When you enter Peru, be it by air, land or water, you will need to fill out a form called the Tarjeta Andina de Migración (TAM, or Andean Migration Card). For most tourists, including legal citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK, a completed Tarjeta Andina, along with a valid passport, is all that’s needed to enter Peru for a maximum of 183 days (for exceptions and further information, read "Do You Need a Tourist Visa for Peru?").
If you arrive by air, your flight attendant will give you your TAM before landing (most international flights will land at Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport). If you enter Peru by land, sea or river, collect your TAM at the border control office. The form is in Spanish and English, so filling it out shouldn't cause many problems.
- Surname and Names (Apellido and Nombres): Print your forename(s) and surname(s) exactly as they appear on your passport. South Americans normally have more than one surname, so there's plenty of room in this field. The forename field, however, only has room for 13 letters, so don’t worry about leaving out your middle name if necessary.
- Country of Birth (País de Nacimiento): You can complete your TAM in English or in Spanish, so writing “United States” instead of “Estados Unidos” is acceptable. For clarity, avoid abbreviating your country of birth.
- Nationality (Nacionalidad): Again, write it as it appears on your passport. If you are from the US, write “United States” -- do not write “American.” To avoid confusing eagle-eyed officials, Brits should use “British" rather than English, Welsh or Scottish.
- Country of Residence (País de Residencia): Your legal country of residence.
- Point of Embarkation, No Stopover (País de Residencia, No Escala Técnica): Enter the last country you were in before crossing into Peru, not including flight stopovers.
- Type of Travel Document (Tipo de Documento de Viaje): Tick one of four boxes: passport, identification card, safe conduct or other. You should be arriving with your passport, so stick with that. The ID card option is for South Americans only.
- Number of Document (Número de Documento): Enter your passport number -- carefully. Getting this wrong could cause a bureaucratic nightmare if you lose your TAM later on.
- Date of Birth, Sex and Marital Status (Fecha de Nacimiento, Sexo and Estado Civil): Fill out your date of birth (day, month then year) and tick the appropriate box for sex and marital status.
- Occupation or Profession (Ocupación Profesión): Keep it nice and simple. It’s fine to write “student” if applicable.
- Type of Lodging (Tipo de Alojamiento): This is a bit baffling, especially if you are arriving in Peru without a hotel or hostel reservation. If you do have a confirmed place to stay, select the accommodation type (private, hotel or guesthouse) and write the address. If not, don’t worry. Tick the box for hotel or guesthouse and put the name of the nearest city as the address.
- Means of Transport and Name of Carrier (Medio de Transporte and Compañia de Transporte Utilizado): Tick the appropriate box to show how you arrived in Peru: air, land, maritime or river. For name of carrier, enter the name of your airline, bus or boat company.
- Main Purpose of Travel (Motivo Principal del Viaje): Choose from one of the following options: holidays, visiting, business, health, work or other. Tick the "holidays" box unless you have a specific type of Peruvian visa for family visits, work or any other type of previously approved stay.
- Fill out the Lower Section: Finally, fill out the lower third of your Tarjeta Andina, which includes the most important details from the steps above (such as name, passport number and date of birth). You will keep this part of the TAM after handing the form over to the border official. There is one additional field: “Amount Expended During Your Stay (US$).” Ignore it -- if you are asked to complete this section when you exit the country, make a rough estimation.
- You can print the Tarjeta Andina from Peru’s DIGEMIN website, where Spanish, English and Japanese versions are available as PDF documents. It’s best to use the printout for reference only, as some border officials might not recognize the online version -- there are subtle differences between the two.
- Don’t lose your Tarjeta Andina! After checking your completed form, the airport or border official will hand back your section of the TAM (the lower third). Keep it safe for the duration of your trip -- you’ll need it to exit the country. If you lose it, you’ll have to get a replacement (find out how with our guide to obtaining a replacement TAM).
- Don’t let anyone else fill out your TAM. Border crossings attract dubious characters, some of whom will offer to help before demanding a tip, while others will try to run off with your passport.
- If you want more time in Peru -- beyond the days allowed by your original TAM -- read Peru Tourist Visa Extensions.
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