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Frequently Asked Questions


What kind of climate do you have in Santiago?
Considering Chile's position on the globe, the seasons are opposite to the ones in North America or Europe. The climate in Greater Santiago is similar to the Mediterranean, i. e. long dry summers and short, mild winters. In the winter - mid of May until August - you have the rainy season, where temperatures vary greatly (at night temperatures drop to freezing point, during the day from 10 - 25 °C). Most of the apartments and offices do not have central heating, therefore make sure to bring warm clothes! During summer - November to March - it is dry and hot (up to 30°C - 35°C), at night it cools down, there is practically no rain. You will find climate tables here..
What kind of clothes will I need in Santiago?
Of course, this depends first of all on the season (see Climate). If you are a tourist, informal and comfortable clothes will be just fine. If you are here to work or study, things are different. The appearance is very important to the Chileans. They don't consider long hair and earrings for men appropriate, neither very short skirts for women or if they don't shave their legs and armpits. You should also use deodorant. At work you have to dress formally, men usually need to wear a jacket with tie. Jeans, T-shirts or sandals are out of question. Women should avoid to wear revealing clothes, a bra is a must.
Is Chile safe?
Chile belongs to the safest countries in South America. Foreigners can move freely in Chile. Assaults with battery are seldom, you may - we hope not! - become victim to minor criminal acts. Here are some tips:
Avoid walking in the outskirts of the cities and be careful in the centers and when using public transportation.
Watch out for pickpockets! They are clever and often dressed very nicely. Keep your purse or backpack in front of you and don't let yourself be distracted - especially in pedestrian zones or in busses or trains. This is a typical trick!
Keep your money, flight tickets and passports at a safe place, instead of carrying it with you. We recommend a money belt.
Carry only a copy of your passport with you.
Don't hang your bags over chairs in restaurants or cafés. Don't leave them unattended.
Keep an eye on your hand baggage in tour busses.
Santiago: Don't walk alone at night in the center or on San Cristóbal hill.
Valparaíso/Viña: Be careful on some hills and also at the beach, here foreigners have repeatedly fallen victim to theft.
How can I pay in Chile?
The common and almost exclusive means of payment is the Chilean Peso. You can withdraw money at cash points of the Redbanc ATM's with your ATM or EC/Maestro Card in any big city -maximum 200.000 Pesos per day (approx. 320 USD or 270 EUR). This costs around 7 USD / 5 EUR per withdrawal with good exchange rates. You can pay with the usual credit cards in most restaurants, shops, supermarkets etc. If you take out money with your credit card, the bank charges are higher. Further information 
Where can I purchase a cheap flight?
About a dozen European and North American airlines serve Santiago, mostly with one stop. For flights from Europe the lower limit is around EUR 850 roundtrip, depending on the season; direct flights from New York, Miami or Los Angeles start at USD 700. Check out some prices in our link list of airlines. On the website of the Chilean airline LAN you will always find special offers, which can be booked online.
Will I need a visa?
You only need a visa, if you have a paid job in Chile. If you attend a language course or you do an (unpaid) internship or you study in Chile, the bureaucratic and financial efforts to apply for a visa are not worth it. If you travel to Chile as tourist, you will receive a tourist card, which allows you to stay for 90 days. You could get a student visa, but you will not have any special advantages, except that you won't have to leave the country every 3 months (see below). 
Which documents will I need upon entry?
Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Canada, the USA, South Africa, as well as most EU countries do not need a visa, just their passport. Upon entry, they will receive a "Tarjeta de Turismo" (Tourist Card) which is valid for 90 days and has to be presented when leaving the country. Find a safe place for this inconspicuous piece of paper! If you do loose it, get a replacement in plenty of time before your departure (Policía Internacional in Santiago, General Borgoño 1052, or at a police station in one of the regions.) Those trying to leave without the card will most likely miss their flight or be kept waiting at the border for a long time. Citizens of most African, Asian and formerly Soviet States will need a tourist visa that can be applied for at any Chilean Consulate. Citizens of the Albania, USA, Canada, Australia and Mexico have to pay an entry fee when traveling through Santiago airport (not at any other point) that corresponds to the amount Chileans are charged when traveling to the respective country: Albanians 30 USD, US citizens USD 165.00, Canadians USD 132.00, Australians USD 61.00, Mexicans USD 23.00. 
