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Preface Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:41 PM

Few countries, in Latin America or elsewhere, can match the geographic diversity of Chile. With an average width of only 110 miles, Chile stretches 2,700 miles along the southwest coast of South America, encompassing barren desert, beaches, volcanoes, towering snowcapped Andean peaks, picturesque vineyards, ancient forests, glaciers, and a wind-swept archipelago. Chile claims a wedge-shaped slice of Antarctica and controls Easter Island, 2,300 miles off the Chilean coast in the middle of the South Pacific.

Chile’s geographic diversity does not, however, translate into significant cultural diversity. Despite intensive immigration and the existence of historically significant indigenous cultures, Chileans, culturally speaking, are a remarkably homogenous group, the result of geographic isolation and the abiding influences of Chile’s Spanish colonial and Catholic heritage. Most Chileans, whatever their ethnic background or social status, are serious, hardworking, reserved, self-deprecating, conservative, and family-oriented.

In spite of its geographic isolation, Chile has emerged as a major economic and political force in Latin America. The capital, Santiago, is a modern, bustling city, with glistening high-rises, a first-class subway system, well-maintained theaters and museums, a relatively well-organized public works system, and a governmental structure that is internationally recognized for its low level of corruption.

Chile is a country with much to offer the expatriate. Whether one prefers the splendors of the numerous national parks and reserves, or prefers wine tours and season tickets to the splendid Teatro Municipal, there is something for everyone.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:43 PM

Chile is a narrow ribbon of land stretching almost 2,700 miles along the southwest coast of South America. Although it is one of the world’s longest countries, its average width is only 110 miles. It is only 250 miles at its widest point. Larger than any European country except Russia, Chile covers an area of 292,257 square miles, about the size of California, Oregon, and half of Washington State combined. If you stretched Chile east to west across the United States, it would reach from Maine to California.

Geographically, Chile offers diversity unmatched by most other countries. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean; to the east it is separated from Bolivia and Argentina by the towering Andes range (La Cordillera de los Andes), with peaks in Chile that rise to 22,600 feet. Peru shares a short border to the north. Within its borders, Chile has four distinct geographic zones: the dry northern desert, the fertile Central Valley, the forests and lakes of south-central Chile, and the archipelagos, fiords and channels of the far south.

The great northern desert or “Norte Grande,” which covers one-fourth of the country, is one of the earth’s driest, most barren areas. Some parts have never recorded rainfall. Nonetheless, this desolate, inhospitable area produces the rich mineral deposits of copper and nitrates that are vital to Chile’s economy.

The Central Valley, where most Chileans live, begins with the Aconcagua River Basin north of Santiago and ends with the Bio-Bio River at Concepcion. The nation’s major industrial and agricultural production is located in this region. South of the Bio-Bio the landscape becomes increasingly forested. Especially striking is the area from southeast of Temuco south to Puerto Montt. Here the mountains are dotted with picturesque lakes, hot springs, and snow-capped volcanoes. This area, known as the Chilean Lake District (Región de los Lagos), is a favorite destination for Chilean and foreign tourists.

South of Puerto Montt is an archipelago characterized by high rainfall, with forested fiords, glaciers and sea channels. Still farther south are the windy steppes and sheep country of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Chile also claims a wedge-shaped piece of Antarctica.

Several Pacific islands are Chilean territory as well. The Juan Fernandez Islands are 360 miles southwest of Valparaiso. The marooned sailor, Alexander Selkirk, lived on one of these islands for 5 years; his adventures inspired Daniel Defoe’s novel, Robinson Crusoe. About 2,300 miles west of Chile is Easter Island, locally referred to as “Rapa-Nui,” which is inhabited by ethnic Polynesians whose ancestors carved the gigantic stone monuments (Moai) for which the island is famous.

Chile’s climate is as varied as its geography. Despite lying in the tropics, northern Chile is characterized by warm summers and mild winters, due to the moderating influence of the cool Humboldt Current. In the central region, where Santiago is located, summers (December to March) are dry, with warm days reaching into the high 80s or low 90s, but cooler nights. Winter (June to September) is generally cold, foggy and rainy (rainfall averages 14 inches a year); temperatures climb into the 50s and 60s during the day and usually drop to the 40s at night, with occasional frost. The southern Lake District has cooler average temperatures and is wetter than the central region, with annual rainfall reaching 100 inches. In the far south, the climate is colder still, with gale force winds much of the year. Rainfall in this region also averages 100 inches annually, except in the Patagonian steppes, where it drops to an average of 20 inches a year.

