I was told by Migraciones (had to go in person because I couldn't print the form to sign forms -- Peruvian officials had added a letter to my name by mistake) that I should be able to get an appointment at Interpol within 2 weeks. With all fees paid, my name corrected, and permission to sign in hand, I logged on to Interpol, filled in everything, and the pop-up calendar and note informed me that the first available appointment is October 2!!! July 12 to October 2 is what Migraciones had told me as a timeline to receive my Rentista, not to get an Interpol appointment. Even if I had visa days to stay that long, I'd have to get a NEW permission to sign because that form is only valid for 30 days. Now I have to return to the US and stay through a miserable winter because I don't have enough days left on my visa. If Interpol is that backlogged and it takes 6-8 weeks from the Interpol visit to get the final document from Peru's government, people should know that this is a 4-month process.
Retirees and pensioners who receive a state or private pension or other benefits (for example a disability pension) of at least US$ 1000 per month or the equivalent in any other currency can apply for a permanent residency in Peru called Rentista Visa.
For each dependent (such as a spouse) who should be included in the visa, the proof of an additional US$ 500 is required.
Peruvian consulates abroad usually don’t issue retirement visas anymore; it must be applied for in Peru. So, if you are planning to live as a retiree in Peru, you enter the country as a tourist and then change your immigration status – make a so called cambio de calidad migratoria - at the Peruvian immigration office Migraciones.
Please be aware that you are not allowed to work or receive a remuneration for any kind of professional activity in Peru when living in the country on a retirement visa.
Requirements for a Peruvian retirement visa
As soon as you arrived in Peru, you should start with the application process for your retirement visa. Please note that you have to be in the country on a valid visa (for example a tourist visa) when applying for the visa.
Required documents to apply for a retirement visa include, but may not be restricted to:
- Application form F-004 (printed out when making the appointment)
- Receipt from the Banco de la Nacion (code 01814) for paid application fee (S/.117.60 in 2018)
- Passport and copy of the pages with the personal information and entry stamp
- Letter from your pension fund or social security stating that you receive a monthly income of at least US$ 1000 or the equivalent in any other currency. This letter needs an apostille from the respective public institution in the country of origin (or has to be legalized by a Peruvian consulate abroad and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Peru). Once in Peru the document has to be translated into Spanish by an official translator. (*)
- Letter issued by a notary in Peru stating that you wish to apply for a rentista visa, confirming that you can fulfil the requirements and don't intend to work (**)
- Interpol clearance - Ficha de canje internacional (see below)
- Appointment confirmation
(*) Before (!!!) leaving your home country request the letter from your pension fund or social security and get it apostilled if your country signed the Apostille Convention; otherwise it has to be legalized by different authorities in your home country and the Peruvian consulate. The problem with both processes is that the letter needs an official signature to be apostilled or legalized. As most pension statements are generated automatically they are usually not signed. So it might be quite a mission in your home country to get it signed. One of our reader stated in a comment below, that for US citizens with this problem the US Embassy in Lima was very helpful and issued a notarized letter that was accepted by the Peruvian immigration office.
(**) Notaries usually have this form letter on hand. Be aware that before you are able to sign it legally in Peru, you have to apply for a permission to sign contracts (permiso especial para firmar contratos) at Migraciones. Since January 2018 this can be easily done online. Our article "Permit to sign contacts in Peru" explains how it works and what you need.
Applying for a retirement visa in Peru
Applying for a retirement visa is a simple and straightforward process, but might be a little confusing here and there and time-consuming, especially if you are not familiar with Peruvian bureaucracy. Nevertheless, you can do the whole process on your own and don’t need the help of a lawyer or so-called tramitador. In mid-March 2018 the procedure to apply for a visa - correctly to change the immigration status - at Migraciones, for now only in Lima, was simplified and now is strictly personal. The applicant now has to visit Migraciones only 2 times, but in person: the first time to apply and have the biometric data (fingerprints and photo) taken and the second time to pick up the carné, the foreigner ID. So a lawyer or so-called tramitador might only help with the preparation work.
Even though you have to make an appointment on the Migraciones website to apply for your resident visa, be prepared to wait in line for some time when arriving. Seating at least in Lima is available or can surely be arranged. Be aware that according to Peruvian law seniors over the age of 65 have the right to a preferential treatment in Peru. If necessary, ask for it. Please be aware as well that only Spanish is spoken at Migraciones.
To get started with the whole application process, you first have to pay the visa application fee for the Migraciones administrative procedure F-4 Cambio de calidad migratoria under code 01814 at any Banco de la Nacion branch or on pagalo.pe.
