Saturday, December 14, 2013

Reader Request: Getting Peruvian Residency If You Have a Criminal Record

Note: Full disclosure here I have never been detained, arrested, or charged with anything; I don't have a criminal record. I have run across people who have records and have managed to get visas. Here's all I know.

If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times, laws in Peru are not black and white, but shades of grey. I've had a couple people email me over the years and ask if it's possible to get Peruvian residency if they have a criminal record. They never tell me what's on their record, which is totally understandable. Everyone who has written to me has told me that they were young and stupid and haven't had any run-ins with the law since then.

One tip to remember is that speaking Spanish will help you greatly. You'll be treated differently than if you speak English all the time, it'll help you assimilate to the culture, and you'll be able to communicate easier.
I believe that there's no way you'll get a visa for Peru (or pretty much any country) if you have certain things on your record such as rape, murder, sex crimes, etc. In fact, here's what will definitely exclude you according to Peru this Week: convicted murderers, drug smugglers, illegal miners (gold, diamonds, etc), and being involved with organised crime. Take note that sex crimes aren't mentioned, though I'm willing to guess they would deny a visa to anyone convicted of them.

Expat Peru has contradictory information. They say that anything on your record will deny you a visa, but then say that they got their CE way before they got the results from their CBC (criminal background check). That's not to say that their home country and Peru aren't in contact though and Peruvian immigration gets the results before they do. 

There are three things to consider when applying for a visa.
  1. Will it even show up?: You'll have to undergo a federal check in order to get a visa in Peru. For Americans, that means an FBI check. Misdemeanors that happened over 7 years ago shouldn't show up. It varies by state, but 7 years seems to be the most common. The best way to find out is to ask a friend in law enforcement to run your name. If you get fingerprinted and it's been less than 7 years it will add another 7 years to whatever time is left. Once you find out your record is clean then you can get an FBI check. Most police stations charge about $20 to fingerprint you and you'll pay about $20 to the FBI to get your record. You can find the steps in apostillisations and criminal background checks.
  2. Misdemeanors: Now if you have misdemeanors, such as possession of drugs (not trafficking!) or underage drinking or drunk driving, it is possible to get a visa. I'm not saying that you will definitely get once, because each and every immigration officer is different, but it's possible. 
  3. When it happened: Let's say that you're 50 and when you were 17 you got busted for underage drinking. It was a one time thing and you've never had any issues, not even a parking ticket, since then. If it happened a long time ago and you haven't had any other issues, then it's much different than a 25 year old who has been busted three times for drugs.
If you are denied a resident visa you still might be able to live in Peru. Many people are allowed up to 183 days in Peru as a tourist at a time. You could go as a tourist, then travel for a couple of days and then go back to Peru as a tourist. Be aware that there's no guarantee that you will get 183 days. If you've border hopped a lot, or if they decide that they don't want to let you in because of your criminal background, they can deny you entry to Peru, so keep that in mind. If you're looking at teaching, you might also want to check out teaching with a criminal record. The latter has a list of countries where you can get a visa even if you have a criminal background.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Reader Request: Alternatives to Teaching English in Peru

Updated: 16 June 2014

While many people who come to Peru end up teaching English, there are lots of other things that you can do.

Many foreigners have set up businesses overseas. There are foreign owned language schools, bookstores, bars, and everything in between. Below are ways you can make money off line. Business Ideas dot net also has a lot of ideas. If you're going to offer products and services you usually have two choices: sell other people's stuff (and get a commission or buy wholesale and sell resale) or sell your own stuff. 

Remember that speaking Spanish will help you greatly if you're trying to start a business in Peru, whether big or small. You'll be treated differently than if you speak English all the time, it'll help you assimilate to the culture, and you'll be able to communicate easier.

Some do it legally and others work under the table. Some countries make it super easy to start a business, others have a high investment requirement and lots of paperwork, which is why people work under the table. Chances of getting caught are often slim though. If you're looking to make money online, check out the article I wrote about making money online.

