Do You Need a Passport to Go to Puerto Rico?

All you need to know about travel requirements to visit Puerto Rico.


Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory—so what travel requirements do American citizens need to enter?

Photo by Jesse Echevarria

There’s a lot to love about Puerto Rico: scenic beaches, verdant rain forests, iconic dishes, coffee culture, a thriving agritourism scene. If you’re a U.S. citizen planning a trip to the enchanting island, you might be wondering whether you need a passport, or if other travel documents will suffice. Here’s what you need to know.

Do U.S. citizens need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico?

As a U.S. citizen, you do not need a passport to go to Puerto Rico.

Because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, it is considered a domestic destination for American citizens. This means that you can travel to Puerto Rico using only your valid government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license or a state ID card.

This special arrangement is possible due to the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917, which granted U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans. As a result, Puerto Rico is treated as part of the United States for immigration and travel purposes.

However, note that while you don’t need a passport to enter Puerto Rico as a U.S. citizen, you will still need one if you plan to travel beyond its borders. If your travel plans include visiting another nearby island, such as the neighboring Dominican Republic or the British Virgin Islands, you must carry a valid passport.

Travelers from outside the United States need to comply with the same passport and visa requirements as if they were entering anywhere else in the USA.

Islands can Americans visit without a passport

Beyond the obvious of Hawai‘i and Puerto Rico, Americans can also visit the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas), the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. Americans can also travel to certain Caribbean islands without a passport if they’re on a “closed-loop” cruise, which means it leaves from and comes back to the same U.S. port. The rules for sea travel were established under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and allow Americans to travel to Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Mexico without a passport, specifically on closed-loop sailings.

Bailey Berg is a freelance travel writer and editor, who covers breaking news, trends, tips, transportation, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. She was formerly the associate travel news editor at Afar. Her work can also be found in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, the Points Guy, Atlas Obscura, Vice, Thrillist, Men’s Journal, Architectural Digest, Forbes, Lonely Planet, and beyond.
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