All You Need to Know Before Moving to Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a US territory and the perfect place to relocate if you want an easy transition. The tropical island had welcomed people from the mainland United States with open arms since 1898, when it was invaded during the Spanish-American War. This makes moving to Puerto Rico from the United States (US) much more accessible than other Latin American or European destinations.
Moving to Puerto Rico from the US
Yes, moving to Puerto Rico from the US can be exciting, but before you hop on a plane, there are some things that it is best to know.
Be prepared for the cost of living.
Puerto Rico has one of the highest cost-of-living rates in all of Latin America. If you have been accustomed to cheap rent and low food costs back home, prepare for sticker shock when moving to Puerto Rico from the US, as housing can be more expensive than what US citizens are used to!
However, with a little bit of research and planning, this major obstacle can be overcome if done correctly. Be ready to spend at least 35% – 50% more on most goods and services than people pay in the US mainland.
Ship your car to Puerto Rico
Car shipping companies will ensure you have everything taken care of when it comes time to move your vehicle from the US mainland to Puerto Rico! If you plan to bring a boat or motorized watercraft with you, an additional fee is attached along with the standard charges, and more information about the vehicle is needed. When moving anything by sea transportation, here’s what happens: Once cargo arrives at port (in San Juan), warehouse and delivery fees apply – these vary depending on where items were shipped from/to.
Also, when shipping a vehicle to Puerto Rico, you will need to get auto insurance. Note: if your car is less than 25 years old, it will be subject to taxes even though you are moving it yourself (in other words, this means that the government has decided not-so-old cars should also pay excise tax).
Buy, don’t rent
Puerto Rico is one of the US Virgin Islands, so anyone with permanent residency status has the right to buy property. Americans buying in Puerto Rico are not required to pay additional taxes or fees when purchasing (unlike foreigners who have to shell out $300 just for signing a house document in Puerto Rico).
The real estate market here moves very slowly because homes tend to stay on the market longer than in other places – you can negotiate prices too! Just make sure you don’t go overboard and get carried away while bargaining.
Excise tax means that any work done on your property, such as painting or installing new floors, will be taxed. It is one of the federal income taxes that range from 0-25% depending on the type of service performed and whether it’s being done inside or outside. You can get around this by hiring an architect to draw up plans for you to exempt them from excise tax – make sure you don’t go over $8000 in costs!
Finding a job
You might think that since Puerto Rico is part of America, everything would be easy, but actually, employment laws here are still quite strict (and there aren’t enough jobs). If you’re not fluent in Spanish, it’ll be challenging to find a well-paid position unless maybe you have particular skills like software development, which Puerto Ricans value.
Learn at least some Spanish
Puerto Ricans love Spanish, so even if you can’t speak Spanish well, it’s worth learning a few key phrases for everyday life. There are plenty of free language tutorials online to help with this – just Google “learn Spanish.”
Why Do People Move to Puerto Rico?
There are several reasons people consider moving to Puerto Rico. It is a desirable prospect for those looking for a life of relaxation, a place for business, as well as an escape from the rat race back home or in other parts of America.
An easy transition for US citizens
Since Puerto Rico is a US territory, moving from another state in the USA is easy because they will have sent all the documents you need to your previous address, so they’ll already be on hand when you arrive here. The biggest thing that may take some time is getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road, which takes about three weeks but, once mastered, makes driving much easier than in America, where most people drive huge cars.
An opportunity to immerse oneself in the Caribbean lifestyle
Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island and enjoys all-year-round sun, beaches, fantastic seafood, and an abundance of rum. The good news is that Puerto Ricans are friendly and welcoming, so that you will be surrounded by many new friends from day one.
A friendly, lively local culture to enjoy
The people of Puerto Rico are a warm and friendly bunch with a lot of business ventures. They have a strong sense of community so that you will feel welcomed from day one! This is partly because most residents speak English and Spanish fluently, making for an easy transition when visiting Puerto Rico if your first language is English.
If your move here was due to opening up your own business, then there are tax incentives and tax benefits available that can help offset some of those costs. The tax benefits include:
- No passive income taxes on dividends if they’re over $1000 per share
- No capital gains taxes on shares held for more than five years after being acquired
- Interest expenses may be deducted against other income if paid in Puerto Rico.
- Property taxes are low
More information about taxes can be found on the official website of the Puerto Rican government.
A welcoming community and, increasingly, a tech hub
Puerto Rico is home to a thriving community of entrepreneurs and start-ups, and many Puerto Rico residents have chosen the island as an ideal location for expanding their businesses. This is mainly due to the favorable tax laws.
Quick and simple access to other locations
Given the strategic location of Puerto Rico, a Puerto Rican resident has easy access to the US, South America, and other Caribbean and Virgin Islands areas.
Your Puerto Rico Relocation Checklist
Yes, you want to move to Puerto Rico! So, what are the things you need to settle before you move? You should also do this whenever you want to move to a foreign country.
• Gather Your Birth Certificate and Social Security Card: Ensure that you can access these important documents before moving.