Art: Sell what you create or teach classes. Check out what Anajali does.

Babysitting Service: Charge a monthly fee, annual fee, and / or a booking fee in addition to an hourly fee.

Baby Stuff: People are always having babies!

Bake: People love homemade goodies.

Bar: There's no doubt that English teachers like to drink. If you're going to set up a bar, you'll have to go the legal route though. Look at what Old Pub and Wolfhound have done. 

Beauty: Hairstyles, makeup, and more

Bookstore: There's always a demand for English books. Look at what Confederate Bookstore and What the Book have done.

Childbirth Educator: People are always having babies and you can help them learn about the options available to them. Look at what Tender Embrace Birthing does.

Children's Classes: Music, dance, crafts, are all great activities for kids.

Clothing: You can cater to kids or adults.

Cook: People always miss food. If you can cook you could try catering or even shipping ready to made meals. Look at what 6th Floor Cafe does.

Cooking classes: Teach people how to make the local dishes. Look at O'ngo.

Course Book Writer / Materials Writer: You can try to approach big name publishers (like Longman, Oxford, Cambridge, or MacMillan), local publishers, or chains.

Crafts: You could sell items you've made or teach people how to make things.

Dance: Teach dance classes.

Doula: Doulas have been proven to help women in labour. More and more families are hiring them.

Ebook: Write an ebook, You can even set up an affiliate scheme.

Editing / Proof-reading: Although getting a position at Oxford or Cambridge University Press might be difficult there are plenty of local publishers that would welcome a native speaker to help them out.

EFL / ESL Examiner: IELTS or Cambridge examiner. Recruitment information packs for applicants can be downloaded from the British Council and the Cambridge website.

Exam Writer: Someone's got to write the exam questions, so it might as well be you. Cambridge, IELTS, Michigan, and TOEFL are the big exams, so try contacting them for more info.

Facebook: Creating fan pages or writing content for them is possible if you're good with words.

Food: Sell items that expats want, like cereal, cheese, or chocolate. Look at what High Street Market and Fat Bag do. You could also export local foods like Afex Peru does.

Foreign exchanges: Help foreign students who come over to study. Check out what CCCAsia does.

Foreign goods: Although iherb is pretty reasonable, you could sell other items, cosmetics, clothes, shoes, etc.

Group classes: They could be in your home or you could rent out a small office.

Homestays: People who host students in their homes can be paid pretty well. You will probably also have to cook for them and may have to do their laundry.

Hostel: Open up a hostel. Look at Hostel Trail in Ecuador.

Interior Decorating: From giving advice about major revamps to the little details.

Language Institute: You could open up an English institute or better yet, open up one that teaches the local language to foreigners. Look at what El SOL does.

Magazine: Start an English magazine.

Newspaper: Start an English newspaper.

Organise classes: Find a teacher and a venue and organise a class. Charge people a registration fee for your services. Some people have organised CPR and first aid classes and charged $20 for the registration fee which is in addition to the teacher's and venue's fees.

Photographer: Many people want a professional photographer to capture moments such as an engagement, wedding, birth, or their children.

Private Students: Try to find a niche, whether it be teaching kids, Business English, exam prep, etc. Look here to find out how to teach private students

Property, see rental income.

Recruit Teachers: Check the local laws and immigration requirements. Your best bet might be setting up a business back in your home country. You'll have to establish contacts and might have to make guarantees (recruiters often promise to replace a teacher for free if they leave within six months). Most recruiters can earn up to one month of the teacher's salary for each teacher they place.

Rental Income: Houses in other countries may be cheaper than at home.Put the full downpayment on a property, keep it mortgaged, and use an agent to manage it. Buy a couple properties since it's better to have 4 properties with the tax advantages and rise in value than tying all your capital up in one property that just generates rent with no expenses to offset the income. Dmocha from Dave's ESL Cafe says that you may be able to get tax breaks for property as far as interest, improvements, and agent's fees go. Look at what Apartment Club Peru does.

