Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

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lamamita
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Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby lamamita » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:53 pm

At the Ecuador/Peru border today, I was told that I would be unable to have more than 183 days on my passport in Peru per year. I had had a tourist visa for 150 days and left the country before it expired. I crossed the border at Machara, Ecuador to get a new tourist visa and the Peruvian immigration official did not want to let me reenter the country. He insisted that I would have to request a tourist visa extension from DIGEMIN (which I *know* is an old procedure and not followed anymore). He tried to show me the law that said this, yet it did not state the 183 days PER YEAR rule anywhere (and besides which he was showing me a law from 2004 when the law was updated in 2008...). After arguing and arguing my case, and frantically calling the DIGEMIN offices in both Piura and Lima, neither of which were answering the phone, he allowed me a visa of 40 days (the sum remaining when subtracting the number of days I had previously spent in the country from 183...). I have just re-read the 2008 modification of DL 1043 and I know this guy was wrong.

Has anyone else had this experience? What can I do as far as recourse? Should I just avoid Machara from now on? I do know that the border official can use their own judgment about how many days to give as far as a tourist visa...but still. Next time I cross the border I am planning on bringing a printed copy of the law with me. I am in the process of getting married (and thus will be getting Peruvian residency) and I have a Peruvian son, my life is here, I was terrified when he said he was not going to let me into the country again.

Note: I posted this on the expatperu mailing list as well, but I thought I would repost here in case anyone missed it there. Thanks!


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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby Kelly » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:24 pm

I might be wrong, but it seems that every time someone has trouble re-entering, it's been coming from Ecuador. I would definitely be avoiding those borders. Tacna seems to be the easiest to pass, although I'm starting to hear of more and more people having troubles when they try to re-enter.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby mahou123 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:53 pm

I crossed Aguas Verdes / Huaquillas border 3 times last week, and had no problem. And I had a new passport without any stamps in it, they didn´t seem concern about it. I went to see Huaquillas first, then back to Peru to stamp exit, then on to Guayaquil and back. I don´t know how it works in other places, but there you don´t need to show any document to cross the actual border, you just walk between the countries as you please. So if there is some trouble, you can just walk away and come back tomorrow, talk to another guy. Spend a day on a beach in Zorritos or something, not far away. But it doesn´t seem that anyone has any problems there. I wouldn´t argue with border officials though, if you speak Spanish well, just ask them nicely, they should help.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby stuart » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:11 am

When did they change the law to allow tourists to stay for more than 183 days per year? That has always been the case despite all the revisions.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby lamamita » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:15 am

Stuart:
The 183 day limit is the total amount they can give you on a single tourist visa. It doesn't refer to the number of days PER YEAR you are allowed to spend in Peru. Do you have a source for that? I'm looking at the text of the law right now and the 183 days improrrogables listed refers to the fact that you can't extend a single tourist visa beyond 183 days while inside the country. The law is pretty clear on that. It's really common for folks to cross the border, renew the tourist visa and re-enter for another jaunt. I and others I know have lived on a tourist visa for up to two years without any problems, just leaving and re-entering the country every few months.

mahou123: Thanks, I think I am going to try Huaquillas next time...

Kelly: Interesting, going to Chile or Bolivia would be a huge expense--I live in Piura, so either of the two Ecuador border points are feasible for me.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby PTTurboe » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:47 am

Can you post that law?