How can I extend my stay in Chile?
The Tourist Card is easiest extended by leaving and re-entering the country (can be done on the same day). Many foreigners use this loophole to extend their stay in Chile by this procedure. However, it is not officially acknowledged by the law and there have been cases in which the border officials became suspicious the third or fourth time. They started asking uncomfortable questions and renewed the Tourist Card only for 30 days.
An official extension through a police station (without leaving the country) is only meant to be done once for another 90 days, and it has to be applied for one month before the card expires from the Extranjería in Santiago or any Regional capital. The price is USD 100.00; Santiago address: San Antonio 580 piso 2, metro stop Plaza de Armas.
How do I get to Santiago from the airport?
You have Shared vans to a defines addres, public transportation to the city center or a subway station.
What kind of visa will I need?
If you officially want to stay longer than three months in Chile or if you are looking for a paid job, there are various visas. You can obtain more information at the Chilean consulates in your home country or at the Extranjería of each regional capital of Chile. The most important types of visa are:
Visa de Estudiante: Student visa, without working permit, it is limited to the duration of your studies
Visa Sujeto a Contrato: Contract visa, this visa is issued upon presentation of a contract with a Chilean employer
Visa Temporario: : Temporary visa (normally 1 year) for "profesionales", i.e. for people with a diploma/title. It is not dependent on one employer, but you have to have your diploma/title officially acknowledged in Chile, and you need a job offer.
Permanencia Definitiva: Permanent visa for foreigners, who have lived in Chile for 2 years with a temporary visa and who can prove that they earn their own living.
Where can I apply for a visa?
At a Chilean consulate in your home country before your departure, application procedure: 2-6 weeks. See the list of consulates in your country
If you are already in Chile and you want to apply for a visa for a longer stay: Intendencia de Santiago, Departamento de Extranjería, San Antonio 580 piso 2, Santiago Centro, Tel. 600-626-4222, open Mon-Fri 8.30 - 14 h, be prepared for long lines! Application procedure: 3-6 months
Are internships paid in Chile?
It would be an exception. Usually interns will not be paid. Some companies and institutions pay a contribution for the public transportation and lunch expenses. 
How much time ahead should I submit my application?
Depending on the required area for your internship, we need about 2-10 weeks, to submit an offer to you. Ideally you should apply 3-6 months before the required date. In exceptional cases we might be able to arrange an internship on short notice.
Do I need to be able to speak Spanish for an internship?
The necessary level of your Spanish skills depends on the specific requirements at work. While basic knowledge of Spanish may be sufficient for internships in the social or tourism area, you have to be fluent in Spanish for other jobs at Chilean companies. English helps only occasionally. We recommend to attend an intensive language course in Chile before your internship.
Car Rentals
What kind of drivers license will I need?
The car rental companies and the police accept national and international driver's licenses. However, insurance companies may not cover damages in case of an accident, if the car driver cannot provide an international license. Our advice: bring them both!
What do the car insurances cover?
The car insurance generally covers all damages at the rental car. Check on the amount of the deductible (between 0 and 500 USD): the smaller, the higher the rental fee. The liability insurance is only valid in Chile and includes third party insurance (persons and material) up to 500 UF (approx. 14.650 USD / 12.000 EUR). We recommend to contract an extra liability insurance in your home country or to check if you already have such a protection. If you want to travel to Argentina with the rental car, you must have your own liability insurance. 
How can I make a reservation and pay for the rented car?
For a reservation we need your personal data (address, passport number, driver's license number) and the data of additional drivers. When signing the rental contract, you have to present an international credit card of the person who rents the car. The rental car company uses this card as guarantee for the vehicle. You will normally pay for the car in advance (see below) as this allows that we get special rates from the rental companies.