Sell stuff: Buy low, sell high.

Sports: You can teach classes, such as yoga.

Subbing: Contact schools and ask to be put on their sub list.

Teacher: Teach other subjects like martial arts, visual arts, drama, sports, yoga, meditation, photography, childbirth education, or school subjects. The possibilities are limitless.

Teacher Training: If you've got the quals and experience try contacting intensive TEFL course providers. Some may have weekend courses or may need trainers during the breaks. Check out what Kagan Korea does.

Toiletries: Natural soaps, butters, and oils are in high demand.

Tour Guide: Being an English tour guide is a good way to earn extra money during the high season. You can give tours when you have time. You can have set prices or do free tours with donations like Guided Bucharest.

Translating: Contact local businesses and offer your services or put an advert up on Craigslist. Here's a list of where to advertise your translation services.

Traveling with students: Organise trips for students. They can be daytrips to local places or even longer trips overseas. If you get enough students together, you could take them back to your home country for a vacation where they could study and learn about the culture first-hand.

Workshops: Lots of publishers offer training sessions so contact publishers and ask if they can put you on their list.

Writer: Write a book or article, online or in print.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013 Peru Inspired Gift Guide

If you're looking for Peru inspired gifts, you've come to the right place! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Food and Drinks
For the cook in your life, get them a Peruvian cookbook. They have tons of great recipes like ceviche, lomo saltado, aji de gallina, papa rellena, and much more.

If someone you know loves trying different alcoholic drinks from around the would, they should definitely try Pisco Sour. If they like taking shots, there are a number of Peruvian shot glasses to choose from. And despite what the Chileans may say, Pisco is Peruvian.

If you want to buy a unique non-alcoholic drink for someone, try Inca Kola. It's what Coca Cola is to the USA and what Irn Bru is to Scotland. Chicha morada is a drink made from purple corn. Although it sounds weird, it's really good and unique to Peru.

Pima Cotton 
Peru has quality material such as alpaca (used to make blankets and clothing) and pima cotton. When buying cloth, don't skimp on the price since you will get what you pay for. Although something might be more expensive, it will probably last much longer than the cheaper item and therefore save you money in the long-run.

Famous throughout the world, pima cotton is used to make many things such as sheets, clothing for kids and babies, as well as shirts for adults.

Christmas Ornaments
Ornaments make great gifts. There are a number of Peruvian ornaments out there, such as Machu Picchu, nativity scenes, llamas, and the Peruvian flag.

Tumi is a Peru inspired company that makes gorgeous bags and luggage. The quality can't be beat either. Whether you're looking to give someone a bag for business, travel, or casual, they've got you covered.

More Gifts
If you're looking for more ideas, here are other Peru inspired gift guides I've written.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cholo: Funny Nickname or Racial Slur?

I was reading Babies On the Move (the baby on the cover is from Indonesia, you can tell from the coins sewn around the basket) the other day to my daughter. It has babies around the world and how they get around. They have families from North America, Africa, Asia, and Latin America featured as well as babies being wrapped in blankets, papooses, strollers, and more.

One of the pictures in the book is of a native Peruvian and her child, typically referred to as a cholo, chola, cholito, or cholita. Short stature, ruddy cheeks, lots of layers, hats, and colourful clothes. They typically live in the mountains. You can find more about this term on Wikipedia.

I worked at a private bilingual school in Lima which had started as a German school. We went to a school in the shanty towns near Lima before Christmas and one of the little kids came up to me and asked me which country my students were from.

Even as the words were coming out of my mouth I realised the irony of it all. I told him that they were Peruvian, just like him. Yet they weren't just like him. My students were from wealthy families who could afford private schooling, trips abroad, and even therapy to help them deal with all the issues they had. They didn't even look like the children at the shanty town school since most of my students were blond-haired and blue-eyed.
Funny Nickname?
Peruvians tend to use a lot of nicknames rather than using given names, this is just part of the Peruvian culture. Some of them include: gordo/a (fatty), tio/a (uncle / aunt), chochera (not really sure how to translate it), amigo/a (friend). Despite my students' background and looks they commonly referred to each other as chola.

