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Travel Guide > South America > Chile

Chile Getting in & out

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Citizens of the following countries may be exempted from tourist visa requirements:(a) Nationals of Australia, Britain, Canada, Japan, United States, and the EU for a stay of up to 90 days (except nationals of Greece, who can stay up to 60 days).

(b) Nationals of Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Jamaica, Liechtenstein, Macau, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, San Marino, Slovenia, South Africa, Surinam, Switzerland, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela and Serbia & Montenegro for a stay of up to 90 days. (c) Nationals of Peru for a stay of up to 60 days.(d) Nationals of Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore for a stay of up to 30 days. Citizens of Guyana, South America along with several African nationalities will not be able to enter Chile, without applying for a special visa from a Chile consulate before entry.

However, citizens of four countries must pay a "reciprocity fee" of varying amounts. The fee is USD 132 for Canadian citizens, USD 140 for American citizens, USD 61 for Australian citizens and USD 15 for Mexican citizens. This fee is equivalent to the amount that country requires for entry visas from Chilean citizens. The fee is only for tourists entering by plane, and the one-time charge is good for the life of your passport. US citizens should have cash or a credit card to pay the $140 fee. Citizens of other countries, such as the UK, do not have to pay a fee.

When entering Chile (by cruise, vehicle or plane), at customs, travelers will need to fill out a tourist card that allows them to stay for up to 90 days. Travelers will have to present the tourist card to Customs officials when leaving the country. Be aware that hotels waive Chile's 19% room tax when the guest shows this card and pays with U.S. dollars. On flights leaving Chile, there is an airport tax of US$18, or the equivalent in Chilean pesos. On domestic flights, airport tax is included in the price of the ticket. For tourism information of Chile, please visit: www.visitchile.org. For consulate information, please visit the Embassy web site: www.chile-usa.org. More info at Embassy of Chile, UK: www.echileuk.demon.co.uk/consulatevisas.htm.

Agriculture is very important to Chile, importation of certain perishable goods (such as poultry,vegetables,fruits,etc) can be either restricted or even prohibited.

Remember that Chile is a centralized country, so the laws stay the same regardless of region.

By plane

The most common entry point for overseas visitors is the international airport of the capital Santiago. There are airports in major towns, but Santiago offers the best connections. LAN Airlines is Chile's flagship airline.

By bus

If you are already in South America, a cheaper and reliable way is to go by bus to Chile. Chile borders Argentina (daily buses from Mendoza, Bariloche and San Martin de los Andes), Peru (bus from Arequipa) and Bolivia. Buses also originate from Brazil (bus from São Paulo, on Mondays and Thursdays).

Be aware that crossing into Chile may take place at high altitude--up to 4000 m (13,000 ft). Also, the roads from Peru and Bolivia are a bit poor in quality, so be patient. During the winter season, which begins in June and ends in August, it is not uncommon for the passage from Mendoza to close for days at a time.

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