*This information is current as of today, Fri Dec 13 2019 08:21:49 GMT-0500 (hora estándar de Perú). Sat Jul 17 20:32:29 2004.
March 19, 2004
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Peru is a developing country with an expanding tourism sector. A wide variety of tourist facilities and services are available, with quality varying according to price and location.
ENTRY AND EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and depart Peru. Tourists must also provide evidence of return or onward travel. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a tourist or business-related stay of 90 days or less. Non-resident U.S. citizens remaining in Peru more than 90 days(or the time period granted by the Peruvian immigration officer)must pay a monthly fee to extend their visa for up to three additional months, for a total of six months. U.S. citizens, including children, who remain in Peru over six months without obtaining a residence visa, will have to pay a fine in order to depart Peru. Visitors for other than tourist or short-term business visit purposes must obtain a Peruvian visa in advance. Business workers (under contract) should ascertain the tax and exit regulations that apply to the specific visa they are granted. Peru does not require any immunizations for entry, although it recommends vaccination against Yellow Fever. U.S. citizens whose passports are lost or stolen in Peru must obtain a new passport and present it, together with a police report on the loss or theft, to the main immigration office in downtown Lima, located at Prolongacion Espana 734, Brena, to obtain permission to depart. Visitors with replacement U.S. passports issued in Lima may also request permission to depart at the immigration office set up for that purpose at Jorge Chavez International airport. An airport exit tax of $28 per person must be paid in U.S. currency when departing Peru. There is also a $5 airport fee for domestic flights. For further information regarding entry requirements, travelers should contact the Peruvian Embassy at 1625 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., 6th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036; telephone (202) 833-9868; Internet http://www.peruemb.org; or the Peruvian Consulate in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Hartford, Houston, Miami, New York, Paterson (NJ), or San Francisco. NOTE: As of June 1, 2004, it is illegal for any person within the United States, as well as U.S. citizens, nationals, and resident aliens elsewhere, to fly on Aero Continente. Persons who violate this provision are potentially subject to criminal and civil penalties under U.S. law. However, people who purchased their tickets before June 1, 2004, may request a license to use these tickets by faxing a request to the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) at (202) 622-1657. Phone questions may be made at (202) 622-2480. Further information on this matter is available on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website at http://www.treas.gov/ofac. FAA safety restrictions placed on Aero Continente (see Aviation Safety Oversight) are not related to this action.
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MINORS: In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments, including Peru ‘s, enforce specific rules at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for a child’s travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Peru’s specific procedures mandate that minors (under 18) who are citizens or residents of Peru and who are traveling alone, with one parent, or with a third party, must present a copy of their birth certificate and written notarized authorization from the absent parent(s) or legal guardian(s), specifically granting permission to travel alone, with one parent or guardian, or with a third party. When a parent is deceased, a notarized copy of the death certificate is required in lieu of the authorization. If documents are prepared in the United States, the authorization and the birth certificate must be translated into Spanish, notarized, and authenticated by the Peruvian Embassy or Consulate in the United States. If documents are prepared in Peru, only notarization by a Peruvian notary is required. These requirements do not apply to children who enter Peru on U.S. passports as tourists unless they hold dual U.S.-Peruvian citizenship. Children born in Peru of U.S. citizen parents are considered to be Peruvian citizens and must obtain Peruvian passports and the notarized authorization from the non-traveling parent or legal guardian in order to depart Peru. (Diplomats are exempt from this requirement.)
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Activities of the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) terrorist group have been generally restricted to certain parts of the interior of Peru, and its capabilities have been greatly diminished due to the many arrests of senior leaders. However, Shining Path is still capable of terrorist actions in urban areas, and it was re-designated by the Secretary of State in 2003 as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” under 1996 anti-terrorism legislation. The Shining Path has targeted U.S. interests in the past, and there are indications that terrorist organizations such as the Shining Path are continuing to plan actions directed against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests in Peru. Sporadic, isolated incidents of Shining Path violence have occurred from 2000 to the present in rural provinces of Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Huanuco, Junin, and San Martin. These have included kidnappings and attacks by large, heavily-armed groups believed to be members of Shining Path on Peruvian and foreign pipeline workers in a remote area of the Department of Ayacucho, as well as acts of urban terrorism that have caused fatalities. However, the most common incidents were roadblocks and armed confrontations between Shining Path columns and Peruvian army or police patrols in remote areas. None of these incidents occurred in areas normally visited by tourists. Mining prospectors, adventure travelers and others considering travel to remote areas of Peru, in particular, are strongly advised to contact the U.S. Embassy in Lima for current security information.
