Immigration to Puerto Rico

Living and working in Puerto Rico

flamenco beach in Puerto Rico. Image by Boris Elsner from Pixabay
Flamenco beach in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, also known as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, is a captivating Caribbean Island and a U.S. territory. Situated on the continent of North America, it graces the northeastern Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, at a distance of around 1600 km from Miami, Florida. With a population of 3.26 million residents, this stunning archipelago boasts a main island, Puerto Rico, along with other popular ones like Culebra, Vieques, Isla de Mona, Isla Mata La Gata, Isla Palomino, and Desecheo, reachable by water boats. Additionally, there are countless smaller cays and islets dotting its surroundings. Renowned for its beauty, Puerto Rico recorded 2.75 million tourists in 2021, making tourism a significant contributor to its economy. The tourism sector alone generated nearly 2.80 billion U.S. dollars in the same year.

Puerto Rico’s geographic location places it in the hurricane belt, exposing it to risks like rising sea levels, severe storms, and tsunamis. The hurricane season typically spans from early June to late November. Earthquakes are another potential hazard, which those living and working in Puerto Rico should remain aware of. Visitors planning a short stay should consider checking the climate conditions, especially in the specific areas they intend to explore. The Puerto Rico Police, with their extensive preparedness, are well-equipped to manage emergencies and ensure public safety.

Known as the “Island of Enchantment,” Puerto Rico beckons people from around the globe with its turquoise waters, white sands, and over 300 captivating beaches spanning 270 miles of coastline. One noteworthy spot is the “Playa Combate” or “Battle Beach,” a lively beach party destination. The lesser-visited smaller islands offer a serene escape with a tropical marine climate boasting sunshine throughout the year. Classified as a high-income economy by both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Puerto Rico is celebrated for housing the world’s largest rum distillery, Casa Bacardi, churning out nearly 100,000 liters of rum daily. With approximately 85% of the population identifying as Roman Catholics, English and Spanish serve as common languages, making it particularly expat-friendly. For those seeking both ease of living and working in Puerto Rico, as well as a picturesque locale, the island proves to be an attractive destination. It’s no wonder that many U.S. citizens, especially retirees, choose to immigrate here, drawn by its accessibility and scenic beauty.

Traveling information

Flag of Puerto Rico - Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay
Flag of Puerto Rico

Foreigners and visitors can travel to Puerto Rico as currently no restrictions are posed by the government regarding Covid-19. All international travelers need a valid passport is required to enter Puerto Rico. Since Puerto Rico is an incorporated part of the United States it incorporates the US visa policy on foreign travelers visiting the country. Therefore, to travel to Puerto Rico you need to apply for a US visa.

All permanent US citizens with a government-issued ID can travel to Puerto Rico without Visa and Passport. The Puerto Ricans or Boricuas are officially US citizens and can freely travel to US. Apart from US citizens there are citizens from 40 countries who do not need a visa for entering Puerto Rico. However, they require an approved US ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), which can be acquired online at a cost of 4 USD & additional 10 USD once approved. It is a 90-day (per trip) travel permit for visiting Puerto Rico for tourism, business and transit purpose. The permit is valid for 2 years. Citizens with a valid Canadian Passport are allowed to visit Puerto Rico.

How to Immigrate to Puerto Rico

Immigration is allowed in Puerto Rico as it is a U.S. territory. U.S. citizens have the right to freely move and live in Puerto Rico, just as they do in any other part of the United States. Additionally, non-U.S. citizens can also immigrate to Puerto Rico through various legal channels, such as obtaining visas or residency permits, depending on their circumstances and intentions. Puerto Rico offers opportunities for both short-term stays and more permanent residency options, making it an accessible destination for individuals seeking to live and work on the island.

Some of the common types of visas for immigrating to Puerto Rico include:

  • Tourist Visa (B-2 Visa): – for tourism or recreational purposes. It’s typically a short-term visa and doesn’t permit working or studying.
  • Student Visa (F-1 Visa): for study in Puerto Rico. This allows you to attend an accredited educational institution as a full-time student.
  • Work Visa (H-1B Visa): for job offers from U.S. employers in Puerto Rico. It’s for professionals in specialized fields.
  • Investor Visa (E-2 Visa): to invest a substantial amount of capital in a Puerto Rican business, you might be eligible for an E-2 investor visa.
  • Family-Based Visas: If you have close family members who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents in Puerto Rico, you might qualify for family-sponsored visas.
  • Retirement Visa: U.S. citizens can retire in Puerto Rico and enjoy its unique tax incentives for U.S. citizens. This doesn’t require a separate visa, but rather an understanding of the local regulations.
  • Temporary Worker Visas (H-2 Visas): These visas are for individuals seeking temporary employment opportunities in industries with labor shortages.
  • Exchange Visitor Visas (J-1 Visas): These visas are for individuals participating in approved exchange programs, including cultural exchange, education, and training programs.

