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Moving to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Capital: San Juan
Population: 3.667 million (2012)
Area: 3,515 square miles
Top 5 Largest Cities: 1. San Juan 2. Bayamon 3. Carolina 4. Ponce 5. Caguas
Lanuage: Spanish and English
Climate: Tropical and rainy
Motto: “Juan es su nombre” / “John is his name”

Moving to a new country can be very exciting. Allow Nationwide Van Lines to keep your venture stress-free and memorable. We will move your household goods with “Door to Door” service and always in the hands of professionals. We will keep you in the loop of the entire process of moving your furniture overseas to help you plan ahead. Our International consultant will accommodate all of your needs and will handle all questions and concerns. We value you and your furniture greatly so let us move you the right way.

Import Requirements and Documentation

When it comes to moving to Puerto Rico, proper documentation of certain aspects of your household move are required. The following personal documents are required by Customs:

  • Visa if non-US citizen or a permanent resident or a Permanent Resident Card
  • Passport
  • I-94 Stamp or Card
  • A-1 Visa for Diplomats
  • Form DS – 1504 for Diplomats
  • Form CF - 3299
  • Freight Bill with owner’s signature
  • Power of Attorney
  • Importers Security Filing (ISF)
  • Supplemental Declaration
  • Bill of Lading
  • Inventory List in English

Additional detailed document requirements

  • On your Inventory List, do not indicate “Packed By Owner” (PBO) or any miscellaneous descriptions.
  • Your length of stay admitted into the United States will be identified by your I-94 arrival stamp or card.
  • To have your items deemed duty-free, you must obtain a long-term Visa that’s not at B-1 or B-2 status. Only personal effects can be shipped on a short-term Visa.
  • If you are a foreign Diplomat with an A-1 Visa, a broker is not able to clear Customs on CF – 3299 entries.
  • If you are a foreign Diplomat with an A-1 Visa, you must be processed by the Department of State on your DS – 1504 form. You will submit this information to the Department of State by the Consulate or the Embassy of the Diplomat no less than 10 days prior to the arrival of your HHGS.
  • Be prepared to incur other costly examinations ranging from $200.00 USD to $1,700.00 USD or more on Full Container Load shipments.
  • Most of your HHGS that are used for less than a year will be charged duties. These items must be identified on the back part of the Customs Form 3299 showing the value you pain in USD, country of origin, the quantity and the material of make.
  • Your ISF must be filed prior to your HHGS and personal effects set out to sail to avoid any penalties.
  • To have your HHGS and personal effects deemed duty-free, you must have used your goods for at least 1 year in the residing origin country.

The Examination of Household Goods and Entry Documents

Once your household goods have arrived in Puerto Rico along with your documents, both are subjected to examination by Customs. A CBP officer will examine your household goods to determine the value, correct markings, proper invoicing, existence of prohibited items, damages, deterioration and illegal narcotics. It’s important to assure all items are properly described and accounted for to avoid any delays or seizure of items. Once your items are approved for release, they are safeguarded by the proper officers.

Duty and Taxes

Since Puerto Rico is part of our U.S. territory, your household goods will not be seen as an export, thus very few fees. Excise Tax is set at 6.6%, State tax stands at 5.5% and a municipal sales tax that ranges 0 – 1.5%.

Duty-Free Item

There are certain items Customs will allow to pass through without duties. One must stay in Puerto Rico at least 72 hours and must have not claimed these items within the previous 6 months. Here are a list of items that one could import free of duty.

For residents whom been abroad more than once within the previous 30 days or has been out of the country for no less than 48 hours. No more than $200 USD of dutiable goods featured below will be exempted.

  • 50 cigarettes and 10 cigars (cannot be from Cuba)
  • 5 fl. oz. of alcoholic beverages
  • 5 fl. oz. of perfume that contains alcohol

For residents whom been abroad at least for 48 hours and have not used their duty-free exemption within the previous 30 days. No more than $800 USD of dutiable goods featured below will be exempted.

  • 200 Cigarettes and 100 cigars (cannot be from Cuba)
  • 1 liter of alcohol
  • Personal use goods

For non-residents

  • 1 liter of alcohol

Requirements for Marking and Labeling

The correct labeling and markings are very important for Customs. Each mark and label should be in the English language. Please take a look below to discover the marking and labeling requirements.

  • The name and address of the importer
  • The country of Origin
  • Clearly numbered in reflection of the inventory list
  • The quantity

Prohibited Items

To protect the country and its citizens, Customs prohibit a degree of items for safety. Please take a look at the prohibited items below.

  • Hazardous materials
  • Meat of any sort and form
  • Narcotics
  • Flavored cigarette (including cloves)
  • Raw fish and fish eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Ammunition
  • Clothing
  • Lottery tickets
  • Textiles
  • Fruit
  • Dog or cat fur
  • Obscene materials
  • Any drums made of Haitian animal hide
  • Soil
  • Pets
  • Livestock
  • Animal pests
  • Imports from embargoed countries
  • Explosive
  • Cuban cigars
  • Pirated materials
  • Game and hunting trophies of any type
  • Leather souvenirs
  • Blank tapes and CD’s from Iran
  • Weapons
  • Counterfeit items
  • Medicines with prohibited substances
  • Items that infringe trade and any copyright laws
  • Absinthe or alcohol containing artemisia absinthium
  • Jewelry
  • Currency and collections

Restricted Items

  • Cultural artifacts must have written permission
  • Musical instruments
  • Plants require an Import Permit
  • Seeds require an Import Permit
  • Antiques, artifacts, carpets and paintings must have a Purchase Invoice and a detailed Inventory List. Must be at least 100 years old to be deemed as an antique and recently purchased antiques must have a circa date on your invoice. Carpets from Iran must be used for no less than a year and part of your HHGS shipment. Artifacts must be checked with your US agent and the country of export.
  • Electronic Cigarettes must have an International Special Commodities (ISC) contract
  • Any product made in Iran
  • Endangered animals or plants and any product made of prior mention requires a permit from CITES
  • Sporting goods
  • Firearms must have clearance in advance from the Puerto Rican’s law enforcement agencies
  • Cameras
  • Pets must have a health certificate that’s been signed within the last 30 days
  • Tools

Receiving your Household Goods

The liability for duties are paid once Customs has cleared your shipment for release. There are no options of prepaid duties or taxes prior to exportation from a foreign country. Once your shipment is filed with CBP, the party and only the party listed as the receiver can pick up the shipment. If household goods are warehoused, the party of liability can be changed to another party, most whom purchased the goods. The Customs broker cannot pay duties, but can accept a check written out to the Customs and Border Protection to forward. Once items are received, all articles are deemed owned by the receiver and no longer in ownership of the CBP.

For more information regarding moving to Puerto Rico, please visit:

All information featured above is for viewing purposes only. To obtain up-to-date information about overseas shipment, please notify your nearest Consulate.