Peru Travel Information

Last modified: July 25, 2023
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No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Peru

Commercial international travel started on 5 October within the Latin American region. Passengers need to wear a face mask and a face shield/visor and need to have proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR (molecular) test taken 72 hours before the commercial flight. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

Visas

During this period the Peruvian authorities have confirmed that fees will be waived for overstays on visas owing to the State of Emergency.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

Normally, you don’t need a visa to travel if the purpose of the visit is tourism. If you’re travelling for any other purpose, check entry clearance requirements with the Peruvian Consulate-General in London.

If you have tourism status in Peru, you’ll need to apply online for a special permit in order to sign any type of contract, eg, purchase of a home, business contracts, at a notary public. For more information, please contact the Peruvian Immigration Office or the Peruvian Consulate-General in London.

On arrival, you’re normally given permission to stay for up to 90 days.

Double check the period of time you’ve been granted. If you overstay, you’ll need to pay a fine. In the worst case scenario you could be held in detention.

While it is not required by the immigration authorities, some airlines require passengers to show proof of onward travel (e.g. an airline ticket) in order to travel to Peru.

Immigration

If you enter Peru overland from Ecuador, make sure your passport is stamped with a Peruvian entry stamp at the local immigration office. Most people crossing the border with Ecuador enter Peru through Aguas Verdes (Tumbes region) – you may need to ask for directions to the immigration office. If your passport is not stamped at the border with Ecuador, you can have it stamped at the Immigration Office in the city of Tumbes.

If you enter Peru from Bolivia by bus or taxi, make sure your passport is stamped with a Peruvian entry stamp at the immigration office in Desaguadero or Copacabana (Puno region).

Immigration authorities may also not let you leave Peru without a valid exit stamp from the last country you visited.

If you enter Peru without an entry stamp then you’re required by law to apply for a new entry stamp at the nearest immigration office. The immigration authorities will need you to provide your passport and evidence of your entry to Peru, eg air/bus ticket in your name, exit stamp from the last country you visited, and any other documentation they deem necessary. If you’re unable to provide any such evidence you must apply for an exit or expulsion order at the Immigration Office in Lima. You won’t be allowed to leave Peru without this, and you may be prevented from re-entering Peru for the next five to ten years.

The British Embassy can’t intervene in immigration issues. Make sure you get your entry stamp when you arrive in Peru, but if your passport was not stamped on entry into Peru, we can assist you in requesting the entry stamp or the exit order. The sooner you start that process, the better.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Peru.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETD) are currently not accepted to enter or transit Peru. They are accepted to leave Peru only, issued by the British Embassy in Lima. After receiving the ETD, the holder will have to approach the Peruvian Immigration Office to get a new entry immigration stamp. This can be done at the airport. If the previous passport was lost or stolen, the authorities will request a police report.

Customs

British nationals have experienced problems when trying to enter the country with more than one laptop. You should familiarise yourself with Peruvian immigration or customs procedures before you enter the country. For further details contact the Peruvian Consulate in London.

If you are returning to the UK via Europe, be aware that the customs authorities in European airports frequently confiscate duty free alcohol and other liquids purchased at the duty free shops in Lima airport from passengers in transit.

Travelling with children

Children under the age of 18 years travelling on a British passport who have resident status in Peru need written permission (Autorización de Viaje Notarial) from the non accompanying parent(s) to leave the country.

This permission is obtained by a notary public in Peru. The letter must mention the proposed destination, the purpose of the trip, the date of departure and the return date.

If unable to obtain a notarial permission, the child will need a judicial written permission (Autorización de Viaje Judicial) issued by a judge. If one of the parents has committed certain crimes, the other parent can request a judicial written permission from the judge. If one of the parents is deceased, the other parent would need to submit the death certificate to a notary public, so that an indefinite notarial permit to travel with the child is issued.

Children who have tourist status do not need these permissions, but immigration officers are free to request them in circumstances considered suspicious by the immigration authorities or if the child has stayed in Peru for over 183 days.

For further information, contact the Peruvian Consulate in London or the Peruvian Immigration Department.

