Work Permits, Green Cards, and Passports in Puerto Rico

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.


Douglas Whisler

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.

le Miller

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.


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?

Stefan Smith

I’m German citizen have a green card and live in florida . Can I work in Puerto Rico?


The rules are the same as for states. I think you’ll find that Puerto Ricans cannot get Spanish citizenship unless they use the regular channels any U.S. citizen could use.

Kathryn Weber

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!😔😥


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