Puerto Rico's independence bill goes to a vote in the US House of Representatives on Thursday

WASHINGTON, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Puerto Ricans could move a step closer to a referendum on whether the island should become a U.S. state, an independent country or have another type of government when the House of Representatives votes Thursday on a bill outlining the process.

A House committee approved the Puerto Rico Status Act on Wednesday, paving the way for the full House vote.

The legislation lays out terms of a plebiscite as well as three potential self-governing statuses - independence, full U.S. statehood or sovereignty with free association with the United States. The latter is in place in Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands.