Depending on your passport every tourist usually gets a 90-day visa when passing through Chilean immigration. If you want to stay longer or extend your stay, here are some useful and money saving tips
If you like it the official way, then you can extend your 90-day visa at Departamento De Extranjeria Y Migración. Every region has at least one office which you can find here. Make an appointment, take 100 USD, don’t forget your passport and visa you got from PDI (Policía de Investigaciones de Chile) when you entered the country for the first time. At the Departamento you can extend your visa only once without being forced to leave the country. Keep in mind that you maybe will have to wait weeks for an appointment, so plan in advance. Recently the departments where closed because the public employees went on strike. Even when you have an appointment it could be possible that they won’t serve you.
Another way to extend your stay in Chile is to leave the country within your 90 days deadline and re-enter again. Chile is a very narrow country which makes it quite easy to get to an international boarder. If you are in the north, you could extend your stay by visiting the neighboring countries like Peru or Bolivia. Visiting Argentina’s center or south is also a quite common option. Here’s how you can find cheap bus tickets in Santiago. Taking a plane to any other country is also ok, of course. Rumors say that you should leave the country at least for 24 hours. I don’t know if this is true. But mostly the way to the boarder is exhausting and takes time especially when you have to cross the Andes. I recommend doing a short weekend trip and you’ll be fine.
Thirdly, but maybe an expensive option is to overstay your visa. When finally leaving the country after more than 90 days, the boarder police is likely to fine you. The fine can vary and depends on the time you stayed too long. It is reported that the cheapest “rate” is 17,000 CLP (ca. 25 USD). But myths also tell that sometimes the police forget to fine you – I don’t believe that.
Don’t forget that your tourist visa is 90 days NOT 3 months. 😉 Moreover, expect delays and traffic jams when you are planning to leave at your very last day. If you get to the boarder after midnight, you’ll have overstayed your visa. When you are planning to go by bus or car to Argentina and to cross the Andes, don’t forget to take warm cloth with you. It can get really cold and windy up there at the boarder – not only during the winter. Be aware that during the winter trips to Argentina by bus could be cancelled due to snow and bad weather.
Safe travels! Pura Vida!