Peruvian Religious Visa

A Guide to Peruvian Visas

Part 8

Priests, nuns, and missionaries who want to stay in Peru to perform religious or missionary activities can apply for a religious visa, called “religioso residente”.

The religious residency only allows its holder to carry out activities in the area of pastoral work and care in fields such as health, education and others; it does not allow you to work or receive a remuneration for any kind of professional activity (however, if necessary, you can apply for a work permit separately).

Content overview

Legal background for a religious visa application in Peru

Officially, you can apply for a religious visa at a Peruvian consulate abroad or at Migraciones in Peru. However, since August 2021, an increasing number of Peruvian diplomatic missions abroad don't issue resident visas anymore.

Therefore, orders and missions recommend to their missionaries to enter Peru as a tourist and then change their immigration status - make a so called Cambio de calidad migratoria (as opposed to a Solicitud de calidad migratoria at a consulate) - at Migraciones.

For foreigners planning to stay longer in Peru and to apply for a resident visa, the most important laws and regulations are the Decreto Legislativo 1350 (which only stipulates general rules), the Decreto Supremo 002-2021-IN and the TUPA. Helpful as well is to check out the Peruvian government website. All these documents are, of course, in Spanish.

While below under "Requirements for a religious visa application in Peru" you find the necessary documents described in English, the official list of requirements (in Spanish) can be found, for example, in the Decreto Supremo 002-2021-IN on page 38 in article 84-A “Procedimiento administrative de solicitud de calidad migratoria religioso residente” (when applying at a Peruvian consulate) or in article 84-B “Procedimiento administrative de cambio de calidad migratoria a religioso residente” (when applying in Peru).

If you prefer to check out the TUPA you find the information on page 161.


Requirements for a religious visa application in Peru

Below you find the requirements to apply for a religious visa, accurately to make a so-called "Cambio de calidad migratoria" (change of immigration status) in Peru.

Please be aware that Migraciones has the right to request other and/or additional documents at any time.

Required documents to apply for a religious visa include:

  • Form PA - Cambio de Calidad Migratoria
  • Interpol clearance - Ficha de canje internacional not older than 6 months (see below)
  • Receipt for paid application fee (code Migraciones 07568; concept Cambio de calidad migratoria religioso residente; S/.162.50 in 2022)
  • Passport
  • Antecedentes policiales, penales y judiciales (Police clearance certificate, criminal record and judicial matters check) issued in the country of origin and, if the applicant lived in another country before coming to Peru, in the country of residence covering the last 5 years (*)
  • Request issued by the religious entity, which must be recognized by the Peruvian state, where the applicant finds his home in Peru. The request must be signed by the legal representative of the religious entity and must include name(s) and surname(s) of the applicant as well as the time he or she stays in Peru
  • Sworn statement of the legal representative of the religious entity affirming the details of the official registration and his/her power of representation or an official document confirming his / her powers.

(*) As we get many question about the “Antecedentes policiales, penales y judiciales” we dedicated a separate article to the topic where we explain in detail what kind of document you need, where you get it and what to watch out for when applying for it.

One of the requirements to apply for a resident visa in Peru or to change your visa type, for example from a work visa to a permanent resident visa...

Applying for a religious visa is a simple and straightforward process, but might be a little confusing here and there if you are not familiar with the process and the steps involved. Usually, the religious order or mission supports you with your application. So, please see our walk-through below as general guidance, which introduces you to the procedures awaiting you.


Last steps before your religious visa application in Peru

Before you can even start your religious visa application process, you first have to get the so-called “Ficha de Canje Internacional” from Interpol in Peru. Find a detailed description of how it’s done in our article “Interpol - Ficha de Canje Internacional”.

All foreigners must present the "Ficha de Canje Internacional" to Migraciones when changing their immigration status either from a temporary visa o...

Once you have the Ficha and all documents together, pay the fee of S/ 162.50 for the Migraciones administrative procedure “Cambio de Calidad Migratoria” under code 07568 with concepto "Religioso residente". As you already paid the Interpol fee, you know how the systems works, otherwise check again in our article "Paying administration charges and processing fees in Peru".

All administration charges, processing fees and fines government agencies, public authorities and entities levy in Peru have to be paid at the Banc...