I am going to have to deal with this myself soon!
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby lamamita » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:13 am

PDF links to the immigration laws:
http://www.digemin.gob.pe/docs/docsnuev ... L_1043.pdf new law in 2008, which updated this law:
http://www.digemin.gob.pe/docs/docsnuev ... C3%ADa.pdf

Most important thing to note: Prorroga refers to extending a visa without leaving the country. There IS a limit on how long you can stay with a prorroga, there is not a limit of days per year within the country on different visas in comparison to other countries like Ecuador.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby Remigius » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:46 am

Customs at Aqua Verdes are corrupt like hell. Some years ago I wanted to renew my tourist visa and in Lima they told me it was a matter of hopping over the border, getting the right seals, and return the very same day. Of course at Aquas Verdes they told me I had to be 48 hours in Ecuador before getting back, but that they were willing to "help". 3 hours, a lot of $ less and some obscure rides later, I was back in Peru (where I was even requested "una propina" extra for the services). Turned out to be that 2 guys, a Peruvian and an Ecuadorian, had family working a the customs office of their country and literally asked "¡Oye Tio, Pasame el sello! I asked them afterwards if they'd do this kind of work a lot, and they told me "Oh yes, we even have buses full of Japanese coming here each year!"

The ironic thing is while they give you a hard time, smugglers are transporting all sorts of hardware and electronics over improvised bridges over the river that marks the border. It's so obviously corrupt, that it's almost hilarious to see.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby stuart » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:34 am

This is the way the law always worked, before the 2008 changes:
- Visits by tourists from most countries are limited to 90 days, at discretion of border officer
- These visits can be extended 3 times by 30 days, but not past 183 days
- You can also leave the country and come back with another 90 days - in the event that they don't bother to count how many days you've already been in the country.
- Peru is not the USA, and even the worst officer will not entirely refuse you entry

In 2008 the law changed, getting rid of the prorroga for tourists and allowing that 90 days single visa to grow to anywhere up to 183 days if you ask for it. If not, you leave and come back, playing the game hoping no-one will stop you on the 183 days rule. (I think this has since changed back, I've seen others mention it)

Why is the 183 days rule not explicitly mentioned in the specific article of the law referring to tourist visas? Because you have to look at the law as a whole... if you stay in Peru for more that 183 days you are a tax resident required to pay tax on your world-wide income. If you are living in Peru and have world-wide income to pay tax on you are no longer a tourist. If you are no longer a tourist, your visa is not the correct one. That this is ignored 99% of the time except by the the immigration officers in the airport (who will give you 30-40 days) and that chubby guy at the Machara crossing in the north.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby stuart » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:45 am

By far the easiest crossing is the Aguas Verdes/Huaquillas crossing. Not only can you just leave the country as you please - must be great if you're a wanted criminal - but the border posts are, as everyone else states, a joke. Last time I was there, for example, they were just stamping passports one by one without looking who they belong to, you could then write in your own number of days!! You'll never have problems beating any kind of immigration rule there.

The other main northern crossing in Machara is peaceful, beautiful and is free of the drug smugglers, gangs and murderers of Huaquillas. However, the tubby immigration officer has a strong dislike for gringos and their border hopping visa violating ways. I can only assume he was denied a visa for a western country and is out for revenge. Don't go there unless your papers are in order.

In the south, the border with Chile is computerized. The computer will show what your border-hopping activities have been, but the officers usually don't care. This is where I've heard of people mentioning that they were told about a 24hr or 48hr rule before checking back in - not in order to get a bribe, but just that it was the law. However, I've also heard of people doing a 20min border hop here.

I've never spoken to anyone who crossed over into Brazil, Bolivia or Colombia(Leticia) but I assume those borders are porous too.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby Remigius » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:30 am

stuart wrote:This is where I've heard of people mentioning that they were told about a 24hr or 48hr rule before checking back in - not in order to get a bribe, but just that it was the law.


I'd like to see that law on paper. It would mean that when you stay in Tacna and you want to visit Arica, that you'll have to book a hotel in Arica and spend the night there. Highly unlikely (but this is Peru, so anything is possible). In Breña I was told that I could hop over the border and return the same day.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby stuart » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:40 am

Remigius wrote:
stuart wrote:This is where I've heard of people mentioning that they were told about a 24hr or 48hr rule before checking back in - not in order to get a bribe, but just that it was the law.


