Getting Through Customs in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico follows the same customs procedures as the United States mainland

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Puerto Rico Customs
 

Since Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, traveling to the island isn't any different than traveling from one state to another in the U.S. So, U.S. citizens won't need any special documents when coming from the mainland, but vacationers who are flying to Puerto Rico must have a government-issued photo ID (federal, state, or local) to board a plane due to new airport security regulations.

Authorities will, however, conduct a routine agricultural inspection to look for plants and products that are prohibited to enter the United States. Many fruits are allowed onto the mainland, including huge pineapples that are packed and sold at the airport during season. Avocado, papaya, coconut, and plantain can be taken to the contiguous 48; mango, sour sop, passion fruit and plants potted in soil cannot. For details on what can and cannot be transported to and from Puerto Rico, contact the U.S. Agriculture Department, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Room G-110, Federal Building, Hyattsville, MD 20782 or call 787-253-4505 or 787-263-4506. Travelers carrying undeclared prohibited items will be fined on the spot. Articles from Vietnam, North Korea, Kampuchea, or Cuba; illegal publications; lottery tickets; chocolate liqueurs; or pre-Columbian artifacts may not be brought onto the mainland.

Visitors from other areas of the world should heed the same requirements for visiting any other destination in the United States. Be aware of the following customs tips and rules before entering the region:

Visitors from other areas of the world should heed the same requirements for visiting any other destination in the United States. Be aware of the following customs tips and rules before entering the region:

  • You can bring with you as much as two liters of alcohol and two cartons of cigarettes to Puerto Rico;

  • A "reasonable" amount of duty-free goods are allowed to be brought onto the island for personal use only. Those items deemed in excess of "reasonable" may incur an import tax;

  • You must have an official prescription to bring prescription drugs to the island;

  • You must have a special permit in order to be allowed to bring firearms and recreational drugs into Puerto Rico;

Register foreign-made high-ticket items before you depart for your trip to avoid paying duty taxes on items you already own and will take on your Caribbean trip. You may want to file a Certificate of Registration for items such as laptops, cameras, watches, and other digital devices identified with serial numbers or other permanent markings; you can also keep the certificate for other trips. Otherwise, bring with you a sales receipt or insurance form to show that you owned the item before you left the United States.

After you shop 'till you drop while visiting the island, before returning home you may want to consider these tips:

  • Keep receipts for all items that you purchase in Puerto Rico;

  • Before leaving the island, make sure your purchased items are easily accessible in case your home country's customs officials require an inspection;

  • Write to the port director at your point of reentry if you have any questions or complaints about your experience when going through customs.

Check with your country's own entry requirements before you head out for your vacation as customs regulations are subject to change from time to time. You can stay up-to-date by using the following contact information:

International Customs Agencies

Country
Contact Information
United States U.S. Customs Service
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20229
Tel: 877/227-5511 
www.customs.gov
United Kingdom HM Customs & Excise
Tel: 0845/010-9000
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/index.htm
Canada Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Tel: 800/461-9999
www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca
Australia Australian Customs Service
Tel: 1300/363-263
www.customs.gov.au
New Zealand New Zealand Customs Service
Tel: 04/473-6099
www.customs.govt.nz
 

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