Citizens from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay can travel to Chile with their national identity card. Citizens of any other nation will need a valid passport and possibly a visa. For people who hold a passport from Canada, Australia, the U.S., New Zealand, South Africa or the UK, a visa is not necessary for short stays (up to 90 days). This also holds true for most Western European and EU countries.
Citizens of countries that don’t have a reciprocal visa agreement with Chile will need to apply for a visa from their nearest Chilean embassy or consulate.
Tourist cards - Tarjetas de Turismo
Those citizens who don’t require a visa for stays of up to 90 days will be issued with a "Tarjeta de Turismo" (tourist card) upon arrival in Chile. You must keep this card for the duration of your stay and surrender it upon your departure.
The immigration authorities take this card very seriously.If you do lose it, you should get a replacement as quickly as possible and certainly before you plan on leaving the country. Replacements can be applied for at police stations across Chile.
Albanian, Australian, Canadian, Mexican and U.S. passport holders will be charged a fee for this card (in response to similar fees being charged to Chileans applying for visas from these countries). The charge is around US$30 for Albanians, US$132 for Americans, US$55 for Canadians, US$23 for Mexicans and US$34 for Australians. This fee only applies to people entering Chile through Santiago airport, not any other point, and is valid for the life of your passport.
Extending your stay
Tourist cards are valid for 90 days but are easily extendable should you wish to stay longer. The easiest way is to cross the border to a neighbouring country and then return. You can return to Chile on the same day. Many foreigners take advantage of this completely legal method to extend their stay indefinitely. However, there have been cases where border officials have become suspicious after the third or fourth time and have only extended the tourist card by 30 days.
The official method of extending your stay is through a police station. You must apply one month before your card expires at the Extranjería in Santiago or any other regional capital.
The address in Santiago is:
San Antonio 580, 2nd floor,
Metro Santa Lucía,
It is open Mon to Fri 8:30am to 2pm.
The fee is US$100 and you should bring photocopies of your passport and tourist card. Be prepared to stand in line for several hours!
Applying for a tourist visa
If you are a citizen of a country which doesn’t have a reciprocal visa agreement with Chile, you will need to apply for a visa before travelling to the country. Nationals from most African, Asian and former Soviet countries require a visa.
Tourist visas can be applied for at any Chilean consulate or embassy and you will require the following documents:
- A fully completed visa application form
- A passport valid for your entire stay in Chile (and a copy)
- Proof of your financial ability to fund your trip/return flight ticket (and one copy)
- An invitation letter from a Chilean national, or a hotel reservation
You will have to pay a processing fee for the application. The cost of the visa will depend on whether it is single or multiple entry and which country you are from.