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Latest updates: The Health tab was updated - travel health notices (Public Health Agency of Canada).
Puerto Rico - Exercise a high degree of caution
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travellers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to Puerto Rico. See Health for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Canadians rarely encounter safety and security problems, but normal safety precautions should be taken due to an increase in violent crime. Petty crime and robberies are prevalent. Ensure that your personal belongings are secure at all times.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the authorities of the United States (U.S.). It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for the expected duration of your stay in Puerto Rico even if travelling from the continental United States.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Canadian citizens generally do not require a visa to enter a U.S. overseas territory for the purposes of visiting or studying.
Consult the Travel Advice and Advisories for the United States for information on the Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.
Providing additional information at borders
Travellers entering the U.S. by air or by sea are required to provide additional information, such as their address while in the U.S., including U.S. territories. They may also be asked for evidence of residential, employment or educational ties to Canada, proof that the trip is for a legitimate purpose and is of a reasonable length, and proof of financial support while in the country.
More information on border security programs currently in force in the U.S. is available from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Some Canadians may have U.S. as well as Canadian citizenship through birth in the U.S. or through naturalization or descent. Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport to enter or re-enter the U.S. by air. Although U.S. authorities do not formally require dual nationals to carry both a U.S. and a Canadian passport, carrying both documents as proof of citizenship may facilitate both entry into the U.S. and returning to Canada. Consult Laws and Culture for more information.
Canadian retirees seeking to winter in warmer climates will likely receive a maximum admission period of six months. Those who wish to stay longer may apply for an extension with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before their authorized stay expires.
If you have a criminal record, no matter the severity or the date of the offence, you may be refused entry to the U.S. You may also experience problems when travelling through U.S. airport facilities. A pardon for an offence issued by Canadian authorities is not recognized under U.S. law for the purpose of entry into the U.S. If you have a criminal record, you should contact one of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ports of entry by telephone or contact the Embassy of the United States of America or one of its consulates well in advance of your departure from Canada. If you are ineligible to enter the U.S., you may apply for a waiver of ineligibility. This will involve completing Form I-192, "Advance Permission to Enter the U.S. as a Non-Immigrant." There is a fee and it may take several months to process your application. Waiver application forms are available from any port of entry to the U.S., any preclearance site in Canada, and the Embassy of the United States of America or one of its consulates in Canada. A list of designated ports of entry that accept filings of waiver applications as well as the application form are available from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
U.S. ports of entry are computerized and connected to a centralized database. Information is readily available on criminal convictions in both Canada and the U.S. Even though you may have entered the U.S. without hindrance in the past, you could run into difficulty if your record shows a criminal conviction or a previous denial of entry. Attempting to gain entry without a waiver could result in several weeks of detention and a permanent bar from entering the U.S.
If you are an American citizen that left the U.S. to avoid military service and have not since regularized your status, there might be an outstanding warrant for your arrest or you might be ineligible for U.S. entry. If in doubt, check with the nearest U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services port of entry. If you need information about regularizing your status with the U.S. military, contact the Embassy of the United States of America.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
If you have an unusual situation concerning entry into the U.S., you should obtain authoritative information from the U.S. authorities immediately before your visit. For more information, consult the Embassy of the United States of America or U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
For more detailed information on entry requirements for the U.S., consult our Travel Advice and Advisories page for the United States.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in the Caribbean, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Caribbean. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently an outbreak of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a viral disease spread through the bite of an infected mosquito that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. Protect yourself from mosquito bites, particularly around sunrise and sunset. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. Recent or ongoing cases of Zika virus have been reported in this country.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites day and night.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.
Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy:
- Should avoid travel to this country
- If travel cannot be avoided follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures.
- Talk to your health care professional about the risk of Zika infection in pregnancy.
- Use condoms or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, if you are pregnant and your partner has travelled to this country.
- Female travellers: wait at least 2 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
- Male travellers: wait 6 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive. Use condoms or avoid having sex during that time.
See travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in the Caribbean, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in the U.S. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you only as an American citizen. Although U.S. authorities do not formally require dual nationals to carry both a U.S. and a Canadian passport, you should carry both documents as proof of citizenship and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities to minimize this risk. Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.
These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.
If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:
- know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
- Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons
- Large-scale emergencies abroad
- Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings - United States’ National Hurricane Center
Hurricanes Irma and Maria
Hurricanes Irma and Maria swept Puerto Rico as major hurricanes on September 6 and 19, 2017, respectively. Both storms caused significant damage and recovery efforts are ongoing in some areas.
The situation in the capital of San Juan has improved but power has not yet been restored steadily and traffic could be disrupted as many traffic lights are still not operational. Be particularly cautious when travelling to other parts of the island as there are still major disruptions to the following essential services :
- power distribution
- water and food supply
- telecommunications networks
- emergency assistance
- medical care
Contact your travel agent to determine whether the situation could disrupt travel plans.
Dial 911 for emergency assistance.
San Juan - Consulate of Canada
Miami - Consulate General of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Consulate General of Canada in Miami and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
You may call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa toll-free at +1 888 949 9993.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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