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Chile - Visas

As an expat, whether you need a visa to Chile as well as how much you will need to pay for it depends on your nationality. Some countries’ citizens do not require a visa to enter Chile, while others must pay to obtain a permit. There are various visas in Chile issued to migrants depending on the purpose of their visit.

Reciprocal Visa Agreement

Expats from countries that hold a reciprocal agreement with Chile do not have to apply for visas. The national identity card from your country will be enough to grant you entry. Currently, anyone from Argentina, Peru, Brazil or Uruguay can enter Chile without a visa. In addition, any expat from Canada, New Zealand, UK, USA and South Africa will not require a visa to enter Chile. This visa agreement is valid only for a period of 90 days, after which you must apply for a temporary visa.

Anyone from a country that has no visa agreement with Chile will have to apply for a visa before or after arriving in Chile. The different types of visa are outlined below.

Tourist Card

A tourist card, or tarjeta de turismo, is a temporary travel visa valid for a period of 90 days. Tourist cards are issued by airport immigration on arrival. Once you are issued with the card, ensure you keep it safe for the period you will be staying in the country. Should you lose the tourist card, ensure you replace it as soon as you can; definitely before your departure date.

Expats from America, Albania, Canada, Australia or Mexico will be charged for a tourist card. The fee is equivalent to what Chileans are charged when they obtain travel visas for those countries. The fee is only applicable if you are entering Chile through Santiago airport.

Extending Your Tourist Card

Migrants can extend their tourist cards in one of two ways. The first way is to travel out of Chile to a neighboring country and then return; you can even do this on the same day. Your tourist card will be stamped at immigration for an extended number of days.

This is the easiest way to extend your visa, although it has limitations. Using this method more than four times will get your card blacklisted by Chilean immigration. You then have to pay to get your card renewed.

The second way to renew your tourist card is doing it officially at a police station. This is a paid service that requires you to bring copies of your tourism card and passport. A fee of US$100 is charged for the new card to be processed. If you are in Santiago, you can visit any Extranjeria office to have the tourist card renewed. Be warned, however, that the queues for renewal tend to be long. Do yourself a favor and get there early!

Tourist Visas

Tourist visas are issued to expats from countries that do not have a reciprocal visa agreement with Chile. This includes any migrant from a country in Asia or Africa, and countries that were formerly in the Soviet Union. The tourist visa application can be picked from a Chilean embassy or consulate in your country. Alternatively, you can download and print the forms from the embassy or consulate website.

You also need to get a few documents in order before submitting your completed application form. The consulate or embassy will require the original and a copy of your passport, valid for the period you will be in Chile. You also must show proof of funds to finance your trip, as well as return ticket to your home country.

Some consulates or embassies will need to see an invitation letter from a resident in Chile or hotel reservations made before the trip. A fee will be charged to process the documents. How much you pay for visa processing depends whether you are applying for a single or multiple entry visa. Your country of origin also determines the fee.

Work Holiday Visas

Migrants who do not need temporary or permanent residency visas can apply for a work holiday visa. This is a tourist visa that grants you employment privileges while in Chile. A work holiday visa is valid for 12 months, and the visa holder can work for two employees within this period. It is up to you to decide if you will be permanently or temporary employed while in Chile.

Only expats from Canada, Australia and New Zealand are eligible for work holiday visas. These serve as a temporary residency visa valid for 12 months from when you enter Chile. Work holiday visas are applied at the Chilean embassy or consulate of your country.

Migrants wishing to apply for a work holiday visa must be between the ages of 18 to 31. For New Zealanders, this age limit extends to 35. You also must be in possession of a New Zealand, Canadian or Australian passport. You will need to present the original and a copy of your passport together with proof of your return ticket.

In addition, you will be asked for proof of medical cover and the finances that will support you while in Chile. All these documents are to be submitted together with four passport size photographs and US$150 paid as visa processing fee.

Work Visa

Work visas are issued to expats moving to Chile for the sole purpose of employment. You will need to produce an employment contract from your employer to be eligible. The work visa, or visa sujeto a contrato, is valid for two years and will be your legal permit to work in Chile. It also serves as a temporary residency visa.

If you are already in Chile, visit the ministry of foreign affairs in Santiago and ask for visa application papers. You may be asked to pay for a fee.

Ensure your Chilean employer submits a copy of your contract to the consulate when you apply for a work visa. Some consulates will ask for a copy of your degree certificate, a police report and a medical certificate. Lastly, you will produce your passport along with a copy of it, plus four passport size photos. A fee of US$150 will be charged to process the work visa.

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