I'd like to see that law on paper. It would mean that when you stay in Tacna and you want to visit Arica, that you'll have to book a hotel in Arica and spend the night there. Highly unlikely (but this is Peru, so anything is possible). In Breña I was told that I could hop over the border and return the same day.


Like I said, I've heard of people doing a 20 minute hop to Arica too. I'm not sure what the deal is, whether certain officers don't know what they are doing, whether they take a dislike to certain people or whether they make stuff up when they are bored. Guessing here... maybe the x-hour law was an old law which gave border authorities time to enter the crossing in a paper-based record system before things were computerized? No idea. Generally, worrying about these things, arguing the law, expecting logic to be the ruling factor - it just doesn't happen here. Best to just stay calm, go with the flow, and it works itself out in the end. The original poster got 40 days leave when confronted with complete denial of entry, just enough time to plan a trip to Huaquillas and get another 90.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby Remigius » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:56 am

stuart wrote: Best to just stay calm, go with the flow, and it works itself out in the end.

In Arica, I would not have any problem to go with the flow (it's a very decent place); but in that dump of Aguas Verdes I crapped my pants in all colours of the rainbow.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby markr » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:34 pm

If you travel from Tacna to Arica just use one of the army of taxi drivers who make a good living from taking Gringos over the border. They have all the necessary paperwork, and will usher you through the whole process at a very reasonable cost.
That aside maybe the authorities are starting to take a close look at what is really happening here. A relative of mine just had loads of unnecessary hassle trying to get a tourist visa to pay a genuine visit to her sons who are both residents in America. She'll be coming home after a few weeks holiday, and has no intention of abusing the system.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby Jennifer » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:36 pm

All very interesting comments! I was doing a border hop this very last weekend in Tacna. I got VERY lucky and got a taxi guy to take me in his car for S/.100 - a bit steep, but so what. During the first 30 seconds of our conversation I realized he was a pleasant fellow and had experience in this field. Good for me!
He told me ''don't worry, I know all the people in the immigrations booths at the border''. I took this with a pinch of salt, as you could imagine. We went through to exit Peru and he greeted his buddy behind the counter with a friendly gesture and shook hands. No problems. The same thing happened at the Chilean side before we did a U turn and headed back to the check point in Chile to exit the country. No problems again.
Now then, coming back in to Peru and the most crucial of the stages! ''Give me 70soles just in case'' said the taxista. Sure, no problem (although i never paid a bride and wasn't keen on the fact by any stretch of the imagination!). I didn't entirely get what he said to the young lady behind the counter when we entered, some kind of Peruvian slang, but she happily gave me 183 days. The funniest part was that when i jumped back in his taxi there was a guy sitting in the back seat - which was previously vacant - which gave me a moment of panic (was i done for, in a scam tactic? Was i being kidnapped? Arghh!). It was actually the guy on the counter next to the lady who gave me my stamp who'd overseen the stamping - wink wink, nod nod. It was the taxistas mate who needed a lift back to Tacna as his shift had just finished! So, off we went. And we didn't pay the bribe either. Jackpot. Any daredevils out there, contact Juan Carlos: 052 952384572. What a star!
Last edited by Jennifer on Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby tupacperu » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:45 pm

lamamita wrote:Stuart:
The 183 day limit is the total amount they can give you on a single tourist visa. It doesn't refer to the number of days PER YEAR you are allowed to spend in Peru. Do you have a source for that? I'm looking at the text of the law right now and the 183 days improrrogables listed refers to the fact that you can't extend a single tourist visa beyond 183 days while inside the country. The law is pretty clear on that. It's really common for folks to cross the border, renew the tourist visa and re-enter for another jaunt. I and others I know have lived on a tourist visa for up to two years without any problems, just leaving and re-entering the country every few months.

mahou123: Thanks, I think I am going to try Huaquillas next time...

Kelly: Interesting, going to Chile or Bolivia would be a huge expense--I live in Piura, so either of the two Ecuador border points are feasible for me.