Population Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:45 PM

Chile’s population, about 15 million (2001), is mainly urban (83%), with almost 40% living in Santiago and its environs. As in other developing countries, the population is youthful; about 30% are under 15 years of age. Chile is, however, one of the more sparsely populated Latin American countries, with about 50 inhabitants per square mile. Its annual population growth rate is 1.5%. Chile has a large, well-educated middle class which makes important contributions to business and government; nonetheless, the country continues to have a significant number of unemployed and underemployed living in makeshift communities (poblaciones) scattered in suburban areas of the larger cities. The rural population, including the indigenous peoples, has a standard of living generally well below that of the urban population.

The dominant ethnic group in Chile is of Spanish or Spanish/Amerindian origin. Other significant ethnic groups came from Germany, England, Italy, Yugoslavia, and the Middle East. The population includes a small number of native people (6%–7%), a small Asian population, but almost no one of African descent. The indigenous peoples live mainly south of the Bio-Bio River and in the Andean north. The most important group, the Araucanians (or, locally, the Mapuche), has never been fully assimilated into Chilean society.

During the colonial period, most immigrants were Spanish. A small but influential number of Irish and English immigrants also came to Chile and played important roles in Chilean history. Bernardo O’Higgins, Chile’s national hero, was of Irish descent. After Chile won independence in 1810, many Irish, Scottish, and English immigrated to the new republic. In 1845, an official Chilean colonizing agency was set up in Europe to stimulate immigration, particularly from Germany. A small group of German colonists, who arrived in 1850, was the first of a large-scale immigration from Germany that continued for 90 years. Most Germans settled in the Valdivia-Llanquihue-Chiloe area in the south, where towns still have a decidedly Bavarian ambience. Spanish immigrants continued to arrive in large numbers throughout the 19th century and were joined by Italians, French, Swiss, British, and Yugoslavs, among others. The 20th century brought an influx of Middle Easterners (mainly Palestinians and Lebanese) as well as more Europeans. Several thousand displaced persons resettled in Chile after World War II.

Despite Chile’s ethnic diversity, its culture is remarkably homogenous. This homogeneity is generally attributed to the country’s geographic isolation from other countries—by the Pacific to the west, the Andes to the east, the desert to the north—and the abiding influences of Chile’s Spanish colonial and Catholic heritage. Most Chileans, regardless of ethnic background or socio-economic status, can be characterized as serious, hardworking, reserved, self-deprecating, conservative, and family-oriented. The Roman Catholic religion continues to be influential at all levels of society. However, the Constitution guarantees religious freedom and separation of church and state. Some 10% of the population is Protestant, and there are small Jewish and Islamic communities as well.

Most Chilean holidays commemorate events important in the country’s history or celebrate traditional feast or holy days of the Catholic Church. The Fiestas Patrias, a two-day celebration in mid- September commemorating Chilean independence, is the main patriotic holiday. During this time, there are fairs (fondas), at which one will be introduced to the “cueca,” the national dance of Chile, and rodeos complete with Chilean cowboys (huasos). The biggest religious festivals occur around Christmas and Easter. Cuasimodo is celebrated the week after Easter Sunday throughout central Chile. In this festival, huasos in traditional dress accompany the local priest as he administers communion to the local population.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:46 PM

Chile is a unitary republic with a highly centralized administrative structure and a strong executive branch. The President serves a 6-year term and cannot seek immediate reelection. He appoints cabinet ministers and rectors of state universities, as well as 13 regional administrators (“intendentes”), 51 provincial governors, and numerous other officials. In January 2000, Ricardo Lagos, the candidate for a coalition of center and moderate leftist political parties, was elected President with 51% of the vote. He assumed office in March 2000.

