Saturday, October 21, 2006

Extending Your 90-Day Tourist Visa

If you decide to stay in Chile for more than 90 days as a tourist, you have three options: obtain a visa, buy a 90 day extension for $100, or leave Chile and come back. For many people the latter is the best choice, as the narrow shape of Chile makes it a short trip to leave the country.

Unless you are in the northern tip of Chile, Argentina is the best option. Technically, it is possible to enter Argentina, and return to Chile in the same day, but only if you have a car. The easiest option is to go in bus, and return the next day or later. Hotel accommodations in Argentina should only cost about $12.

For those living in Temuco, the shortest route is Zapala. It is about a 4 hour trip, or 6 hours if you decide to continue to the larger city of Neuguén. You must stay at least one night, as there are no buses that return the same day. You will pass through breathtaking scenery through the Andes Mountains. In the winter the trip may take longer, as snowy roads can cause delays. You will first pass through the Chile border, followed by several miles of “no man’s land”, and finally the Argentina border. There is no cost to enter Argentina. When returning, you will be passed a new tourist card. If you lose this card while in Chile, you must go to the Departamento de Investigación in the police station to receive a new one.

If staying for longer periods of time, you will probably grow weary of taking this trip, and wish to obtain a visa. You may receive a one year tourist visa with the proper paperwork. It is not difficult to receive, but you must prove that you will not be a financial burden to the country. Copies of bank records showing sufficient funds are helpful, but they may ask you what activities you are doing in Chile. It may be necessary to provide a certificate proving you are doing beneficial work in Chile, even if it is volunteer work. This is not set in stone, and different people have had different results. If you are doing nothing in Chile that is deemed beneficial, and are asked for a certificate, you can volunteer to teach English in any school, even if it is only for a few weeks.


Hunter said...

Great blog you have going. Lots of good information. Do you know about the buses that run from Temuco to Zapala, Argentina? Is there one every day, and about how long does the trip take? Thanks, and take care,

Jglohr said...


Yes, the buses run everyday. They leave Temuco in the morning, and it takes anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, depending on the snow in the Andes (if traveling in the winter).

Chef Nick said...


Thanks for the info! I'm in Santiago currently and trying to figure out where I can go to purchase the $100 extension. I only have a week left and I really need to find out. Everywhere I call has no answers for me. Do you happen to know specifically the place to renew in Santaigo?


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