ChileOfficial Name: Republic of Chile
For the duration of stay
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for stays of 90 days or less (tourist passports only)
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Las Condes
Telephone: +(56)(2) 2330-3000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(56)(2) 2330-3000
Fax: +(56)(2) 2330-3710
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Chile for information on U.S. - Chile relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
U.S. citizens entering Chile must have a passport in good condition, valid for the period of your stay. U.S. citizens traveling to Chile for recreation, tourism, business, or academic conferences do not need to obtain a visa prior to their arrival in Chile if traveling with a tourist passport. All official and diplomatic passport holders are required to obtain a visa prior to travel regardless of the purpose of their visit. For those traveling with a tourist passport, a Tourist Card or printed receipt will be issued to each visitor at immigration for a stay of up to 90 days. An extension of stay for another 90 days is possible upon payment of a USD 100 extension fee at the Chilean Immigration Office located at San Antonio 580, Santiago; telephone (56) 2 2550-2469. The Tourist Card must be surrendered upon departure. Failure to submit this card upon departure may result in delays until a replacement is obtained. If lost or stolen, the Tourist Card must be replaced by the International Police (website is in Spanish only) at their nearest headquarters or at the international airport prior to departure.
Chile has very strict entry/exit requirements for minors (under the age of 18 years old), especially minors traveling with only one parent. Please review our section below on entry/exit requirements for minors prior to traveling to Chile to ensure full compliance with Chilean immigration law. Travelers who are not in compliance with Chilean entry/exit requirements may be denied permission to exit Chile. It is the traveler’s responsibility to comply with these requirements, and the U.S. Government is not able to intervene in these cases.
If you have stayed in Chile for more than the allowed time period, you will not be allowed to leave the country without paying a fine. This fine cannot be paid at the airport or any border crossing, so you must pay it before attempting to depart Chile. To pay the fine prior to your departure, you should go to the Departamento de Extranjería and make an autodenuncia or complaint against yourself in the Sanciones (sanctions) office. Upon doing this, you will be told how much the fine will be, and, once you pay it, you can depart Chile. If you attempt to depart Chile without paying the fine, your passport will be confiscated by the airport police, and they will give you instructions on how to pay the fine. This process involves going to multiple Chilean government offices, first to find out how much the fine is, then to pay the fine, next to show that you have paid the fine, so that you can get a document indicating your passport should be returned, and lastly, to retrieve your passport. The entire process may take several days and could take up to three weeks.
U.S. citizens who intend to work, live, or study in Chile must apply in advance for a Chilean visa. Your can enquire with the closest Chilean Consulate (see list here) for further information.
The Government of Chile requires U.S. government travelers on official business to enter the country with a diplomatic or official passport and a valid Chilean visa. Maximum visa validity is five years or up to the maximum validity of the passport, whichever is sooner. Visas must be obtained at a Chilean Embassy or Consulate before traveling to or through Chile. Official travelers attempting entry on tourist passports will be denied entry, detained, and returned to the point of origin at personal expense. U.S. Government officials should only use their tourist passports to enter Chile while here on personal tourism.
The U.S. Embassy cannot secure entry on your behalf if you arrive without a valid U.S. passport, with a passport that is damaged or mutilated, or if you arrive without a visa when one is required.
Entry / Exit Requirements for Dual Nationals: Dual U.S./Chilean nationals must enter and exit Chile using their Chilean passports, and they must enter and exit the United States using their U.S. passports. A naturalization certificate is not a valid travel document. The Government of Chile considers all persons born in Chile or born to a Chilean parent overseas to be citizens, even if they have since acquired U.S. citizenship. We have seen cases of U.S. citizen children, born in the United States to Chilean parents, who entered Chile on U.S. passports, being required by Chilean authorities to obtain Chilean passports in order to leave the country. This generally occurs when the child overstays the 90-day tourist entry period. Contact a Chilean Embassy or Consulate for more information. The U.S. Embassy cannot intervene if Chilean officials prevent a dual citizen from departing Chile due to lack of a Chilean passport.
