Puerto Rico

Driver Services (DS)
Apartado 41243
Minillas Station
Santurce, PR 00940
(787) 294-2424

Traffic Division Puerto Rico Police (PD)
Puerto Rico Police
Apartado 70166
San Juan, PR 00936
(787) 793-1234

Transportation & Public Works (TPW)
P.O. Box 41269
Minillas Station
Santurce, PR 00940
(787) 722-2929

Title Application

If application is made for new motor vehicle, (a motor vehicle is a self-propelled vehicle and does not include vehicles operated on private property) ownership is established by (1) notarized bill of sale; (2) manufacturer’s statement of origin; or (3) other documents, as provided by regulation.

If application is made for used vehicle, ownership is established by (1) title document, for title system states; (2) registration document, for states not using title system; (3) public auction document; (4) release certificate; (5) bill of sale from insurance company; or (6) other documents, as provided by regulation.

A motor vehicle is a self-propelled vehicle and does not include vehicles operated on private property.

Vehicle may not be operated on public highway without certificate of title, except for transferring vehicle from one private party to another.

Prior to issuance of certificate of title, verification of excise tax payment must be presented.


Title Transfer of Ownership

Transfer requires signature or mark of both vehicle owner and acquirer.

Execution of transfer noted on back of motor vehicle or tow truck license, and on title certificate.

Transfer must include (1) statement verifying owner’s will to transfer and acquirer’s acceptance of property; and (2) address of acquirer.

When motor vehicle distributor or dealer takes used units for purposes of down payment, transfer occurs through the signing of a sworn statement by distributor or dealer, provided owner has stated will to transfer or has transferred by placing signature on back of license and certificate of title. Sworn statement requires (1) date of transfer; (2) name and address of previous owner; (3) means of identification; and (4) detailed description of vehicle.

Once transfer is executed, it must be filed within 10 days.


Titles for Mobile Homes

Same as for motor vehicles.

Registration Application

For registry of motor vehicle, content information must include (1) vehicle description; (2) name and address of owner; (3) information relating to alienating act or lien; (4) identification information assigned; (5) authorized use verification; and (6) annual license fee payment.

Provisional registry allows vehicle owner to register car without document of ownership and to operate vehicle on public thoroughfares for a period of 30 days.

For registry of trailers, content information must include (1) identification assigned to trailer; and (2) information relating to owner, liens, and use characteristics. A trailer, for these purposes, is a vehicle not propelled by motor power and drawn by another vehicle.


Registration for Non-Residents

For vehicle owners authorized to operate in U.S. or abroad, but not in Puerto Rico, motor vehicle or trailer license may be issued for private non-commercial use for a period of 120 days within a 12-month period.


Registration Type

Owner of motor vehicle or trailer may not operate vehicle on public highway unless vehicle is registered, except when transferring vehicle from one private party to another.

For vehicles or trailers registered for the first time, payment of fees is based on staggered system.

Annual renewal and payment of fees are due on the month vehicle was first registered in the motor vehicle registry system.


Emissions Inspection

Part of the periodic 6-month inspection is an evaluation and diagnosis of emissions control system.


Safety Inspection

Vehicles operating on public highways are subject to mechanical inspections at a frequency of not more than once every 6 months, and not less than once in a 1-year time period.

Inspection is prerequisite for renewal.


Title and Registration Fees

AUTOMOBILE

Title Fee: $26.00

Registration Fee: Below 3,500 lbs: $72.00; 3,500 or above: $115.00 – $155.00

MOTORCYCLE

Title Fee: $26.00

Registration Fee: $52.00

DUPLICATES

Plate Fee: $10.00

Registration Fee: $20.00

Driver’s License Fee: $20.00

Title Fee: $26.00

Special Plates: $100.00

Plate Disbursement

License plates are issued by TPW only after vehicle is recorded in motor vehicle registry.

New plates are required when use of vehicle chanes and different identification number is required or when individual acquiring vehicle does not possess plates.

Plates must be displayed with illuminated light at night.

Transfer of Plates

Plates issued to individual for vehicle may be used in the future when another vehicle is acquired.

Driver’s License Examination

Practical examination is required prior to granting of license to show ability to operate vehicle safely.

Individual applying for learner’s permit must take and pass traffic and public safety examination.


Graduated Drivers Licensing

Puerto Rico does not have a system of graduated licensing for teen drivers.


Driver’s License Issuance/Application

Driver’s license is valid for a period of 6 years.

For license, operator must be 18 years of age; for learner’s permit, operator must be 16 years of age and will be able to get driver’s license after holding the permit for 6 months and passing a road test.

For license, operator must (1) be mentally and physically able; (2) know how to read and write; and (3) hold learner’s permit that, on the day of examination, is not more than 2 years, but not less than 6 months, before the date of issuance.

