Friday, June 18

Getting a work visa for Peru--check!

Congratulations to me! After two and a half months and $275 in fees (not to mention travel, photo, copying and notary costs), I finally have my work visa and foreign resident card!

Even after visiting a few blogs (expatPeru and The Ultimate Peru List were great), the process was a mystery to me, so I thought I would post what my process was, just so there’s more information out there to consult.

If you are an American and trying to get a work visa in Arequipa (or any other southern city), the following might serve as a guide for you, although fees do increase periodically:

1) Permission to sign contracts 

(Arequipa, Jefatura de Migraciones Urb. Quinta Tristan 2do Parque, José Bustamante y Rivero, 1 week)

a) F-004 (download from

b) Banco de la Nacion payment #1814 S/. 12.43

c) Banco de la Nacion payment #01643 $50.00

d) Passport copy

e) TAM (Tarjeta Andina Migratoria) copy

2) Work contract approval by the Ministerio de Trabajo 

(Arequipa, Ministerio de Trabajo, 1 week)

a) Contract signed by you and your work

b) Original, legalized copy of Bachelor’s degree or any other relevant degrees

c) Notarized copy of passport

d) Notarized copy of TAM

3) Visa solicitation 

(Arequipa, Migraciones, 1 month)

a) F-007 (download from

b) Banco de la Nacion payment #01857 S/. 57.51

c) Original or copy of the work contract approved by the Ministerio de Trabajo, with an expiration of no less than one year

d) Notarized copy of passport

e) Notarized copy of TAM

f) Sworn, legalized statement declaring no police, judicial or     health history and confirming your address

3.5) Picking up the visa  

After I dropped off my solicitation papers, Migraciones told me to pick a Peruvian Consulate outside of the country where I would pick up my work visa. I chose Arica, Chile because it’s the closest to Arequipa. Migraciones told me to call back in three weeks to see if my papers were waiting for me in Arica. After three weeks, I called Migraciones. They then told me to call the Peruvian consulate in Arica, Chile, who confirmed that my visa was waiting for me.

4) Pick up visa in Peruvian Consulate 

(Arica, Av. 18 de Setiembre 1554, 1 day)

a) Payment of $82

b) Copy of work contract and its approval

c) Passport copy

d) 3 color photos, passport size

5) Inscription in Foreign Registry 

(Arequipa, Migraciones, 10 days)

a) F-007A

b) Sworn, legalized statement declaring no police, judicial or health history and confirming your address

c) Banco de la Nacion payment #01873 S/. 36

d) Banco de la Nacion payment #02682 $15

e) Copy of work contract

f) Copy of work contract’s approval by the Ministerio de Trabajo

g) Notarized copy of passport

h) Notarized copy of TAM

i) 2 profile/3 frontal color pictures w/ white background, passport size

6) Letter from Interpol about criminal background 

(Lima Av. Velasco Astete 1491, Surco; 1-5 days, but ask if they can do it faster since you’re coming from “provincia”)

a) Banco de la Nacion: 73.44 soles

b) Giro al extranjero of $30 (pay it at the Banco de la Nacion in Caminos del Inca/Benavides--4 blocks from Interpol down Caminos del Inca)

c) Copy of your passport, your TAM, and your work visa

d) Numero de expediente given to you by migraciones after they processed your inscription (first page of F-007A). To get this, you've got to go to Migraciones in Arequipa before coming to Lima.

7) Processing of Foreign Resident Card 

(Lima, Av. España 730, 3rd floor, Breña, 1 day)

a) Bring your original letter from INTERPOL plus one copy

b) Copy of the letter with the original goes to Mesa de Partes on the first floor; they give you the copy back with a sello and you take that to the third floor

c) Banco de la Nacion payment of $35 paid within Extranjeria

d) Original passport


*To apply for a resident visa, you must have a work contract for at least a year. 

*While with your resident visa, you cannot be out of the country for more than 183 days (6 months) or its like you’re not living in Peru a majority of the year and you lose your visa. To leave the country while having your resident work visa for any amount of time, you must have completed the above process and also have a notarized letter from your work saying that you have permission “sin goza de haber” to be gone for that time. 


  1. This is INSANE! Wow! Thanks for writing this! So did you enter on a tourist visa and start this process while in Peru? Or did you start it from the States. It says on the embassy visa site that if you plan for working for longer than a year, you need a resident work visa. I plan on working for probably a bit longer than a year, so I guess I need this. Any tips?!

  2. Yes, I entered with a tourist visa, which I recommend, because then you can work out the arrangements of your job (and get to know it) before you commit to a work visa with them.

    I do recommend coming first and finding a job. What do you want to do? Teach English?

  3. I just went through this process in Lima. It was considerably scaled down in complexity compared to what you went through. The process is not very transparent, so I'll will post my experience here:

    The biggest challenge lies in aggregating the proper documents and finding a work contract. Once you have those two things set, the process is quick and smooth. For me, it lasted 33 days from the time I got permission to sign a work contract to receiving my CE.

    To start I found a job. Then I obtained permission to sign contracts from DIGEMIN. This required form F-004, $50, and photocopies (normal, not notarized) of my TAM and passport.

