Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chile Tourist Visa for Indian Citizens

Please use this report as a guideline only. Always call the consulate/visit their website for exact requirements, and carry every piece of paperwork you possibly can. 

The Chilean consulate in San Francisco is a small office in the Flood Building at 870, Market Street. When we walked in, there was only one other person before us. I had already downloaded application form and tourist visa requirements from the website. At the consulate, the staff used the same document to verify our documents. Specifically, we were asked for the following documents:
  • Color copies of ALL pages of passport. I took black and white copies for the blank pages, but color for everything else. This is because they dont keep the original passport. We didn't have our color copies of all pages (only had the main page). I had to run back to the FedEx office at 726 Market Street to take copies of our passports. 
  • Proof of income (Bank statement, pay check, letter from Company)
  • Proof of residence in the U.S.A. or VISA for a third country.
  • Hotel reservation (Hotel’s name, address and telephone number. If staying with family or friends, please provide name, address and phone number).
We were not asked for airline reservations. But I'd call them to confirm or take them anyway. We had no flights in/out of Chile anyway.

After talking to the staff, we faced the following setbacks:
  • We had only one copy of hotel reservations, while they wanted one for each application. The assistant there was very helpful, she offered to make us a copy.
  • The visa will take 2-4 weeks to process. The papers have to be emailed to Chile and the visa will be mailed to the consulate in SF. Since this is the Christmas season, he said this was rush time. After the visa arrives at the SF office, we have to go there to get our passport stamped.
  • You have to enter Chile within 90 days of visa issue. The visa is valid for 2 months from the date of entry. This will be a slight problem for us. For this reason, plan the Chile segment of your trip carefully. And also dont apply too early for visas. 
Updated to add:

After exactly 2 weeks, we received an email that our visas were approved. We were given a date and time to appear for the interview, which I was able to reschedule to an earlier date via email easily. In fact, I appeared an hour late for my stamping and there wasn't a problem. We were finger printed and were given more papers to carry with us for showing at port of entry. The cost is $60/person for a single entry visa and you'll be asked to make a deposit in the Bank of America which is in the next building and bring back the receipt. Some paperwork, signing and thumb printing and we were done in under 2 hours.