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XYZ Consular Info: Chili
Chile Consular Information Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
April 12, 2002
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Chile has a stable government and a strong economy.
Facilities for tourism vary according to price and area. The capital is
ENTRY AND EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required to enter Chile. U.S.
citizens do not need a visa for a stay of up to three months. At the
international port-of-entry, a fee, payable in U.S. dollars only, is levied
on U.S. citizen visitors. The receipt is valid for multiple entries during
the validity of the traveler's passport.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have
initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring
documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel
from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present.
Dependent children under age 18 (including the children of divorced parents)
arriving in Chile alone, with one parent, or in someone else's custody, are
required to present a letter notarized before a Chilean consular officer in
the United States certifying that both parents agree to their travel. To
exit Chile, children traveling under one of these scenarios must present
either the notarized letter used to enter the country or a letter of
authorization signed before a Chilean notary if executed in Chile. In
either case, the document presented must be executed not more than three
months prior to entry or departure.
Travelers considering scientific, technical, or mountaineering activities in
areas classified as frontier areas are required to obtain authorization from
the Chilean government at least 90 days prior to the beginning of the
expedition. The portions of Antarctica claimed by Chile are exempt from
these pre-approval requirements. Officials at the Torres del Paine National
Park require mountain climbers to present an authorization granted by the
Frontiers and Border Department, obtainable at the
Chilean Embassy or Chilean consulates throughout the United States.
For further information concerning entry, exit, and customs requirements,
travelers may contact the Chilean Embassy at 1732 Massachusetts Avenue,
N.W., Washington, DC 20036, tel. (202) 785-1746,
Internet - http://www.chile-usa.org. Travelers may also contact the
Chilean consulates in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Clara, Miami,
Honolulu, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, San Juan,
Charleston, Dallas, Houston, and Salt Lake City.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: The U.S. Government remains deeply concerned about the
security of Americans overseas. As a result of U.S. military actions in
Afghanistan in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, there is a
potential for retaliatory actions to be taken against U.S. citizens and
interests throughout the world by terrorists and those who harbor grievances
against the United States. The Department of State urges Americans to review
their circumstances carefully and to take all appropriate measures to ensure
their personal safety. Americans are urged to monitor the local news and
maintain contact with the nearest American embassy or consulate. The
Department will continue to develop information about potential threats to
Americans overseas and to share with them credible threat information
through its Consular Information Program. Information is available on the
Internet at http://travel.state.gov and the Embassy's website at
Due to the presence of suspected terrorist organizations in the Tri-Border
Area (Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay), activities related to terrorism are
a concern in the entire region. However, there are no reports of credible
threats directed specifically against American interests in Chile.
Traditionally, September 11-18 is an active period for public
demonstrations. Violent political, labor, or student protests can occur at
other times also, often near government buildings in Santiago and Valparaiso
or in the vicinity of major universities. Regardless of when or where such
assemblies occur, American citizens traveling or residing in Chile are
advised to take common-sense precautions and avoid any large gatherings or
any other event where crowds have congregated to demonstrate or protest.
Additional advice about demonstrations, particularly during the September
period, may be obtained from the U.S. Embassy at the telephone numbers
There are credible reports that land mines may pose a danger to hikers in
remote sections of several popular national reserves and parks near northern
border areas, including Lauca and Llullaillaco National Parks, Salar de
Surire National Monument, and Los Flamencos National Reserve. Visitors
should check with park authorities before entering less-traveled areas and
observe all warning signs. There are also demarcated land mine fields in
the Magallanes region of southern Chile, between
Punta Arenas and the Torres del Paine National Park, and on Tierra del
Fuego, which should be strictly avoided.
CRIME: The U.S. Embassy is receiving an increasing number of reports of the
theft of purses, wallets, backpacks, and luggage containing passports,
credit cards, and money. Thefts have been reported in restaurants, bus
stations, airports, and other places frequented by tourists. There has also
been a rise in the report of thefts from hotel rooms, including rooms in
Street crime is a problem in metropolitan Santiago in general and
specifically in the city center. One should be particularly alert while
walking in the downtown area, especially in the late afternoon, after dark,
or on weekends, even in well-traveled areas. In Santiago and other large
Chilean cities, thieves thrive on crowds on the street during rush hour and
aboard public transportation.
Petty crime is also prevalent at crowded tourist locations, at Metro
(subway) stations, on trains and buses, and occasionally in taxis. Rates of
such crime have increased markedly in the last year. Persons wearing
expensive-looking jewelry or carrying luggage or cameras are favorite
targets for pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Bags and briefcases may be
stolen from chairs in restaurants and outdoor cafes. Outside Santiago,
robberies and assaults have occurred most frequently in the
Vina del Mar and Valparaiso areas, which become increasingly crowded during
the height of the Chilean summer season (December through March).
