Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. U.S. Federal laws apply to Puerto Rico citizens. Puerto Ricans are autonomous in matters of self-government. Federal law, however, supercedes local law in the same manner as with a U.S. State. Therefore, Puerto Rico is subject to United States laws relating to matters such as civil rights and health and safety. Puerto Rico Federal District Court ifalls under the jurisdiction of the First Circuit Court of Appeals located in Boston, Ma.
Passports are not required for United States Citizens. For international visitors, the same rules for visiting the United States will apply to entry into Puerto Rico.
Your state driver's license will be sufficient for any identification purpose while on the island and will permit you to drive while here.
Your airlines and hotel will set the rules for bringing your pets. There is a set of rules in place regarding importation of animals. Those rules (in name only) require a rabies vaccine and health check-up within the last thirty days, as well as a certificate stating the pet does not originate in a rabies-quarantined zone.
However, at Luis Munoz Airport in San Juan, there is no screening in place to determine if you have met with the rule requirements. Pasengers exit the plane and proceed past a well-worn sign stating something about quarantine requirements. Other smaller airports on the island may or may not have stricter controls.
Your state or national driver's license enables you to drive in Puerto Rico.
Driving in Puerto Rico is the same as in the Continental U.S. except that highway signs are in Spanish.
Tip: Turn signals are an alien concept to Puerto Rico drivers. Expect cars to zip in and out of traffic without warning and drive defensively.
Also, Puerto Rico police cars always have their lights flashing. Don’t be alarmed unless the police car turns on its siren, which almost never happens.
Certain areas such as Carolina (Isla Verde) and many suburbs enforce drunk driving laws quite strictly Between the crazy drivers, unfamiliar driving terrain, and DUI enforcement, it’s simply not worth drinking and driving. Always have a designated driver if you expect to be indulging.
Parking in Condado and the rest of the Tourist Zone is difficult. As with many things in Puerto Rico, there is no rhyme or reason to parking restrictions. Sometimes parking meters are located to the rear of your car, sometimes to the front. Look to the end of the street to determine which way the meters are oriented.
As a result of a rash of carjackings in the 1990's, a law was instituted which allows drivers to stop, look both ways, then proceed through red lights after midnight.
Puerto Ricans have a different concept than North Americans on time and deadlines. Don't be surprised to see a local stop his car in a busy street and a chat while traffic builds up behind him.
Finally, Puerto Rico has the highest density of cars per person in the world. Traffic in L.A. and New York pales in comparison. Plan ahead if driving.