A person who is unable to read or write may be issued license if individual (1) passes oral course and examination on highway and traffic safety rules; (2) holds learner’s license; and (3) passes practical examination.

Driver’s license must contain: (1) name and descriptive data of operator; (2) identification of license; (3) issuance and expiration date of license; and (4) operator’s photograph.

For driver’s license, a new medical certificate is required if more than 2 years have passed since submittal of previous certificate; if applicant exempted from learner’s permit requirement, certificate is required.

For learner’s permit, applicant must submit medical certificate verifying his or her physical and mental fitness for license.

Non-resident who is authorized to drive a motor vehicle in a U.S. state or foreign country with similar laws may operate vehicle for 120 days from date of arrival; but after 120 days, he or she must meet license requirements. Persons exempt from license requirement include members of the active and reserve U.S. Armed Forces, and the National Guard of Puerto Rico.

Learner’s license permits an operator over 16 years of age but under 18 to operate automobile under patria potestas (the term ‘patria potestas’ refers to the custody or guardianship over a non-emancipated child) for private use. Person with patria potestas over minor is liable for damage or losses resulting from operation of vehicle by minor. Permit valid for 2 years.


Driver’s License Renewal

After expiration of license but before 2 years and 1 month from expiration date, license may be renewed without examination provided fees are paid. After that period a written test is required.


Types of Driver’s Licenses

Driver’s license grants individual authority to operate private motor vehicles, with the exception of heavy motor vehicles, without pay.

Chauffeur’s license authorizes individual to operate motor vehicles, except for heavy motor vehicles, with or without pay.

Heavy motor vehicle driver’s license authorizes individual to operate any motor vehicle, subject to certain statutory provisions.

Motorcycle driver’s license authorizes the operation of motorcycles, motor-driven bicycles, or motor scooters.

Learner’s license authorizes individual to drive motor vehicle if accompanied by authorized individual.


Emergency Radio/Cellular

The emergency phone number is 911.


Headsets

N/A.


Impaired Driving

Puerto Rico prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating beverages, with the illegal per se limit set at 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (.08 BAC). Puerto Rico sets the legal drinking age at 18.

Puerto Rico has ‘‘an implied consent’’ provision providing that any person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, who is suspected of driving while intoxicated, consents to a chemical test to determine if he or she is inebriated. Failure to submit or pass such a test may cause the driver’s license to be suspended or revoked regardless of any court action finding the person innocent of the charge.

The most comprehensive resource on U.S. impaired driving laws is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Digest of Impaired Driving and Selected Beverage Control Laws.  NHTSA’s Digest is updated annually.

Ignition interlocks may be ordered for impaired driving offenders at judicial discretion.


Move Over Law

N/A.


Seat Belts

Any person who drives or rides as a passenger in a motor vehicle, which should be equipped with safety belts, shall be bound to fasten said belt around his or her body while the vehicle is being driven along the public thoroughfares.


Child Passenger Safety

Children under the age of 4 years traveling on public highways must be in protective car seat (exempts handicapped or incapacitated children).  Children age 4 until 9 or under 57 inches must be in a booster seat.  Children age 9 and older or over 57 inches must be using seat belt properly.  The driver is responsible for compliance with provision and subject to penalty for failure to comply.

Children under age 12 must be in the rear seat of a vehicle, if possible.


Railroad Crossing

Driver of vehicle may not stop, stand, or park vehicle at a distance of 15 meters or less of the nearest rail of railroad crossing.


School Buses

In rural zone, driver must stop vehicle when facing or overtaking school bus receiving or discharging children and must not proceed until bus moves or signal is no longer displayed.

School buses must have at front and rear a visible signal that states “SCHOOL BUS” in letters not less than 8 inches in height and signal lights installed high and laterally spaced; lights must be able to emanate at a distance of 500 feet on normal sunny days.

Driver operating on public highway with separate roadway zones need not stop (1) for school bus on different roadway zone, or (2) when bus is stopped on loading or unloading zone that is part of public highway and pedestrian crossing is not allowed.

Bumper Height

Modification of original vehicle bumper height is permitted.


Headlight Use

Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.


Hazard Light Use

Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.


Tire Chains

Tire chains are permitted.


Studded Tires

Studded tires are not permitted.


Glass/Window Tinting

Use of unidirectional vision glass prohibited on motor vehicles.

Application of tints or other material that reduces visibility to less than 35% is prohibited.

Any person with a medical condition requiring tinted windows under the legal limit, may obtain a certificate from the Puerto Rico DOT upon DOT’s receipt of a signed statement from a licensed physician.


Telematics

No television may be located in a motor vehicle in a position so that the driver can watch a televised program.


