The people of Puerto Rico have been citizens since 1917 — nearly a century. And yet many Americans are not aware of this, or of what it means.

Yahoo Answers, a popular spot for people to ask random questions about things they find confusing, shows 2,470 results for the questions, “Are Puerto Ricans U.S. citizens?” And it is not just random Americans who are confused about this question. The media, schools, and law enforcement also get confused.

Look at some examples:

  • In 2006, TV host Tucker Carlson said to guest Jesse Diaz, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, “you may be counting Hispanic immigrants from Puerto Rico,”
  • In 2009, the New York Times and the Daily Princetonian described Sonia Satomayor’s parents as “immigrants”and Fitchburg State University published Puerto Rican Immigrants: A Resource Guide for Teachers and Students.
  • In 2010, a Chicago man from Puerto Rico was detained as an illegal immigrant for three days in spite of having his birth certificate and Social Security card.
  • In 2014, radio host Laura Ingraham said that Justice Sotomayor’s “allegiance obviously goes to her, you know, immigrant family background, not to the U.S. Constitution.”

So, just to make things completely clear, Puerto Rico is a U.S. possession and Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. They do not require work permits, green cards, or passports on the U.S. mainland any more than an American from North Dakota needs a green card to live in South Dakota.

This post was originally written in English and may be being auto-translated by Google.

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16 Responses

  1. I”m a USA born citizen with birth cert., Social Security card. 100% a natural born citizen. Do I need a work permit to go to Puerto Rico and get a job??? I’m sure I do not, I just want to be sure!!

    • No, you don’t. It’s just like moving from one state to another. Except that you will no longer be able to vote in presidential elections.

      • If living in Orlando, FL applying for a political assylum and a work visa has been granted already, can I work in PR as well? asking because a position in San Juan was just offered to me and Im not sure If am allowed to work in PR just like in FL or any other state because of the migratory/legal status.

  2. My neighbor said she has a SSN in Puerto Rico in her maiden name and a SSN in US in her married name and can use both?
    Is this legal?

    • Like all U.S. citizens, residents of Puerto Rico get just one Social Security number. There is no difference between Puerto Rico and Florida in this area.

  3. I know that Puerto Rican nationals can reclaim spanish nationality too.
    And so they can travel freely throu the EU.
    I am myself a EU citizen born in Portugal.
    Is there a way I can move myself legally to Puerto Rico?

  4. Sadly, trump does not give a damn about your beautiful country. Unless he can “adorn” his real estate brand by destroying your beautiful beaches with yet another golf course & trump towers.Or has he already? He is a menace to U.S. & the world. I look foreward to another visit to P.R.🌺💥💝

    • Yes it is such a shame.. I am a us born Puerto Rican and to see the family members that I do have In Puerto Rico drinking out of rivers and scoundreling for food is pathetic but that just shows what a president like trump is about he doesn’t care about us people living in poverty he just cares about his little tweets and trying to get that golfball in the hole….what about my family trump? Can u live with river water and food out of the trash??? I think not….so my question is…..if the president of the United States sees the extent of Puerto Rico why hasn’t he himself done something about it??? Because he doesn’t care that’s why!!!! God bless the United States and Puerto Rico!😔😥

  5. I have employment in Puerto Rico and need to learn the legal route to obtain a work permit and residency permit.

    My school of employ has never employed a non USA citizen and has asked me to please advise them on what they need to do in order to best assist me going forward.

    I would value knowing how best I can obtain information on this move to Puerto Rico?

    • You situation as a non-citizen in Puerto Rico is the same as in a state. If you are in Puerto Rico with a student visa or a tourist visa, you will need to get permission to work. Sometimes that means you will need to get a worker visa, that is an H or a B visa. Your embassy can help you.

  6. I am Brazilian working and living in Florida with an L1 Visa. I do not have a green card yet. I got already my Employment Authorization Document (EAD) within the green card process. If I want to move to work in Puerto Rico can I use my existing EAD Visa to work there?

    • Your legal position will be the same in Puerto Rico as in any state. However, you should check with your legal advisor if you have any questions. We cannot provide legal advice.

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