Please note that visa regulations and categories can change over time, and it’s crucial to check with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, Website: uscis.gov) or a legal professional for the most up-to-date and accurate information based on your specific situation and intentions. The official website to apply for U.S. visas, including those for tourists and foreigners visiting Puerto Rico, is the U.S. Department of State’s Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website. You can access this website to complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-160, pay the visa application fee, and schedule a visa appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate. To visit the CEAC website and start your visa application process, you can go to: ceac.state.gov

Job offers in Puerto Rico

To work in Puerto Rico, you require a work permit. US residents and expats do not need a visa to obtain a job on the island, however citizens from other countries require work and residency permits to work as an employee and live in Puerto Rico.

The manufacturing sectors in Pharmaceuticals, textiles and electronics open up lots of job opportunities in Puerto Rico. Tourism is another important avenue for job opportunities with well paid jobs for expats. There are jobs in all levels in the Tourism industries. There was a remarkable increase in jobs by 15.4% in the leisure and hospitality towards the beginning of 2023. Thousands of new jobs were opened after the Pandemic. Jobs for English Speaking candidates are always in demand in Puerto Rico. English teaching jobs are offered good salaries. Salaries here are paid in US dollars. It is good to learn Spanish and English thoroughly if you are looking for a job in Puerto Rico. If you a candidate looking for jobs in Puerto Rico, please apply or register on grcexecutive.com

To find a job in Puerto Rico, you can search online on many popular websites, like Indeed, Glassdoor, SimplyHired etc. Many foreigners and expats have found internations.org to find the best job in Puerto Rico. Another way is through networking sites and friends. Let friends and acquaintances know that you are looking for jobs in a particular sector. For expats and foreigners Puerto Rico is a land of opportunity.  If they qualify, they can easily start a business in Puerto Rico. There is 4% corporate tax charged on export services and no taxes are charged on earnings and profit distribution, hence Puerto Rico attracts world-class entrepreneurs. US citizens do not pay any tax on income generated here. To get more information on how to start a business in Puerto Rico, please visit bizlatinhub.com

Unemployment Rate

In June 2023, Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate was recorded at 6.20%, a slight increase from 6.10% in May 2023. Currently, the unemployment rate in Puerto Rico is on a downward trend. However, projections suggest that it may increase further in the coming months or years. Several factors contribute to the unemployment issue in Puerto Rico, including natural disasters, a lack of sufficient government support, slow progress in education, better employment prospects outside the island, and other related challenges. 

For more information please visit: tradingeconomics.com

Economy of Puerto Rico

The economy of Puerto Rico has shown remarkable growth in recent years. In 2022, its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) surged to $118.68 billion, and while projections suggest a slight decrease to $109.60 billion, the economy’s resilience remains evident. This growth is attributed to various factors, including its strategic geographical location and unique political status. Despite being a relatively smaller island with limited natural resources, Puerto Rico has harnessed its potential by excelling in key sectors.

The World Economic Forum recognizes Puerto Rico as a high-income economy, boasting competitiveness that outshines many of its Latin American counterparts. The pillars of this economic prowess are the manufacturing sector, particularly in pharmaceuticals, textiles, petrochemicals, and electronics. Additionally, the service industry plays a pivotal role, encompassing finance, insurance, real estate, and tourism. These sectors collectively drive economic expansion, attracting both local and foreign investments. One crucial catalyst for Puerto Rico’s economic prosperity is its special relationship with the United States federal government. While Puerto Rico lacks full sovereignty and is under U.S. jurisdiction, this association has proven beneficial. The United States controls foreign policies, ensuring stability, while also imposing certain trade restrictions, notably within the shipping industry. This unique dynamic has contributed to a conducive environment for economic growth.