A peace treaty ending the Peru/Ecuador border conflict was signed on October 26, 1998. The Peruvian Government is working to remove mines and unexploded ordnance left over from the conflict, but crossing or approaching the Peru-Ecuador border anywhere except at official checkpoints can still be dangerous. The entire Peru/Colombia border area is very dangerous because of narcotics trafficking and the occasional incursions of armed guerrilla forces from Colombia into Peru’s remote areas.
Political demonstrations and labor-related strikes and marches regularly occur in urban and some rural areas and sometimes affect major highways. They can also cause serious disruptions to road, air and rail transportation. Demonstrations are usually announced in advance. While these activities are usually peaceful, they can escalate into violent confrontations. As a general rule, it is best to avoid large crowds and demonstrations. Visitors are encouraged to keep informed by following the local news and consulting hotel personnel and tour guides.
Information on travel and security in Peru may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States; from overseas, call 1-317-472-2328. The U.S. Embassy in Lima can be contacted by phone at 51-1-434-3000 and the Consular Agency in Cusco’s number is 51-84-9-62-1369. For further information concerning travel to Peru, travelers should consult the Department of State’s web site found on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.
U.S. EMBASSY TRAVEL: The U.S. Embassy restricts travel of U.S. Government employees in the following areas, where terrorist groups and narcotics traffickers have recently resorted to violent actions, usually directed against local security forces, local government authorities, and some civilians. Overland travel in or near these areas, particularly at night, is risky. This list below is under continuous review, and travelers may contact the U.S. Embassy for updated information:
Restricted: Provinces of Pallasca, Corongo, and Sihuas.
Apurimac: Province of Chincheros.
Restricted: Provinces of La Mar and Huanta.
Daylight road travel from Ayacucho to San Francisco.
Permitted: Daylight road travel from Ayacucho City to the city of Huanta. Staying within the city limits of Huanta. Daylight road travel from Pisco to Ayacucho City.
Restricted: 20 kilometer swath of territory contiguous to the Apurimac River and Ayacucho Department.
Permitted: Everywhere else including Machu Picchu area and city of Cusco.
Restricted: Provinces of Acobamba, Castrovirreyna, Churcampa, Huancavelica, Tayacaja.
Permitted: Staying within the city limits of Huancavelica City. Train travel from Huancayo to Huancavelica City. Daylight road travel from Pisco to Ayacucho City.
Restricted: All areas. Road travel is no longer permitted in this department.
Permitted: Flying into and staying within the city limits of Huanuco and Tingo María.
Restricted: Provinces of Satipo and Concepcion east of the Mantaro River.
Permitted: Daylight travel from La Merced to Satipo.
Restricted: Provinces of Pataz and Sanchez Carrión.
Restricted: Lambayeque Province northeast of Olmos and east of the Pan-American Highway.
Permitted: Daytime road travel on the Pan-American Highway.
Restricted: 20 kilometer swath of territory contiguous to the Colombian border. Travel on the Putumayo River.
Restricted: Province of Oxapampa.
Permitted: Flying into and staying within the city limits of Ciudad Constitucion and Puerto Bermudez.
Restricted: Province of Huancabamba south of Huancabamba City.
Permitted: Huancabamba City and areas to the north of the city.
Restricted: Provinces of Bellavista, Huallaga, Mariscal Caceres, and Tocache.
Permitted: Flying into and remaining within the city limits of Bellavista, Juanjui, Saposoa and Tocache. Daytime road travel from Tarapoto to Juanjui and Bellavista.
Restricted: Provinces of Padre Abad and Coronel Portillo west of Pucallpa City and west of the Ucayali River. Road travel from Pucallpa to Aguaytia and all cities west of Aguaytia.
Permitted: Flying into and remaining within the city limits of Pucallpa. The province of Coronel Portillo east of the Ucayali River.
CRIME: While the great majority of the approximately 200,000 Americans who visit Peru each year have very positive experiences, a small but growing number have been victims of serious crimes. The information below is intended to raise awareness of the potential for crime and suggest measures visitors can take to avoid becoming a victim.
