If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, what barriers, if any, will you face? Can felons go to Puerto Rico on vacation or move to Puerto Rico permanently?
Felons who have completed their sentence can travel to or relocate to Puerto Rico without any restrictions. Felons on probation or parole, individuals with pending felony charges, and participants in pre-trial diversion programs need permission to travel to avoid violating their release conditions.
When Can Felons Go To Puerto Rico in 2024?
You’re free to travel to Puerto Rico for any reason once you’ve completed your sentence and are “off paper”.
Because Puerto Rico is a United States unincorporated territory, traveling to Puerto Rico is considered domestic travel. That means going to Puerto Rico is no different than traveling to any other U.S. state.
You won’t even need to obtain a passport because you can travel to Puerto Rico with your driver’s license, state-issued ID, or a passport card.
Is your ID up to date? From May 7, 2025, your ID will need to be compliant with Real ID standards if you want to use it to board a domestic flight to Puerto Rico.
Use the interactive tool on the Department of Homeland Security website to find out if your ID is ready for the new rules: https://www.dhs.gov/real-id/are-you-real-id-ready
Understanding Puerto Rico’s Status
Even though Puerto Rico is 1000 miles off the southern coast of Florida, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has been under the jurisdiction of the United States since 1898.
Puerto Rican nationals are United States citizens and federal laws apply in the territory.
United States citizens enjoy passport-free travel to Puerto Rico and don’t need to go through a border check on arrival or apply for a visa or work permit.
This makes Puerto Rico an attractive destination for former felons looking for a vacation spot or a new start.
Can Felons On Probation Go To Puerto Rico?
While you’re on felony probation or parole, your options for out-of-state travel are restricted by the conditions imposed at your sentencing or release.
Depending on your state, felons on probation may be strictly prohibited from leaving their state for an initial period. Once that period has expired, you can apply for travel approval.
You’ll need to check your paperwork and look at your specific conditions to know if and when you can travel out of state.
For general rules covering travel for felons on probation in each state, use the state directory on the Probation Information Network website.
- Go to https://www.probationinfo.org/restrictions/.
- Select your state.
- Scroll to the travel restrictions section.
If you’re on probation and hoping to relocate to Puerto Rico, you’ll need to go through the process to transfer your probation to a new state. This process needs the approval of your probation officer.
Getting Permission To Travel While On Probation Or Parole
How can felons travel to Puerto Rico while on probation?
You must contact your probation officer and ask for approval to travel. Your request should be submitted well in advance of your planned travel date to give your probation officer time to prepare the travel permit.
You’ll need to provide your destination, travel dates, the reason for your travel, and the address where you’ll be staying.
Travel requests are more likely to be rejected for felons convicted of serious charges, repeat offenders, and sex offenders.
Felons considered a flight risk or with previous probation violations (missed court dates, missed probation meetings, etc.) are unlikely to be approved for travel.
If your probation officer permits you to travel to Puerto Rico, you’ll receive a written travel permit. You’ll need to keep this permit with you at all times in case you’re stopped by law enforcement for any reason while you’re in Puerto Rico.
Traveling To Puerto Rico With Pending Felony Charges
Can a felon go to Puerto Rico with pending charges? With pending felony charges, getting permission to travel for a vacation is unlikely. Permission could be possible if you need to travel for a family emergency or a funeral, for example.
As an individual facing prosecution on felony charges, your release conditions will most likely include restrictions prohibiting you from leaving your county or state of residence without prior permission from the court.
If you’re out on a bail bond, you’ll also need to get permission from your bond agent.
Failure to obtain written permission to travel from the court could result in your arrest and further charges if the authorities find out about your trip.
Traveling out of state without written permission from your bond agent could also mean you’ll lose the money and other security you put up for your bail bond.
Check your bail agreement or contact your attorney to find out if you can leave the state with a pending felony charge.
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If you’ve completed all of your felony sentencing requirements, you’re free to travel to Puerto Rico without any restrictions.
For felons on probation or parole an felons with pending charges, you must get permission to travel out of state from your probation officer or a judge.
Charles Greg is the Co-Founder, Author, & Head Developer behind RentingtoFelons.org
With a lifelong passion for humanity.