Even some of the teachers would call each other or the students chola as well. Some people are proud of their heritage as you can see by this shirt that says, "being a cholo is fantastic". Other people disagree and believe that cholo is a racial slur.

Racial Slur
Some Peruvians don't like the word cholo since it reminds them about how the Spanish came and conquered the Incas. Peruvians are still bitter about this conquest. They say the Incas were tall and strong and the Spaniards polluted their bloodline and mistreated them.

Wikipedia says that it's a racial slur. And I suppose it could be depending on the context. I guess cholo is similar to the n-word in the US. I personally would never use that since I'm not black and it would be seen as a racial slur. However, I have heard blacks using the n-word when talking to each other. Outside of Peru, cholo has become a fashion statement. Think Latin rapper style.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Reader Request: I'm Going to Live in Peru Forever!

Updated 20 October 2017

It's not uncommon for me to get emails from people who say that they want to live in Peru forever, but don't know how to do it. It's usually accompanied by statements saying that someone (their husband / wife / partner / boyfriend / girlfriend / fiance / fiancée) is living in Peru / going to move to Peru and they'll get married and live happily ever after. More often than not the person emailing me has never been to Peru or has spent less than two weeks there.

Keep in mind that marriage is no longer forever. Divorce rates are high enough between people from the same culture let alone those from different cultures. The good news is that there are alternatives to residency besides marriage.
Differences in culture can also wreck havoc on cross-cultural partnerships. There's a reason why I wrote think carefully before marrying a Peruvian and that's it's one of the top 5 posts on my blog.

Moving is hard but it can be even harder if you move to a different country, don't speak the language, or if you don't have a job waiting for you. More often that not people end up begrudgingly teaching English. While there are other options than teaching English in Peru, they do take time to set up. If you do decide to to move to Peru, definitely take time and read the advice that other long-term expats have written.

While there are plenty of people that do end up living in Peru forever, just remember to keep your options open. Don't limit yourself to one country. Take things in stride and realise that there are many things beyond your control.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Changes for a New Hope: An NGO Volunteer Organisation in Huaraz, Peru

The following is a guest post by Jim Killon who runs Changes for a New Hope. Below is his story. There are many other organisations out there for people who want to volunteer in Peru.

I'm from Baltimore, Maryland. In 2009, I fulfilled a long-time dream of developing a project for the benefit of children living in a 3rd world country. I am an exhibited artist and photographer, writer/author and a social activist. I wrote an article about how volunteers have helped out. You can read the article at Volunteer Match.

The “Haz lo Correcto – Do the Right Thing” campaign in Huaraz, Peru has increased community awareness toward positive development there. I just wrote an e-book, “A Gringo in Peru – A Story of Compassion in Action,” and it has already reached readers in seven countries. You can find it on Amazon or Lulu.

Everybody wants to feel good don´t they? Everybody would like life to be a tad more convenient and manageable and in the shortest amount of time possible. And why not? After all we deserve it.

I was on a visa run to Toronto, Canada in November visiting with some wonderful friends who have supported this project for years now. While staying at their home, I was reacquainted with what has come to be strange to me because my day to day living in the Peruvian Andes is so different. Heated homes for one example. Floors with carpeting. Hot running water and a refrigerator, with food. A bed. Cars that were not 10 years old and beat up. Stores with thousands of choices and restaurants with page after page of options. Those everyday conveniences I had in my first 50 years spent in the U.S. has almost completely vanished from my memory, the impression of Peruvian living in the Andes, over the last 5 years, has replaced every nook and cranny of my thinking.

