Moving to Chile from Canada

Chile is stability in the sea of turmoil other South American countries face. Its 18 million people live in a 4000 km long, narrow strip of Pacific coast. It has a wide range of climates. Snow covered southern mountain peaks, lakes and fjords, to the world’s driest desert. Chile has strict gun laws, low crime rates and a strong economy. Quality education, world class wines and amazing natural beauty are points of pride. This Spanish speaking country fights against inequality. Indigenous Araucanian heritage records confirm both the work and direction towards equality. Recent constitutional reforms took place in a national plebiscite. Land and rights claims by the Mapuche, Chile’s largest indigenous group, are under way.

Chile is like Canada in many ways. A slower pace and other cultural values also help their growing national harmony. The more confrontational American influence on Canada is not part of their society. None the less, the slow progress of your visa application may be a little unnerving.

Spanish is the usual language used and English is NOT. No Spanish means day to day difficulty with getting around, communicating and purchasing. Your cost of living will be very different if Spanish is not part of your goals.

• Learn some “local” Spanish. Chile has a calm lifestyle and a beautifully affordable place. Why make life difficult by not being able to communicate or be understood.

• Consider planing your Chile move arrival to be between October and May, especially if your moving to Santiago. Remember the seasons in South America are opposite.

• You will be able to open a bank account as soon as you get your Chilean ID card (i.e. RUT). Having an already arranged local cell phone number will make this easier.

• Arrange for your health care from one of the ISAPRE health insurance options, as soon as possible. Before leaving home confirm your vaccinations. You are going to a new and different germ pool..

• Chile is a modern organized country. The laid back patient culture is part of that, so accept it as a pillar of their success.

• The Pinochet dictatorship, that ended around 1990, is a touchy subject. While it may seem to be a conversation starter there is little gained and much lost in pursuing this topic. With over two thirds of the population identifying as Catholic, religious holidays are a better place to build from.

• Visit one of the many offices Chile has in Canada or apply on line for a “Chile Retirement and Periodic Visa”. A Chilean Permanent Residence Permit is key to your move to Chile.

• You will need a Chilean drivers license unless you are with an embassy or already have a Spanish or Korean drivers license.

• Bringing a pet requires an official veterinarians health certification with a Spanish translated copy. On arrival, a local examination confirming the pet’s clean bill of health takes place.

• Shipping your ‘new’ vehicle to Chile by container is the safest. A current certified emissions test and completed temporary import form attached. The form includes; original invoice, vehicle registration, your drives license and passport information. Importing ‘used’ motorcycles and vehicles is prohibited.

• Santiago, Chile’s capital, is home to almost 7 million. Its pollution often is among the worst in South America. The valley location, road traffic ( especially from May through August ) amplify this. Traffic restrictions are a tool to deal with this. Vehicles from before 2002 are banned, except on holidays. Vehicles from before September, 2011 have limitations based on days in the month.

Weather varies by location along its 4000 kms. Bekins packing for international moves is on your side. Packing by ‘local’ movers is for local moves, a few blocks away. Moving to Chile includes transfers between trucks, once goods clear Chile’s Customs Inspection. It also means transfers between rail, ships, customs inspection and storage before that. A lot to absorb on the way to this new international destination. Use the experience Bekins has earned, learned and already paid for, to reduce your risks.

To make a call to Chile

• Dial 011 ( for outside of North America)
• Dial 56 ( code for Chile )
• Dial the city area code:
Antofagasta – 55, Concepción – 41
Rancagua – 72, Santiago – 2
Temuco – 45, Valparaiso – 32
• Dial local phone number

Emergencies in Chile use:
131 for Emergencies
132 for Fire
133 for Police
134 for PDI
135 for Police-Drugs