Student and work visas, and temporary or permanent residency


Student and work visas, and temporary or permanency residences

Puerto Rico follows the same immigration norms and laws as the United States, thus, you should make sure you meet all the immigration and visa requirements depending on your case.

The passport is the only internationally valid document. It officially certifies the holder’s identity and it is issued by your government’s country, ensuring legal authorization to enter or exit the country’s international ports. Each country establishes its own passport effective terms to periodically review the holder’s documentation and substitute the older passports for more modern ones. Before embarking on any procedures with the university, you must begin the process to obtain your passport (if you do not have one yet) or renew the one you have, so it is up-to-date. Go to the office where passports are issued in your country.

Some countries require a visa to enter into their territory. A visa is a norm agreed upon by countries that certifies that a non-citizen can legally enter and remain in a territory, for a specific purpose. The administration attaches the visas to the passports to indicate that the documents have been examined and considered valid for people to enter or exit their country.

Since Puerto Rico belongs to the United States jurisdiction, American citizens do not need a visa to enter or exit the island. Visitors from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain the United Kingdom receive a 90 day visa after they arrive. On the other hand, depending on the purpose of the trip, citizens from certain countries will need to apply for a specific type of visa at the closest local U.S. embassy before they travel.

There are two types of visas required by the United States: Immigrant and Non-immigrant, depending on the duration and purpose of the trip. The following are some of the visas that you may need to come to Puerto Rico, according to your interest:

Tourist, visitor and business visas (B): In this category are, for example, foreign citizens that want to enroll in short-term, not for credit toward a degree, or academic certificate courses. Also, this is the type of visa that your relatives need if they wish to visit you on the island.

Student visas: There are three types: student (F), exchange (J), and student in a technical program (M). All of them require you to have been admitted in an educational center in Puerto Rico, to demonstrate economic solvency, to complete certain paperwork and to pay the fees, besides going to an interview at the embassy in your country of origin. These are the most requested visas by international students who come to study in Puerto Rico.

Temporary worker visas: These are granted to non-immigrants, which means they are valid for a fixed period of time. However, most of these visas can be renewed if your employer is from Puerto Rico or if the United States sponsors a foreign employee to obtain permanent residence (Green Card). The most requested worker visas are the O-Visa, for people with special skills in science, arts, education or business, national or international level athletes, and the P-Visa, for athletes, artists, or celebrities to perform, teach or coach under a cultural exchange program that is culturally and traditionally unique.

Permanent residence (Green Card): It is required to live and work legally in the United States and/or Puerto Rico. There are various ways to obtain it and different criteria for eligibility for each case. The card application process is different if the applicant is requesting it from the United States rather than from a foreign country.

There are several requirements, procedures and types of visas. Find more information at the United States embassy in your country or at the U.S. Department of State.


Contact Information

State Department of Puerto Rico
P.O. Box 9023271
San Juan, PR 00902-3271
1 (787) 722-2121 ext. 4292, 4295, 4350
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