Radar Detectors

Radar detectors are permitted for passenger vehicles but prohibited for use by commercial vehicles.


Windshield Stickers

Objects such as advertisements, cards, pasquinades, decalcomania, signs, or other non-transparent material must not exceed a square of 7 inches by 7 inches, and must be placed on the lower corner farthest from the driver’s seat, or on the lateral windows behind the driver so as not to obstruct visibility.


Other Equipment Rules

N/A.

Motorcycle Equipment

Operators or passengers of motorcycles, motor-driven bicycles, or motor scooters must use helmet while vehicle is moving.

Driver must wear boots, gloves, and reflective gear while riding at night.

Driver must use eyeglasses or spectacles, or must install windshield.

Minimum of 1 but not more than 2 white lamps must be equipped on front.

One red reflector must be displayed on rear.

‘Motor-driven bicycle or scooter’ includes a scooter or motor scooter, if the engine capacity does not exceed 5 horsepower, and a bicycle with an engine attached.

Motorcycles, motor-driven bicycles, or motor scooters have right to full use of lane and must not drive so as to deprive full use from other vehicles. It is not permitted to operate motorcycle, motor-driven bicycle, or scooter between traffic lanes, or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.


Motorcycle Licenses

Motorcycle driver’s license authorizes operation of motorcycles, motor-driven bicycles, or motor scooters.


Motorcycle Noise Limits

No territorial noise limit.


Mopeds & Other

Registration and valid driver’s license are required.

Minimum age to ride a moped is 16.

Goggles and a safety helmet are required.

It is not permitted to operate motor scooter a half hour before sunset to a half hour after sunrise at a speed of higher than 35 mph unless scooter is equipped with front light that emits light visible at distance of 300 feet.

Trailer Dimensions

Height from ground must not exceed 13 feet, 6 inches; length, including load, must not exceed 40 feet; and width must not exceed 8 feet, 6 inches.

Overall length of 2 vehicles coupled together may not exceed 75 feet, including load.

Weight: Overall GVW may not exceed 110,000 lbs.



Trailer Hitch/Signals

Vehicle drawbar or connection for towing or pulling another vehicle must not exceed 15 feet in length.

If towing connection is chain, rope, or cable, it must display red cloth or similar signal that is not less than 12 inches square.


Trailer Lighting

Trailer with total width of 80 inches or more must display 2 lights on front and 2 lights on rear, in addition to those required of motor vehicle.

For platform-type trailers, additional lights must be displayed on permanent structure of vehicle and must indicate width.

All trailers must display 2 red reflectors in rear, placed as far apart as possible, to indicate width.


Trailer Mirrors

Rearview mirrors are required on both sides.


Trailer Speed Limits

Same as for passenger cars according to the zone, but maximum speed for heavy motor vehicles is 10 mph less than permitted in any zone.


Trailer Towing

N/A.


Trailer Other Provisions

N/A.

Accident Reporting

Crashes resulting in injury or any property damage are required to be reported within 4 hours.


Bail Bonds

AAA Caribbean offers guaranteed arrest bonds.


Liability Laws

Upon obtaining or renewing motor vehicle license, must pay premium amount for compulsory liability insurance.

Initial premium for compulsory liability insurance is $99 for private passenger vehicle and $148 for commercial vehicle.

Traditional liability insurance, assuming coverage is equal to or greater than that required by compulsory liability insurance, may be used to meet requirement of compulsory liability insurance.

Automobile Accident Compensation Administration compensates individuals who suffer bodily injury, sickness, or death as a result of maintenance or operation of motor vehicle; benefits received may be reduced by insurance coverage amounts.


Weigh Stations

Every heavy motor vehicle that travels on the highways of Puerto Rico shall follow the instructions of the traffic signs and signals related or associated to the weighing process of trucks in the permanent weighing stations.


Bicycles

Bicycle helmets are required when riding along public thoroughfares or recreational centers.

Drivers passing a bicycle must pass with a space of 3 feet between the motor vehicle and the bicycle.


Other

Stopping, standing, or parking is not permitted on public highway unless (1) it is necessary to avoid traffic conflict; or (2) it is required by law, directive of police officer, or signal. In rural zone, it is not permitted to stop, stand, or park vehicle on highway, either attended or unattended, when it is reasonable to place vehicle off the roadway. Standing or parking is not permitted on public highway for the purpose of vehicle or merchandise sale, advertisement, demonstration, or rent; or for washing, cleaning, greasing, or repairing vehicle unless in the event of an emergency. Vehicles may not travel or park on exclusive lanes, which are those lanes reserved for the Metropolitan Bus Authority.

Vehicles may not pass or attempt to pass another vehicle on the acceleration or deceleration lanes, which are respectively those lanes provided to accelerate when coming on, or to decelerate when going out of turnpike.