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Working in Peru as an Expat

Living abroad is a fantasy for most people, one that they think they can never attain: It’s too much of a risk…I don’t have enough money…How will I support myself?

In truth, it does take courage to pack up your life and move abroad to a different country with a different culture, currency, and language. For most people, the main obstacle is the money – very few of us have enough savings to disappear for a year or more in another country without generating income. This doesn’t mean that living overseas is a pipe dream that can’t be realized, it just means you’ll have to work in your new home. Take Peru, for example, a country in South America with great residency options and an incredibly affordable cost of living.The whole thing may seem like a dizzying undertaking, but with a good base of information at your disposal, working abroad in Peru  as an expat is within reach!


In order to work in Peru, you’ll need legal documentation to do so. For this you’ll need to obtain a form of Peruvian residency. There are a few options to choose from, but the Working Visa and its variant, the Business Visa, are most applicable here. In both cases, you’ll need to apply for a Carnet de Extranjeria (peruvian ID card for foreign residents), which will allow you to open a bank account, purchase a cell phone/internet/cable plan, and travel domestically within Peru without a passport. All information regarding required documents and the detailed process of applying can be found through your local Peruvian Consulate.

Work Visa

The Peruvian Work Visa can be granted to foreigners who are hired by a domiciled company (based geographically in Peru). The goal of the employment must be deemed lucrative for the national economy, by virtue of an employment contract, administrative relationship, or services agreement.

Conversely, expats sent to Peru by non-domiciled employers will need to obtain the Designated Employee Visa. Within this category, there are two main divisions:

  1. Temporary Designated Employee: valid for 183 calendar days per year, renewable for duration of employment.
  2. Permanent Designated Employee: valid for 365 days, renewable for duration of employment.

Business Visa (non-residency)

Those looking to work in Peru for corporate, legal, contractual, or specialized technical assistance can do so without gaining residency, through something called the Business Visa.

This type of visa is intended for people to be able to come to Peru for the sake of a temporary contractual work obligation or business deal. This visa has two main components:

  1. Visa applicant will be granted temporary status (183 days in the calendar year) without options for extension.
  2. Motivation for entering Peru to work must be corporate, legal, contractual, or specialized.

The majority of expats moving to Peru for work usually end up being employed by an international company with a Peruvian branch or outpost. If you are working for a purely Peruvian company, you will need to send a work contract to the Peruvian Ministry of Labor. Working contracts require that foreign employees may not be employed for more than three years (can be renewed), expat workers may only make up 20% of the employees in a Peruvian company, and the total wages of these foreign workers in Peru can’t surpass 30% of the employer’s total wages paid out.

Remember: Always make sure you have secured a job before moving abroad. You may need to visit the country for interviews, but you will have to return to your home country to begin the application process for residency and/or work visas.

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Job Landscape

Tourism is a major sector for those looking to work abroad in Peru. Tour guides around the Amazon Rainforest, Machu Picchu, or the coastal beach towns would be a perfect opportunity for expats to enter the workforce in Peru.

Lima is the economic capital of Peru, and one of the strongest financial capital cities in Latin America. Those who want to enter this field to work in Peru should look at the Lima Stock Exchange or international banks like Grupo BBVA, HSBC, and Scotiabank.

  • Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
  • Minimum Wage: 850 PEN (Peruvian Sol) per month ($262 USD)
  • Major Industries:
    • Mining/refining minerals, steel/metal fabrication, petroleum extraction and refining, natural gas and natural gas liquefaction, fishing and fish processing, textiles/clothing/food processing.
  • Labor Force:
  • Agriculture (25.8%)
  • Industry (17.4%)
  • Services (56.8%)

Author Bio:

Tyler Sorce is an American writer and digital nomad, currently living in Lisbon, Portugal. In a past life he was a chef in Manhattan and Paris, follow his travels and favorite dishes on Instagram.

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