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
- Entering Peru - visa regulations, Andean Migration Card (TAM) and 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 documents in Peru when on a tourist visa?
- 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 within a 365 days period for touristic, recreational or health purposes
- 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 legally binding documents (work contract, sworn statement needed for example for changing your immigration status, car or apartment purchase, marriage license, ...) with a so called "Permiso para firmar contratos". This special authorization that allows tourists to sign contracts and other documents can be obtained online since Janaury 2018. Our article "Permit to sign contracts" explains how to apply in detail.
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" in the attachment section at the end of the article 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" in the attachment section at the end of the article 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 had a tourist visa or any other temporary visa in your passport or got the "temporary authorization to enter as a tourist" at the immigration control, until March 2017 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.
This procedure has changed with the introduction of the immigration law and with simplifying administrative procedures in Peru. So, since March 2017 travelers 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 now just present your passport. Instead of signing the before physical TAM, the immigration officer now generates a virtual TAM automatically. This way the status and validity of your tourist visa / "temporary authorization to enter as a tourist" can be checked online anytime and, if necessary, 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 within a 365 days period - not per calendar year from January to December, but calculated from your first entry; so if you entered Peru on June 10, 2017, you can stay up to December 10, 2017, but can't re-enter in January 2018 just because it's a new year; you have to be outside the country for half a year and only can re-enter June 10, 2018. Nevertheless, 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.
Schengen States nationals should be also aware that the Peruvian immigration law actually contradicts with an announcement of the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There you find that passport holders from Schengen States are only allowed to be given 90 days per 183 days, while immigration law stipulates 183 days per 365 days for all nationals that don't have to apply for a visa before coming to Peru. Nevertheless there are countless reports that Schengen nationals could still get the full 183 days when entering.
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. Before leaving towards the baggage claim, check that your passport is stamped.
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.
For years it wasn’t possible to extent your tourist visa / "temporary authorization to enter as a tourist" once you entered Peru. This changed in May 2018.
Since May 15, 2018 tourists who got less than the maximum allowed 183 days in a 365 days period when entering Peru now can extent their tourist visa - correctly their "temporary authorization to enter as a tourist" - in Peru quick and easy online.
See the requirements and how it's done in our article "Tourist Visa extension in Peru".
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. When leaving Peru on an expired tourist visa / "temporary authorization to enter as a tourist" you only have to pay a fine of S/ 4.15 (2018) per day you overstayed. 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.
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.
The Peruvian foreigner law executed from 2008 to the beginning of 2017 stated that visitors can enter Peru for touristic, recreational or health purposes for 183 days. It however didin't mention if the 183 days are per year or per visit – this is now rectified in the new immigration law that is in effect, but without implementary regulations and procedures since March 1st, 2017.
Anyway, numerous foreigners used and still use, try to 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 now it seems Peruvian border official are stricter making border-hopping difficult and in the near future probably even impossible, when you already stayed your 183 days in the country. While a few people confirmed they just did a border-hop and received a new stamp for another 183 days, 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, if you are planning to stay longer than the 183 allowed days, best put emphasis on getting a resident visa.
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 ones 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.
If you airline requests a return or onward ticket, you could always make a reservation for one, print the confirmation, and then depending on the agency you either don't pay it and let it expire or cancel it within a certain time. Other options include buying a fully refundable ticket or more affordable renting a 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 document (work contract, sworn statements for example to apply for a resident visa, car or apartment purchase, marriage license, ...) tourists have to apply for a so called "Permiso para firmar contratos". Since Janaury 2018 this special authorization that allows tourists to sign contracts and other documents can be obtained easily and quickly online. Our article "Permit to sign contracts" explains in detail how it works and what you have to do.