- Exercise normal safety precautions in Chile.
- Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
- Tourists have been robbed and assaulted by taxi drivers or their accomplices. Book taxis by phone, particularly if travelling alone or at night. Prepaid official taxis are available at the airport. Ensure that the vehicle has the logo of the company on the side. See
Safety and security.
- There has been an increase in the number of bag snatchings at restaurants and the number of travellers falling victim to scams, including where a substance is squirted onto the back of a tourist and thieves 'assist' the individual to clean up in order to steal their bag. See
Safety and security.
- Travellers are not required to carry their passport as official ID in Chile. A photocopy is sufficient if ID is requested by local police.
- Large-scale protests can occur in Chile, including in central Santiago, other major cities and rural towns. Tear gas and water cannons have been used in the past by local authorities. Avoid all demonstrations and protests as they may turn violent without warning, and monitor local media for information, particularly before visiting central Santiago or other major cities.
- Dual citizens should be aware of their visa requirements and confirm these with their nearest Embassy or Consulate of Chile. See
Entry and exit.
Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
Entry and exit
Australian tourists entering Chile through Santiago International Airport are required to pay a 'reciprocity fee' by credit card, EFTPOS or in US dollars on arrival. Contact the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Chile, or the
Santiago Airport on +56 2 2690 1063, for up-to-date information on fees.
Visas are required for work permits, study and for Australian diplomatic and official passport holders and must be arranged prior to arrival in Chile from your nearest Embassy or Consulate of Chile.
On entry to Chile, a Tourist Card will be issued for a stay of up to 90 days. An extension can be applied for at the Chilean Immigration Office located at San Antonio 580, Santiago; telephone (56 2) 2550 2469. The Tourist Card must be surrendered upon departure. If lost or stolen, a replacement Tourist Card can be obtained at any PDI Office (International Police) or at Santiago’s international airport.
If you are travelling to Chile through the United States, or if you are transiting Honolulu or another US point of entry, you are required to meet US entry/transit requirements. Check visa requirements with the nearest
US Embassy or Consulate well in advance of your travel. Read our travel advice for the
United States of America.
There are new restrictions on travellers to Easter Island (Isla de Pascua / Rapa Nui). Travellers, including mainland Chileans, are not allowed to stay more than 30 days consecutively on the island.
Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
If you overstay your visa, go to the Migration Department of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security. You may have to pay an overstay fine. If you arrive at the Santiago International Airport, or another departure point, with an expired visa, you will not be allowed to depart.
As visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice, contact the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Chile for up-to-date information.
Travelling with children
If travelling with children aged under 18 years, parents may be asked to show the original, and provide a copy, of the child's birth certificate, particularly if they do not share a common surname.
Children under the age of 18 years who are not accompanied by one or both parents must present a notarised document certifying the agreement of the absent parent(s) and a copy of the child's birth certificate when arriving or departing Chile. A parent who has sole custody of a child must also present the court order conferring custody.
Any documentation not in Spanish must be accompanied by an official Spanish translation. These documents must be notarised by a Chilean consular officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Santiago or at a Chilean Embassy or Consulate overseas prior to travel. The date of execution of the documents must not be more than three months prior to entry or departure. The same document may be used for entry and exit. It is recommended you carry three copies of each document.
Children under the age of 18 years, born overseas to Chilean parents, can enter Chile on an Australian passport and remain in the country for up to 90 days as a tourist. For stays longer than 90 days, the child must obtain a Chilean passport.
Information for dual nationals
Chile does not recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian/Chilean dual nationals who are arrested or detained.
Australian citizens of Chilean origin should be aware that Chilean legislation may deem them to be Chilean citizens, even in cases where they may have taken steps to renounce Chilean citizenship. In such cases, the Chilean authorities may require that dual nationals enter and depart Chile using Chilean passports. Australians of Chilean origin should contact their nearest Chilean Embassy or Consulate before travelling to Chile to confirm their citizenship status and the latest entry and exit requirements. Chilean entry and exit requirements for dual nationals may change without notice.
Safety and security
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information:
Terrorist threat overseas
Civil unrest/political tension
Large-scale protests can occur in Chile, including in central Santiago, other major cities and rural towns throughout Chile. Tear gas and water cannons have been used by local authorities.
There were a number of incidents of small explosive devices being detonated around Santiago between 2005 and 2014. Explosive devices were discovered or set off near churches, childcare centres, banks, the Santiago Metro and police stations.
A Chilean anarchist group claimed responsibility for many of the incidents and vowed to continue its campaign. There have been no bombings since 2014, but further incidents could occur.
