Get Your Business License in Puerto Rico: A Step-by-Step Guide



Are you looking to start a business in Puerto Rico? One of the first steps you'll need to take is obtaining a business license. The process may seem daunting, but with the right guidance, it can be a straightforward and manageable task.

Puerto Rico has its own unique set of rules and regulations when it comes to obtaining a business license. It's important to understand all the requirements, fees, and timelines before diving headfirst into the application process. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about how to get a business license in Puerto Rico.

From filling out forms correctly to gathering necessary documents and submitting them on time – there are many crucial steps involved that can make or break your success in starting your own business. So without further ado, let's dive into what you need to know about getting your hands on that coveted Puerto Rican Business License!

How to Get a Business License in Puerto Rico

If you want to start a business in Puerto Rico, it is important that you obtain the necessary licenses and permits. In this article, we will guide you on how to get a business license in Puerto Rico.

Understanding the Types of Licenses

Before applying for any license, it is important that you understand the different types of licenses available. In Puerto Rico, there are several types of licenses depending on your business type and location. Here are some popular ones:

  • Mercantile License: This license is required by all businesses operating within city limits.
  • Industrial Tax Exemption Decree (Act 73): This exemption decree allows eligible businesses that invest $50 thousand or more annually to operate free from various local taxes for up to 20 years.
  • Tourism Development Certificate: This certificate applies only if your business caters specifically to tourism activities such as hotels or tour companies.

You need to check with local authorities which one applies best for your situation.


Once you have determined which type of license suits your needs, then comes understanding what requirements must be met before obtaining one. The following documents are usually needed:

  1. Proof of identity: passport or driver's licence
  2. Social Security Number: this must be obtained through SSA – Social Security Administration
  3. Tax ID number: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from
    4.Business Plan detailing information about operations including financial statements

These items might vary depending on different circumstances like location and industry.

It’s better if before starting anything consult with legal advisors so they can assist with nuances specific on how each requirement can apply exclusively into each case .

Step-by-step Process

Now let’s delve into the step-by-step process involved in obtaining a business license in Puerto Rico:

  1. Contact Local Authorities: Depending upon where your company will reside within PR boundaries, you will need to contact the corresponding municipality or state agency. The Mercantile License must be obtained through the Department of Treasury.

  2. Register your Business: You can register your business with the Puerto Rico State Department and obtain a Certificate of Incorporation or Certificate of Organization if it's an LLC.

  3. Acquire Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN): This is required for all businesses in PR. You can get one from

  4. Complete Required Forms : Fill out all necessary paperwork as dictated by local authorities, this includes licensing applications, tax forms and more.

  5. Pay Fees and Wait: After completing all requirements pay fees associated with license application processing period varies depending on what license you applied for.


There are many benefits to obtaining a business license in Puerto Rico such as:

  • Investment Incentives: The government provides different incentives like Act 20/22 which offers significant tax breaks.
  • Access to US Markets: Being part of the US territory allows easy access into markets located within mainland USA.
  • Tropical Climate & Beautiful Scenery: With great weather year-round, it’s easier to attract tourism-related enterprises.


The process involved in obtaining a business license may seem daunting at first glance but ultimately ensures that your company operates legally within Puerto Rican boundaries . Remember always check with legal advisors before starting anything so they can guide you through any nuances specific on how each requirement might apply exclusively into each case . Obtaining licenses will give you confidence knowing everything is legitimized Also keep in mind that there are many benefits attached when operating legally here such as reduced taxes , access into US markets , tropical climate& beautiful scenery just waiting around every corner!


What is a business license in Puerto Rico, and why do I need one to operate my business?

A business license is an authorization issued by the government of Puerto Rico that allows individuals or corporate entities to legally operate their businesses on the island. It serves as proof that your company complies with all legal requirements necessary to conduct commercial activities within Puerto Rican territory.

In other words, it's mandatory for all entrepreneurs who want to start a new venture or expand an existing one in Puerto Rico. The government regulates various aspects of operating a business, such as taxation, labor laws, and environmental regulations. A valid business license ensures that your company is complying with these regulations.

If you're planning on opening a new enterprise in Puerto Rico or expanding your existing operations there; obtaining a valid and up-to-date business license should be at the top of your priority list.

How do I know if I need a Business License in Puerto Rico?

All businesses operating within Puertorican territory must obtain either individual licenses from each municipality they will be doing work inside (in some cases) OR obtain what’s called an "Industrial License" which covers more than one municipality depending on what type of activity you plan on undertaking.

It would help if you identified whether your proposed activities fall under the category requiring Industrial Licenses or Individual Municipal Licenses before applying for any permits/licenses required by law.

Be sure also to check out local authorities' requirements so that there are no delays when starting up operations for small scale businesses registering their trade name online can help verify specific permit/licensing needs based upon their industry classification – sometimes this requirement differs between municipalities so ensure they are reviewed properly.

What are Some Basic Requirements needed Before Applying For A Business License In PR?

Before applying for any permit/license required by law here’s some basic information about common requirements;

Firstly – All applicants must have already registered their enterprise's Trade Name using PR website to ensure there are no issues with similar or conflicting trademarks already registered, and the name complies with specific requirements set by the government.

Secondly – These permits will require you to have a legal presence in Puerto Rico. This means that you must either have a physical office within PR territory or enter into an agreement with someone who does have one on your behalf, such as an attorney handling your business affairs (either through Power of Attorney or otherwise)

Thirdly – You’ll need to make sure that all of your taxes are up-to-date

Fourth – You'll need documentation like Articles of Incorporation if applicable; Business Plan Documented Credit History/FICO scores indicating Financial Solvency might be required.

What’s the Process for Obtaining A Business License In Puerto Rico?

The process involved in obtaining a business license in Puerto Rico can vary depending on various factors such as industry sector and location but here's some basic information:

  1. Firstly applicants should check their municipality's requirements for operating licenses/permits since every municipality has its own regulations.

  2. Once you know which license(s)/permit(s) is required by law, gather all necessary documents i.e., Articles of Incorporation if applicable; Business Plan Documented Credit History/FICO scores indicating Financial Solvency For Certain industries where creditworthiness is relevant;

  3. Complete any necessary applications according to local regulations online/offline

  4. Pay any associated fees or taxes
    5.) Finally await Confirmation / receipt / approval from authorities before beginning operations.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Business License In Puerto Rico?

The time it takes to get approved for a business license varies based upon what type of permit/license application it is and which authority needs approving them. The complexities associated with each entity application mean timing can range from several months up until over two years for more complex industries like Construction Projects etc.

It’s important always double-check with the local authorities for average timeframes. Business owners should ensure that they have all of the required documentation completed before starting to apply, so there are no delays caused by missing paperwork or inaccurate details in their application.

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