When planning a trip to Peru sooner or later bureaucratic and visa related matters come to mind. As finding detailed and up to date information on this topic can be challenging, we put together comprehensive infos and advice on all Peruvian tourist visa issues that might pop up.
All you need to know when travelling to Peru:
- Peruvian tourist visa in a nutshell
- Do I need a visa to enter Peru as a tourist?
- How and where to apply for a Peruvian tourist visa
- What to do when arriving in Peru - the Andean Migration Card (TAM) and the customs declaration form
- Extension of Peruvian tourist visa
- Expired Peruvian tourist visa
- Border-hopping Peru
- Do I need a return ticket when travelling to Peru?
- Can I work in Peru when on a tourist visa?
- Can I study or do an internship in Peru on a tourist visa?
- Can I sign legally binding contracts in Peru when on a tourist visa?
Important Info: On January 7th, 2017 a new Peruvian Immigration Law (Decreto Legislativo de Migraciones 1350) was officially published that went into effect on the 1st of March 2017. This new law includes quite a few smaller and a handful bigger changes, such as stricter rules for foreigners living on a tourist visa in Peru, easier visa applications for family of Peruvians and highly qualified foreigners that wish to work in Peru. The problem right now is that until today the Peruvian Ministry of Interior hasn’t issued the necessary implementary regulations and procedures for the new immigration law. So, while officially the law is in effect, still nobody knows the exact details and how the changes the new law brings with it will be implemented. As soon we have more details and are sure that the new immigration law will be executed, we will of course update all visa information. For now the info on this page remains accurate.
- The nationals of some countries need a tourist visa and have to apply for it at a Peruvian embassy / consulate before coming to Peru; nationals of other countries receive a temporary authorization to enter as a tourist at the Peruvian border or airport of entry.
- Travelers are allowed to stay in Peru for a maximum of 183 days per year for touristic, recreational or health purposes
- Once inside Peru a tourist visa and a temporary authorization to enter as a tourist cannot be extended.
- Peruvian tourist visas are single entry visas.
- All visitors coming to Peru need a passport with at least 2 free pages in the visa section that is valid for at least another 6 months upon arrival.
- As in nearly all countries around the globe, it is prohibited to work or receive a remuneration for any kind of professional activity while being in Peru on a tourist visa / temporary authorization for tourists.
- Tourists can only sign a legally binding contract (work contract, car or apartment purchase, marriage license, ...) with a so called "Permiso para firmar contratos". This special authorization that allows tourists to sign contracts usually can be obtained easily and quickly at any immigration office in Peru.
Peru is a very welcoming country that signed agreements with numerous countries allowing the citizens to travel visa free to Peru. Citizens of below mentioned countries do not have to apply for a tourist visa at a Peruvian embassy or consulate before coming to the county. They only need a passport with at least 2 free pages in the visa section that is valid for at least another 6 months upon arrival to get a “temporary authorization to enter as a tourist” (sounds great, but actually it’s just an entry stamp) directly at the immigration control at the airport or border. For a more detailed listing, please have a look at our PDF "Who needs a tourist visa for Peru" for clarification.
Following nationals do not need a tourist visa for Peru
- South America: Citizens of all South American countries
- Central America: Citizens of most Central American countries (exception Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic)
- North America: Citizens of the United States, Canada and Mexico
- Europe: Citizens of all countries within the European Union and Switzerland
- Africa: Citizens of South Africa
- Asia: Citizens of Brunei, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand; partly citizens of China and India: according to a supreme decree from September 2016 Chinese citizens and according to a supreme decree from March 2017 Indian citizens with a permanent residency or a visa with a validity of at least 6 months for the USA, Canada, any country belonging to the Schengen area, UK or Australia can travel to Peru visa free; other Chinese and Indian nationals still have to apply for a tourist visa at a Peruvian embassy or consulate!
- Oceania: Citizens of Australia and New Zealand
As already mentioned above citizens of some countries need a visa even for touristic and recreational purposes (please have a look at our PDF "Who needs a tourist visa for Peru" for clarification). As of until now Peru doesn’t offer online visa applications, these nationals have to apply for a tourist visa at a Peruvian diplomatic mission that has jurisdiction over their domicile or country of residence.