Safety and security

Protests

Local protests are common and can turn violent quickly. Sometimes they disrupt road, rail, river and air travel and affect tourist areas like Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, Puerto Maldonado and Iquitos. Protests in Puno can result in the closure of the border crossing with Bolivia, including Lake Titicaca. Protests in Machu Picchu can result in the suspension of train and bus services to the ruins. Seek local advice before you set off.

Social conflicts

Local groups often announce strike action with little or no notice. These are normally around mining interests and may quickly spill over from one region to another. These demonstrations can become violent and there is a high potential for roadblocks. You should avoid large gatherings and follow the advice of local authorities.

Crime

Street crime, including muggings and thefts, is a significant problem in Lima, Cusco, Arequipa and other major cities. Be vigilant in public places and when withdrawing cash from ATMs. Avoid walking alone in quiet areas or at night.

There have been a number of recent thefts at gunpoint affecting foreign nationals, including British tourists and residents. These have happened in tourist areas of Miraflores and Barranco, including outside hotels popular with tourists, during the day and at night. In early 2019 there have also been a small number of robberies in and around luxury lodges near Puerto Maldonado city in the Madre de Dios region, including on tour buses. Some of these have been at gunpoint and involved British tourists. As with travel across the country, you should remain aware of your surroundings and avoid wearing or displaying expensive items. In the event of a robbery, do not attempt to resist attackers or take any action that puts you at greater risk. Report the matter to local police as soon as possible. If the incident takes place in a lodge or hotel, staff will be able to assist.

Passport theft is also common on inter-city buses and at bus stations. Keep your passport with you at all times during your bus journey and take particular care of valuables if you travel on a bus at night. Provincial and inter-city buses are sometimes held up and the passengers robbed.

Tourists have been targeted and robbed by bogus taxi drivers. Do not hail a taxi on the street. Use licensed telephone or internet-based taxi services whenever possible, or ask your hotel to book one for you. Be particularly careful when arriving at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, and at bus terminals. Bogus taxi drivers and thieves pretending to be tour operators sometimes approach arriving passengers. At the airport, use one of the official taxi companies located at desks directly outside the arrival hall. Further details are on the Lima Airport Partners website. At bus terminals, use one of the taxis registered with them. Cars travelling from Lima city to the airport have been targeted by thieves when diverted off the main route by GPS navigation applications.

There have been a number of cases of rape, mostly in the Cusco and Arequipa areas. Be alert to the use of ‘date rape’ and other drugs. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times. If you’re in a bar and don’t feel well, try to seek help from people you know. Unscrupulous tour agents have targeted lone young female travellers in the Cusco area.

If you’re a victim of crime, try to report it to the police as soon as possible so they can start investigations.

Local travel

The website of the Peruvian Ministry of Tourism has useful information for tourists and visitors in English, and its local tourist Information and Assistance service – telephone +51 1 574 8000 (24 hours a day) can handle enquiries in English. On the Ministry of Tourism website you will also find information about the government offices that help tourists around the country. The Tourist Protection Network has launched a new 24/7 free line to contact the Tourist Police on 0800 22221. They can handle enquiries in English.

Drugs, organised crime and terrorism are inextricably linked. There is a higher risk to your safety in regions where there is intensive coca cultivation and processing, including the Alto Huallaga, Aguaytia, Apurimac-Ene and Mantaro (VRAEM) river basins. Remnants of the Shining Path terrorist group continue to conduct occasional ambushes and attacks mainly targetting Police, military forces and local authorities. Seek local advice about dangerous areas.

A state of emergency for security reasons is in force in some districts of Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Junin, Madre de Dios and Cusco regions (Cusco city, Machu Picchu and Manu Park are not affected) and in the Apurimac-Cusco-Arequipa transportation corridor. For further information you should contact Iperu. A state of emergency gives the armed forces responsibility for law and order alongside the police. Some civil rights are suspended. If you do decide to visit any area under a state of emergency you should follow instructions given to you by military, police or other officials.