Remain vigilant in public areas, and report any suspicious behaviour or unattended packages to local authorities.
Avoid all demonstrations and protests as they may turn violent without warning. Monitor local media for information about expected demonstrations, particularly before visiting central Santiago or the centres of other major cities.
Be particularly vigilant during days of national or commemorative significance. The anniversary of the 11 September 1973 coup, Workers’ Day (1 May) and Day of the Young Combatant (29 March) may be accompanied by large protests and demonstrations.
People claiming to represent Mapuche communities, Chile’s largest indigenous group, are engaged in a conflict over issues such as land and indigenous rights. As such, there has been politically motivated violence in the Araucanía region of southern Chile in recent years. These attacks have targeted, for example, multinational forestry corporations and private Chilean landowners. Australian and other foreign citizens have not been directly affected or targeted. Nevertheless, be vigilant when travelling in the Araucanía region, and avoid these types of disturbances.
Muggings and robberies are frequently reported in urban areas, particularly in Santiago, Viña del Mar, Valparaiso and Calama. People walking alone are often targeted, especially at night. Daylight muggings, including with weapons have been reported in the Cerro Santa Lucia, Cerro San Cristobal Park and in and around the Plaza de Armas and Mercado Central in the capital, Santiago. Robberies, assaults and pickpocketing are common in the popular tourist area of Bellavista and Barrio Lastarria in Santiago, particularly at night.
Tourists have been robbed and assaulted by taxi drivers or their accomplices, especially late at night. Book taxis by phone, particularly if travelling alone or at night. Prepaid official taxis are available at the airport.
Petty crime including pick-pocketing and bag snatching is increasingly common in crowded areas, such as on public transport, at outdoor cafes and markets and in resort areas. Small bags and purses have been stolen from hotel lobbies, crowded public areas, on the metro system, as well as from the back of chairs at bars and restaurants especially in the popular tourist areas such as Plaza de Armas, Mercado Central, Barrio Lastarria and Bellavista, includng the Costanera Centre Mall in Santiago. Avoid wearing expensive watches and jewellery and using cameras and mobile phones in public.
There has been an increase in the number of travellers falling victim to the “bird poo” scam, in which a substance is squirted onto the back of a tourist and thieves "assist" the individual to clean up in order to steal their bag.
Tourists travelling on inter-city buses, particularly from Calama to San Pedro de Atacama, have reported having their possessions stolen while sleeping. Avoid putting any valuables in the overhead storage compartments of buses. Remain vigilant at all times and take extra care in bus stations, as criminal groups have been known to target tourists by distracting and robbing them (e.g. an elderly person who seems to accidently drop several coins, causes the traveller to approach the person to provide assistance, while leaving their bags unattended). There is a very high incidence of tourists being robbed at the Calama and Santiago bus stations. Never leave items such as credit cards, cash, your passport or other valuables in your luggage while travelling by public transport in Chile.
There has been an increase in robberies involving weapons including during car-jackings as residents leave their vehicles to open or close gates. There have also been a number of armed holdups of stores.
Foreigners have been robbed after accepting 'spiked' drinks in bars and places of entertainment.
If your Australian passport is lost or stolen within Chile, you will be required to travel to Santiago in order to apply in person for a replacement travel document. If a police report is required for insurance purposes, travellers should attend the “Policia de Investigaciones (PDI) – Extranjeria” located at Eleuterio Ramirez 830, Santiago and request ‘Proof of Loss of Documents’ (Spanish: Constancia de Perdida de Documentos). In Santiago (historic centre district), you can approach Carabineros de Chile (Primera Comisaria) located at Santo Domingo 714, Santiago Centro and request an English police report (Constancia).
Money and valuables
Before you depart Australia, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers cheques, cash in US denominations (which can be easily exchanged throughout Chile), debit cards or cash cards. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in Chile. When handling local currency, you should check that you are given the correct change as vendors, including taxi drivers, may swap denominations to either short-change travellers or request the 'correct' funds a second time.
Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible. You can either:
You will be required to show your Australian passport when performing a bank transaction, booking a hotel/hostel or travelling by air within the country. Carry a clear photocopy of your Australian passport as proof of ID at all times. If needed, always carry your passport 'on you'; avoid placing it inside a bag. Keep your passport in a safe location when not being used.
Anti-tank mines and landmines are a danger in remote sections of several popular national reserves and parks near northern borders, including Lauca and Llullaillaco National Parks, Salar de Surire National Monument and Los Flamencos National Reserve. There are also unexploded munitions outside of military zones in the desert areas bordering Chile and Peru. Seek advice from local authorities before travelling to these areas and observe all warning signs and follow clearly identified roads. There are also clearly marked landmine fields in the Magallanes region of southern Chile, between Punta Arenas and the Torres del Paine National Park and on Tierra del Fuego.