Every person´s definition of comfort is different. What makes each of us feel really great is also different. A pair of shoes that fit, warm clothing, basic hygienic supplies, soap and shampoo, deodorant and fingernail clippers are normal for most folks in developed countries. Where I live, it is barely a consideration. To have those things, for the children that we reach out to, is a luxury. But it would make them feel really good to have them.

I was able to bring back a few hundred pounds of materials and supplies into Peru for the children thanks to my Toronto friends and many others like them. This is what makes them feel good.

As good as in a fine meal at a nice restaurant or soaking in a Jacuzzi hot tub? No, it is different. It feels good on the inside, in a very special way and in a very special place in your heart. That´s how my friends and our supporters describe it to me. That is how I feel everyday, waking up in an unheated house, solid concrete walls in Huaraz, Peru. A bare light bulb hangs from the ceiling, water may or may not come out of a facet and is cold only. I adjusted, I manage, I never complain because I chose this life to be able to create the project called Changes for New Hope. I never regretted this decision. It is what makes me feel good inside, in that very special place. It is such an overwhelming feeling, the compassion and love in such a dynamic way that I generally forget the minor inconveniences that had replaced my North American life which was very comfortable.

We do what makes us feel good, gives us a sense of purpose and happiness. Some need to find it externally in some form or fashion. Others, a few unique individuals have found that special oasis of peace and tranquility and love deep within themselves by touching the lives of others who need them. Sometimes it is a post card with a message of heartfelt hope. Sometimes it is a box of materials and supplies like the ones I just mentioned. Sometimes it is a visit to help in a hands-on volunteering way. Sometimes it is funds. No matter what manner your heart is sharing, the feeling is incredible. It is real. It does´t end with a hangover, or a breakup text message or the shakes. It is a wonderful feeling of having found a purpose and it does not diminish or fade.

I invite each one of you who may be considering how to feel wonderful, deep within yourself, to try this experience, touch this piece of the world and the children who only want to feel good and share the comfort of your own heart with theirs.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ley Seca: No Drinking Before and During Elections

48 hours before the day of elections, election day, and 12 hours the day after election day constitutes as "ley seca". So if elections are on the 17th, then starting from midnight on the 15th, all of the 16th, all of the 17th, and until noon on the 18th no alcohol will be sold. Selling alcohol results in a steep fine and extra police are out during this time.

One tip to remember is that speaking Spanish will help you greatly. You'll be treated differently than if you speak English all the time, it'll help you assimilate to the culture, and you'll be able to communicate easier.

Perhaps it's because voting is a requirement, not a right and people are afraid that Peruvians will be too drunk to vote properly, or easily persuaded to vote a certain way.

Another odd law is that the day before the election police aren't allowed to detain people or send them to prison, except for sex crimes. (El sábado 16 no se podrá detener o enviar a prisión a los ciudadanos habilitados para votar, salvo flagrancia.) I wonder about murder or homicide? Sometimes I really don't think Peru is advancing.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Reader Request: Registering Your Peruvian Marriage Back Home

I've been asked a couple times if marriages in Peru are legal back home and the short answer is yes, they are.

Now if you get married in Peru, does that mean that it'll automatically show up on your records back home? No, it won't. If you get married in Peru and then go home and check if you have a marriage record, you won't. It'll still show that you're single.

So what do you do? It depends on where you're from. If you're from the US, they usually don't ask for official translations or apostillisations. Personally, I would still get my Peruvian documents notarised, apostillised, and translated. Here's a guide on how to use Peruvian documents abroad.

Update August 2014
Some counties in the US aren't allowing you to record foreign marriages or divorces anymore. Contact your county clerk for more info.

In the US you cannot register a foreign marriage. It's impossible. What exactly does that mean for people who get married abroad? It's simple. In the US you're only allowed to register a marriage that takes place on US soil. If you get married abroad all you have to do is bring your foreign marriage cert and a translated copy (Doesn't have to be official. You can translate it, a friend, Google, etc) to the county clerk's office. Then the record it and it'll show up on your record.

