Ah, Puerto Rico—land of beautiful beaches, and land of many confused shippers! One of the questions small eCommerce business owners ask us the most is whether or not Puerto Rico is an international destination. Like most other answers in the shipping world, the truth is: it depends. In this case, whether or not Puerto Rico is considered an international shipping destination depends on the carrier you choose to ship there.
Which Carriers Consider Puerto Rico International?
Let’s keep it simple: USPS offers domestic shipping services to all 50 states in the country, as well as to US Territories. Puerto Rico is a United States Territory, and therefore, USPS doesn’t consider Puerto Rico an international shipping destination. That means USPS offers regular domestic shipping services when sending packages there.
In a nutshell, these services are:
- First Class Package Service
- Priority Mail (and all its sub-services, like Flat Rate and Priority Mail Cubic)
- Priority Mail Express
- Parcel Select Ground (aka “Retail Ground” at the Post Office)
On the other hand, UPS and FedEx do consider Puerto Rico an international shipping destination. That means they don’t offer any of their regular domestic services for shipments traveling to Puerto Rico. To put it bluntly, if you use FedEx or UPS to ship there, it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg.
USPS Will Always be the Cheapest Carrier to Send Packages to Puerto Rico
Since USPS offers domestic shipping rates to Puerto Rican destinations, USPS is by far the cheapest carrier for sending packages there. This is also the case for shipping to other US Territories, and the two remotely-located states Alaska and Hawaii.
Pro Tip: Since Hawaii and Alaska are so far away from the contiguous United States, UPS and FedEx also basically treat them as international destinations, too! As a result, UPS and FedEx rates will always be more expensive when shipping to Hawaii and Alaska. It’s best to rely on USPS for shipping to Hawaii and Alaska, so you save the most amount of money possible while still enjoying reliable delivery service.
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Do I Need a Customs Form when Shipping to Puerto Rico?
If you’re using USPS to send a package to Puerto Rico, you won’t need to fill out a customs form unless your package is above a certain weight threshold. This weight threshold is 16 ounces (oz), or 1 pound (lb). As long as your package is below 16 ounces, there’s no customs form needed! However, you may be prompted to fill out customs information depending on the shipping software you use to buy labels.