The only implication for more than 183 days in Peru is that you become a tax resident, and they should not prevent you from entering. I would think that after 183 days that would be the business of SUNAT. Even those who overstay their visa for more than 183 days only have to pay $1.00 per day.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby stuart » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:11 pm

tupacperu wrote:
lamamita wrote:Stuart:
The 183 day limit is the total amount they can give you on a single tourist visa. It doesn't refer to the number of days PER YEAR you are allowed to spend in Peru. Do you have a source for that? I'm looking at the text of the law right now and the 183 days improrrogables listed refers to the fact that you can't extend a single tourist visa beyond 183 days while inside the country. The law is pretty clear on that. It's really common for folks to cross the border, renew the tourist visa and re-enter for another jaunt. I and others I know have lived on a tourist visa for up to two years without any problems, just leaving and re-entering the country every few months.

mahou123: Thanks, I think I am going to try Huaquillas next time...

Kelly: Interesting, going to Chile or Bolivia would be a huge expense--I live in Piura, so either of the two Ecuador border points are feasible for me.


The only implication for more than 183 days in Peru is that you become a tax resident, and they should not prevent you from entering. I would think that after 183 days that would be the business of SUNAT. Even those who overstay their visa for more than 183 days only have to pay $1.00 per day.


Indeed, it does not prevent you from entering, they always let you back in with some amount of days. It's unlikely they'll give you all the days in the world though, because as someone who has passed the 183 days per calendar year mark, you are not a tourist any more.

I'd recommend paying the $1 a day fine in all situations except if you plan on legalizing your situation at some point, which you can't do on an expired visa. The border-hopping loop hole works just fine, except for when it doesn't. It didn't for me one time too, because of this unwritten interpretation of the 183 day rule. I'm not defending it, nor can I show anyone or the original poster a place where it is stated clearly, all I can say is that it exists in the minds of the authorities, so border-hoppers should make plans to hop around that too.
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby PTTurboe » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:19 pm

How do they know what your income taxes would be outside of Peru?

Anyone pay these income taxes?

Wonder why Peru did this?

They could get some pensionado business if they did not do this. That was $600 a month. Is that still valid?

http://www.paradiseuruguayblog.com/2010 ... y-tax.html

I think that is where I am going to end up....
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby Kelly » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:46 pm

Let's try to keep the thread on topic; We already have several threads about the tax responsibilities of expats, any questions regarding that subject would be better off there.

(It helps people find information more easily when they do a search! :))
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby euroman » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:57 pm

Good news for the border hoppers who live in or around Lima.
Starperu starts flights to Rio Branco (Brasil), Leticia (Colombia) and Ecuador soon.


Still, it's still cheaper to overstay your visa and pay the $1 a day fine.

[quote="stuart"]
if you stay in Peru for more that 183 days you are a tax resident required to pay tax on your world-wide income.

How do they check out what your income is? And what, if you don´t have an income?
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby tupacperu » Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:05 pm

The best way to avoid the hassle is to fly into Ft Lauderdale (cheap Spirit flight) with one change of clothing and fly back in. Immigration at the airport are not as strict.

Peru does not check (tax residency) now and have no way of knowing, but if they should have a tax treaty with the USA, which could happen any day, then the USA will share your tax info (if you are an American). Reporting income worldwide is voluntary, just as it is for visa holding tax residents. Peru has no banking secerecy laws and neither do the USA. This does not mean that at any given time that Peru will run a list of tax residents and send you a bill. A bill will be waiting at Chavez airport when you try to leave the country (hehehe).

euroman wrote:Good news for the border hoppers who live in or around Lima.
Starperu starts flights to Rio Branco (Brasil), Leticia (Colombia) and Ecuador soon.


Still, it's still cheaper to overstay your visa and pay the $1 a day fine.

stuart wrote:if you stay in Peru for more that 183 days you are a tax resident required to pay tax on your world-wide income.

