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Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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Renewing Chilean Visa

From: "andrew cooke" <andrew@...>

Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2009 16:52:39 -0400 (CLT)

I'm still not completely sure what I am doing, but maybe this will help
someone else in a similar position to me...

I have lived in Chile for just over 5 years, having applied for (and
receiving) residency soon after I arrived.  The process of applying for
residency was fairly painless and, as a consequence, I received a small
green piece of paper (the residency certificate) and a "carn'e"
(identification card).

The ID card is a pivotal piece of Chilean life and I carry it everywhere. 
The green piece of paper disappeared at the back of a draw.  Then, on a
Thursday night three weeks ago, walking back from a restaurant where I'd
had a "goodbye" meal with Paulina since I was flying to Europe Friday
morning, as we joked about losing passports, I looked at my ID card and
realised it had expired the day before.

There was no time to do anything except go to the airport and hope it
wasn't important.  It was important.  But after pleading with the
international police I was given permission to travel (a note scribbled on
the little slip of paper you get when you leave the country).

Possibly important scrap of information - at the airport they asked about
the green piece of paper (which I had completely forgotten).  So my
suggestion is, if you are in the same predicament, to take the green piece
of paper (the actual residency certificate, which is stunningly
unimpressive) to the airport.

Returning from the USA two weeks later, the check-in (at JFK) was not
pleased with my expired ID card (which is normally accepted as proof of
residency).  Luckily I don't need a visa to enter Chile as a tourist,
which seemed to be enough to get me on the plane (note: on leaving the
Chilean police were *emphatic* that I should not re-enter as a tourist on
my return, but that's not the same as agreeing with the check-in person
that I could do so, I assume).

At Chilean customs things were surprisingly simple.  They just said
"better get that renewed" and let me through (as a resident).

That was Saturday.  Today is Monday and I have been doing the renewal.

As I implied above, it's not clear to me exactly what has expired.  The
residency certificate has no expiry date, so I think I spent today simply
applying for a new ID card.  But some of the things that were typed into
various computer screens suggested that I may also have been renewing the
visa.

But whatever the bureaucratic logic, the practicalities are these.  First,
go to international police (the place near Mapocho).  There you request a
"validity certificate" and a "travel certificate" (each 800 pesos).  You
need to take your passport and the green paper.  You pay, wait, and are
eventually called to speak to someone who seems to have a record of your
entry/exit data and asks you a few questions.  Providing you have never
left the country for more than a year in one chunk there is no problem -
you get the certificates.

Get two photocopies: one of the "data" page of your passport and one of
the green piece of paper.

Next, go to your local civil registry (I had been earlier in the day, but
that was a mistake - international police is the first stop).  There you
apply for a new ID card.  This costs about 5.000 pesos.  You need the
photocopies, passport, certificates, and the green paper.  After another
wait, someone fills in a computer form for you, takes your fingerprint and
photo, and you're (almost) done.

The only remaining step is to pick up the new card in 15 days time.

It was surprisingly painless (as most bureaucratic things are here,
providing you have the right photocopies) and cheap (just over 10
dollars), and nobody seemed at all concerned that I had not done anything
before the card expired.

The civil registry isn't that far from a fancy wine shop, so I bought a
Syrah/Malbec assemblage to celebrate :)

Andrew

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