Requirements for the tourist visa application at a Peruvian Consulate
Required documents to apply for a tourist visa include, but may not be restricted to:
- Application form
- Valid passport
- Round trip ticket
- Hotel reservation, tourist package reservation or invitation letter
- Proof of sufficient funds
- Passport photos
- Proof of legal residency in the area or country under the consulates jurisdiction
- Receipt for paid application fee
Please be aware that the embassy or consulate, where you apply, may invite you to a personal interview.
A listing off all Peruvian embassies and all Peruvian consulates abroad sorted by continents can be found on the website of the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (don’t miss the little arrows under each section to see more results).
Especially in Africa and Asia, where the residents of most countries still have to apply for a tourist visa, Peruvian embassies and consulates are scarce, website aren’t up-to-date and e-mails not answered. So, finding the appropriate consulate, getting information and applying for the visa can be quite a challenge. The Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs unfortunately doesn't consistently publish which consulates have jurisdiction over which regions / countries. Therefore, if there is no Peruvian embassy or consulate in your country of residence, the only way to find out where and how to apply for a visa is by getting in contact with the nearest Peruvian diplomatic mission (which sometimes isn’t near at all) and ask if they are in charge.
No matter if you have a tourist visa or any other temporary visa in your passport or get the "temporary authorization to enter as a tourist" at the immigration control, until recently all visitors to Peru had to fill in two forms: the Andean Migration Card (TAM) and the customs declaration form which are available in Spanish and English. Both forms were handed out during your flight giving you enough time to complete or were provided at the border.
This procedure seems to have changed. According to recent announcements from immigration and customs officials which were also confirmed by travelers, you are no longer required to fill in the TAM form. You will still be handed the customs declaration form, but only travelers who have something to declare are required to fill it out. Nevertheles customs urges travelers to carefully read the regulations on the back to know and comply with Peruvian laws.
After disembarking at the airport or arriving at the border you automatically end up at the immigration control where you present your passport and, if you are still provided with one, the filled out TAM; if you haven't received the TAM form, the immigration officer will generate a virtual TAM automatically. Your information can be checked and a copy printed under this link. The immigration officer then stamps your passport and writes a number next to the entry stamp or sometimes barely legible on it indicating the number of days you are allowed to stay in Peru.
According to Peruvian law tourists can be granted a maximum of 183 days, meaning the immigration officer has the right to give you any number of days he or she thinks appropriate up to 183 days. So, visitors are not entitled to the full half year and don’t get it automatically. As you can’t extent your tourist visa once you entered Peru, make sure you get the number of days, you intent to stay in Peru.
For those visitors, who don’t have a tourist visa from a Peruvian embassy or consulate, above mentioned entry stamp represent the "temporary authorization to enter as a tourist".
Once finished with all the red tape, the immigration officer hands back your passport and, if you still had to fill in the actual form, the bottom part of the TAM. Before you leave towards the baggage claim, check that your passport is stamped.
If you were still given the TAM, keep it safe during your entire stay in Peru! At hotels for example, tourists are exempted from paying the Peruvian VAT, so you have to present it when checking in. And upon departure you have to hand back the TAM to immigration. If you haven't received the actual TAM form anymore and you are asked for it, for example at your hotel, inform them that you only have the new digital TAM and the information can be checked or printed under this special link.
After claiming your baggage, you progress to customs. Here you only have to present the filled in customs declaration form when you have something to declare. We highly recommend to be honest. Before you can leave the airport you have to press a button, if you get a green light, you are free to go; but the red light will send to straight to a thourough check of your luggage. Please be aware that amounts of more than US$ 10,000 or the equivalent in any other currency have to be declared when entering or leaving Peru. Entering or leaving the country with amounts over US$ 30,000 or the equivalent in any other currency is forbidden. A list of items you can temporarily bring into the country with you duty free can be found on the website of Peruvian customs.
Already since 2008 it’s not possible to extent your tourist visa once you entered Peru. Therefore make sure that the immigration officer at the airport or border grants you the amount of days you intent to stay in the country. Don’t forget: the maximum are 183 days.
In January 2017 a new Immigrations Law was officially published that went into effect on the 1st of March 2017 further tightening the regulations for tourists, especially those staying for very long times in Peru or overstaying their welcome. The problem right now is that until today the Peruvian Ministry of Interior hasn’t issued the necessary implementary regulations and procedures for the new immigration law. So, while officially the law is in effect, still nobody knows the exact details and how the changes the new law brings with it will be implemented.
