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Chile – Driving Licenses

Chile is a popular destination for tourists and expats alike, many of whom may want to drive while in the country. This article will provide information on the rules and regulations regarding driving licenses in Chile for foreign nationals, including whether foreign nationals can use their own licenses, the process for obtaining a local license, and the penalties for motoring offences.

Using Foreign Driving Licenses in Chile

Foreign nationals may use their valid driving license from their home country for up to six months while in Chile. After six months, they must obtain a Chilean driving license. However, it is important to note that this six-month period applies to visitors to Chile only. Residents of Chile must obtain a local driving license within three months of arriving in the country.

Exchanging Foreign Licenses for a Chilean License

There is no agreement in place that allows foreign nationals to simply exchange their license for a local one in Chile. Foreign nationals must pass a driving test in Chile in order to obtain a local license. The test includes both a written exam and a practical driving test, and applicants must provide proof of identity, residency, and health insurance.

Obtaining a Chilean Driving License

To obtain a Chilean driving license, foreign nationals must first apply for a temporary driving permit, which allows them to drive while they complete the process of obtaining a local license. The temporary permit can be obtained from the Chilean Automobile Association (Automóvil Club de Chile) or at a municipal office (Municipalidad).

The process of obtaining a Chilean driving license involves several steps:

  1. Obtain a medical certificate from a registered physician, stating that the applicant is physically and mentally fit to drive.
  2. Complete a first-aid course, which is required in order to obtain a local driving license.
  3. Pass a written exam on Chilean traffic laws and regulations.
  4. Pass a practical driving test.

Once these steps have been completed, the applicant can obtain their local Chilean driving license.


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Renewing a Chilean Driving License

Chilean driving licenses are valid for five years. To renew a license, the applicant must provide proof of identity, residency, and health insurance, and may be required to take a written exam or a practical driving test. The process for renewing a Chilean driving license can be completed at a municipal office (Municipalidad).

International Driving Permits in Chile

International Driving Permits (IDPs) are recognized in Chile. However, they must be accompanied by a valid driving license from the home country of the driver. IDPs are valid for up to one year and must be obtained before arriving in Chile.

Penalties for Motoring Offences in Chile

Penalties for motoring offences in Chile can be severe. Fines can range from a few dollars to several thousand dollars, and in some cases, offenders may face imprisonment. The severity of the penalty will depend on the offence committed.

Common motoring offences in Chile include driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, exceeding the speed limit, driving without a license, and driving without insurance. Drivers who commit these offences may have their driving privileges suspended or revoked, and in some cases, their vehicles may be impounded.

Foreign nationals visiting Chile can use their valid driving license for up to six months while in the country. After six months, they must obtain a Chilean driving license. The process of obtaining a local license involves a written exam and a practical driving test, and foreign nationals must provide proof of identity, residency, and health insurance.

Penalties for motoring offences in Chile can be severe, so it is important for drivers to be aware of the rules and regulations and to drive safely and responsibly while in the country.


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