- This commment is unpublished.· 25/12/2022@Mary johnsin Hello Mary,
I hope you get to see my answer as you unfortunately used an invalid e-mail address and won’t get our notification. Anyway, I’m sorry that your boyfriend and you have to go through this. But honestly, something isn’t adding up here.Overstaying in Peru is not a civil nor criminal offense and for just staying a short time longer than you are allowed as a tourist, you are not arrested and don’t face 3 years in prison.According to the Foreigner Law, immigration officers must (!) use the mildest measure to punish foreigners breaking Peruvian laws and regulations. In case of short overstays, that's having to pay the fine of S/ 4.60 per day or in rare cases a re-entry ban. If your boyfriend already had his flight ticket out of the country for the next day, no-one would even bother to start any legal actions against him. And how did anyone find out that he overstayed? Why was he checked, what happend?
Anyway, there is either more to your boyfriend’s story that even you don’t know about or don’t want to share publicly, he was at the wrong time at the wrong place with the wrong people, he knowingly or unknowingly broke some law (be aware that parts of Peru are in a state of emergency) or he is the victim of a corrupt police officer.
Not knowing the complete story, I unfortunately can only recommend finding out what the charges are, getting in contact with the embassy or consulate of his home country immediately and finding a lawyer.
All the best.
Tourists who stayed longer than the number of days they were given when they entered Peru must pay a fine when leaving the country. While this usually is a simple and straightforward process - at least if you know how it’s done - in some cases there might be the one or other hurdle to overcome.
- How long can I stay in Peru as a tourist
- How many days did I get
- Consequences of overstaying your allowed time as a tourist
- How much is the overstay fine
- How and where to pay the overstay fine
- If you can’t pay the overstay fine
- When can I return to Peru after having overstayed
In general, according to the Peruvian Foreigner Law, tourists can stay in Peru a maximum of 183 days in a 365-day period; so, half a year within a year counted from the first entry. However, this doesn’t mean you get the full 183 days when you enter the country!
Based on a publication issued by the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (RREE) in 2019, most foreign nationals are only allowed to stay in Peru as a tourist for up to 90 days in a 180-day period for touristic, recreational or health purposes (no contradiction with the foreigner law as two times 90 days in two consecutive 180-day periods correspond to the half year in a year allowed by the foreigner law); a few can stay up to 90 days in a 365-day period and a handful up to 180 days in a 365-day period.
And as it turned out over the past year, Peruvian immigration officers at the international airports and borders follow the RREE rule strictly. Since August 2021, foreign tourists are only given up to (!) 90 days in a 180-day period when they enter; even those few nationalities who, according to RREE, are allowed to stay longer or who have a “real” tourist visa issued by a Peruvian consulate allowing them the full 183 days only get a max of 90 days.
So, when you enter, in most cases, you get 90 days. But be aware that it’s always at the discretion of the immigration officer how many days he/she is willing to give you. For no obvious reason, you might only get 30 or 60 days; or if you overstayed before or if you stayed in Peru before and try to re-enter the country before your first 180-day period is over, you might as well only get anything between 3 and 30 days or are lucky and get the full 90 days.
After not stamping passports during peak Corona times, since May 2022, tourists entering the country finally get an entry stamp again, making it easy to check how long you can stay in Peru. Just flick through the pages of your passport and find the entry stamp.
In the middle of it, you see the date you entered Peru, above the number of days you are allowed to stay and below the immigration control post where you entered. So, by adding the number of days written there to your entry date, you know exactly by which date you have to leave Peru or, if you stay longer than that, from which day on you have to pay the overstay fine.
In case the stamp is, for example, smeared or you just can’t decipher the number of days, check out our article “How many days did I get when entering Peru?” which not only explains in detail the legal backgrounds but also gives you other options to check how many days you were given.
Even though overstaying your allowed time as a tourist isn’t criminalized, overstayers aren’t actively pursued and under normal circumstances you don’t have to fear any severe consequences, we highly recommend respecting the rules and regulations in Peru, including the time you can stay as a tourist in the country.
You should be aware that from the day your tourist visa or, if you can travel visa-free to Peru, your authorization to enter and stay as a tourist for a certain time expires you are “illegally” in the country (the Peruvian Foreigner Law says, you are in the country on an “irregular immigration status”). While this seemingly won’t affect you much, there are consequences for overstaying, depending on your circumstances, anything from just inconvenient to not worth worrying about to becoming a problem to serious.