In this flourishing economy, primary sectors like agriculture, forestry, and mining also contribute significantly to the economic output. However, amidst this economic boom, the issue of immigration and the role of foreigners have not been overlooked. As the economy thrives, it draws the attention of immigrants and foreign investors seeking opportunities in the island’s promising industries. The influx of foreign talent and investment has further fueled Puerto Rico’s economic advancement. Puerto Rico’s trade relationships are another essential component of its economic success story. The island primarily exports to countries such as the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Spain. Export commodities include chemicals, electronics, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment, canned tuna, and apparel. On the import side, the United States, Ireland, Singapore, Switzerland, and South Korea are key partners. The island imports items like chemicals, machinery and equipment, food, petroleum products, clothing, and fish, highlighting its reliance on foreign trade to support its diverse economy.

In conclusion, Puerto Rico’s economic journey is a testament to its ability to leverage its geographical advantages, unique political status, and strategic trade relationships. The economy’s resilience and growth, driven by manufacturing, services, and primary sectors, continue to attract attention from both domestic and foreign stakeholders, creating a dynamic environment that propels the island’s prosperity forward.         

For more information on the economy of Puerto Rico please visit: tradingeconomics.com

Renting and buying of real estate for foreigner’s         

Buying: 

 Foreigners are allowed to buy property and land in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, and as such, its real estate laws are generally aligned with those of the United States. This means that non-residents, including foreigners or expats, can purchase property in Puerto Rico without any major restrictions. Whether for investment purposes, vacation homes, or other reasons, foreigners have the opportunity to own real estate on the island. The cities where you can get affordable real estate options are Ponce, Mayagüez, Aguadilla, Caguas and Arecibo.

It’s important to note that while foreigners can buy property in Puerto Rico, there might be certain legal and tax considerations that they should be aware of. The legal requirements for foreigners, expats, and immigrants to buy property in Puerto Rico closely resemble those for local residents. Puerto Rico, as a U.S. territory, extends the same property ownership rights to non-residents. If you fall into any of these categories and want to purchase a property in Puerto Rico, here’s the key steps:

  • Research and Due Diligence: Make sure to research the property thoroughly. Check the title, outstanding dues, and legal issues.
  • Engage Legal Representation: It’s a good idea to have a local lawyer who knows Puerto Rico’s real estate laws. They can help you navigate legal matters and follow local rules.
  • Purchase Agreement: After finding a property, you’ll make a purchase agreement. This lists the price, payment details, conditions, and closing date.
  • Deposit: To reserve the property, you’ll usually give a deposit called earnest money, showing your commitment to buying it.
  • Closing Process: The closing process transfers property ownership, involving legal paperwork, tax payments, and settling fees.
  • Public Notary: In Puerto Rico, a public notary is crucial for property transactions, validating documents, ensuring legality, and overseeing ownership transfer.
  • Public Deed: The notary prepares and oversees the signing of the public deed, officially transferring ownership and confirming your legal ownership of the property.
  • Property Registry: Registering the public deed with the Property Registry is crucial to ensure clear ownership and protect your property rights.
  • Property Taxes: Both residents and non-residents pay property taxes in Puerto Rico. Know how taxes are affected by property value and location.
  • Foreign Investment Declaration: Based on property value, you might have to file a foreign investment declaration with the Puerto Rico government.
  • Financing and Funds: For financing, check local or U.S. mortgages. Have funds for the purchase, fees. Get help from legal experts for smoother steps as a non-resident. They ensure you follow all rules.

Renting: 

Foreigners and expats can rent a house or apartment in Puerto Rico. Many locals in Puerto Rico offer their houses for rent to expats and foreigners. Puerto Rico has become a popular destination for expatriates and tourists, as a result, there is a significant market for rental properties catering to these groups.

Homeowners in Puerto Rico often rent out their properties as vacation rentals, short-term rentals, or even long-term leases. You can find a variety of rental options, from apartments and condos to houses and villas. Some locals may choose to rent directly to tenants, while others might list their properties on rental platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, or local real estate websites. However, it’s important to research the rental market, understand the legalities and regulations of renting property in Puerto Rico, and communicate effectively with potential landlords to ensure a smooth rental experience.

Here are some areas in Puerto Rico with affordable house rentals for tourists, expats, and foreigners.

