Puerto Rico is a group of islands situated in the Atlantic Ocean about 1,000 miles from the coast of Florida. The archipelago consists of the principal island of Puerto Rico, as well as other islands such as: Vieques, Palomino, Culebra, Culebrita, Mona, Monito, and various isolated islands. Its proximity to the US mainland, as well as its beautiful beaches, amazing historic sites, and friendly people make it an ideal travel destination for Americans. Puerto Rico experiences a high influx of visitors from December to April, when many Americans travel to the tropical island to escape the winter chill.
Although it is not one of the 50 states of the US, Puerto Rico is considered a US territory, and the locals of the archipelago hold US citizenship. As such, travel to Puerto Rico from any place in the US is regarded as domestic travel, and American travelers are not required to present passports or visas to gain entry into Puerto Rico. US citizens can travel freely to and from the island without having to go through immigration checkpoints or customs. They only need to show a form of official photo identification issued by the government, such as a driver’s license or a non-driver identification card issued by a state motor vehicles department.
Travelers from other countries will have to produce the same documents required for entering the US if they wish to travel to Puerto Rico. These documents include a valid passport and a non-immigrant visa for a temporary visit or an immigrant visa that is issued to permanent residents. Specialized visas, such as M-1 or F-1, are also available for those who wish to enter Puerto Rico for temporary work or study. Travelers from foreign countries should keep in mind that a visa does not guarantee entry, and the officials from the US Department of Homeland Security have the right to deny admission into Puerto Rico after inspection.
Baggage inspection will be conducted by the US Department of Agriculture at the Puerto Rico airports. This is to ensure that travelers do not bring plants and fruits prohibited to the US mainland. Papaya, coconut, avocado, and plantain are some of the fruits that can be brought into the US, while sour sop, passion fruits, mango, and potted plants are prohibited. Also, articles from countries such as North Korea, Kampuchea, Vietnam, or Cuba, as well as lottery tickets, illegal publications, pre-Columbian artifacts, and chocolate liqueur cannot be taken to the US. Those who are caught carrying prohibited items may be fined.
It is advisable that travelers get a travel insurance policy before they set off for Puerto Rico. It is not uncommon for travelers to fall ill or get involved in accidents during their trips, and travel insurance will provide coverage for medical expenses as well as other losses. A travel insurance policy will give travelers the peace of mind to fully enjoy their vacations in Puerto Rico.