Passport not needed to enter and leave Puerto Rico

Full story: Hispania News

The National Institute for Latino Policy is concerned that travel agents are misinterpreting the new passport requirements for US citizens traveling to the Caribbean by erroneously including Puerto Rico as a ...
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1 - 20 of 25 Comments Last updated Apr 26, 2012
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Frank

United States

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#1
Sep 4, 2006
 
I find it incredible that so many North Americans still don't know that Puerto Rico is a United States territory. I was recently at the Philadelphia International Airport en-route to Puerto Rico and was asked by a rather rude USAir ticket agent for my passport. I believe this is a symptom of the poor educational system in the U.S. Many Americans cannot name half of the 50 states or know where they are for that matter, so why should they know anything about Puerto Rico? World history is not emphasized in U.S. school curriculums and I believe it has contributed to the "isolationist" mental attitude of Americans in general. As a Puerto Rican American, I have been the victim of discrimination in its various forms I believe in part because of such ignorance. It's amazing that many feel we are here illegally. The facts are these:

1. Puerto Rico has been a U.S. territory since 1898.
2. Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since an act of Congress in 1917.
3. Puerto Ricans are free to travel to and from the mainland without restrictions just as mainlanders travel freely between states.
4. Puerto Ricans do NOT need a work visa (green card)
5. All of the United States federal government agencies operate in Puerto Rico, including the post office, federal courts, EPA, Dept. of Agriculture, etc.
6. Puerto Rico uses the U.S. dollar as its currency.
7. Puerto Ricans are nearly evenly split on the issue of statehood for Puerto Rico. The other half is in favor of the status quo.
Mataconhacha

San Antonio, TX

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#2
Oct 6, 2006
 
Frank,

Yes, I know what you have been through. In my many travels around the nation, I would run into the same thing. I remember while I was traveling through Knoxville, TN, the ticket agent requested a passport and I told her that I did not need one to travel to PR. She insisted that I needed something to leave USA territory to enter PR! LOL. I requested that I speak to her supervisor, even after I told her that PR was US territory and we were all U.S. Citizens. The supervisor cleared things up and I suggested that they needed to inform their folks that PR, USVI, American Samoa and Guam were all U.S. Territories. I also had someone tell me long ago why was I flying to PR and not driving there! LOL, sure proves how dumb some folks are when it comes to geography and U.S. history.
don coqui

El Paso, TX

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#3
Oct 6, 2006
 
Bet you all have not tried to cash a check from Puerto Rico.... One clerk from a credit union told me I had to wait 45 days for the funds to clear from any bank out side of the U.S juisdiction. When I informed her that PR was a U>S teritory she called her supervisor who then cleared thing up
Miss Melodi

United States

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#4
Oct 24, 2006
 
Ditto for Am Sam. I went to a luncheon lecture at Stanford today to hear a lady who "specializes in travel to the South Pacific" to get some tips on simply getting to American Samoa. She said it just takes a long time. Then she added, not needing to, that people are beginning to travel there because of the more favorable exchange rate. Exchange rate! American Samoa is America! They use US dollars. There is no exchange rate. Then someone offered that the time was because of the international date line. Passable because it's close, but the date line jogs around to accommodate American Samoa into the same date/time as Hawaii. They do know Hawaii is a state don't they? You people made me feel much better.

Ditto for American Samoa except 1899, no one wants to be a state, and one non-voting representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Pete

Winter Haven, FL

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#5
Jan 16, 2007
 
I've had to cash several checks from Puerto Rico and have stumbled upon unwitting cashiers too.

All were resolved quickly by calling a supervisor.
derek

Anasco, Puerto Rico

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#6
Jan 16, 2007
 
These are the US territories not requiring passaports.

Puerto Rico
Guam
U.S. Virgin Islands
American Samoa
Northern Mariana Islands
Midway Islands
Wake Island
Johnston Atoll
Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands
Kingman Reef
Navassa Island
Palmyra Atoll

The following islands are mostly uninhabited and in the Pacific except for Navassa Island which is in the Caribbean:
Johnston Atoll
Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands
Kingman Reef
Navassa Island
Palmyra Atoll
elba carreras

San Juan, Puerto Rico

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#7
Jan 24, 2007
 
As of yesterday, January 23, 2007, the question as to whether, American citizens residing in Puerto Rico, are required US passports to enter the continental United States, has resurfaced. I telephoned the local English speaking radio station in Puerto Rico and with that question, and they responded by saying "you are required a US passport to enter the continental United States from Puerto Rico, but not when traveling from the continental United States to Puerto Rico". The answer made little sense to me because that means that tourists traveling from the US to PR do not need a passport, but they WILL upon their return to the US. So where are we!?!?!? Thank you.
KEvin lisboa

Adrian, MI

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#8
Mar 5, 2007
 
you do not need any passports to go from puerto rico to u.s. dont let nobody lie to you. its a conspiracy we are the closest hispanics to the u.s. and yet peopel dont respect us and dont care. boricua 4 lyfe.