Entry / Exit Requirements for Minors: In an effort to prevent international child abduction, Chile has put in place strict requirements for the entry/exit of minors under the age of 18. Even when the minor is traveling with both parents, the parents will be required to show evidence of their relationship to the child when departing the country. Please carry an original birth certificate or a certified copy of the original.
Minors who are resident in Chile will always be required to submit a written notarized authorization from any non-traveling parent(s) and a birth certificate at the time of departure. In Chile, the authorization can be executed before a local notary public. If the non-traveling parent(s) is in the United States, the written authorization can be notarized and executed directly at the Chilean Embassy or Consulate. If the non-traveling parent is in the United States and is unable to visit the Chilean Embassy or a Chilean Consulate, the authorization can be executed by a U.S. notary. However, an authorization executed by a U.S. notary must be authenticated to be valid in Chile. This means that after the document is notarized, it must be authenticated through a chain of steps involving submission to local, state, and national authorities before it can be submitted to the Chilean Embassy or Consulate. Click here to find additional information on the authentication process. Note that the final step in the process is to submit the document to the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Chile to authenticate the signature of the Chilean official in the United States. This is a lengthy process and should be commenced well in advance of travel.
A minor entering Chile as a tourist will generally not be required to present a written notarized authorization from the non-traveling parent(s) at the time of departure if the minor leaves with the same adult companion with whom the minor entered Chile. This does not apply to dual- citizen minors – a minor possessing Chilean citizenship is never considered to be a tourist in Chile even if the minor lives abroad. The minor’s immigration record will be annotated to record the name of the adult(s) with him or her at the time of entering the country. However, we recommend traveling with a written notarized authorization from the non-traveling parent in order to avoid misunderstandings and ensure a smooth exit out of the country. On occasion, a parent traveling with a minor child for tourism purposes has encountered difficulty exiting the country because the parent did not possess a notarized statement from the non-traveling parent. Minors departing alone or in the company of another party are required to submit a written notarized authorization from the non-traveling parent(s) and birth certificate. If the authorization is notarized outside of Chile, it must be authenticated following the steps in the paragraph above.
The written notarized authorization should be in Spanish and include the following: 1) the full name of the custodial and/or non-custodial parents(s) or legal guardians; 2) the parents’ full address; 3) the full name of the child; 4) the child’s date of birth, place of birth, passport number and date of issuance; 5) full name and passport details of the person accompanying the minor; 6) dates of travel, including arrival and departure information; 7) address where the minor will reside; and 8) explicit authorization that a minor can travel alone or in the company of another person.
The U.S. Embassy is unable to assist with requests for assistance in resolving entry and exit issues. This includes cases where a resident parent exercises custodial rights over their child(ren) but is unable to legally exit Chile and/or relocate to another country with the child because the child’s other parent does not authorize his/her departure. Judicial cases involving exit permissions and relocation cases are generally complex, lengthy, and expensive in Chile. The Chilean Supreme Court in a recent case interpreted a section of Chilean family law (law number 16.618, articles 49 and 49bis) governing exit permissions to mean that an exit permission may only be granted for a maximum period of 15 days. While other family judges have granted exit permissions for longer periods of time, U.S. citizens should be aware that there are major differences in how this law is interpreted and applied in exit permission cases. The U.S. Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible if dealing with custodial or relocation issues in Chile.
The Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides information about requirements for children traveling into and out of Chile. The U.S. Embassy will note that decisions by Chilean immigration (PDI) at the Port of Entry sometimes differ from what is stated on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs entry/exit requirements due to the discretion of the immigration officials.
Visit the Embassy of Chile website for the most current visa information.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Chile.
Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.
Safety and Security
Demonstrations occur frequently. Although most are peaceful and have pre-approved routes, they sometimes become violent or change course with little warning; roads can be blocked. Demonstrations are common on March 29, the Day of the Young Combatant; May 21, the Day of the Glories of the Chilean Navy; and September 11, the anniversary of the 1973 coup against the government of President Salvador Allende. Avoid demonstrations if possible.
