Moving to Peru?
Peru: Visas and Healthcare
Residents of most Western European, North & South American, as well as Oceanic countries do not require a visa to enter Peru for 183 days. Peru requires citizens of almost all African and Asian nations to apply for a visa prior to moving to Peru, regardless of the length of their stay. Please visit the nearest Peruvian embassy or consulate to ensure that your country of residence falls into this category. If you can read Spanish, you can also check out this list supplied by the government of Peru.
Permanent residency is not possible in Peru, aside from two options: either you have a job, or a Peruvian spouse. Otherwise you will either be obliged to take out a tourist visa for 90 or 183 days, or a work permit, or have lived and worked in Peru long enough to qualify for naturalization.
Which Type of Visa Do You Need?
There are three main types of visas in Peru:
- The tourist visa (90 days): This visa consists of a stamp given to you at the immigration office upon arrival in a Peruvian airport. Make sure that the stamp is given for 90 days and not for only 30 days, as is sometimes the case. You need to show a return or continuing journey ticket valid within the 90-day period in order to receive this stamp.
- The extended tourist visa (183 days): Similar to the short-term tourist visa, this is the extended version. It is also given in the form of a stamp in your passport upon arrival in the country. Be aware that if you extend your stay in Peru beyond the allotted time period, you will be fined!
- The business visa (visa de negocios): This visa is required for anyone planning on doing business in Peru. Along with your valid passport, you need to have your company write to the Peruvian Chamber of Commerce (in Spanish) indicating the nature of your business and the length of your stay.
For other visa categories and information on exactly which forms you will need to fill out, please visit the Peruvian embassy or consulate nearest to you well in advance of your impending move to Peru.
Not the Best System: Peruvian Healthcare
If you are planning on moving to Peru, it is imperative that you take out a good private international healthcare policy. Unfortunately, the World Health Organization considers Peru’s healthcare system to be one of the least fairly financed in the world. This is due to the fact that many Peruvians earn too little to be able to pay the high benefit costs.
Aside from the expensive health insurance system, Peruvian hospitals have good standards, and there are numerous private health clinics in Peru’s larger cities, such as Lima and Arequipa. One of the largest Peruvian healthcare providers is EsSalud, which is one of the first attempts in Peru to universalize healthcare.
The emergency number throughout Peru is 105, and will connect you directly with ambulance, fire, and police departments. Pharmacies (farmacias or boticas) are located throughout the cities. Most medication is accessible over the counter, and physicians will prescribe medications as well. As usual when moving abroad, if you have any irregular medical issues, please be sure to take a copy of your prescription with you in order to ensure you get the equivalent in Peru.
Make an appointment with your general practitioner for a general check-up before moving to Peru in order to ensure that you have the proper vaccinations. Currently the WHO requires foreign nationals entering Peru to get vaccinated for hepatitis A & B, typhoid, yellow fever, and rabies. If you are planning on traveling to the Amazon rainforest area, be sure to take precautions against mosquito bites as malaria is still a health risk there — better safe than sorry!
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