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Chile

Chile
Republic of Chile
Exercise increased caution in Chile due to civil unrest. Read the entire Travel Advisory and Travel Alerts.

Exercise increased caution in Chile due to civil unrest. Read the entire Travel Advisory and Travel Alerts.

There have been large-scale demonstrations in Santiago and other major cities in Chile.  Demonstrations can take place with little or no notice.  Many protests occur with little regard for public safety, and have resulted in property damage, looting, arson, and transportation disruptions.  Local authorities have used water cannons and tear gas to disrupt protests.

The government-imposed State of Emergency was lifted on October 28, 2019.  The State of Emergency included curfews in multiple cities, which were enforced by police and the armed forces. While the State of Emergency was lifted, there continue to be conflicts between protestors and Chilean police in Santiago and other cities in Chile. You should remain vigilant, monitor local media for updates and avoid protests and demonstrations.

Expect disruptions to transportation, particularly in Santiago. The Santiago Metro is operating with limited hours, and service has yet to be restored to the entire network. Road blockages on highways and major thoroughfares may occur with little warning. You should contact your airline prior to travel for any information on potential flight delays.

Many shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, and restaurants may be operating with reduced working hours, particularly in the evening.

If you decide to travel to Chile:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities including movement restrictions and obey all curfews.
  • Find a safe location, and shelter in place if in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Monitor local media and local transportations sites (buses, Metro, and airport) for updates and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the US Embassy and  Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.

 U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Last Update: Reissued with updates regarding State of Emergency Status within the country.

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


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)

VACCINATIONS:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


None

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Santiago

Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Las Condes
Santiago, Chile
Telephone:
+(56)(2) 2330-3000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(56)(2) 2330-3000
Emergency Working-Hours Telephone: +(56)(2) 2330-3716
Fax: +(56)(2) 2330-3710
Email: SantiagoUSA@state.gov

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Chile for information on U.S.-Chile relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Your passport must be in good condition and valid for the period of your stay. You do not need a visa for a tourist or business stay of 90 days or fewer (if traveling on a tourist passport). Upon arrival, you will receive a Tourist Card valid for up to 90 days, which you can extend for another 90-day period by paying $100 US at the Chilean Immigration Office and which you must return upon departure. Failure to return this card may delay your departure from Chile. If lost or stolen, you must replace the card at an International Police Office or at the airport before leaving. You will face a fine if you remain longer than allowed, and you will not be able to leave Chile until the fine is paid. If applicable, pay the fine before your departure by going to the Chilean Immigration Office or you may face significant delays. 

Travel on Diplomatic or Official Passports: U.S. citizens traveling to or through Chile on diplomatic or official passports are required to obtain a visa before travel.

Entry / Exit Requirements for Dual Nationals: Dual nationals must enter and exit Chile using their Chilean passports, and they must enter and exit the United States using their U.S. passports.

Entry / Exit Requirements for Minors (under 18): Parents traveling with a minor must show evidence of their relationship to the child when entering or departing the country. Carry an original apostilled birth certificate.

Minors departing Chile must submit to Chilean airport officials an original notarized authorization from any non-traveling parent(s), a notarized photocopy of the authorization, and an original apostilled birth certificate at the time of departure. For non-traveling parent(s) in Chile, the notarization can be done by a local Chilean notary public. For non-traveling parent(s) in the United States, the notarization can be done at the Chilean Embassy or a Chilean Consulate If a U.S. notary executes the authorization, it must be apostilled to be valid in Chile. This is a lengthy process and should be commenced well in advance of travel.

Safety and Security

Demonstrations occur frequently, especially on March 29, May 1 and 21, and September 11. Although most are peaceful, they can become violent. Avoid demonstrations if possible. Strikes are also common and can cause significant travel delays, especially if you are traveling to remote areas, such as Easter Island, Punta Arenas, and Chiloe.

Anarchist groups have placed explosive and incendiary devices in public spaces throughout Santiago, such as ATMs, metro stations, and government facilities. Remain vigilant and avoid suspicious or unattended packages.

Araucanía Conflict: Some individuals or groups claiming affiliation with the Mapuche indigenous community have sought redress for grievances by burning churches, homes, and pastures, and attacking trucks, buses, and farming/logging equipment, causing property destruction, injuries, and deaths. While they have mainly targeted forestry corporations and landowners, you should exercise caution in the Araucanía region.

