The Superintendencia Nacional de Administración Tributaria, more commonly known as SUNAT, deals with all the fiddly tax stuff in Peru, including at customs. The information below is taken from its official regulations and is mostly straightforward.
If you have any further questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below.
What You Can Bring into Peru
The Basics (clothing, toiletries etc):
- Your own clothing and accessories for personal use
- Toiletries for personal use
- Medicines for personal use (there are some restrictions here, such as medicines containing narcotics or other prohibited ingredients. CBD oil is also a grey area, despite it being legal in Peru for medical use. I’m still trying to get a concrete answer about bringing CBD oil into Peru)
- Any necessary medical aid or equipment for disabled travelers (e.g. wheelchair or crutches)
- Books, magazines and printed documents
- Your suitcases, bags and other containers holding your belongings
Electronics and Accessories:
- Two portable electric appliances for your hair (e.g. a hair dryer or hair straighteners)
- One electric shaver
- One radio, or one CD player, or one stereo system (portable and not be for professional use)
- Up to 20 CDs
- One portable DVD player
- One videogame console
- Two external hard drives
- Four memory cards for a digital camera, camcorder and/or videogame console
- Two USB memory sticks
- 10 DVD or videogame discs
- One handheld electronic calendar/organizer
- One laptop with power source (read more about bringing a laptop to Peru)
- Two cell phones
- One portable electronic calculator
Cameras and Film:
- Two photo cameras
- One camcorder, not for professional use
- Up to 10 rolls of photographic film
- Up to 10 videocassettes for a portable camcorder
Sports Gear and Musical Equipment:
- One unit or set of sporting goods for personal use (I believe this includes everything from surfboards to golf clubs to hang gliders and fishing equipment; see article 20 of Supreme Decree 182-2013-EF, Spanish only)
- One portable musical instrument
Cigarettes and Alcohol (and Vapes):
- Up to 20 packs of cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of rolling tobacco (Read more about smoking and cigarettes in Peru)
- Up to three liters of liquor (with the exception of non-Peruvian pisco, see below)
- [Vapes are not covered in the current regulations, but as far as I know you should have no problem bringing in your vape and accessories for personal use. But check your airline’s policy, as they might have restrictions]
- You can bring one pet into Peru, as long as it (and you) have all the appropriate papers etc.
- If you are carrying cash (in any currency) that exceeds US$10,000, you must declare it. It’s also “absolutely prohibited to enter or exit the country with amounts in excess of US$30,000 or its equivalent in another currency.”
- You can bring in other items for personal consumption or to be given as gifts up to a combined value not exceeding US$500. These items must not be used for commercial purposes.
A Note About Peruvian Customs Tax
Anything not covered by the customs regulations above should officially be declared (I’ll leave you to debate the ethics of not declaring that extra camera and second wind instrument…).
You’ll then have to pay a customs tax, which is a fee of 12% on customs value. How a customs official determines the value of an item — unless you have proof of its cost — is a mystery to me. Maybe they just Google it while you’re not looking? If you have a receipt, bring it with you to present if the customs valuation is too high.
If you go all Han Solo and don’t declare something, you risk paying a 50% penalty on the customs value of the item — on top of the standard tax — if caught.
Items Restricted by Peruvian Customs Regulations (Must Be Declared)
Items restricted by Peruvian customs require the appropriate permission(s) to bring into Peru. Without permission, they’ll be confiscated and you’ll probably be fined. These items include, but are not limited to:
- Weapons and ammunition
- Cultural items (the kind of things Indiana Jones was always stealing from developing countries)
- Plants and plant products
- Agricultural pesticides
- Veterinary products
- Food for animals (I don’t know if this officially includes dog chews etc., but I always bring my dog a few treats from the U.K. when I fly back to Peru, and no problems so far)
- Parts or spare parts of motor vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds or ATVs, motor homes or trailers; boats of all kinds including jet skis and aircraft (importantly, “aircraft” also includes drones*, see below)
*Bringing a Drone to Peru
Peru has eased up its drone laws, and now anyone can bring a drone into Peru as long as it weighs 2 kg or less. You also no longer need a special license from the MTC, Peru’s Ministry of Transport and Communication. You do, however, have to declare your drone upon entering Peru, and pay 18% of its value as a deposit, which is refunded when you leave Peru (you’ll be given a receipt, so don’t lose it). Some people have successfully entered Peru without declaring their drone, as not everyone is checked. But if you are caught entering without declaring your drone, you will be slapped with a hefty fee (I think it’s US$250, or 50% of the drone’s value). By paying the customs fee you also get a temporary operations license to use your drone legally in Peru (but not for commercial purposes, this requires a special permit from the MTC).
Items Prohibited by Peruvian Customs Regulations (Must Be Declared)
Three seemingly random things are completely prohibited by Peruvian customs. For the sake of all that is good, free and noble in Peru, you must not enter the country with any of these foul tools of Satan:
- Used clothing and footwear not considered part of your baggage
- Used spare parts
- Any beverages manufactured abroad that bear the name “Pisco”
Phew, that’s some dangerous stuff. If you’re caught bringing in used clothing, spare parts or non-Peruvian pisco (we’re watching you, Chile…), then the items will be seized and you’ll be banished to the Phantom Zone with General Zod.
The Peruvian Customs Regulations Form
When you enter Peru, you’ll be handed a Peruvian customs form to fill out if necessary. The current form is in two sections: Green and Red. The first (Green) is for people who have nothing to declare, in which case you simply exit through the green circuit gate.
The other (Red) section is for travelers who do have something to declare. In this case, you’ll have to fill out some details on the customs form and proceed to the red circuit. If you need help, you can ask at the customs desk.
Contacting SUNAT With Questions About Peruvian Customs Rules
If you still have questions about what you can and can’t bring into Peru, you can always try contacting SUNAT, Peru’s National Superintendence of Tax Administration. Getting a reply might be easier said than done, but you can try contacting them by phone, by email or via their chat system (ideally in Spanish, as they might not speak English).