FAQ

Will I need a visa?

You only need a visa, if you have a paid job in Chile. If you attend a language course or you do an (unpaid) internship or you study in Chile, the bureaucratic and financial efforts to apply for a visa are not worth it. If you travel to Chile as tourist, you will receive a tourist card, which allows you to stay for 90 days. You could get a student visa, but you will not have any special advantages, except that you won't have to leave the country every 3 months (see below).

Which documents will I need upon entry?

Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Canada, the USA, South Africa, as well as most EU countries do not need a visa, just their passport. Upon entry, they will receive a Tarjeta de Turismo (Tourist Card) which is valid for 90 days and has to be presented when leaving the country. Find a safe place for this inconspicuous piece of paper! If you do loose it, get a replacement in plenty of time before your departure (Policía Internacional in Santiago, Eleuterio Ramírez 852, or at a police station in one of the regions.) Those trying to leave without the card will most likely miss their flight or be kept waiting at the border for a long time.

Citizens of most African, Asian and formerly Soviet States will need a tourist visa that can be applied for at any Chilean Consulate. Citizens of Albania, Canada, Australia and Mexico have to pay an entry fee when traveling through Santiago airport (not at any other point) that corresponds to the amount Chileans are charged when traveling to the respective country: Albanians 30 USD, Canadians USD 132.00, Australians USD 61.00, Mexicans USD 23.00.

How can I extend my stay in Chile?

The Tourist Card is easiest extended by leaving and re-entering the country (can be done on the same day). Many foreigners use this loophole to extend their stay in Chile by this procedure. However, it is not officially acknowledged by the law and there have been cases in which the border officials became suspicious the third or fourth time. They started asking uncomfortable questions and renewed the Tourist Card only for 30 days.

An official extension through a police station (without leaving the country) is only meant to be done once for another 90 days, and it has to be applied for one month before the card expires from the Extranjería in Santiago or any Regional capital. The price is USD 100.00; Santiago address: San Antonio 580 piso 2, metro stop Plaza de Armas.

What kind of visa will I need?

If you officially want to stay longer than three months in Chile or if you are looking for a paid job, there are various visas. You can obtain more information at the Chilean consulates in your home country or at the Extranjería of each regional capital of Chile.

The most important types of visa are:

  • Visa de Estudiante: Student visa, without working permit, it is limited to the duration of your studies
  • Visa Sujeto a Contrato: Contract visa, this visa is issued upon presentation of a contract with a Chilean employer
  • Visa Temporario: : Temporary visa (normally 1 year) for "profesionales", i.e. for people with a diploma/title. It is not dependent on one employer, but you have to have your diploma/title officially acknowledged in Chile, and you need a job offer.
  • Permanencia Definitiva: Permanent visa for foreigners, who have lived in Chile for 2 years with a temporary visa and who can prove that they earn their own living.

We are pleased to give you advice on the different types of visa and help you with the Chilean bureaucracy. More information under Relocation.

Where can I apply for a visa?

  • At a Chilean consulate in your home country before your departure, application procedure: 2-6 weeks. See the list of consulates in your country.
  • If you are already in Chile and you want to apply for a visa for a longer stay: Intendencia de Santiago, Departamento de Extranjería, San Antonio 580 piso 2, Santiago Centro, Tel. 600-626-4222, open Mon-Fri 8.30 - 14 h, be prepared for long lines! Application procedure: 3-6 months.

How do I get from the airport to Santiago city?

ContactChile offers customers a pick up service by minibus carried out by the company TransVip (collecting trip). The reverse transfer to the airport can be ordered by phone or web. You will be picked up at your preferred location. TransVip (+56 2) 2677 3000.

What kind of clothes will I need in Santiago?

Of course, this depends first of all on the season (see Climate). If you are a tourist, informal and comfortable clothes will be just fine. If you are here to work or study, things are different. The appearance is very important to the Chileans. They don't consider long hair and earrings for men appropriate, neither very short skirts for women or if they don't shave their legs and armpits. You should also use deodorant. At work you have to dress formally, men usually need to wear a jacket with tie. Jeans, T-shirts or sandals are out of question. Women should avoid to wear revealing clothes, a bra is a must.

Is Chile safe?

More information in our complete Safety section.

How can I pay in Chile?

The common and almost exclusive means of payment is the Chilean Peso. You can withdraw money at cash points of the Redbanc ATM's with your ATM or EC/Maestro Card in any big city - maximum 200.000 Pesos per day . This costs around 7 USD / 5 EUR per withdrawal with good exchange rates. You can pay with the usual credit cards in most restaurants, shops, supermarkets etc. If you take out money with your credit card, the bank charges are higher. Further information under "Useful Information/ Money".

What are the living costs in Chile?

More information under Cost of living.