And last but not least, make PDFs from your passport (page with your personal data and entry stamp), and from all other required documents.

Finally, the time has come to apply for your religious visa. Be aware that in case you need to leave the country during the application process you have to apply for a special travel permit (Permiso especial de viaje, officially as well called Autorización de estadía fuera del país) before you leave the country, otherwise your application is null and void.

Foreigners in Peru who applied for a visa - to be precise who applied for a change of their immigration status (cambio de calidad migratoria) or a ...

Please be aware that you have to be in the country on a valid visa (for example, a tourist visa or "authorization to enter as a tourist") when applying for your religious visa in Peru.


Finally, applying for a religious visa in Peru

One remark before we start: The Agencia Digital is in Spanish only. We highly recommend to not using a translation program which automatically translates the page from Spanish to your preferred language to avoid system errors. Additionally, often translation programs have difficulties "understanding" the bureaucratic language used by Migraciones, which results in translations that don't make any sense or are more difficult for you to understand than the Spanish original. If you can't understand the one or other field, enter the description for this field in a translator. If you still can't make sense of it, feel free to leave a comment below and we try our best to explain what to fill in.

Once you have done all the preparation work, open the Migraciones Agencia Digital and click on Entrar.

On the next page, select "Extranjero". Then choose in the drop-down menu the document with which you entered Peru (most probably passport), enter your passport number, your birthdate, nationality, the date you entered Peru and the captcha. Click on Verificar.

No matter which forms you fill out in Peru, always enter your personal data exactly (!!!) as in your passport!

Now you are on the main page of the Agencia Digital. Here you can either use the search field or find in the menu on the left under “Cambio de calidad migratoria” the point Religioso residente. Click on it and proceed to the next page.

First page of the religious visa application

Here, you first have to select the Migraciones branch which should handle your application (for example, Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, …). In the second field, you must enter a “data update code” which you most probably don’t have. Below this field is a quite small link. Click on it and you end up on another page where you have to fill in a quite extensive questionnaire.

Data update questionnaire

Be aware that you only have 1 hour to complete the questionnaire and as the system doesn’t save your information, even though there is an option to save, once you started you must finish it within an hour otherwise all your progress is gone, and you have to start from scratch. The questions are quite unorganized and partly a bit strange, so to give you an idea what questions you have to answer and might need to prepare for here an overview:

In the first two categories, you have to fill in your personal data including full name (as in your passport!), document with which you entered Peru, document number, gender, marital status, country of birth, if you have a criminal, police or judicial record, if you are pregnant.

The third category asks for your address in Peru, your e-mail address, cell phone number and landline phone number. Here you must upload a “recibo”, so a water or electricity bill to prove that you live at that address.

Then you are asked for the information of an emergency contact, including ID, name and e-mail of your emergency contact. This is followed by questions about your employment situation and where you were born (continent, country, town).

In the next category, you have to enter your hair and eye color, height in meters, weight in kilograms, religion, marital status, date of marriage, vaccinations and if you have a disability or disease. You are then asked if you arrived in Peru alone or if someone was accompanying you. If so, you must enter the personal data (passport number, name, last name, birthdate) of that person. Now you are asked if you have lived in other countries previously and in which country before coming to Peru, when you last entered Peru, how you came to Peru (plane, bus, car).

The last questions check your living conditions (are you living in a house, number of rooms, accommodation connected to water, sewage, electricity, and internet), ask for some financial info (bank accounts in Peru or other countries, shares, or stock in Peru, bank loans in Peru) and want to know if you have a car and a driver’s license in Peru or other country.

As soon as you have completed the last page of the questionnaire, the system accepts all your answers and sends the data update code to your e-mail.

You made it!

Back to the first page of the work visa application

Now fill in the data update code and click on Siguente.

Second page of the religious visa application

You end up on a page where you must fill in some data and/or upload all for the religious visa application necessary documents as PDF.

Those who just want to verify the requirements or double check if the requirements have changed can do so on this page. Then just click through the tabs but do not upload any documents and do not click on Siguente; once you finished just leave the page.

To continue with your religious visa application, click on the little arrows next to each requirement, and certain fields appear depending on the requirement. Just fill in the fields as requested and upload the corresponding document.