• Request a Background Check From Your State: The US government enables you to get an official record of your criminal history and is required for most, if not all, jobs in Puerto Rico.
• Request an Official Copy of Your State Driving Record: Puerto Rico requires a valid US driver’s license.
• Apply for Tax Benefits: You may qualify under Act 20 or 22! Whether you are relocating yourself or sending staff over first, you need to apply through this process to receive tax incentives under the income tax bill from Puerto Rican authorities.
• Research Puerto Rican Locations: Understand what living conditions you can expect before moving there. For example, is English essential for new residents? Do most people work a regular Monday through Friday business schedule? How expensive is it compared to where you currently live? What’s the cost of transportation like? Are there reliable options available such as bus routes, taxis, etc.?
• Research Puerto Rico Schools: What are the options available to you and your family? Is it a good idea for children of certain ages to attend school in Puerto Rico, or should they stay back with a nanny, relative, or tutor until all work has been completed on the property before moving over ultimately?
• Give Up Your US Voter Registration: Once voting rights have been revoked from citizens living outside the United States, you cannot restore them if you ever return as a permanent resident. You can maintain registration as long as you remain out of US territory but will need to request that registration is canceled once you return permanently back home under current laws.
• Submit a Declaration of Non-Domicile: This is a document that must be filed with the Puerto Rican government to declare your intention of not claiming residency in the US.
• Get a Medical Check-up in the US: If another health insurance policy does not cover you, your first step is to get emergency medical care for any injuries or illnesses that might require urgent treatment.
• Sell or Rent Your Home in the US: You will need to either sell or rent out your home in the US before you leave.
• Move to Puerto Rico: Once you have all the proper documentation and your belongings are packed, it’s time to move!
• Get a Puerto Rican Driver’s License: You will need to acquire a driver’s license from Puerto Rico to drive legally. Also, vehicle registration is necessary.
Shipping Household Goods
As you relocate to Puerto Rico, you might want to take some of your household goods with you. You will want to ship these goods in a container that can hold up to 20,000 pounds and allow you some space for other personal belongings.
Before you can ship your household items, there are some documents you will need to have in hand. These include, but are not limited to:
• A driver’s license or passport: You need a valid driver’s license or passport to drive Puerto Rico legally.
• A copy of the shipper’s social security card: You will need a copy of this for tax purposes.
• A power of attorney made out to the delivery company in Puerto Rico: This is required by law and must include your name, address, birth date, signature, phone number where someone can contact you at any time during business hours (from Monday-Friday), e-mail address if available, marital status as single/married/widowed, etc., street address with ZIP code where you want insurance certificates mailed along with your current contact information on file with the vehicle insurance company that has agreed to insure all shipments under one blanket policy.
• A hacienda declaration letter: This is needed to show that you are a bona fide resident of Puerto Rico living there for at least six months out of the year and have filed your Federal Income Tax Returns as residents of Puerto Rico during this period. If not, you must declare any income received from sources outside Puerto Rico on an IRS Schedule C form with the appropriate tax forms attached. Such proper taxes can be withheld by your employer in Puerto Rico or paid directly if self-employed.
The Best Movers To Puerto Rico
Whether you decide to hire movers or do it yourself, choosing quality moving companies should always come first when planning a move abroad, whether it’s across town or around the world.
Tips To Choose The Best Moving Company To Relocate To Puerto Rico
• Plan Ahead: You should make sure to plan a few weeks, make comparisons and reservations; moving is a complicated process that you should never rush.
• Ask for Recommendations: Asking friends, family members, and other parents you know have previously moved abroad can help when choosing movers because they will likely have first-hand experience with several companies from their move, which means you’ll likely get a good suggestion.
• Check Credentials: Before you hire any moving companies, make sure to check their credentials and do some research on the Better Business Bureau website. Make sure that they are not just accredited but also have an A+ rating or better and no serious complaints against them – this is important because your move will likely include items of high value, including antiques, art pieces, etc., so if anything goes wrong during transport insurance may not cover these types of things, unfortunately.
• Interview Moving Services: Don’t just hire the first moving or office removal business you come across. You must do your research and interview at least three different companies to get a feel for what they have to offer in terms of services, customer service, etc., so that you can avoid paying a hefty moving fee and choose one based on what will best suit your needs.
• Licensed and Insured: A reliable relocation business should be well equipped with all kinds of required permits and licenses issued by the US DOT (Department of Transportation). You can always inquire about their licensing credentials before hiring them for any household shifting needs.
• Consider the Price: Price is an essential factor, but while saving money is vital, it should not be considered the only deciding factor because other factors may influence this decision, such as insurance policies, customer reviews, discounts offered by movers, etc. Other things that will add an extra cost include:
- Your current location
- Your destination address
- Date of shipping/collection
- Estimated weight (in lbs.)
- Number of boxes/containers
• Hire the Best Moving Company: This is an important feature that you should not ignore. It can add to the price and help guarantee a smooth and easy move without hassles or complications.
