Can a Chilean (non-resident) use a foreign driving licence in Chile?

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Can a Chilean (non-resident) use a foreign driving licence in Chile?

Post by Andres » Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:53 am

I do not recall the following be addressed:
Can a Chilean citizen who is not a resident of Chile, who does not have a current Chilean driving licence, legally use a non-Chile driving licence to drive in Chile?

My family's situation:
- My Chilean citizen wife ceased being a Chilean resident, now lives in Australia, has an Australian driving licence and her Chilean driving licence expired. (We intend a short trip in Chile where there will be a lot of driving. I can drive there, but we do not know whether she can.)
- My Chilean and Australian citizen daughter has never been a Chilean resident, has an Australian driving licence and has never had a Chilean driving licence. (She might want to drive while visiting family in Chile.)

The relevant law is Article 5, Ley 18290, Ley de Transito:
"Artículo 5.- Ninguna persona podrá conducir un vehículo motorizado o a tracción animal, sin poseer una licencia expedida por el Director del Departamento de Tránsito y Transporte Público Municipal de una Municipalidad autorizada al efecto; o un permiso provisional que los Tribunales podrán otorgar sólo a los conductores que tengan su licencia retenida por proceso pendiente; o una boleta de citación al Juzgado, dada por los funcionarios a que se refiere el artículo 4o en reemplazo de la licencia o del permiso referido; o una licencia o permiso internacional vigente para conducir vehículos motorizados, otorgado al amparo de tratados o acuerdos internacionales en que Chile sea parte.

Los nacionales de otros países, que permanezcan en calidad de turistas en Chile, podrán conducir un vehículo motorizado durante el plazo de la respectiva autorización de turismo, portando la licencia vigente de conductor, otorgada según las leyes de su país, que sea equivalente a la Licencia No Profesional Clase B contemplada en el artículo 12.

. . ."

A bureaucrat (who likes to hinder as much as they can) might say, "the second paragraph does not say a Chilean can use a non-Chile driving licence; it only says a national of other countries, who are tourists in Chile can use a driving licence of another country".

A non-bureaucrat might say, "the first paragraph says a person can drive in Chile with a valid international license or permit; the text does not exclude a Chilean citizen, even if they are a resident of Chile". (This would require getting an "international permit" to accompany the non-Chile driving licence, but that is easy to obtain.)

Several forum threads have addressed the issue of when a non-Chilean residing in Chile is legally obligated to have a Chilean driving licence. But, to my knowledge, there has been no talk of whether Chilean citizen non-resident must do so.

So, does anyone have any documents or practical experience which might shed some light on this issue? (Keeping in mind that, just because we find a legal document issued by the Chilean government resolving this issue, there is no guarantee it is followed . . . likely not!!)
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Re: Can a Chilean (non-resident) use a foreign driving licence in Chile?

Post by Zenth » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:20 am

Obtain an International Drivers License. All you need is a valid local license and a passport type photo. In the USA the AAA does this.
Carry the International license with your local license. I've done this multiple times, stopped twice and had no problems.

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Re: Can a Chilean (non-resident) use a foreign driving licence in Chile?

Post by frozen-north » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:12 pm

From what you posted, I understand that the important detail is that it says ' nacionales de otros países....'.

I understand that it used to be that if a Chilean acquired a foreign nationality they would automatically lose their Chilean nationality, but that was changed, and now, even if a Chilean moves to other country and becomes a resident there, they are still Chilean nationals.

If your daughter was born in Chile, she might be considered a Chilean national:
Toda persona nacida dentro del territorio nacional adquiere inmediatamente la nacionalidad chilena al momento de nacer.
I would think that both might be considered as having 'dual nationality', and I am not sure the law mentioned ( Ley 18290, Ley de Transito) thought of that possibility.

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Re: Can a Chilean (non-resident) use a foreign driving licence in Chile?

Post by jamie_m » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:15 pm

No matter what the law says I think it really depends on who pulls you up. My Australian Chilean wife has never had a Chilean license, she has been stopped many times with just her QLD license. Never any issues, even without the international.

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Re: Can a Chilean (non-resident) use a foreign driving licence in Chile?

Post by bow26 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:42 pm

My reading of this is that the Chilean citizen should have a Chilean license but a friend of my mother in law works in a local departamento de tránsito office and when my wife and I asked her this very question she told me her brother comes back to Chile every year (Chilean born, dual citizen) and uses his overseas license and has never had a problem in 20+ years.

However you can bet if you are having a particularly unlucky day some cop will have different ideas.

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Re: Can a Chilean (non-resident) use a foreign driving licence in Chile?

Post by Gloria » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:45 pm

Y´all going to jail!!
going to....jpg
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