Violent crime, including carjacking, assault, and armed robbery, is common in Lima. Resistance to violent crime often provokes greater violence, while victims who do not resist usually do not suffer serious physical harm. “Express kidnappings,” in which criminals kidnap victims and seek to obtain funds from their bank accounts via automatic teller machines, occur frequently. Thieves often smash car windows at traffic lights to grab jewelry, purses, backpacks, or other visible items from a car. This type of assault is common on main roads leading to Lima ‘s Jorge Chavez International Airport, specifically along De la Marina and Faucett Avenues and Via de Evitamiento, but it can occur anywhere in congested traffic, particularly in downtown Lima. Travelers are encouraged to put all belongings, including purses, in the trunk of a car or taxi. Passengers who hail taxis on the street have been assaulted. Following the May 2003 armed robbery of a U.S. Embassy employee by a taxi driver, the Embassy’s Regional Security Officer advised all embassy personnel not to hail taxis on the street. It is safer to use telephone-dispatched radio taxis or car services associated with major hotels. Travelers should guard against the theft of luggage and other belongings, particularly U.S. passports, at the Lima airport.
In downtown Lima and suburban areas frequented by tourists, the risk of street crime is high. American citizens traveling alone or in unescorted groups are more vulnerable to street crime. There is an increased level of criminal activity in Barranco, a popular Lima neighborhood. Visitors should avoid carrying unnecessary credit cards or ATM cards, and keep cash and ID in their front pockets.
Street crime is also prevalent in cities in Peru ‘s interior, including Cusco, Arequipa, Puno and Juliaca, and pickpocketers frequent the market areas in these cities. In Cusco, “chokehold” or “strangle” muggings are common, particularly on streets leading off the main square, in the area around the train station, and in the San Blas neighborhood. In 2002 and 2003, there were a number of cases of armed robberies, rapes, other sexual assaults and attempted rapes of U.S. citizens and other foreign tourists in Cusco city and the outlying areas in the vicinity of various Incan ruins. These assaults have occurred during both daylight hours and at night. Some crimes in the city of Cusco have involved the drivers of rogue (or unregistered) taxis. Travelers should use only licensed, registered taxis such as those available from taxi stands in Cusco displaying a blue decal issued by the municipal government on the windshield of the vehicle. Visitors should not accept offers of transportation or guide services from individuals seeking clients on the streets. A U.S. citizen tourist died in Cusco under unexplained circumstances in November 2000, after taking a street-hailed taxi at night. Tourists should be particularly cautious when visiting the Sacsahuayman ruins and the surrounding areas. They should not travel alone, but do so in as large a group as possible. Visitors should also avoid these areas at dawn, dusk or night, since roving gangs are known to frequent these areas and prey on unsuspecting tourists. U.S. citizen backpackers have also been victims of armed robbery while hiking on trails other than the Inca Trail. A pattern emerging among U.S. citizen and other foreign visitors who are victims of crime in Cusco and its environs reveals that thieves are targeting young tourists who stay in inexpensive accommodations, carry backpacks, and travel alone or in pairs in isolated areas, rather than in large groups.
Peruvian law enforcement authorities have responded to rising crime by increasing the number of tourist police officers patrolling Cusco and its outskirts on horseback and motorcycles. The officers have been dispatched to bus and train terminals, taxi stands, automatic teller machine locations, and other sites frequented by tourists, such as discoteques, restaurants, and craft fairs and shops.
Pickpocketing and thefts of luggage and passports from locked hotel rooms, rental cars and restaurants have been reported by U.S. citizen travelers to Arequipa, another popular tourist destination. In April 2003, two young foreign tourists, one a minor, were raped in the jungle in Ucayali province, and a U.S. citizen teenage visitor was raped there in 2001. Two U.S. Embassy employees were robbed at gunpoint in 2002 while on a walking trail between Huaraz and Monterrey, a popular area for trekking and mountain climbing. Two other armed robberies of tourists have subsequently occurred in that vicinity. In 2002, a young American citizen trekker was shot and killed during a robbery while he and a Peruvian companion who strayed from the trekking trail were camped in a remote area outside of Huaraz.