  • Mayagüez: West coast mix of urban and suburban, near University of Puerto Rico campus, vibrant for expats and foreigners. Rental prices here can be more reasonable compared to more touristy areas.
  • Aguadilla: Coastal, famous for beaches and surf culture, budget-friendly for expats and foreigners. It’s a popular spot for expats looking for a relaxed lifestyle and is often more affordable than larger cities.
  • Arecibo: Northern town known for its stunning coastline and Arecibo Observatory. Arecibo offers a blend of urban and rural living, making it a potentially cost-effective option for rentals.
  • Ponce: Second-largest city in Puerto Rico. Its rich history and cultural attractions make it an appealing destination for expats seeking an authentic Puerto Rican experience.
  • Cabo Rojo: Tranquil southwest town with beautiful beaches. It’s an excellent option for expats looking for a quieter and less touristy environment.
  • Caguas: Positioned in the central mountainous region, Caguas provides a mix of urban conveniences and natural beauty. It’s a good choice for those who want to be relatively close to San Juan without the higher costs associated with the capital.
  • Humacao: Located on the eastern coast, Humacao offers a coastal lifestyle with affordable rental options. Its proximity to the El Yunque National Forest and other attractions adds to its appeal.
  • Bayamón: Bayamón is a suburb of San Juan and offers a more suburban feel while still being close to the capital city’s amenities. Rental prices might be more reasonable compared to San Juan itself.

Rental prices in Puerto Rico can vary widely depending on factors such as location, size of the property, amenities, and local market conditions. these are approximate ranges and can vary based on the specific area, neighborhood, and features of the property. Rental prices in popular tourist areas or upscale neighborhoods might be higher, while properties in more rural or less developed regions could be more affordable. We give below the approximate range of the various options: 

Apartments/Condos:

  • Studio/1-bedroom: $500 – $1,200 per month
  • 2-bedroom: $800 – $1,800 per month
  • 3-bedroom: $1,200 – $2,500+ per month

Houses:

  • Small house: $800 – $1,500 per month
  • Medium-sized house: $1,500 – $3,000 per month
  • Larger or luxury homes: $3,000 – $5,000+ per month

Please note that it’s important to conduct up-to-date research using real estate websites and local resources to get a more accurate understanding of current rental prices in the specific area of Puerto Rico you’re interested in.

Climate

Puerto Rico enjoys a tropical climate characterized by warm temperatures and consistent trade winds throughout the year. The island’s climate is generally pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (24-30°C). There are two distinct seasons in Puerto Rico:

Wet season –   The wet season in Puerto Rico, spanning from April to November, brings a unique charm to the island’s tropical landscape. During this time, occasional heavy rainfall can be expected, but it often occurs in short bursts, allowing ample opportunity for outdoor exploration and activities. While the chance of rain increases, the lush greenery and vibrant flora paint the island with a renewed vibrancy. The normal temperature range during the wet season hovers between the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (24-30°C), maintaining the warm and inviting ambiance that characterizes Puerto Rico throughout the year. The wet season brings occasional heavy rainfall and the possibility of tropical storms or hurricanes, which Puerto Rico is prone to due to its Caribbean location. These natural calamities can impact the island, leading to heavy rainfall, flooding, and wind damage. Despite the potential for such events, the warm and inviting climate of Puerto Rico continues to attract foreigners, expats, and tourists alike. Many visit the island to bask in the year-round sunshine, relax on its beautiful beaches.

Dry season –  The dry season in Puerto Rico, stretching from December to March, offers visitors a delightful escape with its comfortable weather conditions. During this period, the island experiences lower humidity and reduced chances of rain, creating an ideal environment for outdoor activities, beach relaxation, and exploration. The normal temperature range during the dry season typically falls between the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (24-30°C), providing a pleasant and inviting atmosphere for both tourists and locals to enjoy.

The climate undoubtedly plays a significant role in making Puerto Rico a sought-after destination for those seeking a tropical getaway or considering a more permanent stay. The island’s tropical climate ensures that snowfall is extremely rare and almost non-existent. The best time to visit Puerto Rico is generally during the dry season, which runs from December to March and is also the peak tourist season. This period offers pleasant temperatures, lower humidity, and a reduced chance of rain. It’s an ideal time for outdoor activities, exploring the beaches, and enjoying the island’s attractions.

Languages

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has two official languages: Spanish and English. English is taught in all Puerto Rican schools and is considered the primary language for all US federal agencies on the island. It is taught as a second language and is a compulsory subject from elementary levels to high school. Spanish has predominantly been the primary language for the Commonwealth judiciary system and for most Puerto Ricans. According to a survey, more than 90% of the population speaks Spanish as their native language, while over 5% speak English as their first language. The remaining population uses other languages as their primary language. English is spoken in all major cities and tourist areas, while Spanish remains the most spoken and written language on the island.

The vast majority of Puerto Ricans are not fluent in English. It is helpful to either learn the language or acquire some basic words from the language of the country you are visiting. In addition to these two languages, other languages spoken by foreigners and immigrants include French, German, Italian, Chinese, Haitian-Creole, and Hindi. Some of these languages are taught in various educational institutions across the island.