Individuals whose passports are stolen will be required to obtain duplicates
of their tourist cards from the Policia International before they can depart
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately
to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate. U.S.
citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets,
"A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to
Central and South America," for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey.
These publications are available by mail from, the Superintendent of
Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402; via the
Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs; or via the Bureau of Consular
Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care, while generally good, may not meet U.S.
standards, particularly in remote areas. Although emergency rooms in some
major hospitals accept credit cards, many doctors and hospitals in Chile
expect immediate cash payment for health services.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to
consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to
confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency
expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom
cover health costs incurred outside the U.S. unless supplemental coverage is
purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide
payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many
travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover
health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider
that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to
providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may
cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care
overseas often face extreme difficulties, whereas travelers who have
purchased overseas medical insurance have found it to be life saving, when a
medical emergency has occurred. When consulting with your insurer prior to
your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas
healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses
that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for
psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
In-country medical evacuations from outlying areas to Santiago cost $2,000
or more. For travelers to the Antarctic and/or Easter Island, additional
insurance to cover the cost of air evacuation specifically from those remote
regions is strongly recommended. In the event of illness, injury, or even
death, the cost of evacuation from the Antarctic region can exceed $90,000.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of
Consular Affairs brochure, "Medical Information for Americans Traveling
Abroad ," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home
autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: All of Santiago is affected by a high index of
pollution, which appears as heavy smog in the winter (May through August)
and dust in the summer (December through March). The most severe pollution
occurs from May to October. Information on vaccinations and other health
precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP
(1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-cdc-faxx (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet
sight at http://www.cdc.gov/.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S.
citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those
in the United States. The information below concerning Chile is provided
for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a
particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside/Ambulance Assistance: Fair
Driving is on the right-hand side of the road, as in the United States.
Although major roads in Chile are generally in good condition, secondary
roads are sometimes poorly maintained and/or poorly lighted. At night,
heavy fog conditions in rural areas have led to multiple-vehicle accidents
with occasional deaths and injuries. Care should be exercised while driving
in the mountains because the roads tend to have many tight switchbacks and
rarely have guardrails. Many major highways in Chile are toll roads;
drivers should carry a sufficient amount of local currency to cover the
In Santiago, care should be exercised when changing lanes or merging because
Chilean drivers do not signal lane changes and rarely yield to merging
traffic. Buses are especially aggressive in moving from lane to lane.
Traffic jams during peak hours in downtown Santiago and other areas are
common. Taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. Drivers should
drive with car doors locked at all times, especially in the southern parts
of the city and near the airport, as there have been reports of thieves
entering cars stopped at traffic lights or moving in slow traffic.
Santiago's anti-pollution measures call for certain major arteries to switch
directions during morning and evening rush hours. Visitors to Santiago
should obtain up-to-date information on these changes from their auto rental
company or the Chilean Automobile Association (please see below).
Driving under the influence of alcohol in Chile is severely penalized, and
it can lead to incarceration if the driver is involved in an accident.
Visitors to Chile must have an international driver's permit in order to
drive legally in Chile. Although car rental firms will rent to customers
with only a U.S. driver's license, the police have detained several persons
for lengthy periods for driving without a valid international permit.
For additional general information about road safety,
including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of
State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at
http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information
concerning Chile, driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and
mandatory insurance, please contact the Chilean Automobile Association,
Avenida Vitacura 8620, Santiago, tel. (56-2) 431-1000, http://www.aclub.cl,
or the National Tourist Bureau, SERNATUR , which is
located at Avenida Providencia 1550, Santiago,
tel. (56-2) 236-1420, http://www.sernatur.cl.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
has assessed the government of Chile's civil aviation authority as Category
1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for
oversight of Chile's air carrier operations. For further information,
travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United
States at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit 'the FAAs Internet webs
ite at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air
carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For
information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may
contact the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject
to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly
from those in the U.S. and may not afford the protections available to the
individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more
severe than in the U.S. for similar offenses. Persons violating Chile's
laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties
for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Chile are strict,
and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Chile is an earthquake-prone country. Limited
information on Chilean earthquake preparedness is available in Spanish from
the Oficina Nacional de Emergencia de Chile (ONEMI)
via the Internet at
http://www.angelfire.com/nt/terremotos2. Other general information about
natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children
and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet
site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202)
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans living in or
visiting Chile are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the
U.S. Embassy in Santiago and obtain updated information on travel and
security in Chile. The U.S. Embassy is located at
Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Santiago; tel. (56-2) 335-6550 or 232-2600; after
(56-2) 330-3321. The Embassy's mailing address is Casilla 27-D, Santiago;
the Consular Section's fax number is (56-2) 330-3005; and the e-mail address
is "firstname.lastname@example.org". The Embassy home page is:
http://www.usembassy.cl, where Americans may also register on-line.
* * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated July 12, 2001, to update
the sections on
Safety and Security, and Crime.