Chile scraps entry fee for Aussies, but plans new e-visa

Australian travellers no longer have to pay a US$117 fee at the border to enter Chile, but an e-visa will soon be required.

By Chris Chamberlin, December 16 2019
Chile scraps entry fee for Aussies, but plans new e-visa

Australian tourists will no longer be slugged US$117 (A$170) at the border when entering Chile via Santiago Airport, with the country axing its longstanding 'reciprocity fee' from December 16 2019.

For now, this puts Chile in the same category as many other popular destinations for Australian visitors, who can simply book their flight and turn up at the airport, without arranging a visa in advance or purchasing one at the border.

That freedom will be short-lived, however, as Australian passport holders visiting Chile from May 16 2020 will be required to obtain an online e-visa prior to travel. Skip this crucial step and you won't be able to board your flight.

The Chilean Government hasn't yet publicised whether a fee would be charged for an e-visa, or how long these would take to process from the time an application is lodged.

Regular visitors to Chile will be able to request a multi-entry e-visa, although single-use e-visas will be offered as well.

It's not yet known whether an e-visa will be needed to enter Chile via all airports and land borders, or only via Santiago International Airport where the outgoing reciprocity fee exclusively applied.

Why do countries charge 'reciprocity fees'?

Such tit-for-tat fees for Australian and other passport holders were levied by the Chilean Government to align with the costs that citizens of Chile incur when visiting that other country: typically matching the price they'd pay to obtain a visa of the same type.

It's a common approach that countries take where visa-free agreements don't apply or where a visa is still required for a particular type of visit, with nations such as Russia and the United States commonly pricing their pre-arranged visas to align with the fees and charges levied on their own citizens by a traveller's home country.

Travel between Australia and Chile has boomed over recent years with Santiago-based LATAM launching direct flights between Melbourne and Santiago in October 2017, and moving many of its Sydney-Auckland-Santiago services to non-stop flights as of October 2019.

From late June 2020, Qantas is also upgrading its Sydney-Santiago route from four flights per week to a daily service, to be operated by the Roo's Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Other recent visa changes for Australian travellers

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 11

We landed on QF27 on Monday 16th, and the fee was still definitely being collected at the desk before customs. Maybe we missed it by a day - would be interested to hear what happened on the 17th.

This is much welcome. on our last trip to South America, we bypass Chile altogether as there were many neighboring places that we can spend our time and cash without being slugged with a hefty entry fee for the privilege.

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