Getting Your Visa

visaWhen I first travelled to South America I was quite concerned about having all the required documentation as I had heard so many horror stories about immigration procedures. When I arrived at Santiago airport in Chile I was presently surprised at how quick and efficient it was. I was granted my tourist visa upon arrival and so I had 90 days in the country before it expired. Many friends had told me prior to travelling that it is important to buy a return ticket as I would be asked to prove that I would be leaving. I wasn’t asked for this and I didn’t have a return ticket. However, I did have a copy of the flights I had booked to Mendoza, which I could have used to prove I would be leaving Chile. If you are travelling to South America and are not sure how long your tour will take, this is a good way to renew your visa. Most countries will allow you to extend it for a fee. However, from my experience it is cheaper to book flights to cross the border to renew it….and there is the added bonus of visiting another country.

In the end I got a job in Chile and I was granted a temporary visa. I decided to travel back to the States before I started my new job and I had a somewhat different experience the second time I travelled to Chile, with a stopover in Brazil. On this occasion I was asked for a copy of my return ticket when I was checking in at the airport. I explained to the Brazilian air hostesses that my final stop was Chile, not Brazil and that I had a visa to stay there. I didn’t have a copy of my visa because it was still being processed, so the air hostess wasn’t convinced. She told me that I would have to purchase a return ticket. After a lot of persuasion, I convinced her that my last stop was Chile and they had a register of my visa at immigration. She let me travel on without any problems. However, this is an experience I wouldn’t like to go through again.

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