Driving in Chile can be dangerous due to aggressive driving practices. Secondary and rural roads are often poorly maintained and lack sufficient street lighting. Roads in mountainous areas often lack guardrails. Chains are often required on mountain roads during the winter.
Chile has a zero tolerance policy with drink driving; it is illegal to drive with any blood alcohol content and driving under the influence is severely punished and can result in imprisonment. More information:
Road safety and driving
Australian tourists who wish to drive in Chile are required to obtain an international driver’s licence from Australia.
If planning scientific, technical or mountaineering activities in areas classified as frontier areas, you're required to obtain authorisation from the Chilean government at least 90 days prior to the expedition.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the
Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Chile.
More information: Air travel
You're subject to the local laws of Chile, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our
Consular services charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs in Chile are severe and include lengthy imprisonment in local jails. More information:
Chile has two main police agencies: Carabineros de Chile and Policia de Investigaciones (PDI). Attempts to bribe a police officer may lead to criminal charges under local laws.
The laws of Chile don’t prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, and civil unions between same-sex couples were lawfully recognized in April 2015. More information:
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas can be prosecuted in Australia.
Take out comprehensive
travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. Get vaccinated before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The
World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our
health pages also provide useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
The standard of medical facilities provided by private hospitals in Santiago and other major cities is good. Outside of major cities, however, facilities can be very limited. Treatment at private clinics and hospitals is expensive. While some large hospitals may accept credit cards, doctors and hospitals often expect cash payment prior to providing medical services, including for emergency care.
Outbreaks of water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including hepatitis, typhoid, influenza and rabies) occur from time to time. In rural areas, boil all drinking water or drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes. Avoid raw and undercooked food, and seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
There have been outbreaks of mosquito borne illnesses including dengue fever and
Zika virus on Easter Island. If you travel to Easter Island take precautions against being bitten by insects, including using insect repellent, wearing loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
Travellers who ascend to altitudes greater than 2500m, particularly if the ascent is rapid, or who at higher altitudes make further rapid ascents, are at risk of developing altitude sickness. Altitude sickness can be life threatening and can affect anyone, even the physically fit. Those more at risk include people who have had altitude sickness before, who exercise or drink alcohol before adjusting (acclimatising) to the altitude, or who have health problems that affect breathing. If you plan to travel to higher altitudes, see your doctor prior to travel and get advice specific to you and your condition.
The Chilean government regularly issues pre-emergency alerts for air contamination. High levels of smog and air pollution occur in Santiago from April to October. High levels of dust often occur from December to March. People with respiratory problems should take extra care when alerts for air contamination are issued.
Where to get help
Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, financial institution, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer and financial institution should have a 24-hour emergency number.
If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the nearest police station for advice. Chilean national emergency numbers are: Police - 133, Fire - 132, and Ambulance - 131.
If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly. There is also a national information service number available on 103.
Consular services charter explains what the Australian Government can and cannot do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below.
Australian Embassy, Santiago de Chile
Isidora Goyenechea 3621
13th Floor, Las Condes
Santiago de Chile
Telephone: (56 2) 2550 3500
Facsimile: (56 2) 2550 3560
Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you are unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, you can contact the 7 day 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Large forest fires occur in Chile, particularly during the summer months. In the event of a fire, adhere to the evacuation instructions of local authorities.
Chile is located in an active earthquake and volcano region. Seismic activity could occur at any time. Monitor local media for the latest developments after an earthquake and follow local advice, including from the
National Emergency Agency. More information:
All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis, but in the Indian and Pacific Oceans there is a more frequent occurrence of large, destructive tsunamis because of the many large earthquakes along major tectonic plate boundaries and ocean trenches.
The Chilean government uses a three-tier system to classify the activity levels of volcanoes. A green alert level is issued for volcanoes that are stable with no immediate risk of eruption. A yellow alert is used for those undergoing changes in their activity levels, and a red alert is declared for volcanoes which are at an imminent risk of erupting. A list of volcanoes in Chile and their current alert levels (in Spanish) can be found at:
www.sernageomin.gov.cl/volcanes. In the event of volcanic activity, follow the instructions of local authorities and contact your transport provider about possible disruptions.
During the autumn and winter seasons, flooding can occur with little warning throughout the country. Services and transport are often affected.
Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the
Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System. If a natural disaster occurs, monitor the media and follow the advice of local authorities.
For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links: