Locate the nearest Vehicle Processing Center.
All incoming personnel are reminded that if you ship a POV to Puerto Rico (overseas) and the car is registered in your spouse's name only, then you will be charged shipping cost. You will not be allowed to ship the POV back to CONUS at Government expense until it is registered in the member's name.
Puerto Rico normally imposes a very high import tax on all vehicles brought onto the island. Vehicles belonging to military personnel stationed on the island may be exempt, if they meet the legal standards for "passenger vehicles". This situation is constantly changing some vehicles are taxed while some are not. Consult your sponsor for the latest information.
When you ship your car, make sure that you take it to a port which ships to Puerto Rico. Not all military ports do, and some ship only infrequently. Taking your POV to the wrong port can be very inconvenient. Check with your transportation officer for specific details about where to ship your POV. Orlando (VPC) cars are shipped on deck exposed, but the benefit is that it is a little easier to pick up the Vechicle Processing Center (VPC) San Juan. No matter where you ship from plan to ship your car 30-40 days early if you want your vehicle to be ready for pick-up the week you arrive in Puerto Rico.
Where is My POV site can help you locate information on the current status of your POV.
An automobile is very handy and practically a necessity. Your car should be in good mechanical condition. Have repairs completed in the US before shipping the car. If you possess an older car that will last for your tour of duty in the area with only minor repairs, bring it instead of a new one. An older model four-wheel drive vehicle, in good condition, can be a lot of fun. This type of vehicle will allow you to explore the many beautiful beaches and mountain roads. New cars, although less susceptible to mechanical problems, are just as prone to rapid corrosion as are older models. Roads are often crowded and rough.
Automobile insurance rates are high in Puerto Rico. It is wise to inquire about insurance in Puerto Rico prior to leaving the states. Very few insurance companies will write insurance for Puerto Rico. United Services Automobile Association provides coverage, but GEICO does not. National Insurance has an agent in Aguadilla and also a list of other companies who insure in Puerto Rico. Uninsured motorist coverage is written by some firms and may be a wise investment. You are required by the Puerto Rican government to purchase an automobile injury compensation policy (ACCA), which costs $35 per year, regardless of any other medical coverage.
You can find Information on insurance requirements for your POV in Puerto Rico in the Sector San Juan Legal Page.
You will be required to show the title and registration when you pick up your car in San Juan after shipping. Be sure you carry these with you when you come to Puerto Rico. No taxes are imposed on one car shipped at government expense. Due to transportation charges and the insular tax, cars purchased on the island can be extremely expensive. Generally, small cars are taxed at a lower rate than large cars. If you purchase a used car on the island that was tax-exempt, you are liable for the insular tax. Check with your Transportation Officer for details.
One last item on cars: wear your seat belts. There is a fine payable by the driver if seat belts are not worn. Seat belts are mandatory on base, as are child restraint car seats for young children under four years old.
Many personnel bike to work each day, and it is the perfect mode of transportation around the base. Plan to either bring a bike or buy one after arriving. Special services has a limited number of bicycles for rent. Many children bicycle to Ramey school, although there is a school bus that picks them up in the housing area. Please invest in bike safety helmets for all bike riders prior to your PCS move. Coast Guard regulations require all bike riders to wear a helmet while riding on federal property.