New law aims to streamline immigration categories

1 Feb 17



What is the change? A new, wide-ranging immigration law will take effect March. 1.

What does the change mean? Among other changes, the law will place foreign nationals into either temporary or residence categories. It calls for the creation of an electronic registry that will more effectively track foreign nationals’ movements in and out of the country. It will also allow foreign nationals to work in the public sector and explicitly states that work authorization should be provided for spouses of foreign nationals who hold work permits.

  • Implementation time frame: March 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: The law affects a wide range of visas and permits, including business and work permits for both primary permit holders and their spouses.
  • Who is affected: Employers and foreign nationals traveling to and residing or working in Peru.
  • Impact on processing times: Processing times could be impacted, however it is difficult to determine what the impact will be because regulations that will clarify portions of the law have not yet been issued.
  • Business impact: Many of the changes, including the streamlining of immigration categories, are viewed as positive developments for business in Peru. While spouses of work permit holders have not previously been barred from working, the explicit statement that they should be provided work authorization is also a positive development. Businesses should also note, however, that fines for violations of immigration laws will increase when the new law takes effect.
  • Next steps: Companies should review their immigration programs to make sure they are in compliance with the new law.

Background: The law, the Legislative Decree on Migration, was published Jan. 7 and is designed to close gaps in Peru’s current immigration scheme, simplify procedures and strengthen domestic security. The law will place foreign nationals into one of two immigration categories: temporary or resident.

The temporary category will be for short-term workers or visitors and includes subcategories for business visitors, temporary or designated workers, trainees, researchers, tourists, artists, athletes, journalists, and nonresident visitors who come to Peru pursuant to an international agreement. Exact length-of-stay requirements will vary, but generally this category is for foreign nationals on short-term visits who do not intend to reside in Peru.

The resident category captures all foreign nationals who intend to reside in the country and may include foreign nationals working in the private or public sector, spouses of work permit holders, interns, students, researchers, investors, foreign aid workers, diplomats and those residing in Peru pursuant to an international agreement. Foreign nationals who have resided in Peru for three years will be permitted to apply for permanent residence.

The law also calls for the creation of the Migration Information Registry, an electronic database that will centralize information about foreign nationals entering and leaving the country. Officials hope the registry will help them crack down on foreign nationals who overstay or misuse their visas or otherwise pose a threat to domestic security.

BAL Analysis: The law represents a sweeping change to Peru’s immigration system. The status of foreign nationals already in Peru will not change. Those with applications pending will have their applications shifted to the correct corresponding category. Those arriving on or after March 1 should be sure they are applying for the correct visa or permit for their specific purpose. The law imposes new fines for those who violate immigration law. Contact BAL if you are in need of assistance or have questions about the new law.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Peru. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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