According to the Peruvian Foreigner Law, Migraciones has four sanction levels in place for tourists overstaying their time: an overstay fine, re-entry ban, obligatory departure, and deportation. In nearly all cases, only the first two apply, while the latter are reserved for severe cases of overstaying, most often combined with other infractions.
The most known and strictly enforced sanction if you have overstayed in Peru is the overstay fine. So, if you stay longer than the time you were given when you entered the country, you must pay a fine for each day you overstayed before being allowed to leave.
If you only overstayed a few days or weeks, in most cases, paying the fine shouldn’t be a big deal. However, if you have overstayed months or even a year or more, the daily fine is adding up and being able to pay it might become a problem.
Anyway, if you only overstayed a few days, weeks, or even months, once the fine is paid, you can usually leave Peru with no further punishment.
Those having overstayed not for the first time or excessively (we are talking about many months or even years), can additionally be sanctioned with a re-entry ban for a certain time (usually a year or two). If you are forbidden to re-enter Peru for a certain time or not is completely at the discretion of the immigration officer and in a few cases is even put in place for shorter time overstayer. As said, you are at the mercy of the immigration officer.
Obligatory departure and deportation
While Peru isn’t actively pursuing overstayers and you usually can even get through a random police check without anyone bothering to check your immigration status, it is always possible that you are at the wrong time in the wrong place with the wrong people. Being additionally in the country on an expired tourist visa / authorization isn’t ideal. Even though depending on the circumstances and extremely rarely enforced if you just overstayed, the Peruvian Foreigner Law allows in such cases that the foreign tourist can get a “salida obligatoria” (obligatory departure) notice; so, you must leave the country either immediately or within a certain time frame. If you don’t leave, you face deportation.
Even though the salido obligatoria and the deportation are extremely rare to nearly never enforced with “normal” overstayers, a corrupt officer might use these options to threaten you, intimidate you or even bring you to the police station, just to then offer helping you out of this unpleasant situation for a certain financial contribution.
Most common other inconveniences and consequences
Next to these official sanctions, there are a few other inconveniences or consequences that come with overstaying your time in Peru.
Your overstaying is registered in the Peruvian immigration database and when you want to return to Peru later, you might be questioned more intensively than usual or / and you might not get the full number of days tourists usually can stay in the country.
You can’t apply for a resident visa (make a so-called cambio de calidad migratoria from tourist to, for example, family, work, student, etc.) in Peru when you are in the country on an expired tourist visa / authorization. The only exception is when you regularize your immigration status by applying for a CPP (carné de permiso temporal de permanencia).
Officially, most national airlines won’t allow foreigners on an expired tourist visa / authorization to fly with them. But as during check-in usually only the passport page with your personal data is checked and as there is no immigration control, how would they know if your tourist visa / authorization is still valid? But you never know. You are at an airport and for whatever reason, you might be picked out of the crowd. It’s a bit of a gamble that many, many others in the same situation won; nevertheless, you could lose.
The same applies to long-distance busses. But here checks are even less likely and less thorough that you shouldn’t have a problem getting around by bus if you are overstaying.
No matter for what reason you overstayed your allowed time in Peru, be it by mistake, due to unforeseen circumstances or intentionally, before being allowed to leave the country, you must pay a fine of 0.1% of an UIT for each day you overstayed.
In 2023, one UIT equals S/ 4,950; so, the overstay fine is S/ 4.95 per overstayed day. Meaning that each day you overstayed in 2023, you pay S/ 4.95 per day. In 2022, one UIT was S/ 4,600, so, for each overstayed day in 2022 S/ 4.60 are due.
The Peruvian Foreigner Law states that everyone who overstayed their welcome must pay the overstay fine before being allowed to leave the country. You can pay the fine either at the airport before departing or at the border before leaving the country. You as well can pay the fine up to a few days before you are leaving at any branch of the Banco de la Nacion or online on pagalo.pe, the latter even allowing payments many weeks in advance.
However, be aware that by paying the overstay fine in advance, you do not extend your tourist visa. The S/ 4.95 per day fine is a penalty fee or fine for staying longer than the number of days you were given when you entered, not a fee for extending your stay as a tourist. And tourist visa extensions aren't possible anymore.
