Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

ALERT - COVID-19: Do not travel overseas at this time. Due to the difficulty travellers are experiencing returning home, some New Zealanders overseas may need to stay safely where they are....Read more

ALERT - COVID-19: Do not travel overseas at this time. Due to the difficulty travellers are experiencing returning home, some New Zealanders overseas may need to stay safely where they are....Read more

  • Reviewed: 19 March 2020, 14:33 NZDT
  • Still current at: 24 November 2020

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
There have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Chile.

Local authorities in countries and territories with confirmed cases of COVID-19 may impose containment measures including travel restrictions and quarantine requirements to prevent the spread of the virus.

Such measures may be imposed at short notice and specific details may change rapidly, including where and to whom they apply to and for how long. All travellers should stay informed of measures being taken by authorities in the areas they are travelling to. We recommend that all travellers consult the official website or the nearest embassy or consulate of your country or territory of destination to find out about any border controls and other measures that may apply to you.

For information on countries and territories which have COVID-19 related border restrictions affecting foreign nationals, including travellers in transit, please check the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website before you travel.  IATA provides a comprehensive list of all countries and territories that have imposed COVID-19 related border restrictions and is being continually updated.

As part of its response to managing the COVID-19 outbreak, the New Zealand Government has some temporary travel restrictions in place in New Zealand. Please refer to the New Zealand Ministry of Health website for up to date information.

For further travel advice and information about COVID-19, please see our webpage here. We encourage all New Zealanders living and travelling overseas to register with us.

Civil unrest
Protests and demonstrations occur regularly in Chile, particularly in central Santiago and other major cities. Dates of national significance such as 11 September (anniversary of the 1973 military coup), 29 March (anniversary of the Young Combatant) and 1 May (Workers’ Day) may be a focus for protesters and are often marked by demonstrations. Police may use tear gas and/or water cannons to disperse crowds. New Zealanders in Chile are advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations as even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn violent with little warning. We recommend monitoring local media for information on upcoming or expected events. New Zealanders who are in an area affected by demonstrations or violence should leave the immediate vicinity and follow any instructions issued by the local authorities. 

Following civil unrest and violence across Chile in October and November 2019, there may be further demonstrations, protests and violent clashes in Santiago and other major cities, including Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Punta Arenas, Puerto Montt, Concepción and Antofagasta.You should expect to see a significant police presence in major cities. Remain vigilant and avoid protests and demonstrations.

Chilean law prohibits political activity by foreign nationals visiting or living in Chile. Participation in protests or demonstrations may result in detention or deportation.

Small-scale bomb attacks and bomb threats occur from time to time in Santiago. These incidents are generally associated with domestic anarchist groups.  They can occur any time of day and in some cases, have caused serious injuries. On 4 January 2019, an explosion at a bus stop in Santiago injured five people. Targets may include banks, churches, ATMs, public buildings and public transport facilities

Crime
There are high rates of petty crime and property theft in Chile, particularly in urban areas frequented by tourists and foreigners. New Zealanders should be cautious of mugging, pickpocketing, and drink spiking. A common tactic in tourist areas is for thieves to throw mustard or a similar substance on victims and then offer to help clean it off, while an accomplice steals their possessions.

Taxis should be booked in advance by phone, especially late at night, rather than hailed on the street. Confirm you have the correct taxi before entering the vehicle. 

New Zealanders are advised to take particular care with their belongings, including passports, and maintain awareness of their environment in public places like restaurants, on buses or at bus stations. The risk of crime increases after dark. Keep your passport in a safe place and only carry a photocopy for identification purposes. Extra caution with belongings is strongly advised on all public transport, including long distance buses. 

Political tensions
There is an ongoing conflict between members of an indigenous group and government authorities in Araucania in southern Chile. This has occasionally resulted in  politically-motivated violence. Foreigners have not been directly targeted.

We recommend you exercise particular caution if travelling to this region, seek local advice and make amendments to your travel routes if necessary. 

Landmines
Landmine fields are a danger in remote areas of the northern regions of Arica-Parinacota, Tarapaca and Antofagasta in the north and in the southern regions of Magallanes and Antártica, near the border with Argentina. Many landmines are located in border areas.

Although most of these areas are clearly marked and are being demined, some signs and fences are old and damaged, and may be difficult to spot. Travellers should check with local authorities before travelling to these areas, not enter restricted areas, stick to clearly marked roads, use official border crossings only, and observe all warning signs.

Natural Disasters
Chile is located in an active seismic zone and the most common natural disasters are earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Other less frequent emergencies include flooding, forest fires, mudslides and tsunamis. 

Chile has a number of active volcanoes, several of which pose  a continued risk of eruption. Ashfall from previous eruptions has caused major disruption to air travel in the region.

New Zealanders should monitor local media reports and follow any restrictions and instructions issued by the local authorities. Chilean civil defence authorities use a series of colour codes to convey the public level of threat involved in any emergency event. Information and current alerts (in Spanish) are available on Chile’s National Emergency Office website.

General travel advice New Zealanders travelling or living in Chile should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. 

Authorisation from the Chilean government should be sought at least 90 days prior to your travel for mountaineering or scientific activities in ‘frontier’ regions.

New Zealanders in Chile are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips


The New Zealand Embassy Santiago, Chile

Street Address Isidora Goyenechea 3000, 12th Floor, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile Telephone +56 2 2616 3000 Fax +56 2 2951 6138 Email embajada@nzembassy.cl Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/chile Hours Mon-Fri 0845-1300, 1400-1715 hrs

See our regional advice for Central/South America

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New Zealand Embassy Chile

Street Address
Isidora Goyenechea 3000, 12th Floor, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile

Telephone: +56 2 2616 3000

Fax: +56 2 2951 6138

Email: embajada@nzembassy.cl

Website: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/chile

Hours: Mon-Fri 0845-1300, 1400-1715 hrs

Related advice from other countries

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