For more information on languages of Puerto Rico, please visit: worldatlas.com

Traffic

The roads are generally well-maintained in Puerto Rico, especially in urban areas and major highways. However, some rural and less developed areas might have narrower roads and varying road conditions. Traffic congestion can be an issue in larger cities, particularly during peak or rush hours, which is from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM, than between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM. These times when traffic is heaviest are when people are going to or coming back from work or school.

The worst traffic happens around the places where there are lots of people, like San Juan, Bayamón, and Carolina. The way people drive here is different from the United States. The driving is more aggressive, and people follow less traffic rules. People tend to drive faster and don’t stop at stop signs or red lights like they’re supposed to. Most of the time, the police don’t seem to pay much attention to these things. Therefore, it’s really important to be cautious while you are driving in Puerto Rico.

The following general Traffic Rules apply in Puerto Rico:

  • Speed Limits: Speed limits are posted in kilometers per hour (km/h). The speed limits are strictly enforced, especially in urban areas. The speed limits are:
    • On urban areas (cities and towns) – 25 mph (40 km/h).
    • On highways and roads outside urban areas – 45-55 mph (70-90 km/h)
    • On major highways – 55-65 mph (90-105 km/h)
  • Seat Belts: Seat belts are mandatory for all passengers in the vehicle.
  • Alcohol: The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08%. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited.
  • Mobile Phones: Using a handheld mobile phone while driving is prohibited.
  • Child Safety: Children under a certain age and height must be secured in an appropriate child safety seat.
  • Traffic Signals and Signs: Follow all traffic signals, signs, and road markings.
  • Right of Way: Yield to vehicles with the right of way, including those already in a roundabout.
  • Overtaking: Pass on the left and only when it’s safe to do so.
  • Parking: Park only in designated areas to avoid fines or towing.

Driving in Puerto Rico should be relatively safe for foreigners who are familiar with driving in urban and diverse traffic environments. However, like any unfamiliar destination, it’s important to exercise caution, obey traffic rules, and stay aware of your surroundings. If you plan to drive in Puerto Rico, you typically need the following documents:

  • Valid Driver’s License: An international driver’s license is recommended if your regular license is not in English or Spanish.
  • Proof of Insurance: Car rental agencies usually provide insurance coverage, but check the terms before renting.
  • Vehicle Documents: If using your own vehicle, carry registration and ownership documents.
  • Passport: Always have your passport as a form of identification.

It’s advisable to verify these requirements with the relevant authorities or your rental car company before traveling to Puerto Rico.

Currency

The official currency used in Puerto Rico is the United States Dollar (USD). The USD is widely accepted and circulated throughout the island, serving as the primary medium of exchange for daily transactions. The strength of the currency can be attributed to its status as a global reserve currency, backed by the economic stability and influence of the United States. The U.S. Federal Reserve controls the issuance and regulation of the currency in Puerto Rico, ensuring its consistency and value.

The US Dollar (USD) in Banknote is available and circulated in the following denominations:
$1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100

The US Dollar (USD) in Coins is available and circulated in the following denominations:
pennies (1 cent), nickels (5 cents), dimes (10 cents), quarters (25 cents), Half Dollar (50 cents) and $1

For immigrants and expats moving to Puerto Rico from other countries, it’s really important to know about the money they use there. They use U.S. Dollars, which is the same money used in the United States. This can make them feel safe about their finances. The coins and paper bills come in different sizes, so it’s easy to use them for buying things. Puerto Rico is a part of the United States, so they use the same money system, which makes things easy to understand for new people.

Payment transactions

E-commerce has become really popular all around the world, especially during the pandemic. In Puerto Rico, though, it took a bit longer for businesses to start using e-commerce. Now, over 40% of companies in Puerto Rico use the internet to sell their products or services. Using digital payment methods can be really helpful for these businesses. Placetopay is a website that works in eight countries and lets people receive payments through different ways, like social media, WhatsApp links, texts, and QR codes. It’s safe to use and makes it easy for both businesses and customers to pay. Puerto Rico also uses other payment methods like cash, cards, and online payments. Credit cards and online transactions are the most common ways people buy things online and offline. PaySera is another easy and secure online payment option. Puerto Ricans also use things like credit cards and local payment cards for paying. Some places, like a few bars and taxis, only accept cash, so it’s good to have some on hand just in case. There’s also an app called Splitit that lets people from around the world make payments in parts. The payment system in Puerto Rico is getting better with new technology. There’s a way to pay using Samsung Pay too.

