Puerto Rico Public Records
Located in the northeastern Caribbean, Puerto Rico is a United States territory that consists of the main island and several smaller islands. Officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, this tropical locale is populated by 3.6 million people and is a popular tourist destination. First claimed by Christopher Columbus and the Spanish in 1493, the island was ceded to the United States in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. Puerto Rico is classified as an unincorporated U.S. territory under the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act of 1950. The territory has a local constitution and its residents are U.S. citizens, but cannot vote in major U.S. elections. Puerto Rico does make provisions for sharing its records with the public.
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Puerto Rico Public Records Laws
The main public records act in Puerto Rico is called the Public Documents Administration Act, first passed in 1955 and amended in 2000, which is covered in Laws of Puerto Rico Annotated Title 3 Chapter 41 § 1001. There are other provisions under Title 3 that also deal with the preservation and supply of public records. There is also a short statement in Title 32 of the code that states that “every citizen” has a right to take a copy of public records.
Records subject to the Act are any public documents produced in the Commonwealth, and this applies to the executive, legislative and judicial branches. There is no information on exemptions or exclusions with regards to public documents in this territory.
Puerto Rico Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks
Background checks in Puerto Rico are administered by the Puerto Rico Police Department. The criminal records checks are name-based checks, and Puerto Rico is now doing these online. You do need to have an ID issued by the territory, such as a driver’s license, in order to use the system. In the alternative, you can order a background check in person at the Puerto Rico Police Department, Ave F.D. Roosevelt 601, Cuartel General, San Juan, PR 00936-8166.
Puerto Rico Jail and Inmate Records
To learn about the correctional facilities in Puerto Rico, find information about inmates in the system, or get services for victims, visit the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections website. There is no online search page to locate a specific offender in the system. For assistance, you can call the Office of Control and Management of the correctional population at (787) 273-6464.
Puerto Rico Court Records
Any information on courts in the territory of Puerto Rico can be found on its administrator of the courts website. The only online search that can be done is to the court calendar. Specific case files and records requests will need to be made with the clerk of the court in the courthouse where the case was heard.
Puerto Rico Vital Records
Vital records, such as birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates, in Puerto Rico are administered by the Department of Health, Demographic Registry. Birth, death, and marriage certificates are available from June 22, 1931 to present. Divorce certificates are available from 1941 to present. You must submit a complete application and show that you are an “interested party” in order to receive a certificate. This means that you are either listed on the certificate or are an immediate family member, legal guardian, or legal representative. There are several ways to obtain these documents:
- In Person: You can order in person at the Department of Health, Demographic Registry, 141 Barbosa Avenue, Lincoln Building, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00925.
- By Mail: Simply download and complete the proper form and return it with copies of required documentation to: Department of Health, Demographic Registry, P.O. Box 11854, Fernandez Juncos Station, San Juan, PR 00910.
- Online: Place your order and payment through VitalCheck.com.
You may also be able to get some divorce records in Puerto Rico from the local courthouse where the original divorce was granted.