Kiara Gallop is a travel blogger from Great Britain who came to Peru in 2015 and after hiking the Colca Canyon for a few days she and her companion decided to go to Arequipa and check into a hostel they liked.
However, instead of simply checking in and heading to the assigned room, the staff asked them to pay upfront the room and also a tax of 18% of the cost of the room per day because their visas were expired!
Kiara was sure she had been granted 90 days in Peru from the date of entry, but no, she hadn’t realized that over the stamp on her passport a hand-written number 30 was there, meaning that they could only stay for 30 days in Peruvian soil for tourism.
“I stuttered clumsily in disbelief. All the articles we’d read before coming to Peru advised us that British citizens were entitled to stay in the country for a period of up to 180 days. Even when we arrived, bleary-eyed, into Lima airport, in the unsociably early hours of that Wednesday morning, I distinctly remember the immigration officer asking how long we were planning to spend in the country,” Kiara tells in her blog. Her answer was: “Approximately three months, sir”.
Kiara was not the only one who did not realize she had overstayed her visa, no one of the staff members of all the places she’d been staying for the past two months checked this detail either! Of course, she and her companion started to panic.
“Overstaying your visa was a serious issue, right? Especially by that length of time”, she wrote on her travel blog. The staff at the hostel suggested they went to the British Consulate as soon as possible for advice and instead of being able to enjoy their day in Arequipa they had to go to the Yanahuara district where the consulate was located.
Once there, they explained their problem and learned that there is an unwritten law that says that British citizens can stay in Peru for over six months, but it is up to the discretion of the Immigration Officer, who seems to have had a bad day when they arrived in Peru.
As for the consequences, they weren’t as harsh as they thought they would be. They had to pay $1 US dollar per day as a fine, which for them it would total about $60 by the end of the trip.
“We were also quite fortunate to be in Peru’s third-largest city when we realized our oversight. I can only imagine what a different story it would have been if we were in the more isolated parts of rural Peru”, Kiara narrated.
She also gives some tips if this were to happen to you, which of course we all hope it doesn’t:
Migraciones (Superintendencia Nacional Peru)
Urbanizacion Quinta Tristan
Distrito Jose Bustamante y Rivero
There are different types of visa if you are a foreigner who wants to travel to Peru. We strongly recommend you seek advice from an immigration lawyer to know if you need a visa or not and how to request one if you want to experience traveling or living in Peru.
Business Visa in Peru
The business visa is a single-entry visa that lasts up to 90 days and is issued by the Peruvian embassy of your country. It takes up to four days for this type of visa to be issued, but foreigners can pay a higher fee and get their business visa in just one day. Apart from the application fee, applicants are required to submit the following documents:
Work Visas in Peru
This work visa is also known as a foreign resident identification card and is issued to Visas and Immigration Rules in Peru for Business Purposes aliens with a work contract in Peru. The employment contract would have to be for a minimum of (1) year and this work visa, of course, gives you the right to work in Peru. Work visas are issued by the General Directorate of Immigration and Naturalization (DIGEMIN) and can only be requested once the person is in the country with a tourist or business visa. Applicants must submit the following documents translated into Spanish by a certified translator:
Foreigners can apply for a Peruvian immigrant visa after having a foreign resident identification card for two years and not having spent three consecutive months or six intermittent months outside Peru. This visa, which does not expire, can be issued by the Peruvian embassy of your country or the DIGEMIN and takes up to eight weeks to be processed. Applicants must submit the following documents translated into Spanish by a certified translator:
An Investor Visa can be granted if you decide to invest $30,000 US dollars in an existing Peruvian company or one that you have established for yourself. An investor’s visa is valid for (1) year but DOES NOT give the person the right to work in Peru. Here you should also consider that you would have to present a business plan of the company and should guarantee to employ (5) local people in the first year of business. You must present:
Visas for Independent Professionals
If you have a profession and are a member of a professional body, then you could choose to obtain a visa for independent professionals, to work as a freelancer. This gives the person the right to work in Peru as an independent worker, but not to be employed under a contract. Depending on the profession, this visa can be difficult and time-consuming to obtain due to the evaluations that must be performed.
Retirement Visas in Peru
Peruvian retirement visas are issued to foreigners who can prove a minimum monthly income of $1,000 US dollars, from outside Peru. This permanent visa allows you to live in Peru without working and some benefits include not paying a foreign tax and being able to import personal items (except cars) into Peru.
This visa is valid for (1) year but does not entitle you to work in Peru. In addition, the person can apply for citizenship after two years of having a retirement visa. Applicants must submit the following documents translated into Spanish by a certified translator:
Kiara Gallop is from England and likes to travel solo, although her boyfriend Stu accompanies her sometimes. She has been to many countries and you can read her adventures on Gallop around the Globe.
By Ermelinda Maglione
Cover Photo jackmac34.