Immigration, Visas, and Customs in Chile
- 1 Immigration
- 2 Visas
- 3 Chile Citizenship
- 4 Customs
- 5 Agricultural Items
to be completed.
Relevant site: Departamento de Extranjería y Migración.
Departmento de Extranjería y Migración forum, in Spanish: http://foro.extranjeria.gob.cl/
To check on visa progress: http://autoconsulta.extranjeria.gob.cl/
Visa pickup appointments booking: http://reservahora.extranjeria.gob.cl/
A 90 day tourist visa is issued on arrival into the country for citizens of MOST countries. Today, the Chilean government documents supporting this are at:
- Third question in http://www.extranjeria.gob.cl/ingles/filesapp/Preguntas%20Frecuentes%20Ingles_2008.pdf
- Last column in http://www.extranjeria.gob.cl/media/2013/11/vistos-de-turismo.pdf
The above documents were links from http://www.extranjeria.gob.cl/ingles/faq.html and http://www.extranjeria.gob.cl/preguntas-frecuentes/
If you are arriving by air in Santiago, then citizens of several countries are required to pay a reciprocity fee: Australia, Canada, Mexico and Albania. The fee is based on what Chileans are required to pay entering these countries. http://www.aeropuertosantiago.cl/tr-mites-de-llegadas-internacionales/tramites-de-llegadas-internacionales.html
Fees as at 2011 are as follows BUT ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE:
- Australia US$ 61
- Albania US$ 30
- Canada US$ 132
- México US$ 23
This fee needs to be paid before passing through immigration in cash or credit card.
The reciprocity fee is attached to your passport and is valid for the life of your passport, except for Australians, which is only valid for 90 days.
A 90 day tourist visa can be renewed either by leaving the country and returning or at the local immigration office(for around $100). Many gringos in Santiago or close by choose the "Mendoza run", and spend the $100 towards a weekend in Argentina. It's a beautiful, scenic trip but travel may be difficult in winter, due to the high altitude. See this forum thread.
Temporary Residency Visa / VISA TEMPORARIA
The temporary residency visa can be obtained in a number of different categories including:
- Marriage to a Chilean
- Religious (Missionary)
- Retirement and Periodic Income
For the full list, in Spanish:
Official List of Temporary Residency Visas
In English: http://www.extranjeria.gov.cl/ingles/clasif_visa_temp.html
The investor Visa is NOT recommended, due to the fact that it requires more paperwork, and business plan checks in the second year, and is very easy to lose. The Retirement and Periodic Income visa is recommended. It requires that you prove that you have a regular income.
This is a one year visa, applied for through the Extranjeria. This is done in person in regiones and by mail in Santiago.
The cost depends on your nationality, and ranges from free to $1,428 USD
You can apply for permission to work while your visa is being processed, and this will cost additional.
Maximum two years on temporary residence visa(s)
This Chilean government warning states that, in accordance with D.S. 597 of 1984, a temporary residence visa has a maximum duration of one year, and can be extended only once for an equal amount of time. If a temporary resident completes two years, they must request permanent residence or leave the country.
Reporting residence address change
The back of the "Certificado de Registro de Visa" received from the PDI after registering with them shortly after obtaining your temporary visa states you must report a change in your residence address to them within thirty days.
You also must report your residence address change to the Departamento de Extranjería y Migración.
Go to http://siac.interior.gov.cl/formulario.gov?accion=ingresa
For "Tipificación", select "petición".
For "Dirigido a", select "Departamento de Extranjería y Migración".
Communicate your new residential address in the rest of the form, and submit it.
The PDI call centre (in August 2012) said someone on a temporary residence visa who lives in the Santiago area must go to the PDI office at Morande 672, Santiago to report their residential address change.
When doing so, there is a form to fill out at the information desk (the highest numbered desk). Your "Certificado de Registro de Visa" is not updated at that time.
But, in January 2013, there was a link on the PDI home page to do so: http://www.policia.cl/Tartur/Extranjeria/ModDirExt.php
Work Visa / VISA DE RESIDENCIA SUJETA A CONTRATO
To obtain a work visa, you need to present your signed contract (that must include a special clause stating that the employer must pay for your return to your country), along with other documents.
It is illegal to work and be paid in Chile without a work visa, or permission to work given while a visa is being processed.
