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Chile

If you’re travelling to Chile, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation:

Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:

Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.

We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.

It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements. We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate.

We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Security status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Latest Travel Alert 

COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

On Monday March 16th Chile announced that it will be closing its borders to non-residents from Wednesday March 18th. We therefore very strongly advise Irish visitors to Chile to leave immediately and anyone planning to visit Chile in the coming days not to do so. 

In the last days, emergency responses to the COVID-19 crisis in many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have included restrictions of flights from Europe; restrictive new quarantine arrangements in Central America as well as restrictions affecting admissions of Irish people already travelling in the region to other countries in Latin America.

There are no direct transatlantic flights to Ireland from the region. Therefore, given the uncertainty around transatlantic travel options into Ireland we strongly recommend that Irish travellers make early arrangements to travel out of /from the region.

Moreover, we very strongly advise against any further travel into the region until the COVID-19 crisis has been contained there.

A number of cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Chile.

The Chilean Ministry of Health announced on the 10th March 2020 that people who arrive to Chile from Italy or Spain (or have recently passed through or travelled to Italy or Spain), must enter into a period of self-isolation for 14 days. The 14 days is counted from the day that they left either Italy or Spain

See links below for details.

Chilean Ministry of Heath / Ministerio de Salud (in Spanish)

If you are in Chile, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities. See links to relevant websites below:

Chilean Ministry of Health advice on COVID-19 (in Spanish)

Chilean Ministry of Health on Twitter (in Spanish)

Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.

Do:

• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands

Don’t:

• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

HSE

HPSC

ECDC

World Health Organisation

Travel Alert

In October and November 2019 there were large-scale protests and demonstrations leading to civil unrest across Chile and you should expect a heightened security presence. Further demonstrations are expected to continue, with a risk of violence, in Santiago, Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, Concepcion, Antofogasta & in other major cities. 

We recommend that you remain vigilant and avoid all demonstrations and protests and follow the instructions of local authorities. Under Chilean law, foreign nationals visiting or living in Chile could be deported for involvement in protests and demonstrations. Monitor local media for additional updates.

Public transport is running as normal, however some Santiago Metro stations remain closed. 

If you are planning to cross any land border point, check with authorities for exact closure times prior to travel. 
Please see the Safety and Security tab for further details

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact the emergency series in Chile by dialling (133).

We expect to move into our permanent Embassy offices in January 2020. In the meantime, we are operating out of our temporary offices in the Las Condes area of Santiago. If you need our assistance, please call +56 224044949 If you require emergency consular assistance outside of office hours, please call +56981916981 and leave a message, providing:

• Your name
• The nature of your problem
• Where you are now
• Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you're staying)

We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.

We suggest you learn as much as you can about Chile before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. There is additional useful information elsewhere on this Embassy website.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

• Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
• Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
• Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there's an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
• Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
• Read our 'Know Before You Go' guide.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Demonstrations and Civil Unrest

In October and November 2019 there were large-scale protests and demonstrations leading to civil unrest across Chile and you should expect a heightened security presence. Even peaceful protests can become violent at any time. You should avoid all demonstrations. Monitor local media for additional updates and follow the instructions of local authorities.

Police can use tear gas and water cannon against protesters. Under Chilean law, foreign nationals visiting or living in Chile could be deported for involvement in protests and demonstrations.

The largest protests usually take place in Santiago and Valparaíso and occasionally elsewhere in the country.

Nationwide protests usually take place on

• 29th March (The Day of the Young Combatant)
• 1st May (Worker’s Day)
• 11th September (anniversary of the 1973 military coup)


Crime & Petty theft

Pickpocketing, other thefts and muggings are increasingly common throughout Chile, particularly around well-known tourist sites and bus stations. There have been reports of violent muggings in areas popular with tourists in Santiago and Valparaiso. You shouldn’t leave luggage unattended and be particularly attentive at bus terminals, restaurants and other areas frequented by tourists. We advise you to take great care with your belongings and avoid obvious displays of wealth. Avoid using your mobile phone in the street. Keep in groups and don’t walk alone late at night.

There have been reports of people being robbed by bogus and unlicensed taxi drivers, including airport taxis. We advise to only use official and/or pre-booked taxis and to ask taxi drivers for proof of reservation.

There have been a number of incidents in major cities where those driving rental cars have been a victim of crime. Thieves have punctured tires in order to distract foreigners and steal their belongings from the vehicle. Keep windows closed and doors locked at all times. Do not leave bags, luggage or other valuable items in the car, and never in plain view. Cars that are parked on the street and left unattended are often broken into, even in affluent areas.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Chile, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Santiago if you need help.

Lost or stolen passports

If your passport is lost or stolen, it can take up to three weeks to get a replacement, due to time and distance factors. So please take extreme care with your passport and other personal documentation. Getting a replacement passport will be easier if you are able to provide a copy of the lost or stolen one, so keep photocopies of your passport.

Landmines

Chile has a small but significant landmine problem. Landmine accidents mainly affect livestock and small numbers of local people crossing the borders at unauthorised crossing points. Minefields are located primarily in border areas adjacent to Peru and Bolivia in the extreme north of Chile Regions I and II, and Argentina in the south in Region XII. 

Although most minefields are clearly marked, some signs and fences have been damaged by weather or vandalism and may be hard to recognise, particularly in the north of the country. Minefields are, in some cases, laid right up to the edge of highways. 

You should also be aware that there are mined areas in six government-protected wilderness areas in Regions I, II and XII.  Although neither park rangers nor visitors have ever been injured or killed by landmines, we advise you to check with local authorities before travelling to border areas of Regions I, II and XII, stick to clearly marked roads and observe all warnings signs.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Chile, be prepared and take some basic precautions:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. You’re advised not to become involved with drugs of any kind. Possession of even very small quantities can lead to significant prison sentences.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Earthquake

Chile is in a high-risk zone for earthquakes. You should familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an earthquake or tsunami, and take note of instructions in hotel rooms. Building regulations require new structures to take account of seismic risks. Safety measures are widely known and put into practice by national organisations and local authorities. If you’re travelling to or living in Chile, make sure you know what to do in the event of an earthquake.

Volcano

Because Chile is in an active seismic zone, volcanic eruptions can occur.  If you’re travelling to or living in Chile, make sure you know what to do in the event of an earthquake or volcanic explosion.

Flooding

Flooding is frequent during autumn and winter throughout the country, mainly as a result of heavy rains and overloaded sewage systems. Transportation and services are often affected.

Forest fires

Forest fires often occur during the summer months. Even though they can happen anywhere, forest fires usually occur between Santiago and Valparaíso and in the Magallanes. In the event of a major fire, you should follow the instructions of local emergency services, particularly with regard to evacuation procedures.

Additional Information

Additional information

Passports

It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling (8 weeks) to see if you need any vaccinations for Chile.

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Outside office hours, for genuine emergencies involving Irish citizens, which cannot wait until the next working day, please call +56 8191 6981

Embassy of Ireland
El Bosque Norte 0211
Las Condes
Santiago 7550092
Chile

Tel: +56 2 2404 4949

Monday to Friday 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm

Contact us