And no matter where you pay, keep the payment receipt safe, as this is the proof that you already paid your overstay fine. You will have to present it to the immigration officer when leaving Peru.
Before the introduction of the online payment platform pagalo.pe (see below) it was common practice to pay the overstay fine shortly before leaving the country either at the airport or border. If you are flying out of Peru from the Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, you can still pay directly at the airport. After checking in and clearing the security check, proceed to the immigration control counters like everyone else. There, the immigration officer will calculate the number of days you overstayed and then sends you to a payment counter which is located just opposite. The counter is open as long as international flights depart from the airport.
While for years only cash payments in Soles or US$ (the exchange rate is miserable, so best have enough Soles on hand) were accepted, one of our readers informed us that at least since August 2022 additionally credit card payments are possible as well. With the receipt, return to the immigration counter. If you know the number of days you overstayed, you as well can first pay at the counter and then proceed to immigrations with the payment receipt. Usually, that’s it and you are free to leave.
In case you overstayed excessively, meaning many, many months or even a year or more, it might be possible that the immigration officer additionally punishes you with a re-entry ban for a certain time (usually a year or two).
At larger border crossings, the procedure to pay the overstay fine is similar to the one at the airport. There you usually can pay onsite. Just proceed to immigrations and either you can pay directly there or you will be directed to the payment counter, get a receipt and return to the immigration officer. Usually, you are then free to leave the country.
However, if you are crossing at a smaller land border post, there might not be the option to pay onsite. So, you are then asked to pay the fine at the nearest local Banco de la Nacion branch, which might not be that near, surely is only open during usual business hours or even shorter, and often has long or even longer lines. So, it might be wise to pay your overstay fine a day or two before crossing the border either at any Banco de la Nacion branch or on pagalo.pe.
If you want to have paid the fine before going to the airport or the border or even well in advance, you can use the Peruvian online payment system pagalo.pe. To use pagalo.pe you first have to create an account. Our article “Paying administration charges and processing fees in Peru” explains in detail how it’s done and how the online payment system works. I recommend reading the article first as among other useful info you find a step-by-step guide for creating an account and one for paying fees and fines including pictures for better understanding below explanation.
Anyway, to pay the overstaying fine, first log into your account, then click on Migraciones in the search field and select 00675 - Multa Extranjeros - Exceso Permanencia (Por Dia).
On the next page under Concepto, choose the year for which you want to pay the overstay fine. After you selected the year, choose the document with which you entered Peru (in most cases passport), then enter your passport number and under Cantidad the number of days you overstayed.
After clicking on Agregar al Carrito you end up on a new page where you see your “shopping cart”.
Now, just accept the Terms & conditions and click on Pagar where you can choose your payment method (any Visa, Master or American Express debit or credit card or the Billetera Movil). Follow the instructions. Once the payment is cleared, a receipt is sent to your e-mail address. Or by clicking on the red Banco de la Nacion icon, you can choose to pay in cash at any branch or some ATMs of the Banco de la Nacion with the voucher send to you.
After checking in and clearing the security check, proceed to the payment counter (located just opposite the immigration counters) to have the pagalo.pe receipt verified. You just have to show the person there your payment receipt and you will get another payment slip. Then proceed to immigrations, present your passport and the slip.
Depending on the branch of the Banco de la Nacion, some request that you first create the voucher for paying the overstay fine on pagalo.pe, while others are fine with you just walking in and once it’s your turn giving the teller your details.
In both cases, you will need your passport (and best a copy of the page with your personal details and the entry stamp) as the payment must be registered under your name and passport number. Additionally, if you haven’t created the voucher on pagalo.pe you have to give the teller the authority (for paying the overstay fine it’s Migraciones), the code of the administrative procedure (for paying the overstay fine it’s 00675) and of course the number of days you overstayed.
Before leaving the counter, check the receipt thoroughly. If there is only the slightest inconsistency or a little spelling mistake, the payment might not be accepted by immigrations when you are leaving the country.
If you overstayed the allowed time as a tourist, you must (!) pay the overstay fine before leaving the country; in most cases, there is no way around it. In case you don’t have sufficient funds to do so, you might be in serious trouble.
According to Peruvian regulations, if you don’t want to pay the fine or can’t, because you simply don’t have enough money, you can be held in custody until someone pays the fine for you or you can come to another agreement with the authorities. While imprisonment for not paying the overstay fine is rare, it can happen.
