Puerto Rico, the smallest member of the Caribbean archipelago known as the Greater Antilles, is also called “La Isla del Encanto“—the island of enchantment. This U.S. territory is just a little smaller than the state of Connecticut and plays host to gorgeous white sand beaches, the lush El Yunque rainforest, majestic mountains and cool, inland rivers.
It also offers perks to U.S. citizens who decide to make Puerto Rico their home. In addition to tax incentives, Puerto Rico makes it nearly seamless for Americans and permanent residents to live and work on the island. No special work visas are required and the island operates on the U.S. dollar, so you don’t have to exchange any currency. Plus, if you happen to be with AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile, you can even bring your cell phone and use it just as you would in the States.
As Puerto Rico progresses in its recovery from the 2017 hurricane season, more and more Americans are moving to the territory. If you’ve got a customer who wants to make the move, there are a four things you should know to create a seamless experience.
#1: It’s a Little Different Than Shipping to Hawaii
Much like Guam, when you ship household goods to Puerto Rico, you won’t be clearing through U.S. Customs. Instead, Puerto Rico has its own agency that clears shipments: el Departamento de Hacienda.
In order to ship household goods to Puerto Rico, the department requires the following documentation:
- A driver’s license or passport
- A copy of the shipper’s social security card
- A power of attorney made out to the delivery company in Puerto Rico (Note: This document does not have to be notarized)
- A hacienda declaration letter that lists the depreciated value of the shipment
Note: Although the department does not charge duties on household goods, make sure you work with your customers to create an accurate valuation in the hacienda letter for easy customs clearance.
#2: It’s Also a Little Easier Than Shipping to Foreign Destinations
Whereas issues like pilferage and supplemental invoices can arise when shipping to a destination like Mexico, we don’t see those problems in Puerto Rico.
Because of its territorial status, Puerto Rico offers simple and easy customs clearance, as long as you have all your documentation lined up. If you have experience shipping to Guam, you’ll find the experience of shipping to Puerto Rico very similar. Additionally, the right partner in Puerto Rico can make all the difference. We’ll discuss what to look for in a moment.
#3: Shipping Happens One of Two Ways
Most household goods shipments to Puerto Rico are packaged in two ways:
- In lift vans that get put in containers for the ocean voyage.
- Consolidated loose in Miami, where goods are packed into a container, loaded onto a ship, then unpacked and delivered to their destination in Puerto Rico.
In terms of transit times, sailings happen weekly from Miami, with transit times to Puerto Rico in the 10-20 day range.
#4: The Right Partner Is Everything
When it comes to shipping to Puerto Rico, you’ll have a couple of choices. However, finding the right partner offers significant benefits: faster transit times, better rates and seamless service for your customers.
Pro Tip from Jeff Nadeau, General Manager, DeWitt Move: Your best bet is to find a partner who can minimize the number of companies involved. Look for a partner who can offer a single solution from Miami all the way to the final destination in Puerto Rico.
With this kind of partner, you’ll get:
- Faster transit times, since there’s no transfer to a different operation in Puerto Rico.
- Fewer hiccups, which are more likely to occur when you’re passing from company to company to company.
- Seamless service, since you’ll have one point of contact from Miami forward.
Additionally, you’ll want to look for someone who has established relationships in Puerto Rico, which can translate to better rates.
Finally, you should know that simple pricing options are available. Look for a guaranteed rate priced in cubic feet—with zero extra charges. If you’re presented with a complex quote with uncertainties built in, you may want to look to a different partner.
Puerto Rico Made Simple
Moving your customers to Puerto Rico can be much simpler than an international relocation. That being said, missing the four key details we outlined above can create challenges. However, the right partner will make it easy for you to move your customers to this Caribbean paradise quickly and easily.
Need help moving your customers to Puerto Rico? Reach out to us. We have an established relationship with a family-owned business in Puerto Rico, and we’d be happy to help make it seamless for you and your customers.