Border Closure in Chile: Who can enter and who cannot?
The border closure announced last March 16, 2020, by Sebastián Piñera, came into effect at 00:00 of March 18, 2020, and will last for 2 weeks (14 days).
Along with this new measure, many questions arise.
We gathered the answers provided by the Immigration Department (Departamento de Extranjería y Migración) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores) to the most frequently asked questions regarding the border closure in Chile.
Questions answered by the Immigration Department (“Extranjería”):
1) What should you do if your Tourist Visa is going to expire and you cannot exit Chile due to the border closure?
You must extend your Tourist Visa (“Ampliación o Prórroga de Turismo”) before it expires through tramites.extranjeria.gob.cl.
2) What should you do If you need to stamp your visa?
Starting from March 23, 2020, you must obtain an E-Visa, which must be downloaded through tramites.extranjeria.gob.cl and will last 6 months. After those 6 months you will have to book an appointment to stamp the visa on your passport (physically).
3) If you are a foreigner who is residing in Chile and you want enter Chile after the border closure: Will you be able to do so?
If you hold a valid visa or Permanent Residency, then, YES, you will be able to enter Chile, since you are a resident.
The situation is different for foreigners who stamped a visa at a Chilean Consulate and are traveling to Chile for the first time to activate them. If you are in this second case, then, you are not allowed to enter Chile yet.
4) If your visa is being processed (en trámite), will you be able to enter Chile?
Yes, as long as the application is being processed – “en trámite” – by Extranjeŕia (you received a notification from Extranjería stating that your application was received and is now being processed).
5) Does the one-year extension for expired ID Cards announced by the Civil Registry apply to foreigners?
No, only to chileans.
6) What will happen with process of calculation and payment of fines from March 23, 2020?
Both the calculation and the payment of fines will be made completely online (before March 23, 2020, just the calculation was available online).
7) Will there be any consideration regarding the deadline to apply for Permanent Residency due to the current circumstances?
No. Foreigners must apply for Permanent Residency within the last 90 days of their visas, online, through tramites.extranjeria.gob.cl
Questions answered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Servicios Consulares):
1) Who can enter Chile during the border closure?
Chileans and foreigners residing in Chile.
2) While the border closure lasts, who are those not allowed to enter Chile?
Foreigners who are not residents in Chile (tourists).
3) What if your visa is being processed (acogida a trámite) but not yet approved. Can you enter Chile during the border closure?
If the Immigration Department (“Extranjería”) received your application and notified you that your visa is being processed (“acogida a trámite”) you will be able to enter Chile during the border closure.
If you haven’t received a notification from Extranjería after the application was submitted, then you cannot enter Chile (for the moment).
4) What if you stamped your visa at a Chilean Consulate and want to travel to Chile for the first time to activate it?
You are not allowed to enter Chile while the border closure lasts.
5) Will the activation period (of the visa) be extended due to the border closure?
Foreigners have 90 days to enter Chile from the date in which the visa has been stamped in the passport.
If the activation period (90 days to enter Chile) expires during the border closure, you must contact your nearest Chilean Consulate in order to look for alternatives.
6) What if you are in Chile under a Tourist Visa which is about to expire and there are no flights back to your country?
If you are leaving Chile by plane, you must head over to the Immigration office located on the second floor of the International Airport in Santiago (Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez) to look for a solution.
If you are leaving Chile by land, you must head over to the closest “Gobernación Provincial” or “Intendencia” to try to find an alternative.
7) Can commercial airlines make a layover in Chile during this period? What about those passengers?
The landing, at the airport, of foreign passengers in transit to a third country (layover) will be accepted.
Passengers must remain in the transit area and will not be allowed to enter the national territory, therefore, they should not go through migration controls (PDI – International Police).