The tourist visa is the easiest method to enter Chile. For most countries, this is free and you have nothing to do. You just receive 90 days while arriving at the border, which gives you time to apply for another visa if you want to stay there.
For a few countries, there is a reciprocity fee to pay at the airport of Santiago (not on the others borders apparently. Last list updated on the website mention Australia, Albania, Canada, USA, and Mexico. See visa costs and duration country by country in this file
When you arrive at the border, you will receive a small white paper called Tarjeta de turismo. This is your visa with the entry date. Don’t loose it. You will need it at some point in the application process for another visa (or a work permit as a tourist). You also need it to leave the country. If you have lost it, you can get a duplicate for free at the PDI office.
If you exceed the duration indicated on the visa, you will have a fine to pay. We recommend to do it in advance at PDI office. It is not always possible to pay at the airport, and you can miss your flight.
Live in Chile with a tourist visa
That’s an option to consider for short stays. Some students use it, if they don’t want to bother applying for a student visa, or if they have been accepted too late to have time to apply.
Two methods to renew the visa after the 90 days period
1) You need to leave the country a few days before the expiration. The most common option is to go to Mendoza by bus or to find an affordable flight to Lima, Buenos Aires or Montevideo.
A few people stay on a more long-term basis in Chile using this solution, although it is not recommended at all. Indeed, you can theoretically leave and re-enter several times if you wish (and get an extra 90 days). The first 2-3 times, you may not have problems. Yet, after a while, you face the risk to be denied entrance.
2) You can also pay 100 US$ to renew at Immigration department. Yet, this can be done only once.
What can you do with a tourist visa?
With a tourist visa, you will not get a Chilean ID card. Therefore, you will not have a Chilean ID number (the RUN/RUT, see our page about it), which is needed for a lot of steps if you want to relocate/stay in Chile, like renting a flat long-term.
However, even if you only have a tourist visa and plan to relocate here, you can start some steps with a temporary RUT. See this page for more information.
Work in Chile with a tourist visa
One would not think it is possible, but it is actually possible to work in Chile with a tourist visa. You can apply for a work permit. For this, you need:
- A valid passport
- The Tarjeta de Turismo (the small paper you received while crossing the border)
- A copy of each of these documents
- A work contract signed at the notary
The work permit costs 150% (1,5 time) the price of a work contract visa. The least we can say is it is not very cheap. It could be a solution if you are really in a rush, but keep in mind that companies are reluctant to hire people without a RUT. Be sure to check that with you future employer.
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