
Moving with kids can be challenging, but Puerto Rico is considered a good place to raise a family, with a crime rate lower than national averages and year-round pleasant weather. You’ll find multiple public, private and homeschool options for grades K-12 on the island. There are also plenty of trade schools, community colleges and universities in Puerto Rico for adult learners.
Other things to note:
- Car seat laws in Puerto Rico are similar to those in the continental U.S.
- Many schools teach in Spanish and don’t provide transportation.
- Health care can be a bit different on the island, so check with your child’s pediatrician before moving about any health concerns or vaccinations needed.
Can I bring my pets with me to Puerto Rico?
Yes. Puerto Rico allows animal imports to the island with the proper paperwork and official health certificates. Dogs and cats will need rabies vaccinations. Other animals might have different vaccination requirements and forms. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has more information about specific requirements for each animal breed.
Check out U-Pack’s guide to moving with pets to help your animal companions transition.
Can I ship my car to Puerto Rico?
Many movers, including U-Pack, are not licensed to transport vehicles. We recommend Mr. Car Shipper® for vehicle transport. You can contact them at 877-528-9627 for a quote.
Once your vehicle arrives in Puerto Rico, you’ll need to:
- Pay the excise tax based on the value of the automobile. You can estimate your vehicle’s tax total using the Treasury Department’s calculator.
- Obtain a Puerto Rican driver’s license within 30 days of moving. If you have a valid U.S. driver’s license, requirements for a license in Puerto Rico include an eye exam, a written exam and payment of fees (typically around $35). Make an appointment with CESCO online to save time.
- Get your vehicle registered and inspected at the Department of Transportation.
I’m retired or disabled. Will I still have my Social Security or Medicare benefits?
Social Security and Medicare benefits stay with you for all 50 U.S. states and all U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico. Contact the Social Security Administration for more information.
How does the cost of living compare to the continental U.S.?
Although the cost of groceries can be higher on the island than in the continental U.S., the overall cost of living in Puerto Rico is typically lower than in many states.
Is it true there are tax advantages to living in Puerto Rico?
There are lower federal tax liabilities for individuals and businesses based in Puerto Rico. For more information, visit the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury website. (Tip: use Google Translate if you’re not fluent in Spanish.)
How much does it cost to move to Puerto Rico?
The cost to move to the island will vary based on factors like the mover you choose, the size of your shipment and the time of year.
Here are a couple of U-Pack example moving quotes for January 2024. Actual moving costs will vary based on your moving details.
- Example 1: A studio apartment move from Orlando, FL, to San Juan, PR. U-Pack recommended a ReloCube® moving container for $2,828*.
- Example 2: A 2-bedroom home move from Dallas, TX, to San Juan, PR. U-Pack recommended 2 ReloCube moving containers for $7,466*.
*Puerto Rico sales tax and an administration fee will also apply.
U-Pack can help you move to Puerto Rico
U-Pack serves all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Get a free online quote or call 844-362-5303844-594-3077 to speak to a moving consultant. If you have any questions about moving to Puerto Rico or how U-Pack works, let us know in the comments. We’re always happy to help!
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