Here’s a list of e-wallet payment apps in Puerto Rico:

  • Bitpay
  • PaySera
  • Skrill
  • AlliedWallet
  • Razer Gold
  • Boloro
  • G2A Pay
  • EMVCo
  • Neteller

For more information on various payment methods in Puerto Rico, please visit: ppro.com

Cost of living in Puerto Rico

The cost of living in Puerto Rico is lower compared to many European countries. This includes expenses like housing, groceries, transportation, and healthcare. Foreigners and immigrants who would like to move here will be happy to know that Puerto Rico is an appealing mix of affordability, rich history and culture & of course its natural beauty. If you plan properly you will be able to make the most of your budget. Experiences have shown that one can enjoy a comfortable life on a budget ranging from $1300 to $3800 a month, depending on your income. The estimated monthly cost for a family of four in Puerto Rico is around $4,080, while for a single person, it ranges from $1,300 to $3,310. However, it’s important to note that some imported goods might be slightly more expensive due to the island’s geographical location.

Certain cities in Puerto Rico are generally less expensive than others. For example, areas outside of the main metropolitan areas, such as San Juan, may offer more affordable living options. Towns like Ponce, Mayagüez, and Aguadilla are known for their relatively lower costs of living compared to the capital city. Living in Puerto Rico comes with a major perk: saving on taxes. The Puerto Rican government provides various incentives that result in lower taxes for residents, entrepreneurs, investors, and digital nomads looking for a place with favorable tax conditions.

Here is a list of some products and services, that will give you a fair idea of the cost of living in Puerto Rico:

ProductQuantity

Amount in ($)

(US Dollar)

Whole Fat Milk1 lit3.50
Eggs12 (a dozen)5.80
Tomatoes1 Kg (2 lb.)3.69
Chicken500 grams (1 lb)3.70
Dining (Lunch)Full meal19.00
Fast food mealCombo10.00
Bread2 loaf2.50
Internet8 mbps for 1 Month47
Cleaning helpHourly12.00
Public transport Monthly38
DoctorShort visit65.00
Movie TicketsFor 223.00
Utilities (heating, Gas &  electricity)1 month (900 sq.flat)305
Utilities (heating, Gas &  electricity)1 month (480 sq.flat)167

For more information on the cost of living in Puerto Rico, please visit: expatistan.com

Apartment rent

On average, Puerto Rico is over 50% cheaper than the United States of America. Major cities like San Juan, Ponce, Mayaguez, and Guayama are drawing the attention of foreigners and expats. Numerous rental properties are available in these cities, catering to various needs while remaining affordable. The typical apartment size is around 45 m² (480 sqft), although this varies depending on the apartment type. One-bedroom apartments generally measure under 500 sqft, while those with two to three bedrooms are more spacious. The most economical option is the studio apartment, which is also the smallest. Among Puerto Rico’s cities, San Juan, the capital, boasts the most expensive apartments, followed by Ponce and Mayaguez.

The cost of studio apartments in Puerto Rico is the best option for single and couples. Depending on the location a studio apartment in the city ranges from $600 to $1080 per month. Studio apartment outside Puerto Rico ranges from $480 to $840 per month. This is the perfect choice for those looking to live in a quiet atmosphere. Here is the cost of apartments which is the approximate range. It will depend on various factors like area, amenities etc.

1-Bedroom ApartmentInside the City$720 to $1320 per month
1-Bedroom ApartmentOutside the City$600 to $1080 per month
2-Bedroom ApartmentInside the City$960 to $1800 per month
2-Bedroom ApartmentOutside the City$720 to $1440 per month
3-Bedroom ApartmentInside the City$1320 to $2520 per month
3-Bedroom ApartmentOutside the City$960 to $1800 per month

The average cost of luxury apartments in Puerto Rico depending on the location in the city is around $3,600 USD. The average cost of a Luxury apartment outside the city of Puerto Rico is around $2,800 USD. Some of the best locations where people prefer to live in Puerto Rico are Ponce, Aguadilla, Vieques, Rincon, Dorado, Caguas, Guaynabo, Old San Juan, Isla Verde and Condado. Immigrants and expats looking for accommodation in Puerto Rico are encouraged to contact colleagues, friends, and shopkeepers, or consider hiring a real estate agent to aid in their search for suitable apartments. As you are aware the cost may change as per the local situation, therefore we recommend you check the latest updates on various relevant websites.

