Puerto Rico is one of the top travel destinations among Americans. Not only is it a stunning island offering the perfect tropical vacation, but it’s also a very short flight away, which makes travel all the more convenient.
A non-stop flight from the United States to Puerto Rico takes only 5 hours and 38 minutes, covering a distance of 2,031 miles. But is Puerto Rico a domestic flight? Do you need to carry a passport to travel to Puerto Rico? Keep reading to learn all this and more to make your travel seamless and comfortable!
Is Puerto Rico a Domestic Flight?
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A domestic flight is commercial air travel within civil aviation. This means that the flight carrier’s departure and arrival happen within the country.
And since Puerto Rico falls under the US territories, traveling from the US to Puerto Rico is considered a domestic flight.
But what does being a US territory mean? US territories refer to certain geographical areas that the United States governs, but these regions are not included in the Union of States.
Overall, the US has 14 territories. And you can visit five of these territories without a passport. These five territories are Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
It’s also important to note that what determines whether a flight is domestic is the flight’s origin or location of departure. Any flight coming from an American state or territory and flying to Puerto Rico is domestic. Flights that are arriving from outside the US are tagged as international flights.
Travel Requirements: US to Puerto Rico
Since flying from the US to Puerto Rico is considered domestic, US citizens as well as permanent residents don’t need their passports to enter this US territory.
The same goes for Puerto Ricans as they are considered US citizens and don’t need a passport to visit the US. Think of traveling from any mainland state to Puerto Rico as traveling from one US state to another.
As for the documents you do need for traveling between the US and Puerto Rico, a government-issued ID or your Permanent Resident card will be fine. Here are some valid IDs that can confirm your US citizenship:
- Border crossing card
- Driver’s license that conforms with the REAL ID rules
- US passport
- US passport card
- Enhanced driver’s license issued by the state
- A DHS-trusted ID card for travelers, like FAST, Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI
- The photo identity card that was issued by an Indian tribe or tribal nation that is federally recognized
- Transportation worker’s ID record
- Permanent resident’s card
- US Merchant Mariner Credential
- US Employment Authorization (I-766) Card allocated by Citizenship and Immigration Services
- US Department of Defense ID
- Veteran Health ID Card
Traveling to Puerto Rico: Must-Have Documents to Keep Handy
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Given the nickname of The Island of Enchantment, Puerto Rico offers everything you need to relax and unwind. From its old Spanish forts and architecture to sumptuous seafood and pristine beaches, this US territory has it all.
The best part is that many Americans can easily visit Puerto Rico without any hassle because this destination is a US territory.
So, what documents do you need to travel to this US territory?
US travelers can bring a government-issued identification card that bears their photo. And green card holders may need to take an extra step or two before entering Puerto Rico. Green card holders must always carry their green cards and passports. It is also best to have a valid foreign passport for further identity verification.
Foreigners visiting the US temporarily should always bring their passports with them so that the document is readily available anytime it is asked for. There are instances when island security may request to see your passport and green card, so having it handy can work in your favor.
Although you take a domestic flight to Puerto Rico, do travelers need to buy an international mobile plan?
Despite the distance between Puerto Rico and the mainland, Puerto Rico is still a US territory. This means that the island’s residents use the same mobile services as those in the US. So, you do not need to buy an international mobile plan when traveling to the island.
You can use your existing mobile and data plans without modifying them or paying additional charges. There’s no need to enable roaming or top up your mobile credits. You can simply continue to use your existing mobile phone plan once you arrive in Puerto Rico!
As a non-US citizen, should I carry or bring my passport when visiting Puerto Rico from the US?
It is highly recommended that you carry your passport with you all the time when traveling within the states and territories of the US. While there is a low likelihood of being asked for it, it’s still better to have your passport on you if you’re asked for it as it can save you a lot of effort and inconvenience.
Do I have to go through customs when bringing products to and from Puerto Rico?
Given that Puerto Rico is part of the US territory, it also means that it has to adhere to US customs. This means that no customs duties need to be completed when bringing products from the US to Puerto Rico. However, an 11.5% sales tax or excise tax is applied on the goods and products imported into Puerto Rico. This is also true for goods produced locally on the island.