Visa – what you need to know before coming to Chile

You’ve applied, you’ve got accepted, you’re on your way!! AWESOME! Now you are probably wondering:

How long is the tourist visa? Should I get a temporary visa before coming to Chile? Do I need a ticket to prove I am leaving Chile? How long in advance should I take care of my visa?

First of all here is my story with visa in Chile.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and I think that happened to me so I could be able to tell you this.

So, before coming to Chile I did my temporary visa thinking it would be easier once in Chile. I had already applied for a visa for another country before so I thought I knew the procedure and that once you got it at the Chilean embassy in your country that’s all good.

BUT the truth is that you only have 30 days to register your visa at the PDI once you arrive in Chile. Please don’t forget because I did and here is what happened.

I wanted to go to Mendoza for a weekend. I chose to fly there, so I arrived at the airport thinking everything would be ok. But at the customs, as i have the visa stuck in my passport they asked for my “cedula” (the Chilean ID). Therefore I told them I didn’t have one. They redirected me to another floor.

Because I entered with a temporary visa and the 30 days to register were over doesn’t mean i was on a tourist visa, therefore I wasn’t allowed to stay 90 days as a tourist visa would have allowed me.

So I entered this office, there I was told that i was going to pay fees, and so on. BUT  10 days were given to me in order to regularise my situation.

To avoid this kind of situation here is what you need to know:

First, a temporary visa is not required by the Chilean government to do your internship.

Once you are aware of this, you have two solution either:

  • Enter with a tourist visa : 90 days, in this case you don’t have to worry about anything before coming to Chile.
  1. How to renew it ? If your internship lasts longer than that
    1. Get out of the country: my advice : Go to Mendoza (cheapest option) or Make it a trip to Bolivia or Buenos Aires! (be sure to organize your trip ahead and talk to your supervisor to take days off!)
      1. OJO During winter the border (June-August) between Chile and Argentina can be closed because of the snow. Check ahead and buy a ticket bus or book a flight (Sky Airline is the cheapest option)
    2. Go to Extranjeria to get your visa renewed. You can either book an appointment or arrive early! Prepare for long lines.

If you don’t renew it and stay more than 90 days in Chile, you expose yourself to fees to pay when you leave the country.

At the borders when you enter Chile, they are likely to ask you the proof you are leaving the country within the 90 days. Buying a return flight is cheaper (than buying your tickets separately) but if you don’t know from where you would be leaving you can buy a bus ticket Arica (Chile)/Tacna (Peru) for about 16 000 pesos.


  • Enter with a temporary visa:
  1. Price depends on your nationality
  2. You have to apply in your home country before leaving, it takes about 3 weeks to get it
  3. Once you get it, you have 90 days to enter Chile.
  4. Once you arrive in Chile, there are some steps to follow:
    1. Step 1: You have 30 days to go to the PDI (Eleuterio Ramírez 852, Santiago, Región Metropolitana) to register your visa. There you have to pay 800 pesos in cash  for the procedure. I would recommend you to go at 6AM as it opens at 8 and heaps of people are already waiting.
    2. Step 2 : Go to the Registro Civil (Huérfanos, Santiago, Región Metropolitana) to ask for your cedula (Chilean ID). Make sure to bring cash as well (around 1500 pesos).
    3. Step 3: Go back to the registro civil to get your cedula.

OJO, if you don’t have your cedula, you cannot get out of Chile! Apparently my story was an exception!

For more info, check the website of the government!

Cheers and good luck!