Update April 2019
Chile now grants a visa exemption to Indians with visas from the USA. You can stay up to 90 days without a visa if you hold a US visa that is valid for at least six months from your date of entry. Original article on obtaining a Chilean visa follows.
We’ve been in Chile for about a month now so I think it’s time to share my Chile visa experience. I applied for a Chile visa in Guyaquil, Ecuador. This was while traveling through Ecuador so it’s important to say that I wasn’t a resident there.
The Chilean consulate requested hotel reservations and proof of financial solvency (I submitted credit card copies for this..). I was told that it’d take over a week to process the visa. Sure enough, after a week, they called and asked me to come in for an interview. The consul was very polite and friendly. He asked me why I wanted to go to Chile and I explained to him that we are travel writers and go to different countries and write about them. He assured me that they would try and process the visa as soon as possible.
The next day my visa was ready. Once the visa was approved, they asked me to pay $58 at a bank nearby and then come in and collect the visa. This is something that’s great about Chile, they ONLY charge you for a visa once it’s approved. They stamped by passport with a 90 day single entry visa.
I’d also like to share another experience here. One of my friends came to visit us from India. He applied for his visa in New Delhi. It took about 8 working days from submission to getting his passport back with the visa stamped. He had to submit airline tickets, hotel reservations, and bank statements. However, the consulate was quite efficient and processed the visa in a timely manner. There was no interview required in New Delhi, India and a 90 day single entry visa cost $60.
For anyone looking to apply for a chilean visa in India, the New Delhi consulate visa requirements are listed here.
We’re now in Santiago, Chile and the view of the surrounding mountains is amazing!
There’s also a surprising amount of yoga centers in Chile.
Update – Advice for Southern Patagonia
If you intend to visit Patagonia it is advisable that you get a multiple entry Chile and multiple entry Argentina visa in advance. This is because in Patagonia, the roads many times criss-cross across borders between Chile and Argentina and you need to go through immigration each time. If you do not have the requisite visas, you WILL NOT be able to make these trips. Examples: Bus from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas, or the entire route down the Carretera Austral. All these routes include multiple border crossings.
If you do not get your visas, your only option would be to fly to Punta Arenas and then see things up north including Torres del Paine. However, you will not be able to explore the areas between Torres del Paine and Puerto Montt. Furthermore, you will not be able to take trips from Puerto Natales to El Calafate and the Perito Moreno glacier.