Under “Pago por derecho de tramite” you are asked to enter certain information of the bank receipt. If you don't know where to find the requested bank information on your receipt, click on the question mark.

Under the Interpol tab, you must upload the Ficha de Canje from Interpol and the criminal record check you brought from home. Be aware that both fields are mandatory, and you can’t continue without having uploaded both documents.

And below upload other documents required and finally, fill in the required information of your passport and upload a copy.

Once you uploaded all your documents, click on Siguente.

Third page of the work visa application

Once you uploaded all documents, you end up on a page showing the Form PA - Cambio de calidad migratoria already (partly) filled in. If and where necessary, complete the form and check that all information on this form is 100% correct. Then download and/or print the form, sign and fingerprint it, and keep it safe for the time being.

At the end of the process - if everything works smoothly - you get the confirmation of your application. Download this document and/or print it and keep it safe.

At the bottom of this document, you find the login data for the "Buzon Electronico" (your personal electronic mailbox) which you should check regularly for notifications from Migraciones (for example, request to upload missing or additional documents, approval or denial of your visa application, etc.)

Since mid-2022, the system additionally gives you a code and the option to make an appointment for having your biometrical data (photo, fingerprints, signature) taken. As waiting times can be long, especially in Lima, we suggest that after your application you immediately make the appointment.


Getting your Carné (foreigner ID)

Shortly before your biometrical data appointment (if your application was already approved), pay the fee of S/ 49.90 on pagalo.pe under code 07561-Formulario F-SPE-001 for the registration in the foreigner database and issuance of the carné under concepto "Expedición del carné de extranjeria".

Then once again enter the Agencia Digtal to do the online registration under “Inscr. Reg. central extranjeria”. As before, just follow the steps as indicated. Check that all information is correct. At the end, you get a confirmation which you should download and/or print and keep safe.

Be aware that in case the approval of your visa application is still in process, the registration does not work. So, then just wait with the online registration until your visa application is approved and do it after your biometrical data appointment.

Biometrical data appointment

On the day of your biometrical data appointment, be at the office 15 - 30 minutes before your appointment with all your documents (passport, appointment, application, all documents, receipts). Be aware that in Lima, the biometrical data is taken at the Migraciones office on Jr. Carabaya and not at the main office in Breña. The process is quick and astonishingly well organized; you should be done in less than half an hour. The staff usually tells you when you should make an appointment to pick up your carné, but often a message is sent as well via the buzón electronico. So keep an eye on that. Expect to wait 10 - 14 days (or longer, if Migraciones is behind with approving applications) while your carné is in the process of being issued.

Picking up your carné at Migraciones

Then make an appointment on the Agencia Digital under “Citas en linea” to pick up your carné. Once again, download and/or print the confirmation and keep it safe.

On the day of your appointment, arrive at Migraciones 15 - 30 minutes early. Take your passport, all documents, confirmation(s) and receipts with you. Migraciones staff will point you in the right direction where you are handed your carné.

Congratulations! You made it!


Things you should know living in Peru on a religious visa

The religious resident visa (so the residence permit) is valid for one year and then has to be renewed. The carné (so the Peruvian foreigner ID) is usually valid for four years and then must be renewed. For more details, check out our glossary under "Carné de Extranjería – Peru’s ID Card for foreigners".

Foreigners being in Peru on a religious visa have to be in the country at least 183 days per year, otherwise their resident status is canceled. If you have to be outside the country longer, before leaving apply for the Autorización de estadía fuera del país por 183 días, and you won't lose your residence permit.

If you are living in Peru on a religious visa, you are not allowed to work or receive a remuneration for any kind of professional activity in Peru. However, you can apply for a special authorization to work, the so-called Permiso de trabajo extraordinario, which allows you to work and earn money in the fields of health and education.

If any information provided when applying for your religious visa changes, Migraciones must be informed about it within 30 days. So, if you get a new passport, move to a new address, etc. you have to apply for a so-called "modificación de datos en el registro central de extranjería". Be aware that in some cases, a new carné has to be issued after the application is approved.

Whenever you, as a foreigner living in Peru on a religious visa (without a special authorization to work), want to leave the country for short or extended periods of time, for example, to go on holidays, you must present the so-called “Declaración jurada de haber realizado actividades que no impliquen la generación de rentas de fuente peruana” at immigrations before you are allowed to leave. So, just download Formulario 1495, fill it in, sign it and show it to the immigration officer when leaving Peru.

