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Operating a Business in Puerto Rico

There are several essentials required in starting up a business. In Puerto Rico, businesses are required to present a number of documents and pieces of information to obtain permits and certificates.

Let’s talk permits! To operate a business in Puerto Rico, you will need 3 main permits: Registro de Comerciante, Permiso Único, and Patente Municipal. If you have a membership with Piloto151, you will receive documents to help fast-track the permitting process. 

Understandably you might be a little concerned about this, and you’re probably still figuring out if you could actually live here for at least 183 days a year, which is one of the requirements for taking advantage of Act 22.

So the good news is that you absolutely can and relocating your business and your life is a lot easier than what you imagine. We’ve put together this roadmap to success to walk you through everything from getting your business up and running to making friends.

Step 1: Apply for Registro de Comerciante 

The Registro de Comerciante (Merchant’s Registration Certificate) grants you permission to have a business in Puerto Rico. You can apply online on Departamento de Hacienda‘s (Department of Treasury) portal, SURI. You are going to need:

  1. Copy of your Certificate of Incorporation.
  2. Any document issued that identifies your employer identification number (EIN).
  3. Identification number to the taxpayer who was assigned as a merchant.
  4. Social Security or authorization granted by the Department of State of Puerto Rico.

Step 2: Apply for Permiso Único or request a Carta de Consulta

Before applying for your Patente Municipal, you need a Permiso Único (Single Permit). The Permiso Único consolidates:

  • Use Permit
  • Certificates and licenses (Environmental Compliance; Fire Prevention Certification (Certificado de Prevención de Incendios); Health Licenses (Licencia Sanitaria); and special licenses.

If your office is in a coworking space in San Juan, you can request a Carta de Consulta to operate under their Permiso Único. If not, you can apply for the Permiso Único with the help of an agent or do it yourself through the Single Business Portal accessing www.ogpe.pr.gov.

Before the Single Business Permit, companies had to file for separate individual permits to continue or commence operations. Recently, companies only need to file once for the Permiso Único. The permit is renewed each year.

Step 3: Apply for Patente Municipal (Municipal Patent)

Once you have your Permiso Único or Carta de Consulta (to operate under your coworking space’s Permiso Único), apply for the Patente Municipal in the municipality where your office is located. Companies that rent in a coworking space must have their own.

It is a municipal contribution (not a license or permit) on the volume of business based on yearly gross income. The Patente Provisional is due 30 days before commencement of operations and renews every semester (January 1st-June 30 and July 1st-December 31. For example: If the company started operations on June 1st they have to renew by July 1st). Most accountants will do this for you for an additional fee.

Let us handle it with Piloto 151’s Virtual Mailbox Services

The reality of applying for Puerto Rico’s business permits is …well, devoid of fun and time-consuming. Look into our virtual office membership featuring our virtual mailbox app. You get a physical business address, remote access to your mail, and mail handling services.

About Piloto 151

Piloto 151 is the destination for virtual offices, flexible workspaces, and private office space. With coworking spaces in the heart of San Juan, Puerto Rico, our spaces have been designed to inspire creativity, cultivate connections, and celebrate wins. 

Let us help you prepare your business for landing in paradise, from incorporating your business, getting a physical business address, and virtual mailbox services to permitting and certification under Puerto Rico’s world-class tax incentives, including Act 60. Contact us to get started.