U.S. citizen visitors to Peru should immediately report any criminal activity perpetratedagainst them to the nearest police station or touristpolice (“POLTUR”) office. Immediate action may result in the capture of the thieves and the recovery of stolen property. U.S. citizens should also report crimes to the U.S. Embassy in Lima (telephones 434-3000 during business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or
434-3032 for after-hours emergencies if calling from within Lima; add the prefix 01 if calling from the provinces). Victims of crime in Cusco should contact the Consular Agent there(while in Cusco, telephones 84-9-62-1369, 84-22-4112, 23-1474, or 23-3541; from Lima, callers must dial the prefix 084 for Cusco ).The telephone number for POLTUR in Lima is 225-8698 or 225-8699; the fax number is 476-7708. There are also tourist police offices in 15 other cities, including all major tourist destinations, such as Cusco, Arequipa, and Puno. Tourists may register complaints on a 24-hour hotline provided by INDECOPI (National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property) by calling 224-7888 or 224-8600 while in Lima. Outside of Lima, callers should dial the prefix (01), then the aforementioned numbers, or call the toll-free number 0-800-42579 from any private telephone (the 800 number is not available from public payphones). The INDECOPI hotline will assist the caller in contacting the police to report a crime, but it is intended primarily to deal with non-emergency situations such as poor service from a travel agency or guide, lost property, or unfair charges.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy in Lima. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State’s pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care is generally good in Lima and usually adequate in other major cities, but it is less so elsewhere in Peru. Urban private health care facilities are often better staffed and equipped than public or rural ones. Public hospital facilities in Cusco, the prime tourist destination, are generally inadequate to handle serious medical conditions. Although some private hospital facilities in Cusco may be able to treat acute medical problems, in general the seriously ill traveler should return to Lima for further care as soon as is medically feasible.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations, but doctors and hospitals in Peru often do not accept U.S. medical insurance, even if the policy applies overseas.
Many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service, and medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.
SPECIFIC HEALTH RISKS: Visitors to high-altitude Andean destinations such as Cusco (11,000 feet), Machu Picchu (8,000 feet), or Lake Titicaca (13,000 feet) should discuss the trip with their personal physician prior to departing the United States. Travel to high altitudes could pose a serious risk of illness, hospitalization, and even death, particularly if the traveler has a medical condition that affects blood circulation or breathing. Several U.S. citizens have died in Peru from medical conditions exacerbated by the high altitude. Tourists or business visitors, especially but not restricted to those who suffer from cardiac-related problems or high blood pressure, and who wish to travel to high-altitude areas in Peru should undergo a medical examination before traveling. All people, even healthy and fit persons, will feel symptoms of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) upon arrival at high-altitude. Most people will have increased respiration and increased heart rate. Many people will have headaches, difficulty sleeping, lack of appetite, minor gastric and intestinal upsets, and mood changes. Most people may need time to adjust to the altitude. To help prevent these complications, consider taking acetazolamide (Diamox) after consulting your personal physician, avoid alcohol and smoking for at least one week after arrival at high altitudes, and limit physical activity for the first 36 to 48 hours after arrival at high altitudes.
In jungle areas east of the Andes mountain range (cordillera), chloroquine-resistant malaria is a serious problem. Cholera, yellow fever, hepatitis, dengue fever and other exotic and contagious diseases are also present. Yellow fever is endemic in certain areas of Peru; in general, those areas are located on the eastern side of the cordillera and at lower elevations in jungle areas. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Peruvian government recommend that travelers to Peru receive a yellow fever vaccination and carry documentation of the vaccination with them on their trip. Diarrhea caused by contaminated food or water may affect travelers, and it is potentially serious. If it persists, please seek medical attention. Local tap water in Peru is not considered potable. Only bottled water or treated (disinfected) water should be used for drinking. Fruits and vegetables should be washed with care, and meats and fish should be thoroughly cooked. Eggs, meat, unpasteurized cheese, and seafood are common sources of the bacteria that can cause travelers’ diarrhea, and they should be properly prepared or avoided.
Over the last two and one-half years, four U.S. citizen visitors have died during cosmetic surgery operations in Lima and another major city. The most recent death of this nature occurred in March 2003. All four patients were undergoing liposuction procedures.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
ADVENTURE TRAVEL SAFETY: Inca Trail hikers are significantly safer if they are part of a guided group trail hike. To protect natural resources along the Inca Trail, the Peruvian Government raised the fees for hiking the trail in 2001 and instituted limits on the numbers of hikers permitted on the trail. Hikers in peak season (June-August) are advised to make reservations for the Inca Trail in advance via a travel agency. Visitors should always register when entering national parks. Hikers should exercise extreme caution in steep or slippery areas, which are neither fenced nor marked. Several climbers have died or suffered serious injuries after falling while climbing Huayna Picchu, a peak near Machu Picchu. Only very basic medical assistance is available at Machu Picchu.
