When planning a trip to Peru, eventually 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 information and advice on all Peruvian tourist visa issues that might pop up.
Traveling to Peru as tourist:
- 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 - process, requirements, TAM and customs
- 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?
- Can I volunteer 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; see attached PDF at the end of this really long article to find out if you have to apply for a tourist visa
- Nationals of other countries receive a temporary authorization to enter as a tourist at the Peruvian border or airport of entry. Depending on their nationality, these travelers may stay in Peru for up to 90 days in a 180 days period, 90 days in a 365 days period or 180 days in a 365 days period for touristic, recreational or health purposes (see attached pdf at the end of this really long article to find out if you can enter Peru visa free and how long you can stay).
- 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 January 2018. Our article "Permit to sign contracts" explains how to apply.
Peru is a very welcoming country that signed agreements with many 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 and since Covid and the introduction of automated passport controls at Lima's airport in same cases just an entry in a database) directly at the immigration control at the airport or border. For a more detailed listing, please have a look at our PDF "Visas for Peru by country and allowed length of stay" at the end of this very long article for clarification.
Following nationals do not need a tourist visa for Peru
- South America: Citizens of all South American countries except Venezuela
- Central America: Citizens of most Central American countries (exception Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti and Nicaragua)
- 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, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, 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 "Visas for Peru by country and allowed length of stay" at the end of this very long article for clarification.). As so far 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.
On the website of the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (RREE) you find a world map indicating all Peruvian consulates abroad. Just click on a marker and the address, phone number, e-mail and - if available - website of the consulate appears.
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 often aren't answered. So, finding the correct 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 or know who is.
With the introduction of the new Immigration Law in 2017 and progressive digitalization especially now in Covid times entering Peru today is a quite easy, seemingly organized and at least for now a quick process.
However - after having closed its borders for months due to Covid - with the resumption of international travel in October 2020 Peru implemented strict health requirements and constantly changing travel regulations. So, before traveling to Peru please read our article “Covid entry requirements and travel regulations for Peru” and adhere to Peru's Covid rules and entry requirements.
Additionally, Peru asks everyone traveling to the country by air to pre-register his or her arrival in the country on an app. You can find detailed information about the app as well as how to register in our article “Pre-Registration at Peruvian Immigration before arrival”.
On the plane (or at the border – when they are open again) you are handed the customs declaration form. Be aware that only travelers who have something to declare are required to fill it out. Customs urges travelers to carefully read the regulations on the back to know and comply with Peruvian laws. You can find detailed information about Peruvian customs regulations and the customs declaration form in our article "What you can & can't bring into Peru".
After disembarking at the airport (or arriving at the border), you end up at the immigration control. Those passengers who have pre-registered on the app can proceed to the automated passport control machines where the QR code generated by the app is scanned and your passport and face are compared to entered data. The system automatically registers your entry and creates the so-called TAM virtual - a few years back this Tarjeta Andina de Migración was a physical white card that you had to fill in, was stamped at the point of entry and had to be given back when leaving the country, today it’s just an entry in the Migraciones database registering automatically your date of entry and departure.
In case you don't want to use the automated passport control system or the pre-registration process didn’t work, don’t panic, you can still proceed to an immigration counter upon arrival without any problems and clear immigration conventionally.
If during your stay in Peru you are asked for the TAM or proof when you entered or perhaps left the country or want to check for how long you can stay in the country, you can just open the Migraciones Agencia Virtual. Choose "Extranjero" and enter the data requested. Enter your personal data exactly as in your passport. On the next page you find on the left under “Consultas” the point “Tam virtual”. Once again enter your personal data, choose if you want the record for your entry or departure. The registry will appear and you can download and / or print it.
For how long can you stay in Peru?
In March 2017 a new Peruvian Immigration Law (Decreto Legislativo 1350) went into effect, allowing tourists who can travel visa-free to Peru for touristic, recreational or health purposes to stay for a maximum of 183 days within a 365 days period. Shortly afterwards the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs excluded Schengen States nationals from this general rule allowing them only to stay for up to 90 days within a 180 days period. The reason for that is an agreement between the EU and Peru, which allows Peruvians to enter the Schengen area visa-free for tourism purposes for 90 days; the other way round Schengen States nationals therefore are also only allowed to stay 90 days (in a 180 days period) in Peru.
