Applying for an Argentine tourist visa in Chile did not turn out to be as easygoing as when we applied for a Chilean tourist visa in Peru. The visa application process was even more meticulous than when I applied for a UK or Schengen visa back home! The fact that JC and I had been travelling together in South America for almost five months already at the time (and I, 9 months) mattered not one bit (for the most part that’s how it often felt for us third world passport holders). JC and I have argued multiple times if Argentina is worth all the trouble and hassle. He was willing to skip Argentina, I wasn’t.
I mean we were SO close I could practically smell the dulce de leches and asados. I had a strong feeling that we wouldn’t have the same opportunity (and means) to come back so I fought really hard for Argentina.
In the end, my stubbornness and optimism prevailed. In return, Argentina screwed our plan. Kinda. But I loved Argentina, if I had any regrets in pushing our way in to this massive country it would be the short time we spent there (the consulate’s fault, not ours). Anyway, I’ll save those stories for later posts after all this is about how we applied for an Argentine visa in Valparaíso, Chile.
Trying our luck in Chile
Even before we arrived in Chile I’ve mulled over which Argentine consulate to best apply. I frequently visited their online website with the intention of learning more about the process. I also emailed them asking for the best place to lodge our visa application as well as to verify the requirements we needed to submit.
The next day I got a reply. The requirements were simple and could be easily arranged in no time BUT that sort of changed when they found out we were Filipinos hahaha (more on that later).
Where to apply in Chile
If, like us, you want to lodge your Argentina tourist visa application in Chile, here are the cities where you can find a consulate along with the email addresses to contact should you require more information or to simply answer your other inquiries:
- · Antofagasta: firstname.lastname@example.org
- · Valparaíso: email@example.com
- · Santiago: firstname.lastname@example.org
- · Concepción: email@example.com
- · Puerto Montt: firstname.lastname@example.org
- · Punta Arenas: email@example.com
At dahil kinapos na ko sa Espanyol, I replied in English. They asked about our nationality so they could further assist us daw with the details. I told them we are Filipinos from Filipinas (I totally wrote that *cringe*).
Cat’s out of the bag.
Ayun. The initial six requirements became seven. 😳
Argentina Tourist Visa Requirements
If you noticed, they added work contract and the last 6 salaries obtained which we didn’t have because we both quit our jobs before embarking on this journey. Bahala na si batman, we’ll just wing it.
IT, hotel bookings, and travel tickets were prepared. For hotel bookings, I did everything via booking.com. As for travel tickets, they require applicants to show valid tickets of entry and exit in Argentina. I did a lot of research on this and asked other fellow travellers online who were in similar situation as us. Believe me, there were very few of us which made it even harder. 😩
Basically, I had to show them a fake booked ticket. Unfortunately, this fake booked ticket came at a cost. I booked two tickets with a bus company that accepts refunds. Bus tickets in Argentina are generally very expensive and you can only refund 80% of the total cost. So there’s that expected loss.
Our itinerary was a bit complicated. I’ve gone various revisions in order to accommodate possible travel dates before we submitted our final IT.
Back and forth
Once in Valparaíso, we didn’t waste time hanging around and went straight to the Argentine consulate in Calle Blanco. We submitted the ff: IT, hotel bookings, booked bus and flight tickets, a screenshot of our bank accounts, a photocopy of our respective credit cards, and passports (original and photocopies). They gave us forms to fill in.
[Note: At the time, we hoped the consulate would issue us a multiple entry in the same way Chile has granted us because it is IMPOSSIBLE to travel in South Chile BY LAND without crossing the Argentinian borders. We were supposed to travel the entirety of Carretera Austral in Chile then move further south to Torres del Paine before heading back north again by way of Argentina. But in order to get to Torres del Paine from Carretera Austral – which are both in Chile – we had to criss-cross between the Chilean and Argentinian borders. The Andes created a natural barrier between the two countries which made it extra complicated for travellers like us.]
However, we were told that if we wanted to apply for multiple entry we had to redo our IT and travel bookings. Each entry and exit to Argentina is counted as one application. If we wanted to re-enter Argentina via a different route, we had to treat it as another application. IT must be adjusted, new travel arrangements be made (that’s a lot of papers ergo trees tbh). At this point, I just gave up and succumbed to their wishes.
We went back to our hostel, modified our IT as if we were applying for a single entry, and printed new copies. In my head, whatever the repercussions of this application to our plans, we’d deal with it later basta ayoko nang makipagtalo. Humahaba na ang gastusin at masyado na kaming matagal sa Valpo!
Once papers were submitted, they told us to come back after two days (we were there on a Monday). Wednesday were back in Calle Blanco. The officer assisting us with our application told us that our request has been granted. Next step was paying the $50 visa fee in their accredited bank, Bci. There’s a Bci bank just a couple of blocks away from the consulate so we settled the fees in no time. Btw, we paid in Chilean pesos because we didn’t have dollars at the time ($50 = CHP33,250). Ran back to the consulate to give the receipts and was told to come back after two days for visa pick up. The officer gave us these:
Friday came. We were back in the consulate, rang the bell with trepid hearts. Our assisting officer handed back our passports and wished us well. However, my heart sank when I saw the visa validity. The consul gave us two weeks in Argentina! 😳 Whuuut. Okay fine gratitude must prevail repeat 200 times.
Once recovered, I immediately plotted our routes. I had serious revisions and planning to do after but yes, Argentina’s happening (or happened? lol).
Here’s some essential things to remember/consider when applying for an Argentine tourist visa:
- In Argentina, bus tickets can only be booked 30 days in advance. We weren’t supposed to be in Argentina til late November or early December but due to this online booking limitation we had to make our IT looked like we’re travelling to Argentina within the next 30 days.
- Know your geography. If planning to do tons of hitchhiking or overland travels between Chile and Argentina, it is important to perform a rigorous research beforehand. Read up on their geographies, shared borders (it’s a very touchy subject, tread lightly), and the multiple ways to get in and out of each country.
- Visa validity begins once you set foot in Argentina. As stated in our visa, it is only valid from October 31 to November 14. We thought we should be in Argentina within these dates only that we had to cut our Carretera Austral trip short in order to accommodate the dates the consul has provided. Wrong. You can enter anytime between the given dates and only then your two weeks will start count. I wished we had this information back then, we could’ve finished the entire Carretera Austral but hey I don’t have all the answers.
- Submit reserved flight tickets in and/or out of Argentina. If I had to redo our Argentina tourist visa application, I’d apply everything I learned from my experience. You can actually submit a reserved flight ticket as opposed to booking bus tickets. It’s easier and free. BUT make sure that your bank statement can cover the “fees”. Domestic and international flights in South America are very expensive. I made my reservations via LATAM airlines.
Not many Filipinos get to apply their visas outside the country so information like this are scarce. Hopefully, with this guide and tips you will have a seamless tourist visa application and ultimately, have better luck than us. 😃 If you have other questions feel free to send us a message or email. We’d be happy to assist you.