When my husband and I were deciding where to retire, we searched for a city where I could be a woman of independent means. Meaning I could walk to wherever I wanted to go. Reality set in after four years. Renting a car or depending on public transportation could be difficult and time consuming so we broke down and purchased a car. There are a few differences in purchasing a car in Puerto Rico.
Step by Step
You have several options: cash, financing or leasing. In Puerto Rico, there is not much compromising on the car’s sticker price. Look for special sales on the make and model. You can negotiate for extras.
1. CASH. You will need to bring the following documents in order to complete the sale and receive title:
A. Your Social Security card. (It can’t be laminated)
B. Your Driver’s License.
C. Current water or electric bill showing your current residence address
2. FINANCING. This may be done at the car dealers. There is usually a specialist and possibly bank representatives on site.You will need to bring with you:
A. The three items listed above
B. Last three bank statements
C. Last two pay stubs
3. LEASING is available and is usually done for luxury cars costing over $35,000
a. The terms are for 60-66 months and your last payment is 35 percent of purchase price
b. Or you can exchange for a new car at the end of the lease
c. Or pay off the financing charge and own the car outright
4. CLOSING COSTS. The dealer will charge you $430 for the license plate, which will be put on right away as well as the Puerto Rican sticker called marbete. License plates in Puerto Rico remain with the car not the owner. Be aware that it takes two to three months to receive the car title.
Shipping: In order to ship an auto from the U.S. to Puerto Rico, you must have
(1) Copy of title
(2) And if there is a lien, a letter from the bank authorizing the auto to be exported
Once it arrives in San Juan, it will be appraised by the Department of the Treasury and they will assess the duties that have to be paid. The duties can be quite high. In addition to the duties, there is also an ACAA tax of $37.92 and a tire tax. The tire tax is based on the size of the tires.
Documents needed for the clearance of the car once it arrives in San Juan:
•Copy of title or permission to ship letter
•Gov’t issued photo ID (either a driver’s license or passport picture page)
•Copy of bill of lading
•If using a moving company to clear the car, then also a power of attorney
1.Once you are called that your car is at the dock you must pick it up right away. The shipping company will charge you for storage.
2. You have 120 days to get Puerto Rican license plates and marbete.