What does it mean? It's just semantics. You register marriages that take place on US soil and you record marriages that take place on foreign soil. The end result is the same: you'll show up as being married. If you get divorced, you follow the same procedure.

One tip to remember is that speaking Spanish will help you greatly. You'll be treated differently than if you speak English all the time, it'll help you assimilate to the culture, and you'll be able to communicate easier.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Reader Request: Alternative Ways to Get Residency in Peru Besides Marriage

Updated 30 April 2017

About once a month I get an email from someone asking me how in the world they can get residency in Peru. Usually it's due to the fact that a significant other in Peru, but they don't want to or aren't able to get married.

One tip to remember is that speaking Spanish will help you greatly. You'll be treated differently than if you speak English all the time, it'll help you assimilate to the culture, and you'll be able to communicate easier.

The good news is that after three years of residency you can apply for inmigrante status (permanent residency) or become a Peruvian citizen.

Here are some other alternatives to residency besides getting married.
  1. Get a work visa. If you can score an expat package, all the better.
  2. Start your own business. It'll get you a visa. You'll need $30,000 and there's a lot of paperwork involved.
  3. Get a student visa. You will be able to work part-time as well. married.
  4. Get a retirement visa. You'll have to prove a steady source of income, not from a job. (ex, government retirement scheme, private retirement scheme, etc.)
  5. Get a family visa. If you have children that were born in Peru, they can become Peruvian citizens. If your kids are Peruvian, you might be able to get a visa through them. Get a lawyer. I've heard it's possible, but don't know anyone who has done it.


Friday, July 5, 2013

La Leche League in Peru

Breastfeeding is back in style thanks to the internet and slogans such as "breast is best". If you're looking to meet other like-minded people, try going to a La Leche League (La Liga de La Leche) meeting in Peru. Their book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, has over 1,000 reviews and is highly recommend.

Check out La Leche League Peru's Facebook Page and LLL Peru. Most of the LLL Peru's page is in Spanish, but they do have a monthly English meeting as well.

One tip to remember is that speaking Spanish will help you greatly. You'll be treated differently than if you speak English all the time, it'll help you assimilate to the culture, and you'll be able to communicate easier.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jumping Through Hoops to Get Your College Diploma in Peru
I've gotten degrees from universities in North America, Europe, and Australiasia.

For the unis in North America and Australiasia, all I had to get my diploma was make sure that I didn't owe the uni any money. That was it. I didn't have to do anything or pay a fee. I had my diploma in hand 2 weeks after I graduated from the uni in North America and 3 months after I graduated from the one in Australasia.

For the uni in Europe I had to pay a couple hundred dollars and wait nearly a year for the actual diploma (which came stamped, sealed, apostillised, and what have you) and to top it off the first diploma that they sent me had mistakes in my personal info. However, I didn't have to fill out any paperwork for any three of these unis.

Peru, however, is different. One tip to remember is that speaking Spanish will help you greatly. You'll be treated differently than if you speak English all the time, it'll help you assimilate to the culture, and you'll be able to communicate easier.
Why make something simple when you can make it difficult and create jobs (as well as stress and frustration)? The answer is simple: that's just the way Peruvian culture is. I honestly don't understand why they need most of these docs because . . .
  1. They should already have them on file since they needed them when you applied to the university.
  2. It shows a lack of communication between departments. The departments should simply send the info on to whichever department is in charge of seeing if students are able to graduate rather then each individual student going around to multiple departments and getting the required paperwork to hand in to the department in charge of graduation.
Paperwork You'll Need
Here are some requirements needed in order to get your diploma from a Peruvian university. This is a bit extreme since it's a public university. You can find more examples at San Marco and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. Other documents that you might need are your birth certificate and transcripts from other universities if you transferred