The bicameral Congress consists of a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies. The Senate has 38 elected seats—2 from each of 19 senatorial districts (circumscripciones) and 9 designated seats, which are variously filled by appointees of the Supreme Court, the National Security Council, and the President. In addition, ex-Presidents who have served 6 consecutive years also have the option of serving in the Senate for life. Senators are elected or appointed to 8-year terms. Half of the elected seats come up for reelection every 4 years. The 120 members of the Chamber of Deputies are all elected, two from each of 60 electoral districts, and serve 4-year terms. Permanent commissions, roughly equivalent to committees in the U.S. Congress, work out the details of proposed legislation. Since reopening with the return to democracy in 1990, the Congress has been located in the port city of Valparaiso, 115 kilometers (about 1½ hours by car) northwest of Santiago. Chile operates under a Constitution approved during the military government of General Augusto Pinochet (1973–90). That Constitution provides for a democratic system, including an independent judiciary, while containing some limits on popular sovereignty. It also grants considerable institutional autonomy to the armed services and national police.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:48 PM

Santiago has traditionally been one of Latin America’s most active centers for the fine and performing arts. Cultural events are generally held from March to November. The Philharmonic Orchestra of Santiago and the Chilean National Symphony have subscription series, as do the Municipal Ballet and Opera. The National Ballet of the University of Chile also performs during the cultural season. The hub of ballet and opera activity is Santiago’s Teatro Municipal, which is a magnet for top Chilean and foreign artists. The Beethoven Society of Santiago, a leading private cultural institution, offers a yearly subscription series featuring internationally recognized musicians during its May-to-September season.

Frequent concerts and recitals by local artists are held throughout the year. In January, there is an international jazz festival in Santiago, and in February there are two music festivals that attract international artists as well as local talent. One, held in Vi¤a del Mar, features popular and rock-and-roll music; the other, held in Frutillar on Lake Llanquihue, is devoted to classical music and provides a forum for young Chilean musicians. In addition, Santiago has a number of cultural FM radio stations.

Several professional theater companies in Santiago present exceptionally high-quality productions by both Chilean and foreign playwrights. “Santiago Stage,” the Anglo-American community’s amateur theater group, produces plays in English each year. Many American and British films reach Santiago’s cinemas only a few weeks after their U.S. release, and European and Latin American films are also frequently shown. Most movies shown in theaters are presented in the original language with Spanish subtitles, with the exception of children’s films. The majority of non-Spanish TV films and other programs are dubbed in Spanish. Local “art” movie houses present reruns of notable film classics. Santiago has several good museums featuring pre-Columbian, folk, colonial, religious, and contemporary art, as well as science and Chilean history. Works by modern artists, sculptors, and photographers are exhibited and sold in the many private galleries. The National Library of Chile is one of the largest in Latin America. In addition, the Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano has one of Santiago’s most modern libraries.

Chile’s folklore is rich. Examples of traditional music and dance are offered nearly every night of the year in several Santiago nightclubs and at festivals and special occasions outside the capital. Other nightspots feature urban folk music, jazz, and tango. Santiago has several discotheques.

Chilean writers have won international fame for their achievements. Among the country’s 20th-century poets are Nobel Laureates Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda, and such well-known writers as Vicente Huidobro and Nicanor Parra. José Donoso, Maria Luisa Bombal, Isabel Allende, Manuel Rojas, and Jorge Edwards head the list of leading novelists. The country has also produced a number of fine short-story writers, essayists, historians, and playwrights.

The Chilean Government, universities, and other public and private entities actively encourage scientific activity. Most universities have departments of science and technology and several of the country’s finest centers of higher learning specialize in these fields. The Chilean Scientific Society publishes a scholarly journal. Although Chile, unlike Peru to the north, was never the seat of a great indigenous culture, archeological research centered in the northern desert has uncovered considerable evidence of pre-Columbian settlements showing southward extension of Incan and pre-Incan civilizations.

Its location and clear desert air have made northern Chile the center of astronomical research in the Southern Hemisphere. Three of the world’s largest observatories are located near La Serena, a day’s drive north of Santiago; one is run by a consortium of U.S. universities.

