Please note: Applicants must understand that obtaining government documents requires an expanse of tedium, patience, and precision that is as yet, unprecedented in the history of human kind up to this date.


This article pertains to people who are required to obtain a student visa before entering Chile: this may be for certain students with study abroad programs that require this feat, or for people traveling to Chile for temporary employment. A tourist visa for 90 days can be obtained upon entering Chile with the reciprocal fee of 140 crisp and unwrinkled U.S. dollars. Chile.Travisa has a detailed list of the various types of visas as well as the requirements. If possible, wait until arrival in Chile to obtain a visa. Even with a language barrier, it is less tedious to obtain a visa if the applicant is already in Chile; there are more steps and requirements if the applicant is in the United States. For this article I will cover what I consider to be the most logical and efficient order of steps in order to obtain the Chilean Student Visa.


1. FBI Background Check: Option 1: (It is impossible to link to the FBI’s website, but if you search FBI Background Check, option one should appear.) This is the option the applicant must choose from the FBI’s website. A local background check is not sufficient. Your fingerprints must be sent to the FBI office in West Virginia. In order to obtain fingerprints, contact the local police station which may have only one officer who takes fingerprints during a small range of hours early in the morning. Of course, a fee will be involved. The applicant may have to wait, and/or walk to the county courthouse in order to process payment for the fingerprints. Along with the flawless fingerprints, include a flawless application form as well as money order for $18 US dollars (cost of 1 FBI Background check) in the manila envelope that will be sent to West Virginia.

I list this step first because without the background check the applicant cannot submit their application for a visa to the Chilean Consulate. From the time the application for the FBI background check arrives in West Virginia, according to the FBI website, it “may take approximately five to six weeks depending on the volume of requests received.” I received mine in just under five weeks. While waiting to receive the FBI background check the applicant should begin the other steps.


2. Doctor and possible laboratory visit: A typed letter (with the clinic/ hospital’s letterhead) from a doctor that says the applicant is in good health and free from any infectious diseases. HIV exam results (always a good time!) within 90 days of applying for the visa, again, with the original letterhead from the hospital, clinic, or laboratory.


3. Contact local Consulate: You may need to register your travel plans: all of the further steps may be subject to variations between the different Chilean consulates throughout the United States. The further steps are guidelines which pertain specifically to the consulate in Philadelphia. List of Chilean consulates and embassies nearest you!


4. Four 2 x 2 passport sized photos: These can be obtained at the applicant’s local post office (an appointment may be required) or at the local CVS (photos may be of lesser quality, although probably sufficient.)


5. Notarized letter of financial solvency: This would be a bank statement or a letter attesting to the fact that the applicant or applicant’s parents or guardians will support the applicant financially while in Chile.


6. A photocopy of the applicant’s original passport (photo and information): At least 2 empty pages will be required in order to stamp the visa into the passport. Do not send actual passport to the consulate. The applicant will bring the passport, in person, to the consulate when an appointment has been made. 


7. Original letter of acceptance and letter of enrollment to the Chilean school or University that the applicant will be attending.


8. Chilean student visa application form (may vary depending on consulate), along with the other documents and passport, is inserted into a new manila envelope that will be sent to the Chilean Consulate nearest to the applicant or in the case of residents from Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, Ohio, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Kentucky, Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois, the applicant must send the documents to Travisa- Chicago. More explanation at the bottom of this page: Chile.Travisa. (Applicants from these states may also be required to fill out a Global order Service form.)


Visa processing times vary depending on consulate. Generally, they may take between 3-5 weeks in order to be approved.  After the applicant’s visa is approved, the consulate will contact the applicant via email in order to schedule an appointment. It may take 2-3 additional weeks in order to schedule an appointment. With his or her original passport, the applicant must physically (in person, at the agreed upon appointment time) go to the consulate, where the visa will be attached to the passport. The consulate in Philadelphia stated that the appointment would take approximately 30 minutes. The whole process takes 2 months or possibly longer if problems arise; the applicant should plan his or her travel arrangements accordingly.