Chile Travel Information

Last modified: August 30, 2023
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Crime

There have been reports of people being robbed by bogus and unlicensed taxi drivers, including airport taxis. We advise to only use official and/or pre-booked taxis and to ask taxi drivers for proof of reservation.

There have been incidents involving people being followed from Santiago International Airport to their destinations and then robbed, sometimes at gunpoint. The British Embassy has noted an increase in ‘car-jacking’ in and around Santiago. Be aware of your surroundings in and around the airport, when driving away and on arrival at your destination. In case of an incident, do not offer resistance.

There have been a number of incidents in major cities where those driving rental cars have been victims of crime. The perpetrators puncture the car’s tyres surreptitiously (often while at traffic lights) and then target the vehicle when the occupants notice the flat tyre. Often the victims do not notice the theft is taking place as an accomplice will distract while another steals valuables from the vehicle. Remain vigilant and keep valuables secure in this event. Other incidents include the interception of locking cars when drivers remotely activate the lock. Always double check that the car is locked.

Pick pocketing and muggings are common in many cities throughout Chile, particularly around well-known tourist sites including airports, bus stations, ports and popular areas visited by foreigners. Pay particular attention to your belongings in popular foreign cafes and restaurants where there has been an increase in bag theft. There have been reports of violent muggings in areas popular with tourists in Santiago and Valparaiso. The British Embassy is aware of an increase in the use of weapons, such as pistols and knives. These muggings can take place during the day and in plain sight of others. Be vigilant, particularly if you are in public places popular among tourists or near official buildings. Avoid carrying large amounts of money, passport (a photocopy is sufficient if needed), wearing valuable watches or jewellery or using your mobile phone while walking on the streets. Local authorities recommend not to resist muggers.

Avoid puting any valuables in the storage compartments of buses and coaches – keep them with you at all times.

Book a taxi in advance rather than hailing one from the street, especially late at night. Keep in groups and avoid walking alone late at night.

There have been a few reports of people being given ‘spiked’ drinks in nightclubs and bars, particularly in the Suecia and Bellavista areas of Santiago. These can leave the victim open to theft or assault.

Leave your passport and other valuables in a safe place and carry a photocopy of the details page of your passport with you at all times.

Local travel

Landmine accidents mainly affect livestock and local people crossing borders at unauthorised points. Most minefields are near the borders with Peru and Bolivia in the extreme north of Chile (regions XV, I and II) and Argentina in the south (region XII). Although most minefields are clearly marked, some signs and fences are old and damaged, and may be hard to spot. In some cases, minefields are laid right up to the edge of highways. Check with local authorities before travelling to more rural areas, stick to clearly marked roads and observe all warning signs.

If travelling to national parks in Chile you are advised that open fires (outside permitted camping areas) are strictly forbidden. Local authorities may revoke tourist permits from anyone caught starting a fire within a Chilean National Park and ask them to leave Chile voluntarily within 72 hours or face deportation. Additionally, if the open fire results in a larger forest fire, there may also be criminal penalties and fines.

If you plan to go exploring or mountaineering, notify the local authorities before you set off. For further information on mountaineering, contact the Federación de Andinismo de Chile, Almirante Simpson 77, Santiago, Chile, Telephone: (56 2) 2220888.  For any other type of exploring, contact the Chilean Embassy in London, to see if permits are required. There are good rescue facilities in Chile.  You may be charged for the service they provide.

Road travel

You can use your UK driving licence while in Chile if you’re visiting as a tourist. You must have your passport and entrance card with you while driving. If you hire a car, take out adequate insurance including for windscreen damage, which can be expensive.

If you’re resident in Chile you must get a Chilean driving licence from the nearest ‘municipalidad’. You can find further information about the process on the Chilean Transport Ministry website.

There is no car insurance available on Easter Island. In case of accidents or any damage to your vehicle, you will have to pay for the repairs yourself.

Main roads in Chile are surfaced, but you may need a four-wheel drive vehicle in the countryside. Be prepared for a range of driving conditions, from snow and ice to hot sandy deserts. Road tolls are increasingly common. Between June and September, winter weather sometimes temporarily closes the Chile-Argentina border crossing high up in the Andes, including the main Los Libertadores crossing between Santiago and Mendoza.

Air travel

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines, but the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.

A list of recent incidents and accidents can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety network.

Political situation

There remains a risk of violent protest in Santiago and other Chilean cities. Particularly on Friday afternoons/evenings.