Taxes

Puerto Rico an attractive destination for both immigrants and expats seeking tax advantages. However, it’s important to note that while these benefits can be advantageous for those who qualify, individuals should carefully consider their specific financial situations and consult with tax professionals before making any decisions regarding residency or investments in Puerto Rico.

  • Income Tax: The individual income tax rates in Puerto Rico can range from 0% to around 33%, depending on income levels are progressive. Immigrants and expats who become residents of Puerto Rico are generally subject to Puerto Rico’s individual income tax on their worldwide income. However, Puerto Rico offers significant tax incentives for residents, such as Act 60 (formerly Act 22), which provides exemptions on capital gains, dividends, and interest income.
  • Social Security and Medicare Taxes: Similar to the mainland U.S., employees and employers in Puerto Rico are subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes (FICA). These taxes fund the Social Security and Medicare programs. The tax is at a rate of 6.2% for Social Security and 1.45% for Medicare each, for a total of 15.3%. Self-employed individuals pay both the employee and employer portions, resulting in a total of 12.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare, or a combined 15.3%.
  • Sales and Use Tax: Immigrants and expats, like all residents, are subject to the sales and use tax (IVU) when making purchases. The sales and use tax (IVU) rate varies between 7% and 11.5% depending on the item or service being purchased.
  • Property Tax: If immigrants and expats own property in Puerto Rico, they may be subject to property taxes (Patente Municipal) levied by the local municipality where the property is located. The tax value is determined by each municipality and can vary widely. Rates are typically assessed as a percentage of the property’s assessed value.
  • Municipal Taxes: Depending on the municipality, there may be additional local taxes, fees, or assessments that residents, including immigrants and expats, need to pay. Specific rates and charges depend on the local government’s decisions.
  • Corporation Tax: Immigrants and expats who establish businesses in Puerto Rico may be subject to the corporate income tax, ranging from 4% to 37.5%, depending on the type of business and its income level. However, special incentives like Act 60 can provide reduced tax rates for eligible businesses.

The above tax regulations and incentives in Puerto Rico can change, and the specific tax situation for immigrants and expats can vary based on factors such as residency status, types of income, and applicable tax incentives. Consulting with a tax professional or advisor who is knowledgeable about Puerto Rico’s tax laws is advisable. You can visit the official website of Puerto Rico’s Department of Treasury (Hacienda) to get the latest updates on taxes and related regulations in Puerto Rico.

Education

In Puerto Rico, education is mandatory for kids from the age of five to eighteen, covering both elementary and high school levels. The literacy rate on the island is above 90%. Students have the option of attending public or private schools. At one point, Puerto Rico had 1,460 public and 764 private schools. The island had vocational and university students as well. However, after Hurricane Maria in 2017, population decline, infrastructure issues, and financial problems led to the closure of 283 schools. Now there are over 700 private schools.

The education system is divided into seven categories: Nursery, Preschool, Elementary, Junior High, High School, Undergraduate, and Graduate levels. The curriculum includes subjects like ethnomusicology and cultural studies, which has brought legitimacy to the study of local culture, including Afro-Puerto Rican traditions like bomba. Homeschooling is an option for international students, even though it’s not regulated or legislated in Puerto Rico. It’s noteworthy that Puerto Rico was the first among U.S. states and territories to declare homeschooling a fundamental right.

Puerto Rico offers technical schools and community colleges, including institutions like Huertas College, M-Tech College, and IPCR Junior College. There’s also the Puerto Rico Technical Institute, which provides programs at a low cost, especially advantageous for foreign students. There are three major university systems: the University of Puerto Rico, the Ana G. Mendez University System, and the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. These systems collectively have various campuses and schools. For international students, a student visa is required to study in Puerto Rico. The visa application process takes place in the student’s home country and includes documents like a valid passport, visa application form, passport-sized photograph, HIV test, health certificate, and the student permit.