Step 1: Get permission from your department / faculty to graduate
  • Certificate of your studies*
  • A formal request asking permission to get permission to get your degree. (i.e. they have to say that you've completed all the course requirements)
  • Proof of not owing the university any money*
  • Proof of completing any required internships*
  • Proof of required final projects*
  • Photos*
  • Photocopy of your DNI*
  • Receipt for the right to have finished your courses (grado academico)
  • Receipt for your diploma*
  • Receipt for the calligraphy on your diploma*
  • Receipt for the paperwork*
  • Receipt for the certificate that proves you have finished your requirements

Step 2: Permission from the university to graduate
  • Formal request
  • Certificate of your studies*
  • Certificate from your department / faculty saying that you have permission to graduate
  • Receipt for permission to graduate
  • Receipt for your diploma*
  • Receipt for the calligraphy on your diploma*
  • Receipt for the paperwork*
  • Photos*
  • Proof of not owing the university money*
  • Proof of required final projects*
  • Proof of completing any required internships*
  • Photocopy of your DNI*
  • A folder to put it all in
Step 3: Requesting your diploma
  • Certificate of your studies*
  • Certificate from the university saying you can graduate
  • Proof of not owing the university money*
  • Proof of completing any required internships*
  • Proof of required final project*
  • Photos*
  • Photocopy of your DNI*
  • Receipt for the certificate that proves you have finished your requirements
  • Receipt for your diploma itself*
  • Receipt for the calligraphy on your diploma*
  • Receipt for the paperwork*
  • Receipt for the right to ask for your diploma
Those are a lot of documents you need!

* From the asterisks you can see that most of them are asked for again and again.

It's time consuming and expensive. Each of these steps requires you to pay for multiple things. A national university will probably cost you about $200 to graduate from, a private university could be double or triple that. After going through university and spending money on an education, you shouldn't be asked to pay more just to graduate.

Peru needs to simplify things. They need to create less paperwork, less hassle, and less frustration. You shouldn't have to ask your faculty for permission to graduate. It would be a heck of a lot simpler if the faculties gave the head department a list of people who can graduate. Ditto for owing money. Each department, such as the library, should print off a list of people who owe money.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Peruvian Universities That Offer Distance Learning Bachelor Degrees

Distance learning is a new concept in Peru. In the US it's been around for ages. I remember looking at my dad's old comic books and they had adverts for correspondence courses in order to finish high school and get your high school diploma. High school diplomas are now the bare minimum needed for jobs. Most places ask for a bachelor degree, if not a master.

One tip to remember is that speaking Spanish will help you greatly. You'll be treated differently than if you speak English all the time, it'll help you assimilate to the culture, and you'll be able to communicate easier.

Background to Bachelor Degrees in Peru
In Peru there are two levels of bachelor's degrees. You get your bachiller and your titlulo. The first means you've finished all the courses. The second means you've done a capstone course: such as an intensive course, internship, or thesis.

3 Universities in Peru
Peru has three universities that I know of that offer distance learning, but even then it's not completely possible to do if you don't have someone in Peru to help you. My husband is going through Garcilaso de la Vega University and he had to go there in order to apply and spent a couple months trying to get credits transferred and whatnot. At the beginning in 2011 he had to have relatives physically go to the university and pick up the books and post them to him.
    • Garcilaso de la Vega University: 3 semestres a year. You should be able to finish in about 3 years. Affordable. It's not that organised. Even a month into most semestres not all the professors have told you what work is expected to you and if they tell you it's vague. They'll tell you to write a paper or do research but will have no word or page limit. In order to get your diploma for either your bachiller or your titulo you also have to physically go to the university and fill out tramites and wait a couple months. The kicker? If you want to do your titulo at another university, which is common enough in Peru, you have to wait until you have your diploma in hand. Idiotic.
      Passing your thesis is another grey area. Not only do you have to rent the space where you give the thesis, but you also have to pay the profs for their time. It seems like they'd be pretty likely to fail you since then you'd have to hire them again. Peruvian culture is full of shades of grey and bribery: reminds me why I left Peru in the first place.

