The one question I get asked the most, is about VISAS as the process can be long and very confusing! But don’t panic – let me break it down to you.
This blog post will be rather long and information heavy so it will be in 3 parts to break it up a bit:
I: Types of Visas
II: How to apply
III: Documents needed
Part I: Types of visas
There are 4 types of visas (that I’m familiar with)
No visa required for tourists visiting for up to 90 days from the UK, US and EU (business and leisure travel):
Tourists from the above mentioned countries can visit Chile without a visa for up to 90 days. So you just need to buy your ticket and get going!
If you’re from outside these countries, you can apply for a tourist visa here: https://tramites.minrel.gov.cl but unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the process – if you are familiar with this procedure, please give me a shout and I’ll add it to the blog!
If you’re from Canada or Mexico, there’s a fee to enter the country and has to be paid in the airport (this fee is applicable regardless of what kind of visa you hold):
Canada US$ 132
Mexico US$ 23
Subject to Contract Visa:
This is the one I am on while I am working here in Chile. It is for foreign nationals who have been hired by a Chilean company and lasts for a maximum of two years where after that you can apply for permanent residency.
UK cost: US$ 672
Danish cost: USD 699
Temporary Residence Visa:
I was on this visa when I was on work placement for a year in Chile.
- For foreign nationals who travel with the purpose of settling down in Chile, due to having family bonds, interest in the country or whose residency is useful and favourable to Chile.
- This visa allows one to study and/or to perform commercial activities, within a maximum of one year.
UK cost: US$ 1,387
Danish cost: DKK 1000
(The look of the visa has probably been updated since 2013/2014)
Visas for artists who enter the country to work for less than 90 days:
- Having a manager or artistic producer.
- Application for a Tourist Visa at the corresponding Chilean Consulate, when there is not a Tourist Visa exemption agreement.
- Accrediting themselves as an artist.
- The agent or artistic producer must request a work permit before the Foreign Legalization Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
This will be the visa for students doing their year abroad studying at
- For citizens who travel to Chile with the purpose of carrying out studies as a regular student at a State academic institution or a private one recognized by the State, for a maximum of a year, and in the case of scholarship holders for the length of the sponsorship.
UK Cost: US$ 402
Part II How to apply:
The entire process is online and done through the Online Visa Portal (https://tramites.minrel.gov.cl) where you have to create an account.Once you have created your account you will be able to complete the online visa application form. You can change the language settings to English if the Spanish is causing you problems! If in doubt about any of the fields, call the Chilean Consulate to ask.
Once you have created your account you will be able to complete the online visa application form. You can change the language settings to English if the Spanish is causing you problems! If in doubt about any of the fields, call the Chilean Consulate to ask.
When you have completed the online form and uploaded scanned copies of the documents needed you will be able to submit your application and then book a visa appointment at the Chilean Consulate to collect it. Once it’s ready, you should receive an email stating that it has been approved and you can now collect it in person at the Chilean Consulate, a process that takes between 3-6 weeks so apply well in advance!
Collecting your visa
When you go to the Consulate for your appointment make sure you have all of the original copies of the documents you needed for your application. You will need to pay for the visa when you collect and remember to bring your passport!
In Denmark I could only pay in cash and not by card so remember to check that as well.
Part III The documents you’ll need:
If in doubt, always call ahead and ask! These were the documents I needed in 2015/2016 but requirements change all the time so make sure you check with the Chilean consulate in your country but you’re welcome to use this blog as a basic guide.
- Proof of activity in Chile, e.g. letter from the employer addressed to the Consul justifying the hiring in the organization, Certificate of Enrollment or Letter of Acceptance issued by a university or educational institution recognized by the State, Internship letter or similar.
- If you’re working, you should include the work contract which has to be signed by the company and notarized in Chile before being sent to you. (It may also be required that it be legalized and translated, but that was not required in my case).
- A copy of your criminal records.
- Medical Certificate.
Your GP must complete and sign the medical form available for download on the Consulate’s website. This was the case applying from both the UK and Denmark.
- Valid Passport. This must be valid for the entirety of your time in Chile and have a minimum of three blank pages. Remember to factor in the number of times you will be going in and out of Chile as you’ll get stamped every time! You will also have to submit a scanned copy of any previous visas.
- For students, proof of financial backing that will allow you to survive during your year, is required. This could be UK student loan papers and/or your parents being willing to support you such as a Deeds of Covenant Form.
For students, the Deeds of Covenant Form is a form completed by your parents or guardians in the presence of a Notary Public which states that you will be supported financially during your time in Chile. We recommend you liaise with the Chilean Consulate in London in order to find out the appropriate monthly amount that your parents or guardians should sign for. Students in the past have been advised to put down £1000 per month. This does not mean that your parents will actually have to give you this money! It just legally proves that you are willing to support yourself financially during your time in Chile.
- If you’re on a temporary or student visa, you will not be entitled to Chilean health insurance and as such you need proof of medical insurance such as travel insurance that covers you for the duration of time you’ll be staying in Chile.
- Passport-sized photos
You only need one for the application but it’s best to take a few when you go to collect your visa.
- Police Background Check
In the UK, the type of check you need is called the ACRO Police Certificate. You can apply online, it costs £45 and they will send you the check within 10 working days. In order to apply for the check you will need to complete the online application. It is advised that you provide as much detail as possible as your application will be sent back if it is incomplete or with errors and you will have to start the process again.
I used the ACRO when I applied for the “Temporary residence visa” as I was living in the UK at the time so if you’re applying for a different type of visa, it might require a different kind of police background check – again, always double check with the Chilean Consulate if in doubt!
I used the Danish criminal record when I applied for the “Subject to contract” visa as I had moved back to Denmark by then.
In Denmark, the process was a lot easier, you request the criminal record online onwww.borger.dk and it will be sent to your email within 5 working days in a PDF format and it is done free of charge. You don’t have to fill out anything other than your social security number and it took me less than 5min and I received it the day after.
This was taken on my birthday – hence the flowers. The Embassy and the Chamber of Commerce are located in the same building.
The above information is stated to my best knowledge however, rules, prices and requirements change all the time and might be different depending on what kind of passport you hold, so to be sure you have the correct information and paperwork, you should check with the Chilean consulate in your country of residence before you obtain any documents or send anything off.
Contact details for the Chilean Consulate in London:
Mario Benavente, Secretario consular
020 7222 2361, extension 206
37-41 Old Queen Street, London, SW1H 9JA
Nearest metro stop: Østerport
Once you’re in Chile, if you ever need the British Embassy because you lost your passport or anything the like, it’s located on Av. El Bosque Norte 0125 in Las Condes (metro Tobalaba). The front of the building looks like this.
Apologies for only including information for UK and Danish nationals as I am only familiar with these two nationalities. Should you have any questions you think I can answer, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Check out next post to see what you need to do once you’re here and need to get your Chilean ID (except if you’re a tourist of course)
For further Information:
This visa blog was written in collaboration with Harriet Donegan, former intern at the British Chilean Chamber of Commerce who was in charge of recruiting and hiring new interns for several companies and organisations.