Then in June 2019 a new publication of the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (RREE) eliminated the general 183 days in a 365 days stay granted by the immigration law for most nationalities. Depending on their nationality travelers are now allowed to stay in Peru for up to 90 days in a 180 days period, 90 days in a 365 days period or 180 days in a 365 days period for touristic, recreational or health purposes; the 180 days period isn't per half year from Januar to June or July to December, as the 365 days period isn't per calendar year from January to December, but calculated from your first entry.
Please see our PDF " Visas for Peru by country and allowed length of stay" at the end of this very long article to find out how long you can stay visa-free - this PDF is an English translation of the original from the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which can be found here.
In the months following the RREE publication immigration officers increasingly applied the new rules causing annoyance among some travelers and long-termers. However, visitors were never and still aren't entitled to getting the full 90 or 183 days; immigration officers always could give foreigners any number of days they thought appropriate. And now with the progressive digitalization, pre-registration, automated passport control, etc. in place, the "sytem" might decide for how long tourists can stay based on stored data.
If you enter Peru at an airport, you progress to customs after claiming your luggage. Here you only have to present the filled in customs declaration form if you have something to declare. We highly recommend to be honest. Before you can leave the airport, you and your luggage are scanned and you might be asked to follow an official to a thorough check of you luggage.
For years it wasn’t possible to extend your tourist visa / "temporary authorization to enter as a tourist" once you entered Peru. This changed in May 2018.
Please read our article "Tourist Visa extension in Peru" for detailed background info and who can extend where and how.
Like in any other country, we recommend to respect the rules and regulation here in Peru including the time you are allowed to stay in the country.
However, tourists overstaying their visa - at least for now - rarely 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/ 4.40 (2021, 0.1% of an UIT) per day you overstayed - and as long as Peru is in a state of emergency due to Covid even this fee is waved. 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 with no reprisals.
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 didn't mention if the 183 days were per year or per visit – they rectified this in the new immigration law from 2017 and further tightened it with reducing the allowed time to stay visa-free in Peru for many nationals in June 2019.
Anyway, many foreigners used this little gap in the old Peruvian immigration law to live on a tourist visa in the country. As soon as their visa was about to expire, they just crossed the border, stayed 5 minutes, a day or two in one of Peru’s neighboring countries and returned asking immigration's for another 183 days. For years this worked absolutely fine. Then immigration officers at the border gave people that already stayed in Peru 183 days and now wanted to return, a hard time. After some soft-soaping and paying a bribe, a new entry stamp was in the passport. No problem.
But after the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs eliminated the general 183 days in a 365 days stay granted by the immigration law for most nationalities in June 2019 (see explanantion above under "For how long can you saty in Peru"), Peruvian border officials increasingly applied the new rules giving foreigners only the allowed 90 or 183 days in a 180 days or 365 days period and won't let border-hoppers re-enter (or only for a few days) when they already stayed the maximum allowed time as visitor in the country.
Then Covid hit the country, borders were closed and Migraciones worked hard on digitalizing certain processes and procedures. Personally I think with this digitalization, pre-registration before arrival, automated passport control and contact-reduced / contactless immigration control in place, the "sytem" will decide for how long you can stay and if you are allowed to re-enter based on stored data. So, the times of border-hopping might be over in Peru.
You only option in the future might be getting a resident visa, if you are planning to stay longer than the for your nationality allowed days.
Peruvian law requires that foreign visitors need a return or onward passage out of the country if they aren't residents proving that they are leaving the country when the visa or temporary authorization to enter expires. But the law doesn't state that this return or onward passage must be an airline ticket; it could be anythign proofing that you leave the peru when the time comes.
When entering the country, Peruvian immigration's hardly ever ask to see proof that the visitor leaves the country. The ones executing above 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 flight 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 a flight 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 your 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, sometimes yes. For more information, please have a look at our detailed article on Peruvian Student Visa.
No! Before signing a legally binding document (work contract, sworn statements, car or apartment purchase, marriage license, ...) tourists have to apply for a so called "Permiso para firmar contratos". Our article "Permit to sign contracts" explains in detail how it works and what you have to do.
Yes! Find more information in our article "Peruvian Volunteer Visa".
!!! As visa and entry regulations can change quickly without prior notice, we highly recommend confirming current visa requirements with the nearest Peruvian embassy or consulate !!!