Strikes are common and can cause significant travel delays. These can be especially problematic if traveling to remote areas of Chile, such as Easter Island, Punta Arenas, and Chiloe, where transportation options are limited. The strikes generally last only a few days, but can bring all transportation to a standstill and strand passengers in remote locations. U.S. Citizens should be alert to the news and plan accordingly, including being prepared to adjust travel plans. The U.S. Embassy recommends that you contact your airline representative to get the latest information on travel delays related to strikes and work with the airline to reschedule your travel arrangements
There is a risk to the public from explosive and incendiary devices randomly placed in public spaces throughout Santiago. These devices have been found at ATMs, metro stations, and government facilities. Anarchist groups often claim responsibility for these acts.
Remain vigilant and avoid suspicious packages or unattended backpacks in public areas as well as on public transportation in Santiago. If a suspicious object is encountered, move away from the area and alert authorities immediately.
Araucanía Conflict: The Mapuches, an indigenous group, make up approximately four percent of the Chilean population and are concentrated in Araucanía and Santiago. Elements within some Mapuche communities are engaged in a conflict over land and indigenous rights in Chile. Violent individuals and activist groups seeking redress for grievances have burned churches, homes, and pastures, and attacked trucks, buses and farming/logging equipment, causing property destruction, injuries and even deaths. These attacks have mainly targeted forestry corporations and private Chilean landowners, rather than tourists or visitors. Nevertheless, U.S. citizens are advised to exercise caution when traveling in the Araucanía region.
Visitors to Easter Island may occasionally encounter non-violent demonstrations. Such demonstrations have caused minor disruption at the airport and closure of some government facilities. Demonstrations may result in minor inconveniences and occasional delays.
Most foreigners visit Chile without incident. The security environment is generally safe, and there is comparatively less violent crime in Chile than in other Latin American countries. Nevertheless, street crime, telephone scams, and residential break-ins are common, especially in Santiago, Valparaiso, Antofagasta, Calama, and Iquique. As in any large city, be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Be alert for pick-pocketing, purse and camera snatching, and thefts from backpacks and rental cars. Petty crime is common in major tourist destinations, in hotel lobbies and restaurants, near ATM machines/banks, internet cafes, at bus and subway stations, and in cruise ship ports. Exercise caution when touring Cerro Santa Lucia, Cerro San Cristobal, Mercado Central, Plaza de Armas, Bellavista, and Barrio Lastarria in Santiago as pick-pocketing and muggings occur frequently in these areas. Criminals usually work in groups and employ a variety of ruses to distract and victimize unsuspecting visitors. Those taking buses in Chile, especially to or from Calama, should keep all valuables, identification, and passport on themselves at all times – bags/purses placed beneath the bus, in the overhead compartments or beneath one’s feet are often reported stolen. Many times these thefts are done by someone appearing to be an employee of the bus company or terminal.
Since 2014, there have been numerous reports of ATMs being filled with gas and blown up, often in the very late evening/very early morning hours, in order to steal money. In these cases, the motive is theft, not terrorism. A few taxi drivers engage in currency switching and overcharge with altered taxi meters. Incidents of individuals smashing car windows of occupied vehicles stopped in traffic and taking items of value on seats have occurred. Drivers should keep car doors locked at all times and valuables out of sight while driving and while the vehicle is parked. “Portonazo” crime - a form of carjacking in which the assailants target the arrival and departure of a vehicle at slow moving gates – does occur, especially in Santiago. These carjackings can occur at any location, to include in hotel garages, commercial malls, residences, apartment complexes, and commercial garages.
Additionally, residential burglaries, including home invasions, and vehicle theft remain highly prevalent in the metropolitan Santiago area. Vehicle theft is also a serious problem in northern Chile (from Iquique to Arica) where the likelihood of vehicle recovery is extremely low. Credit card fraud/cloning has also become a concern. Never allow your credit card to be charged outside of your direct view.
Your passport is a valuable document. Report the loss or theft of a U.S. passport to the police and to the U.S. Embassy immediately. Secure your passport and other valuables in a hotel safe, and carry a photocopy of your passport for identification purposes. Leave copies of your passport and important documents with family members in case of emergency. For information about measures you can take to protect yourself overseas, see our pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.
