Residency in Peru – How you can become a legal resident

Since May 2018, I’ve had my residency in Peru. Before I came here, I had no idea how to do this and I would have never guessed that it could be such a smooth and quick process.

In this article, I’ll give you a quick overview of how to get your residency in Peru as CEO of your own company. More detailed articles about other possibilities and also about tax stuff and running a company in Peru will follow step by step. If you’re interested in a rentista/retirement visa, please read this interview with Sergio Vargas of NVC Abogados.

And for those who are thinking about applying for a Peruvian passport, this article will be useful. 

This post contains affiliate links, which help to maintain Digital Nomads Peru. Making a purchase by using any of these links doesn’t result in any additional costs for you, of course. Digital Nomads Peru is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to I only recommend goods and services I believe are useful and reliable.

Why should I apply for residency in Peru as a digital nomad?

Most digital nomads still have their country of origin as a home base. It’s where their business is registered and where they regularly return to. If you’re happy with that, you probably don’t need to apply for residency in Peru (or another country).

I come from Germany and I always knew that I didn’t want to stay there. This has personal reasons but also very objective ones:

  • I’m required to spend 183 days/year in Germany to maintain my tax residency.
  • The German tax system is complicated.
  • Germany has obligatory health insurance. That’s great when you’re employed but it becomes incredibly expensive when you’re self-employed and over 40.
  • By imposing more and more rules and restrictions, Germany (and actually the whole EU) make it more and more difficult for freelancers and small businesses to operate internationally.

Your country of origin may be different but if any of these things sound familiar to you and you’re tired of them, applying for residency in Peru, might be an option for you.

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What do I have to do to be granted residency in Peru and how long does it take?

You can enter the country with a tourist visa and apply for residency while you’re in the country. That’s not the case for Mexico or Chile, for example. Peru offers different types of temporary and permanent residence. I have a work visa as an employee of my own company and it took me 4 months to get it. It was a fast and smooth process.

Here’s a summary of what we did.

  1. Registration at Interpol – mid-January
  2. Registration of my company at a notary’s office – end of January
  3. Setting up my work contract and hand it in at the Ministry of Labor for approval – beginning of February (they approved it within 2 days)
  4. Request to change my status from tourist to temporary residency permit – mid-February
  5. Notification that my application for the temporary residency permit was approved – mid-April
  6. Picking up my Peruvian ID card for foreigners at “Migraciones” – end of April

My part was very simple:

  1. I had to go to Interpol where I filled in a form and they took my fingerprints.
  2. I had to sign all the papers for the creation of the company at the notary’s office.
  3. I had to sign my work contract.
  4. I had to pick up my ID card at “Migraciones”.

All the rest was done by my lawyer Sergio Vargas and his staff from NVC Abogados. Sergio is now part of the Digital Nomads Peru team and our recommended lawyer if you would like to become a resident in Peru or start a company here. If you’d like to know why I recommend hiring a lawyer, click here.

What kind of qualifications do I need to set up my own company and apply for a work visa?

To be honest, I thought I’d never be able to get a residency permit for any country outside the European Union for the simple reason that I’ve done all kind of jobs in the past, have a nursing degree and wanted to start a company in a field I’m not formally qualified for. 

Well, my dear lawyer just needed my passport and a list of activities my company was going to offer. I mean, I had heard from other other people that they had to hand in all kind of documents (translated into Spanish, of course) and still had problems. So it was a pleasant surprise. 

Residency Peru
Don't worry, applying for your residency doesn't require so many folders

Do I need to speak Spanish?

Well, at Interpol and Migraciones, everything was explained in Spanish and all papers are certainly in Spanish, too. If you don’t speak Spanish at all, someone will have to accompany you. I know people who live in Peru or other Latin American countries with no or only very basic Spanish but you will realize that you need to learn the language once you leave the tourist bubble. Bank employees, shop-assistants or insurance brokers normally don’t speak English – or at least not well enough to use it in a professional environment. 

How long is my temporary residency permit valid and are there any restrictions?

For the first three years, you need to renew your work visa every year. After those three years, you can apply for a permanent residency permit. With a temporary visa, you need to spend 183 days/year in Peru. Yes, I know, sounds horrible to some nomads and it’s actually the part I’m a bit unhappy about, too. However, you’re free to travel within Peru, of course and the country has more to offer than just Machu Picchu. And once you’ve been granted your permanent residency permit, you have to return just once a year and have basically the same rights as a Peruvian citizen. You may even apply for a Peruvian passport but that’s a topic I will talk about in another article. 

Interested in obtaining a residency permit for Peru?

If you would like to discuss your personal situation and options in detail, please book a consultation with Sergio. Or fill out the form below to contact Sergio Vargas of NVC Abogados directly. However, please make sure that you’ve read and understood the information in the article above. Please don’t ask questions which are answered here. Thank you. 

Daniela Fries
Latest posts by Daniela Fries (see all)
  1. Hi Daniela,

    Nice information for people thinking to migrate. I am from India thinking of getting married to Peruvian girl in Lima what visa I have to apply. Suggest please


    • Hi Praveen! In my articles, I share general information and personal experiences but I’m not in the position to give legal advice to individuals. Feel free to fill in the form you find at the end of the article and book a consultation with Sergio Vargas of NVC Abogados. Thank you. Daniela

  2. Hello Daniela:
    Do you need a proof of income when creating your company and applying for work visa?

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