Crossing the border into Chile is straightforward. However, there are differences between entering at the Santiago International Airport and entering overland or from a cruise ship. Visitors entering at the airport if they are from the USA ( US$140), Canada ( US$132), Australia ( US$61), Mexico ( US$23) or Albania ( US$30) must pay what is called a reciprocity fee. This varies according to the amount charged by each of these countries to Chileans for obtaining a visa. Most countries do not require a visa to enter Chile. The exceptions include New Zealand, Cuba, most African countries and some countries of Eastern Europe. Everyone is required to fill out a tourist card and a customs declaration. Do not lose the copy of the tourist card as it is collected when you leave the country. Visitors are automatically granted a 90 day visa. Chile has very strict controls on the import of vegetable and animal products. The import of most fresh products is prohibited and there are restrictions on the import of wooden items, particularly from tropical countries. You must declare all animal and vegetable products. You can declare verbally as all luggage is scanned. Failure to declare will result in a fine, approx. US$200, which must be paid on the spot in Chilean pesos. All prohibited products are confiscated. The rules apply at all entry points not just a the Santiago airport. At the Santiago Airport all luggage must pass through scanning equipment. There are strict controls and heavy punishments for the smuggling of drugs. The immigration and customs officals are always pleasant and polite.

Entering at the airport in Santiago