Counterfeit and pirated goods may sometimes be available in Chile, and transactions involving such products are generally illegal under local law. In addition, bringing such goods back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. More information on this serious problem is available in the intellectual property section of the U.S. Department of Justice website.
See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.
Victims of Crime:
Report crimes to the local police at 133 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (56) 2 2330-3716). Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
While in Chile, you are subject to Chile's laws and regulations. Chilean laws may differ significantly from those in the United States. You may not have the same protections available to you as under U.S. law, and penalties for breaking the law can also be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Chile's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Chile are strict, and convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and fines. Persons engaging in sexual conduct with children and using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country may be prosecuted in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.
If you are arrested and unable to hire legal representation, an attorney from the Public Defense Attorney’s Office (Defensoria Penal Publica) will be assigned.
Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Special Circumstances: Chile lies in an active seismic zone and is prone to major earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Several of the strongest earthquakes in history have occurred in Chile. Prepare yourself for a natural disaster by consulting the websites of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Chile's Oficina Nacional de Emergencia (ONEMI). If you are on the coast of Chile and there is a tsunami warning, it is imperative that you follow the tsunami evacuation signs and move to higher ground quickly. Recommendations for what to do during a tsunami warning can be found here.
Minefields are found in Chile's northern border region with Peru and Bolivia and around the southern border with Argentina in Patagonia. Minefields are generally marked, but markers may have shifted or may not be visible. Follow clearly identified roads and trails when traveling in minefield areas. Border crossings should only be made at authorized locations. Consult with national park or other local officials concerning minefields and other hazards.
Chile is a popular destination for outdoor and adventure sports. Despite the best efforts of local authorities, assisting persons lost or injured in isolated and wilderness areas is difficult. U.S. citizens engaging in outdoor activities along the border with Argentina, Bolivia or Peru are encouraged to register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs agency DIFROL (Dirección de Fronteras y Límites). A permit can be obtained from DIFROL that will allow U.S. citizens to cross borders temporarily in order to engage in these outdoor activities.
Before you go, learn about local hazards and weather conditions. You can obtain information in Spanish about national parks and wilderness areas from the Chilean Forestry Service, mountain climbing from the Federacion de Andinismo de Chile, and weather forecasts from the Chilean Meteorological Service. Forest fires can be a problem in many areas of the country, including areas frequented by tourists. Historically many fires occur during the dry summer months of December, January, and February, sometimes burning hundreds of acres. Check the Chilean National Travel Board (Spanish only) or the Chilean Federal Emergency Agency websites for alerts. Inform park rangers, police, or other local authorities of your itinerary, and report missing or injured persons to the police immediately.
Chile’s mountains and ski resorts are the recreational destination for thousands of skiers and snowboarders each year. The main ski centers in Chile have good safety standards with well groomed runs, ski and snowboard lessons with certified instructors, and clear signals for closure and opening of runs. Skiing and snowboarding, however, are inherently dangerous sports and injury or death is always a possibility. Skiers and snowboarders should respect the rules of each ski resort and be aware that skiing or boarding out of bounds is extremely dangerous.
Outdoor sports and travel in Chile have a slightly higher degree of risk than in the United States. While the infrastructure and safety standards are generally good, the distances between some centers for outdoor sports and top-notch hospital care can be extreme, delaying treatment times. Additionally, Chile’s geography means a long medical evacuation to the highest level trauma centers in the country, located in Santiago. While clinics and hospitals in smaller cities can be superb in many respects and have saved the lives of several critical accident victims in recent years, some citizens may prefer post operative care in Santiago or the United States. Medical evacuation is expensive and can be difficult to arrange. We strongly suggest that all travelers, but especially “adventure” travelers, procure medical evacuation insurance prior to arrival.
