How to Obtain a Puerto Rican Citizenship Certificate
- Posted: December 24, 2020
- Posted by: Travis Lynk
- Last Reviewed: May 20, 2021
In most cases, taking on citizenship in a new jurisdiction is a long and complicated process that requires years of permanent residency in the new territory. For U.S. citizens, Puerto Rico is an exception: given that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, Puerto Ricans are already U.S. citizens by birth. Thus, when mainland U.S. citizens wish to obtain a Puerto Rican citizenship certificate, they aren’t actually undergoing another country’s naturalization process. This makes the process relatively quick and easy with fairly relaxed application criteria, so any Act 20/22/60 decree holder is encouraged to obtain a Puerto Rican citizenship certificate.
Why Apply for a Puerto Rican Citizenship Certificate?
Since U.S. citizens can reside in Puerto Rico indefinitely, you may question why you should bother applying for a Puerto Rican citizenship certificate. Indeed, it’s not obligatory, and Act 20/22/60 holders can continue to enjoy the lucrative tax benefits Puerto Rico offers without obtaining a Puerto Rican citizenship certificate.
However, to maintain compliance and reap the benefits of the tax exemptions, Act 22 and Act 60 Individual Resident Investor decree holders must pass Puerto Rico’s bona fide residency tests annually, and having a Puerto Rican citizenship certificate can help. The most subjective and, for some, the most difficult of the three residency tests is the closer connection test, which evaluates whether a decree holder maintains closer ties to Puerto Rico or the mainland United States. Obtaining a Puerto Rican citizenship certificate indicates one’s loyalty to Puerto Rico and intention to reside on the island long term, meaning it serves as reinforcement of one’s ties to Puerto Rico.
Besides, applying for a Puerto Rican citizenship certificate is quick and easy and only costs $30, so there’s hardly any reason not to do it. The proof of ties to Puerto Rico can be invaluable for the closer connection test, and having a Puerto Rican citizenship certificate can help you feel closer and more connected to your new island home.
How to Apply for a Puerto Rican Citizenship Certificate
To be eligible to apply for a Puerto Rican citizenship certificate, you must either:
- Have been born in Puerto Rico
- Have U.S. citizenship and at least one parent who was born in Puerto Rico
- Have U.S. citizenship and have resided in Puerto Rico for at least one year before applying
- Have been declared a citizen of Puerto Rico by a competent court of law
Most Act 20/22/60 decree holders seeking a Puerto Rican citizenship certificate are likely to fall into the third category, which means they require documentation to prove they have lived in Puerto Rico for at least one year. The Puerto Rican government accepts the following documents as proof:
- Invoices for water, electricity, and internet/phone services for 12 months at the address indicated in the application
- A valid Puerto Rican driver’s license or other piece of identification with a photo and signature issued by the Puerto Rican government
- An employment certificate, payroll stub, or other proof of employment in Puerto Rico over the preceding 12 months
- A copy of the first page of your most recently filed income tax return
To obtain a Puerto Rican citizenship certificate, you must submit a request in writing using the PDF form provided by the island’s government. It must be accompanied with $30 in IRS stamps (comprobante), your original birth certificate, and photo ID. The application process is that simple—afterward, you’ll receive a Puerto Rican citizenship certificate to strengthen your standing in the closer connection test.
Disclaimer: Neither PRelocate, LLC, nor any of its affiliates (together “PRelocate”) are law firms, and this is not legal advice. You should use common sense and rely on your own legal counsel for a formal legal opinion on Puerto Rico’s tax incentives, maintaining bona fide residence in Puerto Rico, and any other issues related to taxes or residency in Puerto Rico. PRelocate does not assume any responsibility for the contents of, or the consequences of using, any version of any real estate or other document templates or any spreadsheets found on our website (together, the “Materials”). Before using any Materials, you should consult with legal counsel licensed to practice in the relevant jurisdiction.
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