With its dazzling national parks, globally-renowned wineries, Andean ski resorts and top-class surf beaches, Chile is an attractive destination for travelers from around the world. Deciding you want to visit is the easy part; navigating the logistics of actually making that trip happen can be a tad trickier. Below is a useful guide to Chile’s entry requirements, including information on visa types, costs and all the details you’ll need to ensure a seamless journey in and out of the country.
Citizens of 95 countries do not need a visa in advance
Citizens of around 95 countries can enter Chile without the need to obtain a consular or electronic visa in advance. These include citizens of the United States, Japan, Canada, the UK, the European Union and Chile’s South American neighbors – all of whom receive a stamp allowing them to stay in the country for up to 90 days. Formerly, the citizens of many of these countries had to pay hefty “reciprocity fees” to enter Chile. These are no longer in place, with the final fee, for Australians, removed in 2020 (though Australians will need an e-visa to enter beginning in 2022).
Citizens of many other countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, will need to visit the closest embassy to apply for a tourist visa, which could last for a minimum of 30 days or a maximum of 90, depending on the nation. You can view the full list here (in Spanish) of who does and doesn’t need a visa and how long these visas last.
Citizens of all countries must ensure that their passport is valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of arrival.
Everyone gets a Tarjeta de Turismo or Tourist Card when they arrive
Upon entering the country, you will receive a slip of paper called the Tarjeta de Turismo (Tourist Card). Hold onto it for the duration of your stay as you’ll be required to present this to border officers when you depart. This tourist card is actually quite useful as you can use it to avoid the 19% room tax at hotels, which domestic tourists must pay. Most hotels won’t automatically deduct this, so be sure to show your passport and tourist card at check-in.
If you lose the tourist card, you can request a free copy at the website of the Policía de Investigaciones de Chile (PDI), at the nearest PDI office or at the Santiago airport (though you should allot at least 45 minutes extra at the airport to deal with this). Residents of visa-free countries can extend the tourist card for an additional 90 days by filling out a form online (in Spanish) and then going to a local bank to pay a US$100 extension fee, but this requires a high level of Spanish comprehension and the patience to jump through some hoops. It’s often easier (and cheaper) to just hop across the Andes to Argentina and return a day later, at which time you’ll receive a new tourist card free of charge.
Working visas are available for citizens of Canada and Australia
Citizens of 16 countries – including Canada, Sweden, Germany, Australia and New Zealand – can apply for Working Holiday Visas to extend their stay in Chile even longer. These visas are generally available to those between the ages of 18 and 30 (or up to 35 for Canadians) and allow foreigners to work and live in Chile for up to one year. Entrepreneurs should consider applying to the Start-Up Chile program, which arranges one-year work visas on top of generous monetary incentives in the tens of thousands of dollars. Others who want to stay longer can work with local language schools to arrange Sujeta a Contrato visas for teaching English in Chile.