Nationwide protests often take place on 11 September (anniversary of the military coup), 29 March (‘day of the young combatant’) and 1 May (Workers’ Day). Even peaceful protests can become violent. The largest protests usually take place in central Santiago. Police can use tear gas and water cannon against protesters. Other public demonstrations, often led by students or indigenous rights defenders, can occur around Chile. You should avoid all demonstrations.

The following Santiago districts have in the past been the focus of strong protests: the boroughs of:

  • Providencia
  • Santiago Central
  • Huechuraba
  • Estacion Central
  • Ñuñoa
  • San Joaquin
  • Renca
  • La Pintana
  • Macul

Downtown university neighbourhoods can also be the location of large demonstrations which may become violent after dark. Please be particularly aware of possible disturbances in those areas.

In the Araucanía Region, especially in Temuco, there remains civil unrest including attacks against security forces, property, people, vehicles and industrial equipment by groups of demonstrators. You should exercise caution while travelling in the Araucanía Region.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus

All non-resident foreign nationals – who have been in the United Kingdom during the last 14 days – are not currently permitted to enter Chile. Direct UK-Chile flights have been suspended until further notice. See Coronavirus.

All other travellers (including Chileans, resident and non-resident foreign nationals) must complete a mandatory 10-day quarantine on arrival in Chile. After day 7, there is an option to take a local PCR test to potentially shorten the quarantine. If the result is negative, quarantine may be lifted. See Coronavirus and Entry Requirements sections)

From 7 January 2021, all travellers (including Chileans, resident and non-resident foreign nationals) require a negative PCR test (rapid PCR tests will not be accepted) taken within 72-hours of boarding the flight to enter Chile. The mandatory 10-day quarantine will remain in place.

You should be aware that Chilean health authorities at Santiago Airport are selecting passengers on arrival for random PCR testing, even when passengers have complied with the requirement to hold a negative PCR test on arrival.

Non-resident foreign nationals

The air border at Santiago Airport allows the entry of non-resident foreigners, who comply with the following sanitary measures:

  • negative PCR test (rapid tests are not acceptable), taken not more than 72 hours before boarding the final flight into Santiago
  • a declaration form Pasaporte Sanitario, completed before entry. This will generate a QR-code by separate email, which must be shown at entry. Health authorities at Santiago Airport may require completion of a follow-up email form for 14 days from the arrival date
  • health or travel insurance that covers COVID-related medical care up to a minimum of US $30,000 for the duration of your visit
  • since 31 December, a mandatory 10-day quarantine from arrival date.

Chileans and resident foreign nationals

  • since 31 December, an obligatory 10-day quarantine from arrival date. You should be aware that an obligatory 14-day quarantine from arrival is currently required, if you have been in the UK for the last 14 days
  • from 7 January 2021 a negative PCR test (rapid tests are not acceptable), taken no more than 72 hours before boarding the final flight into Santiago)

Please confirm additional requirements with your airline. A declaration form Pasaporte Sanitario, must be completed before entry. This will generate a QR-code by separate email, which must be shown at entry. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

All passengers will be required to have their temperature taken on arrival.

For more details please contact the Chilean COVID Health-line 6003607777 option 0.

The Chilean authorities have closed all ports to cruise liners.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

If you are a British passport holder visiting Chile for less than 90 days, you do not need a visa. If you wish to stay longer, you should consult the nearest Chilean Embassy.

On arrival in Chile the immigration authorities will issue you with a ‘Tarjeta de Turismo – Tourist Card’, an A5 sized white form. You must retain this document and present it to immigration when you leave.

Once in Chile, if you decide to stay for 90 days or more, you can apply for an extension choosing the “Prorroga de Turismo’ option on the Chilean Immigration Department (Extranjeria) website. You can also visit the ‘Extranjeria’ office located in San Antonio 580, Santiago. Telephone: 600 626 4222.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

Dual nationality

British-Chilean dual nationals must enter and leave Chile using their Chilean passport. Chilean entry and exit requirements for dual nationals may change without notice. For further information check with the nearest Chilean Embassy.

Travelling with children

Chile has strict requirements for the entry and exit of minors under the age of 18.

Children born in Chile require a Chilean passport to leave.

Children under 18 years old who are leaving Chile alone, with only one parent/guardian, with friends or relatives, or with a group must get authorisation to travel from the Chilean authorities before travel. You can get this authorisation from any ‘notaria’ in Chile.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Chile. Your ETD must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

Dual British/Chilean nationals must have a Chilean travel document (passport) to be allowed to depart – UK ETDs cannot substitute this requirement.

Tourist card (Tarjeta de Turismo) issued by Border authorities on your arrival in Chile must be presented to immigration when you leave. If you lose it, you should request a copy of the Tourist card at the nearest PDI office or the one at Santiago airport.

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