Chile has been a leader in public education in Latin America since the mid-19th century. Of the country’s universities, the oldest and most prestigious are the University of Chile, founded in 1842, and Catholic University, founded in 1888. The University of Santiago, dedicated mainly to science and technology, is also important. Valparaiso has three good-sized universities and Concepción has two. Most other provincial capitals have universities that serve their respective regions. Many private universities have been created over the past 20 years, the most prestigious being Diego Portales University, Gabriela Mistral, Universidad Central, and Andres Bello.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:49 PM

Chile’s current government adheres to largely free-market economic policies, including low and uniform tariffs (except on automobiles and a few other items regarded as luxury consumption) and an openness to foreign investment. As a result of these policies, Chile enjoyed more than a decade of significant real economic growth, relatively low inflation, balance-of-payments equilibrium and nearly full employment. However, in 1999, Chile was hit by a recession prompted by the Asian financial crisis. Economic growth resumed in 2000 and is expected to continue.

To lessen the country’s dependence on mining, especially copper mining, the Government has promoted development in other areas in which Chile has a comparative advantage such as forestry, fruit-growing, and fishing. As a result, copper now accounts for less than 50% of Chile’s export earnings compared to over 80% in the early 1970s. Chile imposes no quotas or embargoes on imports, and foreign goods are abundant, but somewhat higher-priced than in the U.S. The U.S. remains Chile’s main trading partner with some 23% of the import market. Other important trading partners are Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Germany. Chile is ranked 34th among U.S. trading partners.


Automobiles Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:01 PM

The backbone of Chile’s generally adequate road system is Route 5 (Ruta 5), part of which forms the Pan American Highway (Ruta Panamericana). Route 5 runs north-south from Arica on the border with Peru to Quellón in the far south. From just north of Santiago to Los Angeles (about 325 miles south) the highway is four-lane, but road construction and general congestion through some areas can slow travel time considerably. The Government plans to complete the four-lane highway to Puerto Mont by 2002. Well-maintained roads link Santiago with Valparaiso and other cities on the central coast and connect central Chile with the Argentine highway system via Mendoza, Argentina.The road to the Argentine border is, however, frequently closed in winter by snow. Many of the best roads are now run by private companies that charge tolls. In addition to the main road system, there is an extensive secondary system of unpaved or gravel roads, some of which require four-wheel-drive vehicles to negotiate. Unleaded gasoline is readily available, although the price of gasoline is higher than in the States, and Embassy personnel must pay the gasoline tax.

In Santiago, most U.S. Embassy employees, especially those living in the suburbs, find a car necessary for errands, shopping, and social activities. Most familiar American and foreign automobile brands are sold and can be repaired here. Labor costs for repairs are generally less than in the U.S., but spare parts are more expensive and not always easily obtained. Because some Chilean roads are potholed or unpaved, heavy-duty springs, shock absorbers, and undercoating are recommended. Although winter temperatures in Santiago occasionally drop to near freezing, antifreeze is not needed unless traveling to ski areas in winter. Tire chains are mandatory for winter travel to the local mountains. They can be purchased or rented locally, but employees planning to ski regularly should bring chains in their freight.

The Government of Chile requires that owners of vehicles imported or locally purchased duty-free must pay the 18% Value Added Tax (VAT or, in Spanish, IVA) upon resale in Chile. Therefore, personnel assigned to Chile should not expect to sell a vehicle upon departure at close to its original sale price. Many employees choose to purchase a new car locally. Although these vehicles conform to local rather than U.S. specifications—which means they cannot be exported to the U.S. without modifications-they often cost less when purchased duty—free than the same model would cost in the U.S. For more information, contact the post’s general services officer (GSO).

The Embassy obtains registration and license plates for personal vehicles owned by official personnel. (See Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property.) Local third-party liability insurance is required on all cars and costs about US$400. Many U.S. citizens also purchase collision insurance, which is available locally as well as through U.S. companies. Local collision insurance rates are high, typically $500–$1,200 per year for the average American vehicle.

Embassy diplomatic personnel are able to obtain a Chilean driver’s license upon presentation of a letter of introduction from the Embassy and a U.S. license. Administrative and Technical personnel may be required to take a driving test in Spanish to obtain a Chilean license, although this requirement has not been enforced. It is a good idea to arrive in Chile with an international driver’s permit —obtainable from AAA— as it is not always convenient to apply for a Chilean driver’s license immediately upon arrival. You will also need an international driver’s permit to drive in surrounding countries. The local driving age minimum is 18 years.