As you surely don’t want to end up in a holding cell at the airport or in a Peruvian prison, it is highly recommended to somehow sort out your financial difficulties before leaving the country. So, best ask friends or family if they can help, so you can pay the fine and leave. Or if there isn’t anyone around willing to lend you the money, you seriously overstayed and have to pay thousands of Soles getting in contact with Migraciones explaining your situation might lead to a solution. Migraciones might offer a payment plan or a reduction or could as well allow you to leave without paying the fine put punishing you with a re-entry ban for anything between 1 and 10 years. Another option could be trying yo leave Peru using a small border crossing by hopefully being able to bargain down your fine.
All in all, while overstaying in Peru isn't a criminal offense and in most cases - at least at the moment - nothing to deeply worry about, we highly recommend respecting Peruvian laws including the number of days you are allowed to stay in the country as a tourist and if you overstay have the financial means to pay the fine.
Unfortunately, Migraciones hasn’t made public for how long foreigners, who overstayed their time as a tourist in Peru, must be out of the country before they can come back. So, the following is only partly based on official Peruvian regulations.
The official rules for being in Peru as a tourist are quite clear. As explained in detail above under point “How long can I stay in Peru as a tourist” most nationalities can stay in Peru as a tourist for up to 90 days in a 180-day period (so, up to 3 months in Peru and at least 3 months out of Peru) and a combined 183 days in a 365-day period (so, adding the number of days from all your stays as a tourist within one year can’t exceed half a year).
However, you should be aware that it’s always at the discretion of the immigration officer you have to face when entering Peru if he/she lets you enter and how many days you are given. You have no right to get a certain number of days, no matter what any law says and no matter if you overstayed before or not. And you are not entitled to being allowed to (re-) enter Peru, no matter if you overstayed before or not. On the other hand, immigrations officers, of course, have a certain margin of discretion and can bend the rules to a certain extent if and where they think justified and appropriate. So, the power of an immigration officer can work in your favor or not.
With this being said, it’s impossible for anyone to exactly tell you when you can return to Peru after you overstayed. But we at least can give some general guidelines.
Let’s assume you got 90 days when you entered, but overstayed a few days, a couple of weeks or up to three months, paid the overstay fine and didn’t get a re-entry ban when leaving. Usually, after 90 days in Peru, you should be 90 days outside Peru. So, even though not officially stipulated, we recommend to not return to Peru before the 90 days you should stay outside Peru plus the number of days you overstayed are over. So, if you, for example, overstayed 30 days, return to Peru only 4 months (90 days plus 30 days) after you left. However, if you come back earlier, there are a few ways things can go: either the immigration officer is doing his/her job by the book and doesn’t let you enter (extremely rare) or only gives you a few days or the number of days you have left as a tourist to reach the max of 183 days per year or doesn’t bother at all and just gives you another 90 days.
If, for example, you were given 90 days when you entered and overstayed another 90 days, you used the maximum number of days you are allowed to be in Peru in a year; so, you can only re-enter one year after your first entry, which is half a year after you left.
Things get even more vague in case you overstayed the maximum allowed time of 183 days per year, as there is no official statement about how immigration officers take the time you stayed longer than the 183 days allowed into consideration. If you overstayed, for example, 4, 5, 6 months you not only simply overstayed your 90 days you got when you entered, but as well exceeded the maximum number of days you can be in Peru as a tourist. In case you were lucky and didn’t get a re-entry ban, we recommend being outside Peru at least half a year plus the number of days exceeding the max of 183 days you are allowed to be in Peru as a tourist in a year before trying to return.
Just to point out again, it’s always at the discretion of the immigration officer how he/she handles your specific case. Yes, sometimes people who overstayed for a short or long period of time, just left Peru for a few days, returned with no problem, and got another 90 days. Others had to explain and somehow prove their situation (for example, they didn’t manage to finish the preparation work to get married or to apply for their work or family visa), the immigration officer showed empathy, bended the rules a bit and gave them enough time so that they could get married or apply for their visa. But sometimes immigration officers are strict, denying a person who overstayed and/or tried to return before the 180-day /365-day period is over entry.
So, to avoid any inconveniences and punishments of all sorts, we highly recommend not to overstay your time as a tourist.