Immigrants from 51% of the countries of the world are not readily welcome in Chile. It is very difficult for most people in the world even to obtain a tourist visa. The restriction applies mainly, although not exclusively, to Third World, Muslim, violence-ridden and communist countries. Some notable non-Muslim standouts included in the lists are Armenia, Georgia, East Timor, Belarus, Ukraine, Guyana, Granada, Dominican Republic and Taiwan. Notable poor countries not on the lists include Haiti, Bolivia and Central American nations.
In our residency program, we frequently receive queries from people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Iran, Vietnam and other Asian or African countries (other than South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Fiji, Mauritius or South Africa), as well as some countries from the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. There is little that we can do for them.
According to a document from the Chilean Consulate in New York, the Chilean government requires extra-normal steps for citizens of the following countries to receive a tourist visa to come to Chile. These nationals must apply for a tourist visa prior to coming to Chile, unlike the rest of the world’s countries whose citizens receive visas in the Santiago international airport or one of Chile’s ports of entry. I have highlighted entries that might be surprising to our readers, especially ones that tend to have people that make residency program inquiries or ones where former Americans choose to become citizens of after renouncing their American citizenship (e.g., the Dominican Republic).
Applications and background checks submitted at least FOUR weeks in advance of travel to Chile:
Afghanistan, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan
Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Brunei, Burundi
Cape Verde, Chad, China (People’s Republic of), North Korea, Cuba
Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Eritrea, Ethiopia
India, Iran, Iraq
Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait
Lesotho, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya
Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Mozambique
Namibia, Niger, Nigeria
Pakistan, Palau, Palestine
Senegal, Sierra Leone, Syria, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan
Tanzania, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan
Applications and background checks submitted at least TWO weeks in advance of travel to Chile:
Belarus, Botswana, Burkina Faso
Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic
East Timor (Timor Leste), Equatorial Guinea
Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Granada, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana
Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Myanmar
Papua New Guinea
Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Swaziland, Solomon Islands
To apply for a tourist visa, these nationals must submit the following documents: (1) a visa application form; (2) their passport valid at least from the beginning to the end of the visa; (3) a letter of invitation from someone who lives in Chile stating his/her name, address and telephone number or letter of the company or institution that invited the applicant stating the reason for his/her trip to Chile; (4) proof of economic solvency such as bank statements, and/or a letter from the company that supports the visa applicant stating his position and compensation, and/or letter from parents to ensure their financial support for the duration of the visa; (4) marriage certificate (only if the applicant is married to a Chilean citizen); (5) a health certificate issued by a physician stating that the applicant is in good health and has no diseases, issued within 30 days prior to the date of application; (6) a certificate of HIV blood test issued by a health department, laboratory, or physician, in the same period of time; (7) a criminal record certificate issued by the police; and (8) a recent photograph color passport size (2″ x 2″). All documents have to be translated into Spanish, but I imagine that documents printed in English will also be accepted. Consular fees vary according to applicant’s nationality.
Once a visa is approved by the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the applicant must appear before a Chilean consulate for an appointment to have his/her visa stamped. For further inquiries, folks may write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Stateless persons, refugees whose status has been recognized by international organizations and political refugees also must apply for a tourist visa.
The long and the short of it is that for the great majority of human beings, coming to Chile will be difficult if not impossible. While I personally feel sad for any libertarians trapped in the aforementioned countries, I have to admit that Chile’s immigration public policy probably does reduce the risk of threats to Chile and thus makes Chile more attractive to others. This policy explains in part why there are so few Muslims in Chile. I should also note that there are significant Palestinian and Chinese (mainly Cantonese) populations in Chile, indicating that people from some countries on the lists above are more readily welcome than others.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they
would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom.
This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.
Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com: