What Happens if you Overstay Your Visa?
A lot of expats stay in Peru for extended periods on tourist visas. While it is never recommended that anyone stay in the country illegally, there are times when it becomes necessary to stay longer than the time given on your visa. So, what do you do when that happens?
When you enter Peru, the immigrations agent can grant you up to a maximum length of 183 days in country. Usually, if you politely request it, they will give you the maximum. Some expats have found that by mentioning that they are planning their wedding, or are applying for their Carnet Extranjeria (Peruvian residency) that the agents are quite happy to extend the full length of time permitted.
But what if they don’t give you the full 183 days? It used to be possible to go to the Immigrations offices and get extensions, but this is no longer possible. If you find yourself in a situation where you must stay in Peru longer than the time allotted on your visa, you will be charged a $1 US per day fine when you leave the country. So, if you overstay your visa by a week, you’ll have to pay a fine of $7US. At the airport, you’ll pay the fine to the immigrations officer as you leave, after you’ve paid the regular airport tax. If you are leaving Peru by land at one of the major border crossings, the process is similar – you pay the fee to the Immigrations officer as you leave. They should give you a stamp and a receipt that you can keep in your passport. It is not recommended that you try to leave through one of the smaller border exits if you have overstayed. Some expats have overstayed by very long lengths of time (I’ve heard of up to 6 months) and simply paid the fee when they left. However, remember that this IS Peru – while it’s unlikely that you’ll ever have problems, you CAN get in trouble for being in the country illegally. It is always recommended that you try to maintain a legal tourist visa.
If you don’t want to worry about a possible delay at the airport or at your border exit, you can go to the main Immigrations office and pay in advance for your overstay. You’ll need to take your passport and your immigration card, along with 2 copies each of your Andean immigration card, your passport picture page and the page of your passport with the most recent stamps. You’ll have to pay a small surcharge in Nuevo soles for them to update you in their systems – at this writing it is S/.8.88. You’ll also want to take a copy of your plane ticket or itinerary, showing the day that you will be leaving the country.