Health Insurance

Puerto Rico operates under the United States healthcare which is primarily provided by both public and private entities. Puerto Rico does not have a free healthcare system; it operates somewhat similarly to the U.S. healthcare system. A government-run healthcare system provides insurance through programs like “la Reforma.” However, shortages of medical staff can lead some residents to opt for private health insurance. There are public hospitals and clinics operated by the government that provide healthcare services to eligible residents. These services may be subsidized or free for low-income individuals and families. Emergency medical services are generally provided to all residents, regardless of their ability to pay. You can seek care at a hospital’s emergency room if you have a medical emergency. Some charitable organizations and community clinics offer free or low-cost healthcare services to those in need. There are some 17 outpatients clinics and facilities in Puerto Rico. You can find the names of the clinics and services they provide at causeiq.com

Having private health insurance can provide quicker access to healthcare services and may offer particular advantages in emergencies or medical evacuations. Private healthcare facilities in Puerto Rico are often of high quality, with shorter waiting times. They may offer cashless facilities, but having some cash on hand when visiting a doctor is a good practice. Expatriates are advised to consider international health insurance plans to cover medical needs during their stay in Puerto Rico, especially given the potential for natural disasters. Choosing a Provider: Recommendations from friends and neighbors can be valuable when selecting a doctor or clinic. It’s also wise to research and consider options beyond those recommended by health insurance companies.

The capital city, San Juan, tends to have ample qualified medical professionals and high-standard medical facilities. Consulting with local healthcare professionals or authorities can provide the most current and region-specific information.

Important addresses

Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport
Airport Road,
Carolina,
00979,
Puerto Rico
Ph: +1 787 253 2329
Website: https://aeropuertosju.com/
 
Mercedita International Airport
2C6P+6PF, PR-1,
Ponce, 00715,
Puerto Rico
Ph: +1 787 840 3151
 
Rafael Hernández International Airport
FVW7+5Q3,
Hangar Road, 00603,
Puerto Rico
Ph: +1 787 890 6075
Website: https://aguadilla.airport-authority.com/
 
Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport
42 C. Lindbergh,
San Juan, 00901,
Puerto Rico
Ph: +1 787 741 3809
 
Roosevelt Train Station
187-199 C. O’Neill,
San Juan, 00918,
Puerto Rico
 
Consulate of Venezuela
2 Avenue of the Constitution,
San Juan, 00918,
Puerto Rico
Ph: +1 787 766 4250
 
Consulate of Uruguay
1783 PR-21 Suite C-4,
San Juan, 00921,
Puerto Rico
Ph: +1 787 396 0888
 
Consulate General of Mexico
Ave. Luis Muñoz Rivera 654 Suite 1110,
Hato Rey,
San Juan, 00918,
Puerto Rico
Ph: +1 787 764 8923
Website: https://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/sanjuan/
 
Swiss Consulate
444 Calle de Diego,
San Juan, 00923,
Puerto Rico

Summary

Nestled in the heart of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico stands as a captivating destination that holds undeniable appeal for tourists, foreigners, expats, migrants, and immigrants alike. With its unique blend of rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and modern amenities, Puerto Rico offers an enticing haven for those seeking a new and rewarding life experience. Tourists are drawn to Puerto Rico’s diverse attractions that cater to a wide array of interests. From the vibrant culture and historic charm of Old San Juan to the breathtaking beauty of El Yunque National Forest, the island offers an unparalleled variety of experiences. Sun-soaked beaches, vibrant festivals, and a thriving arts scene create an inviting environment that captures the hearts of visitors from around the world.

For foreigners seeking to establish a new home, Puerto Rico’s welcoming atmosphere is a key factor. The island’s status as a U.S. territory ensures a familiar legal framework and currency, easing the transition for expats and immigrants. Language is rarely a barrier, as English and Spanish are widely spoken, further facilitating integration into local communities. Puerto Rico’s unique blend of American influences and vibrant Caribbean culture offers a dynamic backdrop for those looking to embrace a new way of life. The island’s strategic location provides not only natural beauty but also economic opportunities. With a growing economy, a range of industries, and favorable tax incentives, Puerto Rico beckons entrepreneurs and professionals to contribute to its progress. Initiatives like Act 20 and Act 22 offer significant tax benefits to eligible individuals and businesses, making it an appealing choice for investors and expats seeking financial advantages.

Puerto Rico’s warm and hospitable community extends a genuine welcome to newcomers. As a melting pot of cultures, the island celebrates diversity, creating an environment where immigrants and expats can find a sense of belonging while retaining their unique heritage. In recent years, Puerto Rico’s resilience has shone through challenges such as natural disasters and economic fluctuations. Efforts to rebuild and enhance infrastructure, combined with a commitment to sustainable development, demonstrate the island’s determination to create a brighter future for its residents and those who choose to call it home.  In conclusion, Puerto Rico emerges as a compelling choice for immigrants and expats seeking an extraordinary life adventure. Its captivating landscapes, cultural richness, favorable economic climate, and warm embrace by the local community collectively make it an ideal destination to forge new beginnings and embrace a brighter future.

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