    • Los Angeles Chimbote University: Should be affordable. Not that well-known of a university.

    • San Ignacio Loyola University: Pretty expensive. Aimed towards rich people or those whose companies will pay.

    Hopefully there will be more universities that offer BA degrees and they'll organise their info better so that you don't physically have to go there to get stuff done.


    Thursday, April 25, 2013

    Tax Obligations for US Expats Living in Peru

    The following is a guest post by Greenback Tax Services

    If you’ve chosen to leave the US for a new cultural experience in Peru, there are a few financial issues you’ll need to be prepared for, including new tax rules and regulations. As a US expat, unfortunately taxes tend to get more complicated when you move to a new country. Why? Because although you may be working in Peru, you are still required to file US tax returns.

    As a result, you’ll need to be aware of your tax commitments in both Peru and the US.

    Filing Peruvian Taxes

    Taxes in Peru are filed with the Superintendencia Nacional de Administración Tributaria (SUNAT). Taxes are due within three months of the end of the previous tax year – tax years end on Dec. 31.

    Resident Status in Peru

    For income tax purposes, individuals in Peru are considered to be either Peruvian residents or Peruvian non-residents. The category you fall under will determine how much and what kind of income taxes, if any, you must pay.

    Peruvian Residents vs. Non-Residents

    In Peru, domiciled individuals, or those who are in Peru for many than 183 days (need not be consecutive) during any 12-month period, are considered residents.

    Peruvian Income Tax Rates

    If you are a Peruvian Resident, you are required to pay tax on your worldwide income. The amount that you pay will depend on your net income. Peru uses an Annual Tax Unit or UIT that is equivalent to PEN3,650 ($1,251.85). The income tax rate is calculated according to the following table:

    Peru Income Tax Rates
    Tax Rate
    0 to 7
    7 to 27
    27 to 54
    More than 54

    For Non-Residents, you are only required to pay taxes on Peruvian sourced income. This is taxed at a fixed rate of 30%.

    Taxable Income

    In Peru, income is classified into 5 categories, which are listed below:

    Cat. 1: Rental or subleasing income

    Cat. 2: Capital Revenue – Interest, royalties, patents, dividends, capital gains

    Cat. 3: Trade or business partnership

    Cat. 4: Income from self-employment

    Cat. 5: Earned income

    Filing US Taxes

    As a US citizen or Green Card holder, you arerequired to file a US tax return each year even if you reside in a foreign country. Fortunately, as a US expat you receive an automatic two-month filing extension.

    NOTE: This extension is for filing purposes only and does not apply to any money owed to the IRS. If you owe taxes, you are still required to pay by April 15th or you may be subject to late payment penalties.

    Depending on how much money you have in foreign bank accounts and institutions, you may also be required to complete FBAR Form TD 90.22.1. This form is required for individuals who have more than $10,000 (cumulative) in foreign bank accounts. This form must be filed by June 30th.

    Fortunately, there are certain provisions that help prevent double taxation, including:

    o   The foreign earned income exclusion, which allows you to exclude up to $95,100 of foreign earned income from your US taxes (this will increase to $97,600 for the 2013 tax year),

    • The foreign tax credit, which allows you to offset the taxes you paid in your host country with your US expat taxes dollar for dollar, and
    • The foreign housing exclusion, which allows you to exclude certain household expenses that occur as a result of living abroad.

    If your income is over the minimum thresholds for filing US taxes you are required to file regardless of where in the world you live, even if you don’t owe any money.  Choosing not to file or filing late could result in late payment and late filing penalties if you owe money on your taxes.  Failure to file the FBAR can result in fines, seizure of assets or even jail time, in extreme cases.

    Need Help Preparing Your US Taxes

    If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and need some help preparing your US Tax Returns or FBAR Forms, Greenback Expat Services can help. For questions or tax preparation inquires, contact us today.


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