You can find detailed explanations about how to pay, what you have to do and be aware of, how to register on the online payment platform and how to find the correct fee you have to pay, in our article "Paying administration charges and processing fees in Peru".
As you are already at it, pay as well the fee for the Interpol clearance. You find the corresponding code 08141 Ficha de Canje Internacional (Interpol) on pagalo.pe under Policia Nacional del Peru.
And finally pay as well for your permission to sign contracts. Then visit a notary to get the letter stating that you wish to apply for a rentista visa, confirming that you can fulfil the requirements and don't intend to work. Notaries in Peru have this form letter on hand.
Make an appointment at Interpol
Once all payments are done and you got your permission to sign contracts, best make first an appointment at Interpol to apply for the so called Ficha de canje internacional.
Since mid-April 2018 this can be done online on the Interpol website. Enter your personal data and information of your payment receipt as required. Check that all your information is correct and there are no spelling mistakes. Best print the filled in form. Choose a time and date. Be aware that all foreigners except Venezuelans are processed at the Interpol office in Surco (Comisaria de Monterrico). Print the confirmation.
Making an appointment to apply for a retirement visa in Peru
Then make an appointment on the website of the Peruvian immigration office Migraciones to apply for a retirement visa (or correctly to change your immigration status from for example tourist to retiree). Please be aware that this only applies to an application in Lima at the moment.
Click under "de calidad migratoria" on "residente" and choose on the left menu under "independientes" the point "rentista". You now get a list with documents you need for your application. By clicking on the little squares confirm that you have the necessary documents you have to bring with you to the appointment. Confirm as well the form F-004; on the next page you will have to fill it out and print it. Check as well the clearance from Interpol (ficha de canje internacional-Interpol); when confirming your actual appointment later you have to coordinate your Interpol and Migraciones appointments, so that you have the ficha in hand at the day of your appointment for your visa application at Migraciones. For years it was common practice that rentistas didn't need an Interpol clearance, but just a sworn statement (declaracion jurada) issued by a notary in Peru stating that they don’t have a criminal record in Peru or any other country; but this changed with the new immigration law and Migraciones asks for the Interpol clearance instead of the sworn statement. Be aware that as rentista you don’t have to pay the fee of US$ 200 for the change of your immigration status; so just leave the square in front of these points blank.
Click on "siguiente".
On the next page fill in the form. Make sure to enter your personal data exactly as in your passport. Be prepared that this might cause some inconsistencies, especially for married women that choose to take her husband's surname.
While in North America or Europe you have your father's or mother’s surname or both or even your husband's / wife's surname, in Peru the surname of a person is composed of the apellido paterno (surname of the father) and the apellido materno (surname of the mother); married women in Peru only add a "de and husband’s surname" to their double surname.
Even though not really correct, don’t enter your father’s and mother’s surname in the spaces on the form for the apellido paterno and apellido materno, but your surname(s) as in your passport! If you have one surname write it in the apellido paterno space, if you have two surnames, write the first one under apellido paterno and the second under apellido materno, even though these are not your father’s and mother’s names.
Before you, already numerous people (me included) argued with the Peruvian immigration authority about these discrepancies without success. If the name(s) on the form don’t match the name(s) in your passport the only result is either a rejection of your visa application or the recommendation to change the surname in your passport to meet the Peruvian naming regulations. You don’t want to go there.
After having filled in the online form, click on the point 2. Here you can enter a legal representative, such as a lawyer or a so-called tramitador. As since mid-March 2018 you have to apply in person (see below), there is actually no need for it anymore and you can leave the spaces empty. Then click on "siguiente".
You now see the form F-004 filled in with your personal data. Check if your information is correct, names as in your passport and no spelling mistakes. If so, print the form and keep it safe. Only then click on "siguiente".
On the next page you have to enter the information of the Banco de la Nacion payment receipt as indicated.
Then choose a date for your appointment on the next page. Best choose a date that is at least 10 days after your Interpol appointment, so you can be sure to have the Interpol ficha in hand at the day of your appointment for your visa application. Print the confirmation of the appointment. Usually you can get an appointment within 2 or 3 weeks, but waiting times may vary depending on the current workload.
The Interpol office in Surco is located on Av. Manuel Olguin block 6 (Comisaria de Monterrico).
On the day of your Interpol appointment arrive at the office 15 to 30 minutes early with all required documents.