The cost depends on your nationality, and ranges from free to $955 USD
This is a two year visa, You can apply for permanent residency after 2 years with this visa.
To become a Permanent Resident of Chile you are required to complete one year (180 in country, within 365 days) under a temporary residency visa before applying for Permanent Residency in Chile, or 2 years on a work visa.
More Information and Assistance regarding Temporary and Permanent Residency Requirements in Chile can be found at the following address:
Foreigners or Expats in Chile that are Permanent Residents of Chile for at least 5 years can apply for full Citizenship. The laws were recently changed to allow foreigners to receive citizenship in Chile without needing to renounce their citizenship to other countries. This includes the right to have a Chilean passport.
People that are the descendants of Chileans, as far back as Grand Parents, can now apply for dual citizenship also.
More information and assistance regarding Chilean Citizenship Applications and Immigration to Chile in general can be found at:
Articles on Dual Citizenship for Permanent Residents:
All items entering Chile are subject to inspection and customs duties by the aduana. For the purpose of customs, value and CIF are used interchangeably. This is the value of the item at the moment it enters Chile. It consists of 1) the cost (value) of the contents, 2) insurance (if additional coverage was purchased) and 3) freight charges.
Customs charges are made up of five things:
- Derechos de aduana (6% of CIF).
- IVA (19% of CIF + derechos de aduana).
- Tasa de verificación y aforo (1% of CIF).
- Tasa aeronáutica (2% of derechos de aduana).
- Tasa de Almacenaje ($0.12 per package).
There are a number of free trade agreements with chile meaning some imports do not need to pay the "derechos de aduana" depending on country of origin,
As an exampele, Books, computers (and their components) and anything made in the US (not imported into the US and then purchased there) are exempt from derechos de aduana. The latter exemption is often referred to as TLC (the acronym for "Free Trade Agreement" in Spanish.).
Travelers may bring personal items without paying duties. Items considered to exceed the limits can be exempted from duties by requesting a Temporary Admission of Traveler's Goods. This form describes the items and is used to confirm their exit when the traveler leaves Chile. Otherwise, there are limits on the value of dutiable items which a visitor may bring (depending on whether the items are commercial or non-commercial).
When entering Chile (at least on an airline) you will be asked to complete this declaration form (Declaración Jurada Conjunta Aduanas - SAG). You will present it at customs.
At the airport, all luggage and handbags must go through Customs X-ray. It would be in your interest not to lie on your declaration form in regards to products (even spices) of plant or animal origin and products for commercial sale as ignorance of the law is no excuse. In recent times, numerous travelers have been hit with stiff fines for prohibited food or agro derived items that did not align with the "No" checkbox choice regarding the transport of items of plant or animal origin on their declaration form. Be safe and mark "Yes" when in doubt and the most that can happen is confiscation of an item questioned by Customs. Other than that, a general observation is that outside of questionable agro items and obvious possibly destined for sale products (like a new laptop still in the box), Chile Customs can be quite laissez faire in regards to "personal use" goods in your luggage.
Exemptions exist for Chileans returning to Chile after living abroad for one year, and foreigners entering Chile with a temporary or contract visa. The frequency these limits can be claimed is limited. They are also limited by proximity to the date of the person's entry into Chile.
Packages can be sent to Chile using postal mail, courier services, and air or ocean freight services.
Customs is handled in three ways depending on the value (CIF) of the shipment.
- Up to $999 US can be handled without a customs agent.
- Over $999 US requires a customs agent. (Costs Aprox $50 US, or are calcuated on a % basis, depending on the type of import).
- Over $3000 US requires application to the Central Bank. (Costs Aprox $60 US, perhaps in addition to the cost of a customs agent.).
If more than one box arrives on the same day from the same sender, the values will be added for the purpose of determining the above limits when using freight forwarding services.
Exemptions exist for certain persons entering Chile to live. See #Travelers.
Aduana/customs department's list of active customs agents (November 2011).
- Chile free trade agreements
- Harmonized tariff schedule, or follow link to "Arancel Aduanero"
- Products which should not be imported: http://www.aduana.cl/importaciones-de-productos/aduana/2007-02-28/161116.html
This Servicio Acricola y Ganadero page describes importation of animal and vegetable materials.
- Of particular importance to travelers is this page (Ingreso de pasajeros/as con productos de origen vegetal y animal a Chile).
- Traveling with a pet? See this page (Viaje con mascotas)