    Then I signed my contract and took it to the Ministerio de Trabajo (MDT). This stage was a huge pain the in ass, both the prep work and the actual experience in the MDT. First, because I sought a resident worker visa, I needed to get an apostellised copy of my law diploma from the US. This was not easy because I was living in Peru. First I had to have my parents fax a copy of my degree to the Registrar's office of my university. The registrar had to sign the copy and have their signature notarized saying that the copy of my diploma was a true copy. Then a friend picked up the signed, notarized copies of my degree and sent them to the secretary of state's office of the state where my university is. The secretary of state's office issued the apostille for my diploma and mailed it back to my parents. Then, my parents mailed me the apostellised copies of the diploma. From there, I had to have it translated to Spanish by an official, certified translator of the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (MRE). There is a list of certified translators on the website. It cost 80 soles for the 2 pages. Then I had to have the official translation with the apostellised copies of my diploma certified by the MRE in central Lima. That took 1 day. At this point, the degree was ready.

    To pass a contract through the MDT, you must satisfy the following requirements:
    The MDT publishes model contracts. The director of finance at my job had a book with them. We copied the contract and filled in the necessary details, but passing the contract was still a huge pain in the ass and required me to go to the MDT 6 different times. They are very picky. Any slight variation between the model and your contract will cause them to reject it. Finally, they accepted and approved the contract. From this point, the process was fast and smooth.

    I picked up my approved contract, took it to DIGEMIN and had it approved (stamped) by the guy on the third floor of DIGEMIN who has to certify documents. That took 5 minutes. Then I filled out form F004, paid the cost of the form at the banco de la nacion, and took the work contract, F004, receipt, my original TAM, and a regular (non-certified, non-notarized) copy of my passport to the third floor window "cambio de calidad migratoria." They took all the documents, gave me a case number, and said they would contact me when the forms had been processed. They never called me, but they were ready after 2 weeks. I had to call to confirm it.

  4. While I waited for my forms to process in DIGEMIN, I went to Interpol. That required paying the background check fee and getting an $18 money order from BCP to send some forms to the FBI (plus a $12 bank fee). I finished this step on the same day that I received my approved labor contract from MDT and dropped off form F004 at DIGEMIN.

    Two weeks passed, I went back to DIGEMIN, paid at Banco de la nacion and submitted form F007A, returned to banco de la nacion paid the $200 change status to resident fee, plus another $20 and $15 fee for something else (they gave me the necessary forms for this fees after I submitted F007A), got my photos taken and had my carnet the same day. It took about 3 hours from the time I showed up.

    So, this process was much simpler than what you went through. I didn't need to use notarized copies of my passport or TAM, didn't have to leave the country to pick up my carnet, didn't have to submit form F007, and I finished with the same Carnet with the same migratory status - resident worker. It could be that DIGEMIN in Arequipa is much stricter with the requirements than Lima because Lima faces a massive flood of applicants and the process is slow enough already.

    So, based on my experience, the process runs smoothly as long as you have your apostellised, translated, and MREE certified copies of your diploma and your labor contract set.

    I hope this helps. I know this process is frustrating for a lot of people, but I think that is more due to lack of transparency regarding the requirements than any difficulty in the process. Government workers are not particularly helpful either, especially at the MDT. But, I see no need to pay a tramitador to walk you through this process, unless you speak no spanish whatsoever.

  5. I want to move to Arequipa and go live with my boyfriend. I lived there before, 1,5 years in total. The problem is finding a proper job. I taught english, but they dont give contracts and the pay is really bad. Do you have some tips on finding a job?

    I have a bachelor degree in communication, and I'm from Belgium (so no native english speaker -- first language is dutch) Teaching, tourism, pr/communication, administration... My spanish level is not the best, I can speak and understand well, but still have a lot to learn.

  6. Hi Sarah! If you don't want to teach English, you might investigate the mines around Arequipa and see if they need translators. I've heard that's a VERY proper job (as is the pay).

  7. I am thinking of moving my family from the US to Peru. We have friends in Cayma. Neither my husband or myself have ever traveled out of the States, so, this is all new to me and daunting. I have 3yrs towards a BA in Education. My question is, to translate or teach English in Peru is it mandatory in most cases to have an American Bachelors degree? I need to know how difficult it will be for us to find work....

  8. You don't need a bachelors degree to teach or translate for that matter. However, you would probably want the degree if you want a good job. The university I work at asked for it. The institutes do not, and a lot of private schools won't require it if you are good.

  9. Great blog!! Thanks so much for the usefull information!

    I recently went to live with my peruvian girlfriend in Lima and for a little overwhelmed by all the procedures to apply for a working visa.

    I do have one question about your so called 'Original, legalized copy of Bachelor’s degree or any other relevant degrees' in the step of work contract approval. Did you just make a photocopy of your American diploma, get the copy notarized in Lima and then got it translated in Lima? Or did you have your diploma apostellised in the US first?
    I am not sure if I should do this apostellisation or not, since I am already in Peru with my diploma... so I would rather not do it for nothing.

    Thanks again!

  10. Hi I live in the US and plan on moving to Peru. Im having trouble just finding a job that I can apply for, that doesn't reject me as soon as I say I don't have a work visa as is. I can't even get a foot in the door. Is there anything I can do??

  11. Hi Gaby! I know it's scary, but I would say just go for it! Get to Peru on a tourist visa (be sure to ask for 180 days as you enter--they don't just give it to you). Then you can apply for jobs and be sure you like the place you would be working at before you commit. Some places you can work for with a tourist visa (under the table, and not recommended). If you decide you want to stay, in retrospect I wish I had asked my employer to share in the cost of my work visa or at least gotten help with translations and tramites. Hope this helps and best of luck on your trip!