Adventure travelers should be aware that rescue capabilities are limited. In recent years, several hikers have died, and others have had to be rescued after serious accidents in the Huaraz region of the Cordillera Blanca Mountains, where Peru ‘s highest peaks are located. Three experienced U.S. citizen mountain climbers perished in an avalanche on Huascaran Mountain in 2002. Most rescues are carried out on foot because helicopters cannot fly to the high-altitude areas where hikers are stranded. U.S. citizens who plan to visit these mountainous areas in Ancash province should contact the Peruvian National Police’s High Mountain Rescue Unit (“USAM”) at telephone 51-44-793327, 793291, or 793333, faxphone 51-44-793292, or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Some USAM officers read and/or speak English.
Swimmers, rafters and boaters should be aware of strong currents in the Pacific Ocean and fast-moving rivers. An American citizen was killed while white-water rafting in 2002. Travelers are advised to seek advice from local residents before swimming in jungle lakes or rivers, where large reptiles or other dangerous creatures may live; caymans, resembling alligators, are found in jungle areas of Peru. One crocodile species is native to the Tumbes area, but it is limited in numbers and range. All adventure travelers should leave detailed written plans and a timetable with a friend and with local authorities in the region, and they should carry waterproof identification and emergency contact information.
Travelers to all remote areas should check with local authorities about geographic, climatic and security conditions.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Peru is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Road travel at night is extremely dangerous due to poor road markings and frequent unmarked road hazards. Drivers should not travel alone on rural roads, even in daylight. Convoy travel is preferable. Spare tires, parts and fuel are needed when traveling in remote areas, where distances between service areas are great. Fog is common on coastal and mountain highways, and the resulting poor visibility frequently causes accidents. Inter-city bus travel is dangerous. In 2001, several inter-city buses were held up at night by armed robbers, who forced passengers off buses and stole all their belongings. Bus accidents resulting in multiple deaths and injuries are common, and they are frequently attributed to excessive speed, poor bus maintenance, and driver fatigue. Several foreigners, including four U.S. citizens, were killed or seriously injured in bus accidents in 1999-2003. For further information, travelers may contact their nearest automobile club, or (for information in Spanish) the Associacion Automotriz del Peru, 299 Avenida Dos de Mayo, San Isidro, Lima 27, Peru, telephone 51-1-440-0495.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Peru’s Civil Aviation Authority as Category 1 — in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Peru ‘s air carrier operations. However, because of reliability issues and operational concerns, the U.S. Embassy in Lima has temporarily prohibited the use of one Peruvian carrier, Aero Continente, by employees of the U.S. government traveling on official business, unless they have received special permission. For further information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet web http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: The government of Peru prohibits the exportation of archaeological artifacts and colonial art. These restrictions include archaeological material from the pre-Hispanic cultures and certain ethnological materials from the colonial period of Peru, which are considered protected Peruvian cultural patrimony. U.S. law enforcement authorities can take action even after importation into the U.S. has occurred. For more information, contact Art Historian Dr. Jaime Mariazza, National Cultural Institute (Instituto Nacional de Cultura–INC), Director of Direccion de Registro Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural Mueble, or his assistant Rocio Sierra, at 476-9900, and/or Archaeologist Ms. Elia Centurion, Direccion de Registro de Patrimonio Arqueologico, at 463-5070 or 463-2009. Travelers buying art should be aware that unscrupulous traders may try to sell them articles that cannot be exported from Peru. Such articles may be seized by Peruvian customs authorities, and the traveler may be subject to criminal penalties. The U.S. Customs Service may impose corresponding import restrictions in accordance with the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act. (For further information, please contact the Customs Service at telephone (202) 927-2336 or consult the Internet site at http://exchanges.state.gov/education/culprop.) Travelers who purchase reproductions of colonial or pre-colonial art should buy only from reputable dealers, and they should insist on documentation from Peru’s National Institute of Culture (INC) showing that the object is a reproduction and may be exported. Peruvian customs authorities may retain articles lacking such documentation and forward them to INC for evaluation. If found to be reproductions, the objects eventually may be returned to the purchaser, but storage and shipping charges are the responsibility of the purchaser.
