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February 22, 2011 17:33:41 | in Expat Life

How to get a retirement visa in Peru

Rodney Dodig, right, retired in Peru but working hard on a novel with Larry Pitman

By Rodney L. Dodig

One of the reasons I decided to retire to Peru was the opportunity to obtain what they call a “rentista visa.” This visa is for people with a pension, and allows you to live in Peru but not work.

For anyone who is interested in obtaining one of these visas, here is what I had to go through.

A person with a rentista visa may also bring personal items into Peru (furniture, appliances, computers, etc) without having to pay tax or duty on them. The visa has no expiration date so it does not have to be renewed yearly.

There are a couple of conditions for obtaining the rentista visa:
  1. You must have a minimum income from a pension of $1,000 a month. If you are moving here with a family, an additional $500 per month per person is required.
  2. You must live in Peru for a minimum of 6 months per calendar year.
I had a Peruvian friend help me with the process since my command of the Spanish language is minimal at best. If you are not that lucky, they have people here who will. The tramitadores, a type of legal aide, charge $500 to help you from beginning to end. If you have all the paperwork done in advance, you might find one to help you for half that.

I am from the Unites States so in places where I refer to Consulates or Secretaries of States, you will have to determine their equivalents if you are from another country.

First, you have to obtain a letter from Social Security or your pension fund stating the amount you are receiving monthly. That letter must be sent or taken to the Secretary of State in your state of residence and notarized in the U.S. Once you receive the letter back, it must be sent to the Peruvian Consulate for your state and legalized by them. I recommend that you call both places before sending anything and ask for the correct procedure. The cost for me in Illinois was $2 for the Secretary of State letter and $30 for the Peruvian Consulate. (This did not include mailing costs.)

Once you have this letter in Peru, take the following steps:
  1. Take the notarized letter to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores del Peru (Jr. Ucayali # 318) in downtown Lima and have it legalized there for a cost of 26 soles. Once you have the document back, you take them to a government approved translator and have them translated into Spanish (it cost me 70 soles).
  2. Fill out a form called Formulario F-004 here in Peru. You can print out a copy of the form on the Peruvian Immigrations website (
  3. Write a letter to the Director General of Immigration and Naturalization in Spanish, requesting the Rentista Visa (see sample).
  4. Write a letter in Spanish declaring that you do not have any history of criminal activity, Declaracion Jurada (see sample).
  5. You need to have a copy of your passport, both the front pages and the page with your entry stamp.
  6. You will have to turn in your tourist visa, along with all your paperwork, when you submit it for approval.
  7. You will need to pay 58.93 soles at the Bank of the Nation in the Immigration Building. You will need to present this receipt with your paper work.
This is all you need to submit to the Immigration Official on the third floor of the building (window 9).

If you do not speak good Spanish, this is where you will need help. Also, you must have at least two months left on your tourist visa when you apply. At the moment you apply, they take your tourist visa and tell you the date is no longer applicable. (I assume that if your request is not approved for some reason, they will re-stamp your passport and issue you a new tourist visa.)

If the official accepts your paperwork, he will tell you to return in six weeks to see if your request has been approved. You must return to the same window on the third floor. If something is wrong with your paperwork, he will tell you. Your only option is to fix it and come back.

Once your application has been approved, the official will send you back down to the information desk where they will give you another form (F-007, I believe). You fill it out on the spot and take it to the Bank of the Nation in the building where you will pay another 36 soles. You then take this form and the receipt back to the third floor and to another window (12, 13, or 14, with the word “carnet” above the number).

This man will finish the paper work and take it across the hall to have your photo taken and the visa made. For me this was the longest process. Between having the photo and waiting for the visa, I was there about three hours.

That’s it, the entire process. It took me almost two years to get it all accomplished. Most of that had to do with procrastination on my part; the rest was not fully understanding the process. If I knew all the above before I started, I am sure I could have accomplished it in my first six months in Peru.

I can’t complain though, I had fun border hopping and renewing my tourist visa here while seeing other countries in South America. If you move to Peru and intend to apply, ¡buena suerte!

Rodney Dodig recently wrote about summers in Lima. Click here to see his blog and read his fiction at Peru Writer's Group.

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