In case you have the special authorization to work and earned money, you have to present the "Certificado de Rentas y Retenciones". This form is issued by your employer, who confirms that the income tax corresponding to your earnings was retained according to the Peruvian tax legislation. The physical form, Formulario 1492, is rarely used anymore. Instead, your employer has to enter his/her Sunat Virtual and fill in the Formulario Virtual 1692°, then print and sign it and give it to you. The form expires 30 days after it was filed with Sunat; so, you must leave Peru within these 30 days.

Religious visa holders can get the Peruvian nationality by naturalization after having legally lived in Peru for at least two years.

If you don't want to get the Peruvian nationality or can't because your home country doesn't allow dual nationality, after three years of legal residency in Peru on a resident religious visa, you can apply for a permanent resident visa - make a so-called Cambio de calidad migratoria a permanente residente (religioso residente); no more extensions and an indefinite residency.

And finally, if you, as a foreigner living in Peru on a religious visa, are leaving Peru permanently, you have to cancel your residence visa. Once the application is approved, you have 15 days to exit the country.


Please note: We from LimaEasy are not the Peruvian immigration authority Migraciones or a Peruvian consulate. All information is published to our best knowledge and should be seen as general guidance introducing you to Peruvian procedures. All information is subject to change, as regulations, requirements, and processes can change quickly without prior notice! Therefore, we recommend checking the current regulations with the nearest Peruvian consulate or, if you are already in Peru, with Migraciones!

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael · 26/11/2022
    About the required visa renewal process once a year... in theory, does renewing the visa require a police check, apostille, letter from agency, etc. every year, or are those documents only required for receiving the visa for the first time?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      • LimaEasy
      · 26/11/2022
      @Michael Hello Michael,

      A resident visa in Peru is usually valid for one year (in very few cases two years) and then has to be renewed; you must make a so-called “prórroga de residencia”.

      Depending on the type of resident visa you have, you must present/upload a few documents, but no, you won’t need a criminal record check from your home country with Apostille for the renewal.

      On the Peruvian government website, you find the requirements for the renewal of resident visas according to the visa type. As you wrote here on the religious visa article, I assume you are looking for the requirements for the renewal of this  visa, which are:

      - Form
      - Sworn statement that you don’t have a criminal record
      - Sworn statement of the legal representative of the congregation or religious entity
      - Request issued by the legal representative of the congregation or religious entity, including your full name and the time you plan to stay in Peru.

      However, if you want to change your visa type, so, you are not renewing your religious visa but, for example, want to change from a religious visa to a family visa, then you need to completely fulfill the requirements including, for example, a criminal record check from your home country with Apostille.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael · 15/10/2022
    Just some clarification about the "Cambio de calidad migratoria:"  The 162.50 fee can be paid online, right?  And once that's done online, I don't have to worry about any fees for staying longer than 90 days in Peru?  In theory, does this change in status mean I can stay in Peru as long as it takes within reason?  (For example, maybe it takes 5 months to complete the visa process, but I'm sure the government would get suspicious if I stay in Peru for a year and haven't made any progress)
    • This commment is unpublished.
      • LimaEasy
      · 15/10/2022
      @Michael Hello Michael,

      Yes, as described above under Last steps before your visa application you can pay online on pagalo.pe.

      But the S/ 162.50 are the application fee for the change of your immigration status (so, for the resident visa). Paying this fee does not change your status, does not extend your stay as a tourist, and does not allow you to stay beyond the time you were given when you entered.

      On the day you apply for the change of your immigration status (so, for the resident visa) on the Agencia Digital, your stay as a tourist must be still valid!

      Only when you completed the application process on the Agencia Digital and received the confirmation of your application (as described above under Finally, applying for your visa) time stops.

      So, if you got 90 days when you entered Peru as a tourist, you must get all the required documents together and apply within these three months for your resident visa (for the cambio de calidad migratoria). Once you did the application process on the Agencia Digital and got the confirmation, then it doesn’t matter if your stay as a tourist expires a day after or during the whole approval process. So, even though your stay as a tourist might expire during the processing time of your application, you are good until Migraciones approves (or denies) your application.


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