Do You Need A Passport To Go To Puerto Rico
For many people traveling this year, one of the many questions they may find themselves googling is, "do you need a passport to go to Puerto Rico?" Coincidentally, despite being a seemingly separate country, one with different customs and culture, it is actually a part of the United States, which means people do not need their passport to travel there.
How is Puerto Rico a Part of the United States? In 1898, the United States fought a brutal war in the Caribbean against Spain as she tried to remain in control of her remaining colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico and her colonies Guam and the Philippines in the Pacific. Through several military campaigns, Spain ultimately could not control her remaining colonies and because of the financial inability to maintain military and political presence in the Caribbean and Pacific, they lost the war. The resulting events involved Spain ceding its colonies to the United States, one of which, Puerto Rico, became a commonwealth.
How Is Puerto Rico Organized Into the US? Currently, the United States lists Puerto Rico as a Commonwealth or Estado Libre Asociado (Associated Free State) which is a form of unincorporated territory in the US. Under this title, Puerto Rico itself has limited self-rule, with the island run under a governor. However, because the island is not considered its own country nor as a state, it does not have separate embassies, it does not have representation in congress (except a nominal role), and the islands foreign policy is the United States' policy.
So Why Do I Not Need a Passport? Despite having its own island government and a constitution that makes it an unincorporated territory of the US, Puerto Rico is still considered part of the United States' global territory. With that in mind, all citizens from Puerto Rico are considered US citizens and are able to travel between the mainland and the island with relative ease, which includes the ability to travel without a passport. In addition, Puerto Rico has a few other "perks" to being a commonwealth, such as not having to pay federal taxes and having the US offering military protection. Ultimately however, it's the ability to travel seamlessly between island and mainland that makes Puerto Rico an excellent place to travel.