Crime: While the security environment is generally safe, street crime, carjackings, telephone scams, and residential break-ins are common, especially in Santiago, Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, Antofagasta, Calama, and Iquique. Exercise caution when touring Cerro Santa Lucia, Cerro San Cristobal, Mercado Central, Plaza de Armas, Bellavista, and Barrio Lastarria in Santiago, or other popular tourist sites as pick-pocketing and muggings occur frequently. Small bags and purses have been stolen from hotel lobbies, crowded tourist locations, Santiago’s subway, taxis, and the backs of chairs and floors at bars, restaurants, and cafés. Vehicle thefts are a serious problem in Valparaiso and northern Chile (from Iquique to Arica). Thieves have punctured rental car tires in order to distract foreigners and steal their belongings from the vehicle. In particular:

  • Keep all valuables on you when taking buses, especially to or from Calama and San Pedro de Atacama. Thefts are common and are often done by people posing as bus employees. 
  • Credit card fraud is a concern. Never allow your credit card to be charged outside of your view.
  • Do not accept assistance if your clothes are splashed with a wet, sticky substance - keep moving and do not let go of your bags.
  • ATMs have been blown up in the late evenings or early mornings.

Counterfeit and pirated goods are generally illegal in Chile. Bringing them to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. See the intellectual property section of the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

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. Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • 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 or call local police at 149.

Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules with regard to best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country.  Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life- saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 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 is prone to major earthquakes, wildfires, landslides, tsunamis, floods, and volcanic eruptions. Prepare for a natural disaster by consulting the websites of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency and Chile's Oficina Nacional de Emergencia as well as these recommendations on what to do during a tsunami warning.

There are minefields on Chile's border with Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina in Patagonia. Follow clearly identified roads and trails when in minefield areas. Consult with national park or other local officials concerning minefields.

For outdoor and adventure sports along the border with Argentina, Bolivia or Peru, register with Chile’s Dirección Nacional de Fronteras y Limites del Estado, which can provide a permit allowing travelers to temporarily cross borders to engage in outdoor activities.

Despite the best efforts of local authorities, assisting persons lost or injured in isolated and wilderness areas is difficult. You should only undertake organized adventure activities with a well-established and insured company. If you intend to hike, never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company. Inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be return. Register with park officials, when available, or the nearest police station when pursuing outdoor activities in remote areas. Obtain detailed information on hiking trails before setting out and do not venture off marked trails. Distances between centers for outdoor sports and top-notch hospital care can be extreme. You should consider getting medical evacuation insurance.

Before you go, consult:

Under Chilean law, you can be expelled from the country for damaging national heritage objects or places. Travelers should learn and adhere to all the rules of visiting national parks.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on adult same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Chile. There have been cases of discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity, including cases involving violence or death. Laws also prevent transgender persons from changing gender markers on government-issued identity documents.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Many public places and transportation are not adapted to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities. For information on handicap accessible locations in Santiago and other locations, visit the Chilean National Disability Agency or MapCity.com

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Medical care in Chile is generally good, though it may not meet U.S. standards in remote areas. Major hospitals accept credit cards. Santiago has two private hospitals accredited by The American Hospital Association: Clinica Alemana and Clinica Las Condes.

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 to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Chile to ensure the medication is legal in Chile. Always carry a sufficient supply of your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

Please note the following health concerns:

  • Dengue Fever (endemic to Easter Island but not found on continental Chile).
  • Air pollution is a concern in many parts of Chile including Santiago, Rancagua, Talca, Chillan, Los Angeles, Temuco, Osorno, and Coyhaique, and is most severe in winter (May-August).
  • The ozone layer is especially thin over parts of Chile. 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 and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: 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. 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.

Traffic Laws: Driving under the influence of alcohol in Chile is severely punished and can result in incarceration. While in Chile, you may encounter road conditions and traffic laws 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 with an electronic transmitter (available at http://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. To use the public bus system in Santiago, you need to obtain the prepaid “Bip” card, which can also be used 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.

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.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Chile should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts on the Maritime Administration website. Information may also be posted to the websites of the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Geospace Intelligence Agency (select “broadcast warnings”).

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Chile.  For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: August 23, 2019

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Santiago
Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Las Condes
Santiago, Chile
Telephone
+(56)(2) 2330-3000
Emergency
+(56)(2) 2330-3000
Fax
+(56)(2) 2330-3710

Chile Map