Since: Feb 07

San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico

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#9
Mar 5, 2007
 

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elba carreras wrote:
As of yesterday, January 23, 2007, the question as to whether, American citizens residing in Puerto Rico, are required US passports to enter the continental United States, has resurfaced. I telephoned the local English speaking radio station in Puerto Rico and with that question, and they responded by saying "you are required a US passport to enter the continental United States from Puerto Rico, but not when traveling from the continental United States to Puerto Rico". The answer made little sense to me because that means that tourists traveling from the US to PR do not need a passport, but they WILL upon their return to the US. So where are we!?!?!? Thank you.
Elba, por favor. Assuming you are talking about WOSO, if you are trusting them to give you correct information, you have some seriously misplaced trust. And, if you ever need a laugh, check out their website. Click on 'SpeakOut', which is supposed to be their on-line forum. It's said "A New Speakout Online Forum Coming Soon" for about three years now...
Marcho

Hormigueros, Puerto Rico

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#10
Mar 10, 2007
 
Try buying any medication in the U.S with a form from a doctor in PR. They will tell you they don't sell medication on medical forms from outside the U.S. This happened to me last year on a Shoprite in NJ.
Bearod

Sacramento, CA

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#11
Aug 5, 2007
 
a couple of friends and i want to take a trip to puerto rico, but a couple of us do not have passports. we where thinking that we can use our california id, but we are being told by the U.S. Postal office, that we can go to P.R. but we will not be able to return to the US!!... and this is our government?
USMAIL

Italy

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#12
Aug 5, 2007
 

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Bearod wrote:
a couple of friends and i want to take a trip to puerto rico, but a couple of us do not have passports. we where thinking that we can use our california id, but we are being told by the U.S. Postal office, that we can go to P.R. but we will not be able to return to the US!!... and this is our government?
Unbelievable..! Do your community a favor and report this guy [or gal] to his supervisor. He/she is not only wrong, but incompetent as well. A Post Office employee lacks authority and competence to answer questions of this type; and, should have the common sense to stay away from matters which are clearly outside their field of training.
we can go to P.R. but we will not be able to return to the US!!
When traveling to Puerto Rico you technically never leave the US. It's a domestic flight for Pete's sake! You'll need no more [and no less] proof of identity than you would need when flying to Anchorage, O'ahu, or New York City.
Lord a'mercy!
Didi

Brooklyn, NY

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#13
Nov 30, 2007
 
* Kevin, you are so correct on that!.
I was born & raised in Caguas, PR but reside here in Long Island, NY. I have not come across a problem like that yet & i thank God for that, but have seen many people who had this problem & for no reason!! As they stand next to me at the airport, if i hear a non-sense question from a staff member who apparently was supposed to be properly trained! I kind of interfere in the conversation because i feel so bad about this. I look at the person in charge, give them an intelligent look of surprise so they can see our reaction & make sure i say it out loud enough for other co-workers next to her or him to hear: "Don't you know that PR is part of the US & that we do not need a passport? at least not for now!! Haven't you been properly trained on those issues?! By correcting her or him, they feel kind of silly (which is not my intention - the intention is for them to learn the actual facts!). If worse comes to worse, a person going through this kind ofnon-sense should immediately request a Manager, Supervisor, Director or Law Enforcement officer right there & then to clarify the situation in front of other witnesses. This is the only safe way, these ignorant people will ever be able to learn History & i do not blame the employee, no! I really blame the Supervisors & trainers who should always cover all basis of true facts & stop making traveler feel bad about themselves with a non-sense request after the traveler had already shown a Birth Certificate, valid US ID and/or Drivers License.
So way to go Kevin. Liked your comment!
KEvin lisboa wrote:
you do not need any passports to go from puerto rico to u.s. dont let nobody lie to you. its a conspiracy we are the closest hispanics to the u.s. and yet peopel dont respect us and dont care. boricua 4 lyfe.
Rhonda DeLeon CT

Wallingford, CT

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#14
Aug 9, 2008
 
I want to send a friend home after living in Puerto Rico for 8 years. He is a US citizen and Puerto Rico is a US teritory why would a pssport be needed? Does anyone really know the answer to this question? Help me, please?

