Visa & Passport
Citizens of the following countries may be exempted from tourist visa requirements:
- Up to 90 days: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
- Up to 60 days: Grenada, Greece, Indonesia and Peru.
- Up to 30 days: Belize, Bolivia, Jamaica, Malaysia and Singapore.
- Up to 21 days: Dominica.
Citizens of other nationalities, including several African and Asian nationalities, will not be able to enter Chile, without applying for a special visa from a Chile consulate before entry.
Citizens of three countries must pay a "reciprocity fee" of varying amounts. The fee is USD 132 for Canadian citizens, USD 61 for Australian citizens and USD 15 for Mexican citizens. This fee is equivalent to the amount that country requires for entry visas from Chilean citizens. The fee is only for tourists entering by plane, and the one-time charge is good for the life of your passport. Tourists should have cash or a credit card to pay the fee. Citizens of other countries, such as the UK, do not have to pay a fee.
Further information about tourist visa can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Relations website.
Entry and exit procedures
When entering Chile, you will be processed at immigration by the International Police, a branch of the Investigations Police of Chile (Policía de Investigaciones de Chile, or PDI). The current immigration procedure is that the officer runs your passport through a scanner, asks you questions about the purpose of your visit and where you are staying in Chile, then prints out a receipt showing information drawn from your passport, your destination in Chile, and a large matrix bar code. Keep this receipt safe: it is the current equivalent of the old tourist card form. You will be required to present it to the International Police when you depart Chile, and you may not be allowed to leave without it. Together with your passport, it also exempts you from the 19% room tax at all hotels, making losing it quite costly.
If arriving by air, you will then be required to proceed to the baggage claim to pick up your bags. You will have to fill out a customs declaration form (which is handed out in flight), and proceed to customs inspection. Regardless of whether you have anything to declare, all bags of all international arrivals are screened by x-ray machines at airport customs stations.
On flights leaving Chile, there is an airport tax of USD $30 or the equivalent in Chilean pesos for flights longer than 500km, which is normally included in the ticket price. On domestic flights, airport tax depends on the distance with distances less than 270km costing CLP1,969 and longer distances costing CLP4,992; either way, it will also be included in the ticket price.
Like most countries, Chile has immigration inspection stations at airports for both arriving and departing international passengers. The total time to clear immigration (not including additional time for customs for inbound flights or security for outbound flights) usually takes at least 30 minutes to one hour. This is why some airlines ask passengers leaving Chile on international flights to check in at two hours before departure time, to ensure they have adequate time to clear outbound immigration and security inspection.
Chile is a geographically isolated country, separated from its neighbours by desert, mountains and ocean. This protects it from many pests and diseases that can hit agriculture, one of the biggest national economic sources. Due to this, importation of certain fresh, perishable or wooden goods (such as meat products, fruits & vegetables, honey, untreated wood, etc.) can be either restricted or even prohibited. Upon arrival, the customs declaration form will require you to declare that you are not carrying any restricted product. If you are, declare so and show the form to SAG officials at the customs inspection station.
Prior to 30 August 2016, Chile was not a signatory to the Hague Convention on apostilles, meaning that all documents other than passports were considered legally worthless in Chile, unless legalized by a foreign Chilean consulate or embassy before coming to Chile. Since the Convention has come into effect in Chile, it is sufficient to obtain notarization or certification, together with apostilles, to ensure that foreign documents will be accepted as legally binding in Chile.
Remember that Chile is a centralized country (a "unitary state" in the parlance of political science), so the laws stay the same regardless of region.