Can I extend my Chile tourist visa?

I’m an Indian and my Chile tourist visa for 90 days is expiring on 25th June. Is there any way I can extend my tourist visa?

If yes what are the requirements that I need to fulfill ?

Or are there any other alternatives?

Answer

I’m a German, living in Chile and extended my tourist visa several times in the past, the last time in January this year. This information is based on my personal experience.

In short: Yes, you can extend your tourist visa for 90 more days for a fee of 100 US$.

In detail: It is possible to extend your tourist visa once for another 90 days. To do so you have to go to an Extranjeria (Foreigners Office) before your visa expires but within the last 30 days of your visa (it is possible to go on the very last day but try to avoid it! [Edit from 21st of June 2017: do not start this on the last day! Some Extranjerias have changed the way they work and even getting an appointment may require you to go a day in advance. For your own good, start this process at least a week before!])

To find your nearest Extranjeria go to http://www.extranjeria.gob.cl/contactenos/ and scroll down to “En regiones“. You’ll have to take your passport and the Tarjeta de Turismo (Tourist card), that you got when you entered the country from the PDI. You may have to present a photocopy of both documents (I never had to). I advice you to get to the Extranjeria very early (before they open) as usually people queue up and they may only attend to a certain number of people each day (for example 80 in La Serena) [Edit from 21st of June 2017: This changed. Ideally investigate how you will be attended before you go there!].

After taking your data you will be issued a paper in order to pay 100 US$. You will pay this in local currency (at the moment about Ch$ 70,000) at any bank (not the Extranjeria itself!). They will retain your Tarjeta de Turismo. You can collect your extended visa usually about a week later, presenting proof of payment (the stamped paper). Ask how long it will take! Anyway, it is not strictly necessary to collect your visa extension within the expiration period of your tourist visa. I advice to go at least one day later than advertised by the Extranjeria staff as your visa extension may still be filed in inaccessible parts of their system. Yes, Chilean bureaucracy is not the most efficient …

Don’t be surprised if they just hand you back your Tarjeta de Turismo with a handwritten slip of paper stapled to it.

Some other points:

  • If you overstayed your visa you have to go to the Policía de Investigaciones (PDI) first.
  • You should be able to speak an intermediate level of Spanish as the staff will most likely not speak English!
  • The procedure may vary slightly from region to region and probably in Santiago, check the official information and take a copy of your passport and Tarjeta de Turismo just in case.
  • The alternative to extending the visa is to leave the country. I
    advice to stay at least one day outside of Chile as I heart several
    stories about people being uncomfortably questioned when returning
    the very same day.
  • If you plan to leave the country do so with anticipation! The weather can be rough and routes to neighbouring countries close very frequently especially during winter time. Attempt to leave the country at least one week before the visa expires.
  • An expired tourist visa is not a dramatic thing. You may have to pay a small fine (or it may be waived) but it is a bureaucratic hassle, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. More here: Overstaying a tourist visa in Chile, any other penalties despite a small fine?
  • You can ask for another extension of the tourist visa after having re-entered Chile, essentially only having to leave the country every 180 days. I have done this for 1,5 years without any question from the authorities whatsoever.
  • I do not recommend to leave the country instead of asking for an extension to the tourist visa. It is next to impossible to leave Chile and re-enter on a budget of 100 US$ and you will loose time also (unless you would like to visit a neigbouring country).
  • Chilean migration procedures are quite time-consuming but Chile is surprisingly open to tourists moving across the borders as often as they please, in my experience! The latter is worth stressing! Depending on your nationality you might get a more negative impression, especially if you are from Bolivia, Peru or Colombia (based on talk overheard while waiting for hours in offices of the Extranjeria).