Since: Feb 07

Miami, FL

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#15
Aug 9, 2008
 

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Rhonda DeLeon CT wrote:
I want to send a friend home after living in Puerto Rico for 8 years. He is a US citizen and Puerto Rico is a US teritory why would a pssport be needed? Does anyone really know the answer to this question? Help me, please?
A passport should not be required.
I Quit I Quit

AOL

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#16
Aug 9, 2008
 

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Gee, I wonder if the intelligent and wonderful Puerto Ricans know of Wyoming, Idaho or perhaps the State of Oregon...

You honestly think the Residents of these States know anything about Puerto Rico like it is the size of Australia???

You think the Puerto Ricans know anything about all the fifty states of the Union??? Come on give me a break....

The East Coast only knows about the Island because of the Criminals leaving the Mainland, especially the Drug Addicts or the repeat Tourists that come here after December 15...

I was at the Caribe Hilton last Nite and had a surperb dinner at Morton's and the place was practically empty....there were less then 10 tables occupied on a Friday Nite???

Does that tell you something about your wonderful Puerto Rico??? t's too damn expensive here and everybody is going to the ABC Islands or the Dominican Republic where you are WELCOMED!!!

Puerto Rico is reknown for lousy customer relations and especially at Restaurants...

You go to a Movie and all you hear is people talking throughout the movie in a loud and screaming voice like they have a right to do what they want since they paid a ticket...that's the problem on this Island...Inconsideration by everyone...
LIVED IT

AOL

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#17
Sep 11, 2008
 

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Do we need a passport to travel us airways international flight from philadelphia to puertu rico?

“Tito”

Since: Sep 08

Lebanon, PA

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#18
Oct 6, 2008
 
No, you don't need a passport. I know this because I recently booked a flight for one of my aunts. She was going to the JFK airport in New York, though. Fact of the matter is that we are US citizens and we don't need passports. Do you need a passport to go from New York to Illinois? Of course not.. PR isn't a US state but we are a territory and do have the right to come and go as we please.
Neato

United States

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#19
Aug 9, 2009
 
LIVED IT wrote:
Do we need a passport to travel us airways international flight from philadelphia to puertu rico?
Puerto Rico is just like any other place in USA and other countries you got morons and stupid people that lack consideration for others, don't make it sound like PR is the only place in the world that falls in this category. I usually get the manager and the issue is resolved.

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

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#20
Aug 9, 2009
 
I Quit I Quit wrote:
Gee, I wonder if the intelligent and wonderful Puerto Ricans know of Wyoming, Idaho or perhaps the State of Oregon...
You honestly think the Residents of these States know anything about Puerto Rico like it is the size of Australia???
You think the Puerto Ricans know anything about all the fifty states of the Union??? Come on give me a break....
The East Coast only knows about the Island because of the Criminals leaving the Mainland, especially the Drug Addicts or the repeat Tourists that come here after December 15...
I was at the Caribe Hilton last Nite and had a surperb dinner at Morton's and the place was practically empty....there were less then 10 tables occupied on a Friday Nite???
Does that tell you something about your wonderful Puerto Rico??? t's too damn expensive here and everybody is going to the ABC Islands or the Dominican Republic where you are WELCOMED!!!
Puerto Rico is reknown for lousy customer relations and especially at Restaurants...
You go to a Movie and all you hear is people talking throughout the movie in a loud and screaming voice like they have a right to do what they want since they paid a ticket...that's the problem on this Island...Inconsideration by everyone...
Yes they do. There are Puerto Ricans in all 50 states. I am Puerto Rican and I know all 50 states.

Your point here is mute. Airline personnel working at an international airport for an airline that flies to Puerto Rico should at the very least know that Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory and no passport is needed. There is no excuse for poor training and ignorance.

That other crap you posted is irrelevant. The entire Caribbean tourism industry is hurting right now, not just Puerto Rico. Flights from airlines are down 60-70% because of cutbacks.

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