New Puerto Rico Travel Rules: Vaccinated Travelers Won't Need a COVID Test

by Lyle Daly | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on May 26, 2021

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Couple dressed for tropical weather in a hotel room with luggage looking out the window.

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Got your COVID-19 vaccine? Traveling to Puerto Rico is about to get easier.

With some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Puerto Rico is a popular travel destination.

Just in time for a summer vacation, the island is updating entry requirements for domestic travelers. Starting May 28, fully vaccinated travelers arriving from the United States can visit Puerto Rico without a negative COVID-19 test.

This isn't the only measure that's changing. Fully vaccinated travelers don't need to wear masks at beaches and parks, and businesses can now operate at up to 50% capacity instead of 30%. Bars and nightclubs are still closed, though.

If you have a trip to Puerto Rico coming up, or you're thinking about going, here's what you need to know.

Puerto Rico's new travel rules

The new rules for vaccinated travelers begin on May 28. If you're visiting Puerto Rico from the United States and you're fully vaccinated, you don't need to get a COVID-19 test. Keep in mind that to be considered fully vaccinated, it must be at least two weeks from your final dose.

Puerto Rico will require that you complete a travel health declaration and upload your COVID-19 vaccination card. You can do so on the Puerto Rico Health Department's online Travel Safe portal. After you do this, you get a QR code that you'll use to leave the airport.

If you're not vaccinated or you're visiting Puerto Rico on an international flight, then a negative COVID-19 test is required. The previous rule was that this had to be a PCR test. As of May 28, travelers can get either a PCR test or an antigen test. The test must be taken no more than 72 hours before arrival. Upload your results on the online Travel Safe portal to get a QR code that allows you to leave the airport.

There is some flexibility for travelers who don't get their results on time. You can choose to upload test results later and self-quarantine when you get to Puerto Rico. The site will issue a $300 fine, but it will be dismissed once you upload your test results. You can also get tested in Puerto Rico within 48 hours after arrival. Again, a self quarantine will be required until you have your results.

Visiting Puerto Rico

If you've been looking for somewhere to visit for a vacation, Puerto Rico is a great choice, but it's best to book your trip ASAP. Demand for airfare and hotels will likely increase now that vaccinated travelers no longer need a negative COVID-19 test.

Fortunately, you have plenty of options to get to Puerto Rico, and prices are usually affordable. If you have any travel credit cards, see if you can use your rewards to cover some of your travel costs.

All the major U.S. airlines have flights to Puerto Rico, so most types of credit card miles can get you there. Depending on what credit cards you have, you may also be able to use points to pay for a hotel stay.

Puerto Rico is a convenient travel option if you're coming from the United States, and not just because of the new rules. Since it's a U.S. territory, you don't need a passport to visit. Your ID will work. And when you return to the mainland United States, you don't need a negative COVID-19 test, because it's only a domestic trip.

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