A recent decree signed by the Minister of Interior, based on a law for protection of national parks and monuments provides authority to regional governors to expel foreigners from Chile for damaging objects or places that are part of the national heritage. In 2015, two U.S. citizens were expelled from Torres del Paine National Park for igniting a fire in a small camp stove in a designated no fires area. Smoking a cigarette in these areas can also result in a large fine and expulsion from the park and from Chile. Travelers should make a point to learn all the rules of visiting national parks and observe them strictly.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
- Human Rights Report – see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
There are no legal restrictions on adult same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBT events in Chile. Additionally, as of October 22, 2015, same-sex couples can legally enter into a civil union agreement.
There have been cases of discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity reported, including cases involving violence or death. Laws also prevent transgender persons from changing gender markers on government-issued identity documents, including national identity cards and university diplomas, to match their outward appearance or chosen expression.
See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. While in Chile, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from the United States. While steps are being taken to improve conditions for persons with disabilities, many public places and public transportation are not adapted to accommodate these needs. For information on handicap accessible locations in Santiago and other locations in Chile, you can visit MapCity.com (Spanish only).
Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Santiago has two main private hospitals that are accredited by The American Hospital Association and meet U.S. standards: Clinica Alemana and Clinica Las Condes. Both have international patient departments and experience with some international insurance companies. There are many other good options in Santiago and the country in general. Medical care in Chile is generally good, though it may not meet U.S. standards in remote areas. Major hospitals accept credit cards, but many doctors and hospitals in Chile expect immediate payment in cash. Prescriptions written by local doctors and over-the-counter medicines are widely available. If you take any prescription medications make sure you bring enough to cover the duration of your stay in Chile. Chile imposes several restrictions on the importation of medical products and the Embassy cannot assist U.S. citizens to import medical supplies or medications.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Chile to ensure the medication is legal in Chile. You can also call (56) 2 2575 5101. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are prevelant:
- Dengue Fever is endemic to Easter Island but is not found on continental Chile
- Air pollution is a health concern in Santiago, resulting in severe bronchial ailments affecting infants, small children, and the elderly. The most severe air pollution occurs during the winter (May through August).
- The ozone layer is especially thin over parts of Chile. Take precautions to protect yourself from ultraviolet radiation.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Travel & Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety:
Chile has modern infrastructure. Driving in Chile is relatively safe, road conditions are very good, and roadside assistance is widely available with local insurance. Yellow reflective vests are required in all cars in case of a roadside emergency. Mandatory vehicular inspections are required yearly in order to renew your mandatory car insurance. In the more remote parts of Chile, gas stations and roadside assistance may be limited so it is advisable to travel with at least one spare tire and extra fuel.
Driving under the influence of alcohol in Chile is severely punished (“Zero Tolerance” policy) and can result in incarceration. While in Chile, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States:
- Right-hand turns are prohibited at red lights unless otherwise posted.
- Major highways in and around Santiago collect tolls through the use of an electronic transmitter (available at www.concesiones.cl).
- Secondary and mountain roads may be poorly maintained, poorly lit, and may lack guardrails.
- Some primary roads to remote tourist attractions are not paved, but are well maintained, with graded gravel.
- Many drivers do not signal lane changes and rarely yield to merging traffic.
- Many drivers exceed posted speed limits, do not maintain safe distances, and do not observe posted road signs.
- Major arteries in Santiago may switch directions during morning and evening rush hours.
- Drivers must carry sufficient Chilean pesos to pay frequent highway tolls.
Visitors can drive with a valid U.S. license for the duration of their tourist permit (usually 90 days). Renting a car is also possible although insurance may not be available in some forms for drivers without a Chilean or international driver’s license. Dual nationals and U.S. citizens residing in Chile should have a Chilean driver’s license.
Public Transportation: Taxis and public transportation are generally safe, plentiful, and relatively inexpensive. Avoid using unmetered taxis; if you do use an unmetered taxi, agree to a fare before embarking. To use the public bus system in Santiago you need to obtain the prepaid “Bip” card. This card can also be used when traveling on the Santiago subway.
See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Chile’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.
Please refer to our Road Safety page and the website of Chile's national tourist office (Spanish only) for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight:
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Chile’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Chile’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page