How do they check out what your income is? And what, if you don´t have an income?
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby PTTurboe » Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:32 pm

Thanks...

Maybe we should start a new thread because things have changed.

And taxes and residency kinda go hand in hand if you are from the US.

The "free trade" agreement between the US and Peru is in force and one of the provisions was a tax treaty. I cannot find it in the "signed agreement".

The IRS and Sunat DO SHARE info. Found that on the US Trade Government site...
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby mark7402 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:23 pm

Jennifer wrote:All very interesting comments! I was doing a border hop this very last weekend in Tacna. I got VERY lucky and got a taxi guy to take me in his car for S/.100 - a bit steep, but so what. During the first 30 seconds of our conversation I realized he was a pleasant fellow and had experience in this field. Good for me!
He told me ''don't worry, I know all the people in the immigrations booths at the border''. I took this with a pinch of salt, as you could imagine. Turned out, he wasn't exagerrating or lying. We went through to exit Peru and he greeted his buddy behind the counter with a friendly gesture and shook hands. No problems. The same thing happened at the Chilean side before we did a U turn and headed back to the check point in Chile to exit the country. No problems again.
Now then, coming back in to Peru and the most crucial of the stages! ''Give me 70soles just in case'' said the taxista. Sure, no problem (although i never paid a bride and wasn't keen on the fact by any stretch of the imagination!). I didn't entirely get what he said to the young lady behind the counter when we entered, some kind of Peruvian slang, but she happily gave me 183 days. The funniest part was that when i jumped back in his taxi there was a guy sitting in the back seat - which was previously vacant - which gave me a moment of panic (was i done for, in a scam tactic? Was i being kidnapped? Arghh!). It was actually the guy on the counter next to the lady who gave me my stamp who'd overseen the stamping - wink wink, nod nod. It was the taxistas mate who needed a lift back to Tacna as his shift had just finished! So, off we went. And we didn't pay the bribe either. Jackpot. Any daredevils out there, contact Juan Carlos: 052 952384572. What a star!


I also done exactly the same as you back in June and paid 100 soles to a Taxi driver who done all the paperwork for me (i would have struggled with that) drove 2 minutes into Chile and brought me back again. He stated he has a friend that works there but wasn't working that day and unfortunately for some reason the immigration man would only give me 4 Months. Unfortunately next Month its due for renewal again but as I am popping back to the UK in December i think i will just pay 2 months of fines this time for the overstay.

P.s. Taxi drivers name was Juan :)
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Re: Border official attempted to refuse tourist visa

Postby lamamita » Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:33 pm

Just an update:

I went again today to cross the border at Machara. I had been planning on crossing via Tumbes (Aguas Verdes/Huaquillas) but read enough horror stories to scare me away from there. It didn't sound like a good place to bring my 5 year old...anyways, I went back to Machara hoping I'd just had bad luck last time and wanting to stick to familiar territory. Plus Machara is pretty.

I didn't get stuck with the same guy, BUT the border officials kept talking about the same two rules: must spend 24 hours out of the country (I spent the night in Machara, but it wasn't a full 24 hours) and can't have more than 183 days total in a calendar year. He finally let me back in with 60 days, after making me promise that I wouldn't take my passport to get any tramites done at immigrations because he could get in trouble for giving me over the 183 amount. The fact that I was traveling with my kid helped a lot, as far as getting some sympathy. He also told me I should just pay the 1$/day multa and border hop right before I get married in 2011, so I can get the 183 days in 2011 and have time to process my residency papers.

So, I am now under the impression that immigration is running a tighter ship with these rules and that border hopping, at least at Machara, is not going to be possible for much longer. I did not get the impression that this guy was asking for a bribe nor did it seem like he was being a jerk (the first guy I got stuck with last month was a jerk...)--he seemed like a typical bureaucrat trying to keep his job and follow the rules to the T. I can respect that.

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