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Red tape and visas

EU, US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand citizens can all currently stay in Peru as tourists for up to ninety days without a visa. However, the situation does change periodically, so always check with your local Peruvian embassy some weeks before departure.

All nationalities, however, need a tourist or embarkation card (tarjeta de embarque) to enter Peru, issued at the frontiers or on the plane before landing in Lima. Tourist cards are usually valid for between sixty to ninety days - only sixty for US citizens. In theory you have to show an outbound ticket (by air or bus) before you'll be given a card, but this isn't always checked. For your own safety and freedom of movement a copy of the tourist card must be kept on you, with your passport, at all times - particularly when travelling away from the main towns.

Should you want to extend your visa (between 30 and 60 days), there are two basic options: either cross one of the borders and get a new tourist card when you come back in; or go through the bureaucratic rigmarole at a Migraciones office - easiest in Lima, but expect it to take the best part of a day, and arrive before 8.30am to be at the front of the queue. It costs $20 for the recibo de pago, plus a further $7 for the Migraciones forms, and you may also be asked to provide evidence of a valid exit ticket from Peru. Migraciones is also the place to sort out new visas if you've lost your passport (having visited your embassy first) and to get passports re-stamped.

Student visas (which last 12 months) are best organized as far in advance as possible through the British Embassy in Peru, the Peruvian Embassy and the relevant educational institution. Business visas only become necessary if you are to be paid by a Peruvian organisation, in which case get your Peruvian employers to do this for you. Having a business visa means that you are eligible for taxation under Peruvian law and will not be allowed to leave the country until this has been accounted for, which entails obtaining a letter from SUNAT (the Peruvian State Taxation Agency) stating that all outstanding taxes have been settled.
 



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