Jul 09 2021

New Decree Changes Processing Times and Requirements for Certain Immigration Applications

Peru

At a Glance

  • The Peruvian government has published the new Administrative Procedures Text (TUPA) which includes numerous changes to immigration regulations and goes into effect on July 9, 2021.
  • The decree reduces the mandated government processing time for all initial in-country and consular immigration applications; imposes stricter criminal background requirements for temporary and permanent residence visas; imposes an additional requirement for Mercosur Visa applicants; and increases the duration of employment contracts, among other changes.
  • These changes reflect the government’s priority in streamlining immigration processes to make it easier for foreign nationals to enter the country, while balancing security concerns of irregular immigration.

The situation

The Peruvian government has published the new Administrative Procedures Text (TUPA) which includes numerous changes to immigration regulations and goes into effect on July 9, 2021.

A closer look

Notable reforms include the following:

New Rule Prior Rule Impact
  • Shorter visa processing times. The mandated government processing time for all initial in-country and consular immigration applications is now 30 business days. 
The mandated government processing time was 60 business days.

Employers and foreign nationals will benefit from significantly faster processing times which will expedite the foreign nationals' work (and payroll) start date in Peru.

Employers and foreign nationals should note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, consular processing is not available until further notice. In the meantime, foreign nationals seeking to work and reside in Peru should enter the country and apply for a visa through an in-country process.

  • Stricter background checks for temporary and permanent residence visas. Foreign nationals applying for temporary or permanent residence visas must submit an apostilled or legalized criminal clearance certificate from their country of origin or countries of residence in the past five years. This document is in addition to the Interpol background check all applicants must undergo in Peru. 
Previously, foreign nationals applying for temporary or permanent residence were only required to complete an Interpol background check in Peru. 

This requirement will make the temporary and permanent residence application process more burdensome and may cause delays, as processing times to obtain criminal records in many countries can be lengthy.

Authorities may refuse a residence application if an applicant has a criminal record.

  • Stricter requirements for Mercosur Visa applicants. Foreign nationals applying for a Mercosur Visa must submit their apostilled or legalized birth certificate or citizenship certificate to prove their citizenship in an eligible Mercosur country.
Mercosur applicants were only required to submit their passport to prove citizenship. 

This requirement will make the Mercosur Visa application more burdensome and may cause delays.

However, while other work and residence visas are generally granted for one initial year, the Mercosur Visa is generally granted for two years. Company sponsorship is not required to obtain a Mercosur Visa. Thus, it may still be more beneficial for eligible foreign nationals to obtain Mercosur Visas than apply for other types of visas.

  • Longer processing times for certain in-country documents. Processing times for the issuance of Permits to Sign Documents and Exit and Re-Entry Permits for foreign nationals applying for visas in-country are now five and seven business days, respectively.
Previously, these documents were generally issued the same day. 

The change means that foreign nationals entering Peru to apply for a Resident Worker Visa in-country must wait longer to sign and register their work contract. These steps must be completed before the visa application may be filed.

The change also means that foreign nationals will need to wait longer to travel outside Peru while their in-country initial or renewal visa application is being processed, until immigration issues their Exit and Re-Entry Permit.

  • Longer eligible employment contract duration. Employment contracts between the foreign national and the host company in Peru must cover an employment duration of at least one year to be eligible for a Resident Worker Visa application.
Employment contracts did not have a minimum required employment duration.

The change better safeguards employees’ rights in the workforce by guaranteeing compensation for the employee in case of early termination of the contract by the employer.

Employers should consult their labor professionals for case-specific advice. 

Background

  • History. This new TUPA supersedes the last TUPA, which was written in 2016. It formalizes the immigration rules implemented in 2017 (which superseded the 2016 TUPA but which immigration officials sometimes applied inconsistently) and implements the changes announced by the government earlier this year.
  • Streamline processes. The change in visa processing times is intended to streamline immigration processes to minimize the administrative impact on the government and make it easier for foreign nationals to enter the country. This change is in line with the recent implementation of an online visa application system which is part of the government’s digitalization efforts.  
  • Controlled migration. The reforms also reflect the government’s focus on a more controlled migration system in response to the high influx of Venezuelans and other foreign nationals in recent years.

Looking ahead

Fragomen expects that the National Superintendence of Immigration will publish additional rules of procedures within the next few months to clarify details and align the TUPA rules with the online visa application processes.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].