Unregulated tour services

If you’re planning to undertake adventure activities like canopy/zipline, bungee jumping, paragliding, kayaking, rock climbing, etc, please note that the agency providing the service must have a licence for these activities. For more information, contact the Ministry of Tourism, as they can provide you with updated information on tour services. You should also check with companies for their health and safety precautions.

Border areas

Be especially alert to the local security situation in the border areas with Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil.

There are reports of increased drug trafficking and other organised crime in the area around the Putumayo river, near the border with Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil. There are also threats of incursions from armed guerilla forces and FARC dissidents at the border with Colombia.

As a result, there is an increase of law enforcement activity

If you’re crossing the Peru-Ecuador border (by land) you should do so at official checkpoints only. Other parts of the border may still have unexploded landmines. You should exercise extra vigilance in these areas.

Inca trail

To protect the Inca trail, where only guided groups are allowed, there is a government fee and restrictions on numbers. During the high season (June–August) you should make reservations with a travel agency well in advance. Always register when entering national parks and be particularly careful in steep or slippery areas which are unfenced or unmarked. 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.

The alternative route to Machu Picchu, also known as ‘the Inca Jungle Trail’ can be difficult for vehicles due to poor road conditions and fatal road accidents have been reported.

Lake Titicaca

Travel in groups when walking along the banks of Lake Titicaca. There have been incidents of armed robberies against travellers walking on their own. Take care at all times and contact the local tourist information centre for advice about known safe zones. Local authorities advise against travelling alone at night in the Desaguadero area on the Peru-Bolivia border at the southern end of Lake Titicaca.

Nazca Lines

If you’re planning to overfly the Nazca Lines, check the airline company is licensed and has a good safety record before you book. For more information, please contact Iperu.

Spiritual cleansing

Shamans and other individuals offer ‘spiritual cleansing’ to tourists in the Amazon area, Northern Peru and Cusco. This service is often referred to as Ayahuasca or San Pedro and typically involves the consumption of a brew containing dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an hallucinogenic drug. Consumption of this brew is not regulated and its interaction with existing medical conditions isn’t well understood. People have suffered serious illnesses and in some cases death after participating in these ceremonies. There have also been reports of sexual assault during these ceremonies. If you have been sexually assaulted or raped in Peru and you wish to seek assistance or to report the incident, you can refer to this guidance.

Spiritual cleansing retreats are usually some distance from populated areas making it difficult to access medical attention for those who need it. Some retreats have basic medical services, including first aid, but others don’t. Some don’t even have an established plan for how clients can access medical facilities in case of an emergency.

Amazon Cruise ships

In July 2016 a cruise ship carrying foreign nationals was robbed while travelling along the River Amazon. Security arrangements vary between different cruise operators. For more information about safety and security on Amazon cruise ships, contact your cruise ship operator or iPeru (official tourist information and assistance).

Huaraz Region of the Cordillera Blanca Mountains

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. Most rescues are carried out on foot because helicopters can’t fly to the areas where hikers are stranded. Contact iperu offices in Huaraz (telephone: +51 (43) 428812) before you set off.

River rafting and boating

Check that the company you use is well established and make sure your insurance covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. The weather can impact on white-water rafting and boating conditions.

Sand buggies

There have been deaths and injuries involving recreational sand buggies, particularly in the sand dunes around Ica and Lake Huacachina. These buggies are unregulated and the drivers and agencies take no responsibility for the welfare of passengers.

Road travel

You can drive in Peru with a valid UK driving licence for up to 6 months or with an International Driving Permit (IDP) for up to one year.

If you’re driving on an IDP, from 28 March 2019 you should have the 1968 version of the IDP to drive in Peru. 1949 IDPs previously issued by the UK may no longer be accepted after this date. From 1 February 2019, you can only get IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK Post Offices. You will not be able to buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.

Carry your passport with you at all times when driving.

Take particular care if you are driving close to places where protests are taking place. Don’t attempt to pass blockades.

Driving standards in Peru are poor. Stop signs and traffic lights are often ignored. Fatal crashes occur frequently. Drivers don’t always show concern for pedestrians.

Bus crashes are common, especially at night. Only use reputable transport companies, and where possible avoid overnight travel, especially in mountainous and remote regions. Always wear a seat belt.

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