The Guide to Registering Your Car in Puerto Rico

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What you need to have to register your car in Puerto Rico
The process of registering your car in Puerto Rico
Important facts about registering your car in Puerto Rico


What you need to have to register your car in Puerto Rico

Registering your car in Puerto Rico is not fun but is something that you will absolutely need to do. If you get pulled over in Puerto Rico and your car is not registered, the penalty will be at least a hundred dollars and you could get points on your license which will lead to an increase of insurance rates.

When you are registering your vehicle in Puerto Rico, you do not need to know how to speak Spanish, but it will help make the process a bit smoother if you know at least a little bit of Spanish. Most of the people you will end up dealing with will know at least a little bit of English.

The physical things that you will need are a unexpired and clean Puerto Rico driver’s license, a clean title on the car and the excise tax papers proving you are all paid-up with the port.

If you are not a Puerto Rico resident the process will be a bit more difficult. You will need your unexpired US driver’s license, a clean title on the car, the import papers, the tax papers, your passport, your social security card and some sort of paperwork that proves you own property in Puerto Rico or that you are renting.

If you are not a resident, the process will take longer and will be more difficult. We recommend that you work on becoming a resident before you do anything else.

The process of registering your car in Puerto Rico

The process is a long one, but it is something that you need to do to be able to drive legally in Puerto Rico. The first thing that you will need to do is to stop at a DTOP office. This will likely be a long wait, so be sure you have a couple of hours to spare.

There, you will get a form filled out called “Expedicion Comprobantes de Pago”, this is quite important. It serves as a request for an emissions test (which you will have to get) as well as a bill for you to pay to the Hacienda office. You will need to start the process all over and do that long wait again if you lose it and need another copy.

After that, you should take that form to a garage in Puerto Rico and get an emissions test. This will cost somewhere from about $20 to $50 dollars depending on where you go. This will only take a few minutes, then (assuming your car passed the emissions test) you will get a certificate stating that it passed.

At this point, you will need to visit a Hacienda office in order to pay your fees. The lines here might be extremely long, so be prepared to wait once again. You can always try finding a Hacienda office in a more remote area of Puerto Rico as they normally have shorter lines there. Be sure you bring cash with you because some of these offices might not be accepting credit cards.

They will give you a receipt. Take this receipt back to the DTOP office. They will check that to make sure you paid and then they will inspect your car (again) to make sure that the information you provided is accurate and that the car you are trying to register is not actually stolen. You will then get a filled-out form called “Informe de Investigation”, bring this form back into the office afterwards and you will finish up the registration process there.

Once you get your window sticker for your registration, place it on the inside of your windshield as soon as you can.


Important facts about registering your car in Puerto Rico

Keep these facts in mind when you are going to register your car in Puerto Rico:

  • It is easy to get a ticket for expired registration – One of the most commonly given out tickets is for expired registration. This is because it gets instantly checked any time that you get pulled over. The stickers are even readable if you are parked or sitting at a light, so make you get your car registered every year as soon as you get the chance.
  • Do not lose any of the documentation you receive – As we mentioned above, do not lose any of the official documentation that you get from the DTOP office or Hacienda office. If you do, you will need to go back and wait all over again.
  • You need to become a citizen or at least get a place before you can register your car – You must be able to prove residency in Puerto Rico in order for you to officially register your car. So, you will either need a Puerto Rico driver’s license or you will need documentation proving that you own a home or are renting an apartment.
  • Get ready to wait – The lines at the DTOP and Hacienda offices are almost always very long. Bring a book or something to keep yourself occupied because the wait is usually over an hour long.
  • There is almost no way that you will be able to complete the registration process in only one day – Between the wait and the fact that you have no choice but to travel between offices several times it is all but impossible to finish up the process in just one day. Also keep in mind that offices might be randomly closed or short-staffed which will obviously add to your wait time.



Registering your car in Puerto Rico is a complicated process, especially if you are not yet an official citizen. Be ready to spend several days completing the registration process and waiting in line. Make sure that you have all the required documentation before you head to the DTOP of Hacienda offices.

Just because registering your car in Puerto Rico can be difficult does not mean that getting it there needs to be. You can always ship your car with Puerto Rico Car Transport so that you can focus on the rest of your move!

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