Puerto Rico Political Status

The Puerto Rico Status Act

Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States for more than a century. Territory status limits the island’s full political, economic, and social development. The federal government has a responsibility to facilitate the selection of and transition to a non-territory, fully self-governing political status for Puerto Rico.

This Congress, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources has considered two pieces of legislation with different mechanisms to resolve Puerto Rico’s political status – the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act (H.R. 1522), introduced by Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) on March 2, 2021, and the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act (H.R. 2070), introduced by Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) on March 18, 2021. The lead sponsors of both bills have come together to combine elements of their respective bills to arrive at a compromise that would be supported by a majority of members of Congress. The Puerto Rico Status Act is the result of that effort.

Deciding Puerto Rico’s Political Future 

The people of Puerto Rico deserve an opportunity to make an informed choice on their political future. The Puerto Rico Status Act is a historic proposal representing an offer from Congress to the people of Puerto Rico to decide their future with confidence that Congress will carry out its responsibility to implement the will of a clear majority of eligible voters in Puerto Rico.   

Key Features of the Puerto Rico Status Act Include: 

  • Authorizes a federally sponsored plebiscite to resolve Puerto Rico’s political status.  

  • Specifies and defines Puerto Rico’s non-territorial status options – Statehood, Independence, and Sovereignty in Free Association with the United States.  

  • Provides for an objective, nonpartisan, federally funded voter education campaign leading up to the vote.  

  • Establishes a process and timeline for the U.S. Department of Justice to review the voter education materials and plebiscite ballot design.   

  • Authorizes necessary funds to carry out an initial plebiscite and, if necessary, a runoff plebiscite.  

  • Describes the transition to and implementation of each status option in sufficient detail for eligible voters in Puerto Rico to make an informed choice.  

  • Ensures implementation of the option that is chosen by a majority of valid votes cast.

See the fact sheet in English HERE.

See the bill text in English HERE.

See the section-by-section in English HERE.

See the citizenship provisions explained HERE.

See frequently asked questions HERE.

El Estatus Político de Puerto Rico 

La Ley para el Estatus de Puerto Rico 

Puerto Rico ha sido un territorio de los Estados Unidos durante más de un siglo. El estatus territorial limita el pleno desarrollo político, económico y social de la isla. El gobierno federal tiene la responsabilidad de facilitar la selección y la transición de Puerto Rico a un estatus político no territorial.

Durante este Congreso, el Comité de Recursos Naturales de la Cámara de Representantes de los EE. UU. ha considerado dos proyectos de ley con diferentes mecanismos para resolver el estatus político de Puerto Rico: H.R. 1522, Ley para la Admisión de Puerto Rico como Estado, y H.R. 2070, Ley para la Autodeterminación de Puerto Rico. Los autores de ambas propuestas se han unido para combinar elementos de sus respectivos proyectos de ley para llegar a un consenso que sería apoyado por la mayoría de los miembros del Congreso. La Ley para el Estatus de Puerto Rico es el resultado de ese esfuerzo.   

Decidiendo el Futuro Político de Puerto Rico 

El pueblo de Puerto Rico merece la oportunidad de tomar una decisión informada sobre su futuro político. La Ley para el Estatus de Puerto Rico es una propuesta histórica que representa una oferta del Congreso al pueblo de Puerto Rico para decidir su futuro con la confianza de que el Congreso cumplirá con su responsabilidad.  

Puntos clave sobre la Ley para el Estatus de Puerto Rico:  

  • Autoriza un plebiscito patrocinado por el gobierno federal para resolver el estatus político de Puerto Rico.   
  • Precisa y define las opciones de estatus no territorial de Puerto Rico: Estadidad, Independencia y Soberanía en Libre Asociación con los EE. UU.  
  • Proporciona una campaña de educación electoral objetiva, no partidista y financiada por el gobierno federal antes de la votación.  
  • Establece un proceso y fechas límites para que el Departamento de Justicia de los EE. UU. revise los materiales de educación para votantes y el diseño de la papeleta del plebiscito.  
  • Autoriza los fondos necesarios para llevar a cabo un plebiscito inicial y, de ser necesario, un plebiscito de segunda vuelta.  
  • Describe la transición e implementación de cada opción de estatus detalladamente para que los votantes elegibles en Puerto Rico tomen una decisión informada.  
  • Asegura la implementación de la opción seleccionada por la mayoría de los votos válidos emitidos.

See the fact sheet in Spanish HERE.

See the bill text in Spanish HERE.

See the section-by-section in Spanish HERE.

See frequently asked questions in Spanish HERE.

See Citizenship provisions explained in Spanish HERE.


The Committee on Natural Resources has published an unofficial Spanish translation of the Puerto Rico Status Act for the general public’s convenience. If there is any inconsistency between the English and Spanish versions of the discussion draft, the English version shall be the prevailing version.

El Comité de Recursos Naturales ha publicado una traducción no oficial al español de la Ley del Estatus de Puerto Rico para la conveniencia del público en general. De haber alguna inconsistencia entre las versiones en inglés y español del texto, la versión en inglés será la versión prevaleciente.


Letters of Support

“La Alianza pro Libre Asociación Soberana (ALAS), el grupo pionero en defender la Libre Asociación/ELA Soberano, aplaude hoy al Comité de Recursos Naturales de la Cámara de Representantes del Congreso de los EEUU por aprobar el primer proyecto de ley que le ofrece al pueblo de Puerto Rico la posibilidad de seleccionar entre las tres verdaderas opciones para descolonizar al país.” – La Alianza pro Libre Asociación Soberana (ALAS) 

“The Alliance for Sovereign Free Association, the pioneer group in defending Free Association/Sovereign Commonwealth, today applauds the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress for passing the first bill that offers to the people of Puerto Rico the possibility of selecting among the three true options to decolonize the country.” – The Alliance for Free Sovereign Association 

See the full letter here.

“The [Puerto Rico Status Act] is a direct acknowledgement of the fact that the current territory status is fundamentally undemocratic and colonial in nature, that it goes directly against America’s founding principles of government by the consent of the governed, and that Congress needs to correct this historic injustice, which has a detrimental impact upon 3.2 million American citizens living under U.S. sovereignty every day.” – Coalition of pro-Statehood organizations

See the full letter here.

“The leadership of the Democratic Party of Puerto Rico strongly urges you to bring H.R. 8393 to a vote on the Natural Resources Committee and recommend its approval to the House." – Democratic Party of Puerto Rico

See the full letter here.


“H.R. 8393, the Puerto Rico Status Act, is a bipartisan compromise Bill which would finally accomplish what the Republican Party Platform has been supporting for 82 years. The Bill is not the ideal we would have chosen, but it does contain the language of the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act (H.R. 1522) that the Puerto Rico Republican Party previously supported, and overall, it provides for a fair, democratic process supported by Congress to provide a realistic and constitutional solution to Puerto Rico’s democratic status aspirations as supported by the Republican National Committee.” – Republican Party of Puerto Rico

See the full letter here.