So, for now tourists overstaying their visa usually don’t have to fear extreme consequences. Nevertheless, there is always the possibility that for whatever reason (accident, being at the wrong place at the wrong time, ....) your immigration status might be checked. If you can’t show a valid visa, Peruvian law allows for your arrest and deportation. Therefore, we highly recommend to have a valid visa or temporary authorization to enter as a tourist at all times.
As the situation with the new immigration law is quite confusing not only for foreigners but also for immigration officers, they can ask foreigners having overstayed their visa to pay the old fine of US$ 1 per day since the expiration of your visa or more. Already in the last few months we received reports from people that were asked to pay between US$ 2 and US$ 5 upon leaving. The fee has to be paid at a branch of the "Banco de la Nacion", as well the one inside the airport. You then can usually leave Peru without any reprisals, at least for now.
The Peruvian foreigner law executed since 2008 states that visitors can enter Peru for touristic, recreational or health purposes for 183 days. It doesn’t state however, if tourists can stay 183 days per year or per visit – this is rectified in the new immigration law that is in effect, but without implementary regulations and procedures sind March 1st, 2017.
Anyway, numerous foreigners used and still use this little gap in the old Peruvian immigration law to live on a tourist visa in the country. As soon as their visa is about to expire, they just cross the border, stay 5 minutes, a day or two in one of Peru’s neighboring countries and return asking immigration's for another 183 days. For years this worked absolutely fine. Then immigration officers at the border started to give people, that already stayed in Peru 183 days and now wanted to return again, a hard time. After some soft-soaping and paying a bribe a new entry stamp was in the passport. No problem.
But border-hopping isn’t as easy as it used to be. With the new law around the corner or already in effect and lots of confusion if it’s already executed or not, Peruvian immigration officials got stricter. Sometimes it’s still possible just to leave Peru, return and get a new stamp for another 183 days. But over the last months reports increased of people having been given only an entry stamp with just a few days or having been denied entry completely (in rare cases even with a note that they can’t enter Peru for a certain time) as they already stayed for an extended period of time in the country.
So, it can be assumed that sooner or later, at the latest with the implementation of the new foreigner law the option for border-hopping ceases.
Peruvian law requires that foreign visitors need a return or onward passage out of the country if they aren't residents proving that the visitor leaves the country at the latest when the visa or temporary authorization to enter the country expires. But this return or onward passage doesn’t have to be an airline ticket; it could also be for example a bus ticket that can be bought online for a few bugs.
When entering the country Peruvian immigration's hardly ever ask to see proof that the visitor leaves the country. The once executing above mentioned regulations are usually the airlines. As they could be held responsible and have to fly you back, if denied entry to Peru, most airlines require a return or onward ticket to even let you check-in for your flight to Peru.
So, if you plan to come to Peru on a one-way ticket, it’s best to check the requirements of your carrier. Some insist on an airline ticket showing that you leave the country, others accept a reservation for a return flight, a few are happy with a bus ticket and there are as well airlines that let you fly with just a one-way ticket.
No! A Peruvian tourist visa / temporary authorization for tourists allows entry for touristic, recreational or health purposes only. Even though there are quite a few foreigners working on a tourist visa in Peru, Peruvian law explicitly prohibits to work or to receive a remuneration for any kind of professional activity while visiting Peru as a tourist.
Generally no, in some cases yes. Foreign students studying at a Peruvian educational institution, undergoing training or learning Spanish need a student visa. A student visa is also issued to interns that do an internship without payment as part of their university studies.
However, students studying in Peru short-term or participants of international exchange programs are usually exempted from this visa obligation. So, please get in contact with your Peruvian university or exchange program to clarify the situation.
For more information, please have a look at our detailed article on student visas in Peru.
No! Before signing a legally binding contract (work contract, car or apartment purchase, marriage license, ...) tourists have to apply for a so called "Permiso para firmar contratos". This special authorization that allows tourists to sign contracts usually can be obtained easily and quickly at any immigration office in Peru and ensures that the contract you sign is valid.
!!! As visa and entry regulations can change quickly without prior notice, we highly recommend to confirm current visa requirements with the nearest Peruvian embassy or consulate !!!