Vendors in jungle cities and airports sell live animals and birds, as well as handicrafts made from insects, feathers, or other natural products. Under Peruvian law, protecting the country’s biodiversity, it is illegal to remove certain flora and fauna items from their place of origin to another part of Peru or to export them to a foreign country. Travelers have been detained and arrested by the Ecology Police in Lima for carrying such items.
Information on U.S. regulations for the importation of plant and animal products is available from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture via the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov. Travelers bringing animals to the United States may also wish to consult with U.S. Customs or the Fish and Wildlife Service of the U.S. Department of Interior.
Peru currently bans the importation of domestic housecats from the United States and other countries. Housecats arriving from the U.S., or cats of U.S. origin, will be returned to the country of origin at the owner’s expense or destroyed in Peru.
Additional information about the protection of Peru’s cultural heritage and its flora and fauna is available from the Embassy of Peru.
Peruvian customs regulations require that many electronic items or items for commercial use be declared upon entering the country. Failure to make a full and accurate declaration can lead to arrest and incarceration.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Peruvian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Peru are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Peruvian police are efficient at detecting drug smugglers at Lima’s international airport and at land border crossings. Since 1995, scores of U.S. citizens have been convicted of narcotics trafficking in Peru. Many of these U.S. citizens were recruited in the United States by drug traffickers who offered free trips to Peru and the chance to earn quick cash. Anyone arrested on drug charges, regardless of nationality, will face protracted pre-trial detention in poor prison conditions. Further information on prison conditions and the judicial system is available in the Department of State’s Human Rights Report on Peru, available via the Internet at http://www.state.gov.
Travelers should be aware that some drugs and other products readily available over-the-counter or by prescription in Peru are illegal in the United States. The prescription sedative flumitrapezan, trade name rohypnol, is one such drug; others may come on the market at any time. Although coca-leaf tea is a popular beverage and folk remedy for altitude sickness in Peru, possession of these tea bags, which are sold in most Peruvian supermarkets, is illegal in the United States.
OTHER LEGAL ISSUES: Civil marriage in Peru of U.S. citizen non-residents to Peruvians is difficult, and documentary requirements vary by location. The Peruvian fiancé(e) should check with the municipality where the marriage will take place to determine what documents are required. The U.S. Embassy does not authenticate U.S. civil documents for local use. All U.S. documents must be translated and authenticated by a Peruvian consular officer in the United States.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Peru is an earthquake-prone country. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.
CHILDREN’S ISSUES: In Peru, international adoptions are strictly regulated. An adoptive child must be abandoned by the birth parents and placed with a government-approved agency before he or she can be adopted internationally, unless the adoptive parent has Peruvian nationality or is a Peruvian resident. Current information on Peruvian adoption procedures and the immigrant visa application process for orphans is available from the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy. Information on pre-adoption requirements and the I-600 orphan petition process is available from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service, or USINS) office at the U.S. Embassy, telephone 51-1-434-3000, extensions 3011 and 3012 from 8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children’s_issues.html or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747. The OCS call center can answer general inquiries regarding international adoptions and will forward calls to the appropriate country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens living in or visiting Peru are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Lima and obtain updated information on travel and security in Peru. The Consular Section is open for American Citizen Services, including registration, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon weekdays, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays. The U.S. Embassy is located in Monterrico, a suburb of Lima, at Avenida Encalada, Block Seventeen; telephone 51-1-434-3000 during business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), or 51-1-434-3032 for after-hours emergencies; fax 51-1-434-3065, or 434-3037, or 434-4182 (American Citizen Services Unit); Internet web site – http://peru.usembassy.gov. This website provides information, but it does not yet have interactive capability to respond to specific inquiries. The U.S. Consular Agency in Cusco is located in the Binational Center (Instituto Cultural Peruana Norte Americano, ICPNA) at Avenida Tullumayo 125; telephone 51-84-24-5102; fax 51-84-23-35-41;cellular phone 51-84-9-62-1369; Internet email email@example.com. The Consular Agency can provide information and assistance to U.S. citizen travelers who are victims of crime or need other assistance, but it cannot replacelost or stolen U.S. passports,which are processed at the U.S. Embassy in Lima.
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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated June 24, 2003, to update the sections on Entry and Exit Requirements, Safety and Security, Crime, Specific Health Risks, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, and Customs Regulations.