If you aren't traveling to the US or from the US, but just have a stopover in Puerto Rico, do you have to go through US customs?

  • 3
    Curious what your itinerary is? Which flights/airlines uses PR as a stopover? (Btw, do those airlines allow a free 24 hour stopover?)
    – smci
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 12:05
  • @smci I don't know about stopovers, but here are lists of airlines serving the three international airports: Luis Muñoz Marín, Rafael Hernández, and Mercedita. Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 21:59
  • 2
    @smci it's a regional carrier, InterCaribbean Airways. From a western Caribbean island to an eastern one with a stop in PR. Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 13:34

1 Answer 1


Yes. Puerto Rico is part of the US, including for immigration purposes, and the same rules apply there as in airports in US states. The US does not have sterile transit for international-to-international connections; all passengers must go through US immigration, customs, and TSA security screening.

See our closely related questions Do I need an ESTA for changing airplanes in Puerto Rico? and Do I need a transit visa for changing airplane in San Juan airport?

  • 3
    @MichaelHampton You're right, and I tweaked that. I was trying to avoid getting into the distinction between "part of the US" and "follows the same US border control rules" (American Samoa is part of the US but has its own immigration system, while Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are both part of the US and largely use the US immigration rules but have some special exceptions, etc...) since it gets overly complicated. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 22:32

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