The requirements include:
- Application form (the one you printed when making the Interpol appointment)
- Appointment confirmation
- Copy of the passport page with the personal information and photo
- Copy of the passport page with the Peruvian entry stamp
- Passport photos (taken in the office)
- Receipt for the Interpol clearance (code 08141; fee S/ 80.50)
- Envelope, office size
- If you are married to a Peruvian: a recent copy of your marriage certificate and copy of the spouse’s DNI
- If you are a US American national: an international money order, a so called “Giro sobre el exterior” for the amount of US$ 18.00, made out to "The Treasury of the USA" (you get it at Scotiabank or BCP)
- If you are a Canadian national: an international money order, a so called "Giro sobre el exterior" for the amount of CAD$ 26,75, made out to "The Receiver General for Canada"
- If you are an Australian national: an international money order, a so called "Giro sobre el exterior" for the amount of AU$ 103.00, made out to "The Australian Federal Police"
Interpol asks to please arrange the documents in this order (but this order changes frequently).
A visit to Interpol in Lima to get the "Ficha de Canje Internacional" is contrary to popular opinion easy though time-consuming, but with the introduction of appointments in mid-April 2018 not so bad anymore. Once there, just wait your turn and then hand in your documents. Additionally passport photos are taken (additional fee of about S/. 10), you are fingerprinted, and your teeth are examined.
The Interpol check usually takes about 5 to 7 working days; if you traveled to Lima from the provinces just for the "ficha", tell them (some sort of proof for example bus or flight ticket is necessary) and they usually have the results ready the next one or two days. Be aware that the clearance has to be picked up. Keep it safe and make a copy of it for yourself.
Depending on your nationality an additional check from the federal police body of your home country (for example the FBI) is required. For this above mentioned international money order is needed. According to the Interpol office in Lima this check has nothing to do with the letter Interpol issues and the approval of your visa; if something serious comes up, your record is tagged and you might be detained as soon as you leave the country.
Applying for your retirement visa at the Peruvian immigration authority Migraciones
In mid-March 2018 the procedure to apply for a visa - correctly to change the immigration status - at Migraciones, for now only in Lima, was simplified and now is strictly personal (no need for lawyers or tramitadores). The applicant now has to visit Migraciones only 2 times, but in person: the first time to apply and have the biometric data (fingerprints and photo) taken and the second time to pick up the carné, the foreigner ID.
On the day of your appointment arrive at Migraciones 30 minutes early with all required documents (make copies of everything for yourself). As the procedures differ from immigration office to immigration office here just a general explanation for Lima. If at one point you don’t know where to go ask the security personnel at the entrance where you usually have to show your passport and your confirmation of the appointment, or inside the building. In general they are friendly and helpful. Expect to be seated somewhere and to have to wait until you are allowed to proceed to the counters.
Once there present all required documents. If everything is in order, your application is accepted. You are asked to proceed to the counter where your biometric data (fingerprints and photo) is taken.
When you are finished you are given access to an email box and handed a piece of paper with your case number (expediente no.). Please read the instructions and fine print on the Migraciones paper carefully and keep it safe! Be aware that if you need to travel outside the country while your visa application is still in process, you have to apply for a special travel permit before you leave the country, otherwise your application is null and void.
What are the next steps to receive my retirement visa?
Usually the processing time is around 3 to 4 weeks, but the process can take as well up to 60 days depending on the workload. As soon as your retirement visa is approved, you are notified via email.
Once you received the e-mail that your retirement visa was approved, pay at any Banco de la Nacion branch or on pagalo.pe for the Migraciones administrative procedure F-7a "Carnet extranjeria" under code 01873 "inscripcion en el registro central de extranjería y emision del carné de extranjería" (registration in the foreign database and issuing of the foreigner ID) S/ 49.90.
Then visit the Migraciones website to do the Online Registration. Click on “Generar Inscripción en Linea” and fill in the form as indicated. Check that all information is correct. On the next page enter the data from your payment receipt. At the end the system should allow you to make an appointment to pick up your carné.
As the procedure was only introduced a few weeks ago, you might get a link to make an appointment in your e-mail notification or you even might be able to pick your carné up without an appointment.
Print the confirmation of your registration!
Then visit Migraciones on the day of your appointment and take all the paperwork, receipts, your passport etc. with you. After checking all your personal data and documents once again, you are handed your Carné.
Congratulations! You made it!
As long as you are in Peru for at least 183 days per year, you have an indefinite residence permit. You are exonerated from extending your visa every year.
Please note: already in September 2015 a new regulation was published in Peru's official newspaper "El Peruano" stating that Rentistas are allowed to spend 365 consecutive days outside Peru without losing their residency. It's not clear if this regulation is already executed. As the immigration website still states 183 days, we highly recommend to confirm current practice with Migraciones before leaving the country.
Peruvian Retirement Visa - Important Inof / Disclaimer