The Tarjeta Andina de Migración (TAM or Andean Migration Card) is a simple tourist “card” that allows most tourists (see tab below for nationality requirements) to enter Peru without the need for an actual tourist visa. I say “card” because the traditional paper version of the TAM is being replaced by a TAM Virtual, or digital version that requires no form-filling or physical paper.
Due to the in-between nature of the old paper version and the newer digital TAM, I won’t yet be removing the instructions below for filling out the old paper form. But since November 2016, both Peru and Ecuador began rolling out the new digital system, alongside the installation of new biometric gates at their principal airports.
Can I enter Peru with just a passport and a Tarjeta Andina or TAM Virtual?
Passport holders from the following countries can enter Peru as a tourist with just a valid passport and a Tarjeta Andina:
- From North America: All (USA, Canada and Mexico).
- From Europe: All European countries, with the exception of Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Georgia and Turkey.
- From Oceania: All.
- From South America: All.
- From Central America and the Caribbean: All except Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
- From Africa: Only South Africa (all other African citizens must apply for a tourist visa for Peru).
- From Asia: Only Brunei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand (all other Asian citizens must apply for a tourist visa for Peru).
The TAM Virtual, or Digital Tarjeta Andina
Tourists are now entering Peru without filling out the paper version of the Tarjeta Andina. Some are still being handed the paper form on the plane before arriving in Peru, but are often not asked to present it when entering the country. So if you find that you’ve entered Peru without receiving or handing over a paper TAM, don’t worry — you’ve almost certainly gone digital.
The virtual Tarjeta Andina should eventually do away with the paper version completely, if it hasn’t already. For now, it might still be worth printing out the paper TAM (see link below) and filling it out, just in case. Some hostels or hotels might still ask to see it (which can lead to lower rates for foreign tourists due to a tax exemption). I’m also not entirely sure if the virtual system is in place at all border crossing in Peru; some of the smaller overland border-crossing points might still be using paper forms.
How to Obtain the Paper Version of the Tarjeta Andina de Migración
When you fly into Peru, a flight attendant will normally hand out Tarjeta Andina tourist cards to all passengers in need of one (this may not occur in the future due to the introduction of the TAM Virtual). If you enter Peru overland by bus or car, you can pick up a TAM at the border crossing point. The same applies if you enter Peru by sea or river.
Alternatively, you can print out a Tarjeta Andina in Spanish, English or Japanese at the official Superintendencia Nacional de Migraciones del Perú website.
How to Fill Out the Tarjeta Andina
Filling out the Tarjeta Andina is fairly easy. If you don’t speak Spanish, then it’s definitely worth printing out the English version before you travel as the forms might be Spanish-only on the plane or at the border control point.
Below you can see the English version of the TAM followed by a few tips for filling it out:
1. Surname(s): Enter your surname as it appears on your passport.
2. Name(s): Enter your names as they appear on your passport. There’s not much room in this field, so just enter your first given name if both don’t fit.
3. Place of birth: This is your country of birth, as appears on your passport. It’s probably best to write it in full rather than abbreviate (i.e. United States rather than US).
4. Nationality: As appears on passport.
5. Country of residence: No explanation needed.
6. Country of residence, not technical level: I think something was probably lost in translation here. Just enter the same as in 5 unless you feel a pressing need to enter something different.
7. Type of travel document: Most travelers will just tick “passport” here.
8. Document number: Your passport number.
9. Date of birth: Day/month/year.
10. Sex: Just the two options so far…
11. Marital Status: Don’t lie.
12: Occupation/Profession: Maybe lie here, just for fun. But avoid anything that sounds illegal (assassin, super villain), just in case.
13. Type of accommodation and Address: Select whichever box most applies. Give your hotel or hostel address if you know it. Otherwise just enter the city you’re heading to (Lima, Trujillo or wherever).
14. Means of transport: Whether you entered Peru by air, land, sea or river.
15. Transportation company: The name of your airline, bus company, ship or boat (e.g. Delta Air Lines or Cruz del Sur).
16. Main reason for traveling: For tourists, obviously choose “vacation.” Choose one of the others if you really think you should, otherwise just stick with vacation.
How Long Can I Legally Stay in Peru?
When you enter Peru with a Tarjeta Andina, you can legally stay for a maximum of 183 days (six months) in any one-year period. The border official, however, might decide to give you less than the 183 days; 90 days seems to be fairly common, although they sometimes go as low as 30 days.
Be sure to ask for enough days to cover your travel plans; ask politely, and the border official will normally give you at least 90 days and quite often the full 183 days. If you are given less than the full amount and later require more time, you’ll have to exit and then reenter Peru (for example, if you are initially given 90 days and then want to stay for another 90 days, you cannot apply for the extension in Peru; you’ll have to leave and return for the extension).
What About the Peru Overstay Fine?
Up until 2017, if you overstayed the amount of days given to you on your Tarjeta Andina, you would have to pay a fine of one US dollar for each day spent in Peru over your allotted time.
That rule has changed, however, and the new law states that any tourist overstaying their allotted time is subject to a daily fine of 0.1% of the Unidad Impositiva Tributaria (UIT). The UIT for 2017 appears to be S/ 4,050, according to the official SUNAT website. So…. that would make the daily overstay fine S/ 4.05, which is about US$1.25. No great change, then, unless you’ve overstayed for a long time.
You’ll have to pay this fine when you leave the country, either at Lima Airport or one of the various overland or river border crossings. I think you can also pay it in advance at any Banco de la Nación bank — but keep your receipt.
Overstaying shouldn’t have any other adverse effects beyond the per-day fine. For example, if you overstayed in Peru a year ago, you shouldn’t have any problems when you return to Peru (they won’t deny entry).
The current overstay situation is fairly lenient, but be a little cautious. Theoretically, another change in Peruvian immigration laws could suddenly increase the per-day fine or bring about other, more drastic penalties for travelers overstaying their time in Peru. It’s unlikely that such changes would be retroactive, but it’s worth keeping a close eye on the situation if you are planning to overstay, or if you already have.
Help, I’ve Lost My Tarjeta Andina!
If you lose your Tarjeta Andina de Migraciones, you can get a replacement either at Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport or at the main immigration control office at Av. España 730 in the Breña district of Lima. A duplicate TAM costs just S/ 14.40 (about $4). You’ll have to pay this at a branch of Banco de la Nación (there’s one inside the immigrations building). You should receive your replacement TAM on the same day, or the next day if you arrive in the afternoon.
If you lose your passport while traveling — which contains an entry stamp received when you entered Peru — you’ll need to get a duplicate stamp in your new passport. This can also be done at the immigration control office in Breña, at a cost of S/ 8.75 (about $3).