Three Men and a Truck is one of the best moving companies to help you move your belongings to Puerto Rico. We offer the most affordable rates and without compromising on the quality of services at all. This is not it; we also provide free quotes for our customers so that every individual can quickly estimate what they would have to pay when hiring them for moving needs.
Puerto Rico Moving Cost
The cost of moving to Puerto Rico is often uncertain. You can estimate the price of your move by using the moving estimator tool provided on our official website. This will help you get a rough idea about precisely the costs involved in hiring us for all kinds of relocation needs.
However, on average, the price of moving to Puerto Rico is $2200. This includes the price of long-distance moving, packing, and storage expenses.
Living in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a warm and welcoming country. It is rich in history, culture, and tradition. You can get to know the real essence of this place by visiting some of its most famous spots like El Yunque National Forest, Old San Juan, or Castillo de San Felipe del Morro (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
• Price of living: The price of living in Puerto Rico depends on your destination within the island. The capital city – San Juan, offers you more luxury at a higher price, while towns like Palmas del Mar offer you cheaper housing options but might not have access to all modern conveniences.
• Housing: There are several different types of homes available for sale in Puerto Rico, including townhouses, condominiums, lofts, etc. These apartments come with complete furniture so that you do not have to worry about buying them separately.
• Religion: Most Puerto Ricans on the island are Roman Catholics, and therefore, there are many churches all across the island.
• Health and Medical Services: Public hospitals and private ones are available all across Puerto Rico, depending on where you reside. These health care facilities offer excellent medical treatments at prices so that everyone can enjoy good health.
• Education: The education system on the island is divided into preschools, primary schools, secondary schools, and colleges. Various universities offer courses ranging from computer programming etc. Primary school students have access to free books provided by the government to avoid financial problems while studying.
• Culture: The Puerto Rican culture is well known because it is rich, heavily influenced by the Caribbean, Latin American, and North American cultures. Some of the popular cultural events in Puerto Rico include music festivals during Christmas time or Halloween celebrations throughout October, followed by bonfires on beach fronts. The most famous folk dance form in Puerto Rico is Merengue, while Rumba Cubana remains an integral part of traditional folklore.
• Cuisine: Food plays a vital role when planning your relocation somewhere new because it forms one of the few things that remain constant across all countries irrespective of their unique cultures. If you are relocating from overseas, you might not know what to expect regarding Puerto Rican food.
• Commerce: In Puerto Rico, there are several malls, shops, and outlets for buying everything you need, from clothes to food items, and they all accept the US dollar. There are also various shopping centers where one can purchase products at wholesale rates and be given a commercial invoice. You should also know that the tax rates affect everything here.
• Job Opportunities: If you want to find suitable job opportunities, then it would be best if you reside near San Juan or another metropolitan area since most businesses are located there, including top companies such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Sears.
How to get a Puerto Rican Citizenship
Getting Puerto Rican citizenship is not very difficult. There are several Puerto Rico categories of applying for an immigration status:
• Residency Status: This involves filing documents that prove your income and having a local sponsor who agrees to support you while living in Puerto Rico financially. Once the application has been approved, one can establish residency after three years of continuous presence on the island. One must also read, write and speak Spanish fluently since most government work is conducted in this language.
• Citizenship via Marriage: To become a citizen by marrying someone of Puerto Rican origin or citizenship, you need to have at least five years of marriage with them before submitting all relevant documentation required for naturalization purposes. You would then need to live on the island for at least three years after submitting your application.
• Citizenship via Investment: One can also become a citizen of Puerto Rico by purchasing real estate valued at over $100,000 on the island or investing at least $300,000 in government bonds issued by PR Treasury Department. You must note that only individual applicants can apply under this particular category and not businesses or corporations. You would then need to live on the island for five years before claiming citizenship status through this route. Additionally, one is not eligible if they have been convicted of any felonies within ten years before their application submission date.
Puerto Rican Immigration Law specifies categories based on granting immigration status upon applying with the application forms.
There can be multiple reasons for applying under particular circumstances, like minors, spouses, or family members of Puerto Rican citizens, individuals who have resided on the island before January 13th, 2018, and applying with a work permit, etc. For all these categories, you would require filling out different sets of application forms and fulfilling requirements.
The Best Things to do in Puerto Rico
• Flamenco Beach: Flamenco Beach, situated close to the Caribbean sea, is one of the most popular beaches around the Virgin Islands. It’s so lovely and peaceful that many tourists choose this place over any other beach on the island.
• Castillo San Felipe del Morro: The Spanish built this 16th-century citadel and have seen great battles throughout history. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and houses impressive historic artifacts from its days as one of the popular posts for the military.
• Old San Juan: It’s impossible for you not to fall in love with Old San Juan after spending even an hour exploring this charming island of Puerto Rico. The cobblestone streets are lined with historic buildings from all eras, making it the perfect location for an afternoon photoshoot or casual stroll around town as you meet many Puerto Ricans.
Pros and Cons of Living in San Juan
• Beautiful island with clean air
• Homes have amenities like a water heater
• Opportunity to see wildlife
• Hurricanes can be nasty (e.g., hurricane Maria).
• The prices of things are not considerably lower than in other places