Customs regulations for your trip to Chile

Last modified: August 30, 2023
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Customs Regulations

Under Chilean law, foreign nationals visiting or living in Chile could be deported for any involvement or promotion of violent acts that could disturb local social order or the system of government. You should avoid all protests and demonstrations.

Consumption and possession of drugs is illegal and can lead to prison sentences.

Homosexuality is legal in Chile and is increasingly widely accepted socially, although much of Chilean society is conservative

Chilean customs valuation uses the normal value of merchandise, without special discounts, plus freight and insurance (CIF). Used goods are valued by the customs service according to the current new value of similar merchandise, discounting 10 percent per year of use, up to a 70 percent discount

The commercial forms used by both local importers and exporters are commercial invoices, certificates of origin, bills of lading, freight insurance, and packing lists. Special permission, certificates, and approval documents, such as sanitary and phytosanitary certificates, are required for most agricultural products and in special cases for industrial products. Depending on the nature of the product, these certificates can be obtained at the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport
  • Non-citizen work visa valid for at least 12 months
  • Bill of lading (OBL) / air waybill (AWB)
  • Packing list
  • Valued inventory
  • Exemption form from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (diplomats)
  • Travel certificate showing inbound and outbound travel dates obtained in Chile (returning citizens)

Specific Information

  • All shipments are subject to physical inspection by Customs and the Agricultural Office (SAG), which may delay clearance.
  • If no exemptions can be applied for new items, household goods are generally assessed 6% duty over cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value, plus a surcharge of 50% on used goods.
    • There is also a VAT of 19% over cost, insurance and freight (CIF)
  • The Customs valuation of household goods considers depreciation for use and must be comparable to the value of similar articles in the country of origin.
  • Returning citizens are free of duties and taxes up to 5,000 USD depending on the length of their stay abroad:
    • Between 6 and 12 months: 500 USD FOB
    • Between 1 and 5 years: 3,000 USD FOB
    • More than 5 years: 5,000 USD FOB
    • Only 1% of duty over cost, insurance, and freight value is applied
  • Non-citizens with a temporary residence visa or visa are subject to employment for at least 12 months and may import up to USD 5,000 FOB of used household goods and personal effects without paying duties, only a nominal tax of 1% over cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value
  • If the visa is still in process, it is possible to clear under-bonded storage at the personal residence.
    • Definitive importation of the goods must be completed within 90 days.
  • Diplomats and international officials are exempt from importation duties and taxes on household goods, in which case an exemption form is needed from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • All wood packing and wood items must comply with ISPM 15 standards.
  • If there is no previous treatment of wood items, the Agriculture Office may order a complete fumigation (wood furniture is not required to have previous fumigation).

Dutiable Items

Free import for:

passengers over 18 years of age:

  • 400 cigarettes and 500 grams of pipe tobacco and 50 large cigars or 50 small cigars (tamarillos);
  • a reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use
  • 2 1/2 liters of alcoholic beverages;

passengers over 14 years of age:

  •  gifts up to a value of USD 300,- or equivalent.

Foodstuffs (only non-perishable food, canned or sealed, and in an amount limited for personal use may be imported)

Alcohol (adults over 18 years old may import 2.5 liters of alcohol duty free, including wine; if the amount exceeds 2.5 liters, the owner of the goods must pay duties and taxes of 27% or more)

Only sports firearms for hunting may be imported (a special permit must be obtained prior to shipping)

Prohibited Items

  • Drugs
  • Meat
  • Used motorcycles (new motorcycles are permitted)
  • Used cars (unless imported by a returning citizen given he/she meets the same conditions)
  • Used car tires

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Sales contract / commercial invoice
  • Certificate of title
  • Original bill of lading
  • Sworn declaration of the description of the vehicle
  • Cars being shipped from US to Chile must have Fumigation Certificate

Specific Information

  • The weight, freight amount of the household goods, including the vehicle must be listed on the original bill of lading.
    • The number of pieces and a description of the car must also be included.
  • Import of new cars is allowed as a normal import paying all applicable duties and taxes.
  • Import of used motorcycles is strictly prohibited.
  • Import of used cars is strictly prohibited, except the following exceptions:
    • Returning citizens that have stayed abroad for over 12 months.
      • All duties nd taxes apply (27%)
    • Foreign diplomats and international officials can import automobiles duty and tax free.
    • Chilean diplomats:
      • Have the option of a monetary compensation if they do not import a vehicle.
      • Also may import a new car as long as the owner of the goods pays all duties and taxes.

Pets

Documents Required

  • International vaccination certificate (dogs and cats)
  • Veterinary health record
  • Pro-forma invoice

Specific Information

  • There is no quarantine period.
  • Pets may be retrieved from Customs immediately upon arrival.
  • Agent must know in advance the date and flight of arrival to assist in clearing.

IAM Note:  Check with destination agent prior to shipping other types of pets as some may require additional permits from the Agricultural Office (SAG).

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