There are several different aspects to consider when determining moving costs to PR such as flights, moving expenses, shipping a car, buying s car, renting and furnishing a home, and other unexpected expenses. The cost of moving to Puerto Rico can add up quickly. Below you’ll find some of the more obvious–and the hidden costs so that you can plan your move from the US to Puerto Rico wisely.
According to the American Moving & Storage Association, the average cost of a move between states is $5,630, but Worldwide ERC, which handles employee transfers, averages the cost of moving at $12,459. Moving to Puerto Rico can be even more.
Flight times from the U.S mainland to Puerto Rico vary depending on your place of departure, but typical flight times are Atlanta (3.5 hrs), Washington (3.5 hrs), New York (4 hrs) and Miami (2.5 hours).
Just like flight times, costs of flights to Puerto Rico vary depending on your departure locations, time of year, etc, but are generally between $400 and $800 for a one-way ticket. Puerto Rico is served by the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport located near San Juan, but there are other smaller airports such as Ponce and Aguadilla that welcome airlines such as Spirit, United and Jet Blue.
Upon arrival, your baggage can be retrieved from baggage claim, and considering it is a U.S Territory, there are hardly any travel inspections between the Island and the mainland except for agriculture related products leaving PR.
In addition, any TSA compliant document will suffice for identification purposes such as a state issued identification card or a driver’s license.
This is one of the biggest aspects to consider when moving to Puerto Rico.
Shipping your Belongings
If you are using a professional shipping service, they will provide the necessary documents to you. If you are shipping household goods over $2500, you will need to complete an export declaration form or EEI (Electronic Export Information) form. Although there are no custom fees, household items are subject to a 6.6% (currently) excise tax. To clear your household goods from customs, you will need to provide certain documentation such as the EEI form, inventory list in English, bill of lading and original power of attorney. Make sure that you have listed the exact value for new items because if found incorrect, tax officials will research it themselves and may penalize you in the event of a discrepancy. Depending on your location and amount you are shipping, expect to pay between $5,000 and up for this service.
Moving your household items via a moving company can get expensive and a great alternative it to load up a moving trailer or moving container yourself. This can save you thousands. If you don’t have enough items to fill the container, you can opt for LCL (Less than Container Load). Delivery times from the US mainland to the island is generally one week, but you will have to clear the items with the tax office by providing the documents listed above before they are shipped to your home in Puerto Rico. It is highly recommended that you seek a moving quote online from a few companies, who will also fill out the EEI form on your behalf.
Many families find it easier to sell most of their belongings or place them in storage, shipping only their most important items via mail service and bringing luggage on the airplane. You can purchase new household goods on the island for less than the cost of shipping and/or find a furnished home to live in.
Shipping a Car to Puerto Rico
Shipping a car to the island can be a challenging logistical experience. It may take a week or two, and there are some shipping companies that are better than others. If your vehicle is valued under $1000, you may be better off selling it rather than shipping it. The cost of shipping, plus an often over-expensive excise tax make it easier to buy a new vehicle.
You can determine the approximate vehicle excise costs by contacting the Office of Excise Taxes in PR by providing specific vehicle information such as number of doors, make, model, year, automatic/standard and VIN number. License plates however cannot be transferred, but license stickers on the island are renewed every year. At the time of renewal, you will have to pay a $65 annual registration fee and $35 no fault insurance annual fee. Be aware that if your vehicle does have a lien of some type such as a bank loan, where you’re still making monthly payments, some financial institutions might not allow you to ship your vehicle. More details about shipping a car.
Costs of Renting and Furnishing a Home in PR
The cost of renting and furnishing a home in PR varies greatly. The median rent price in Puerto Rico is: $1,400. The good news is that most expensive rentals especially in the San Juan area are semi or fully furnished so you don’t have to source the essentials.
You will generally have to sign a lease for a specified term and then pay first and last month’s rent. Most landlords ask for a security deposit, pet deposit and first + ;last month of rent. With regards to furnishing a home, you can choose to buy used or new furniture. There are several choices for both, and it’s just a matter of looking in the right places for the best deals. You can also purchase some furnishings online, but expect to come across some difficulty finding companies that ship to Puerto Rico. See our list of stores that ship to PR.
f you are buying a home, plan for delays in closing and additional closing fees. Banks work notoriously slow and it’s not unusual to have your closing date delayed again and again.
Unexpected Moving Expenses
Although there are some moving expenses that are transparent, others are unpredictable. However, you can minimize the surprises by taking into consideration the list highlighted below and estimating your expenses on the high end.
Some unexpected moving costs to plan for:
- Shipping boxes & packing supplies
- Utilities setup fees — most require a deposit
- Time — expect to wait a little longer for utilities and internet setup, deliveries and just about everything else
- Groceries & meals
- Travel accommodations
- Emergency storage costs
- Replacing basic household items from spices to cleaning supplies
- Costs associated with breaking contracts with gyms, utilities and more
- Pet transportation
- Opening new bank accounts
- Losing security deposits
If you are looking for more information about moving to Puerto Rico, browse our Moving Guide.