Local Transportation Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:02 PM

Santiago offers an extensive public transportation system that is used by Embassy personnel. The bus system is comprehensive, inexpensive (about 55 cents per ride), and relatively easy to use. Unfortunately, buses tend to be rundown, erratically driven, and crowded during rush hours. The subway system (Metro) is, however, a pleasant surprise to newcomers. It is clean and efficient, and costs about the same as the bus. The streets teem with taxis that are easily recognizable by their color: black with a yellow roof. Service is generally good at reasonable prices. All taxis have meters except tourist taxis at larger hotels, which charge a flat rate for specific destinations. In addition there are shared cabs (colectivos) that follow fixed routes. Black with signs on the roof stating their routes, colectivos can be flagged down like cabs. Many Embassy personnel, even those who own cars, prefer to take a taxi or the Metro to go downtown for cultural or social events, rather than fight traffic or find scarce parking. This post does not provide regular home-to-office transportation for official personnel. Parents with children attending Nido de Aguilas or other private schools can arrange for round-trip bus transportation through the school.


Regional Transportation Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:03 PM

Chile has a fairly extensive if antiquated railroad system, although at this time no passenger service operates north of Santiago. Sleeping cars and flat-cars for automobiles provide overnight rail service between Santiago and Temuco, about 9 hours south. Many people prefer to take the inter-city buses, which are well-equipped, comfortable, and follow fixed schedules to all major cities. Some long distance buses feature sleeping berths. Domestic air service is reliable; LanChile provides the lion’s share of the service to principal Chilean cities. Various international carriers provide regular service to and from Chile, including three U.S. carriers. American and foreign passenger ships and freighters call at Valparaiso.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:03 PM

Telephone communication is very good, due largely to the privatization of long-distance telephone service and strong competition among a long list of providers. Since the telecommunications industry opened up in 1994, international long distance rates in Chile have dropped precipitously, and although they have risen a bit, are still inexpensive, even compared with U.S. service. Local phone cards are available for placing long-distance calls from any public phone in the U.S. or Chile. U.S. calling cards can also be used, but rates are slightly higher.


Telephones and Telecommunications

Wireless Service Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:04 PM Cell phones are inexpensive and have international calling capability. U.S.-purchased cell phones will not work in Chile.


Internet Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:04 PM

Internet service, including broadband and personal Web site hosting, is available at competitive prices through a variety of local providers. Occasionally, Embassy personnel are offered special rates or plans. While the monthly fee for dial-up internet service is low (about $8–$10 per month), note that the local phone company charges an additional per-minute telephone use fee (Servicio Local Medido or SLM), which, depending on the time of day, can add more than a dollar per hour to the cost of accessing the Internet. Most homes also have only one phone line, and obtaining a second line can be difficult. Some Embassy personnel with dial-up Internet connections purchase cell phones to make themselves accessible by phone while on the Internet.


Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:05 PM

International Mail. Adequate international mail service is available to and from Chile. Although service may sometimes be faster than APO facilities, it is considerably more expensive. Address international mail as follows:

Name Name of Agency American Embassy Casilla 27-D Santiago 6760277, Chile

Instruct family and friends not to send packages to Chile via international parcel post. Mail sent in this manner is subject to theft, long delays in Customs, and possible duties and taxes.

Airpouch Facilities. The U.S. Mission in Santiago has military postal (APO) privileges, which thus excludes the use of diplomatic pouch facilities for personal mail, except in specific cases such as those set forth in 5 FAM 343. Pouches generally arrive from and are dispatched to Washington, D.C. about three times a week. Official mail is distributed to Mission personnel through the Embassy mailroom. Use the following address only for official mail that must go by pouch:

Name (Office) 3460 Santiago Place Washington, D.C. 20521–3460

APO Facilities. The post has a full-service APO. The APO is used for all personal letters and unrestricted category parcels, which measure a maximum of 108 inches in length, width, and girth combined and weigh no more than 70 pounds. Delivery time for both incoming and outgoing mail ranges from 5 to 14 days but periodically becomes sporadic. Some APO customers have complained of not receiving packages. The APO staff, therefore, strongly recommends insuring all packages. Services available include insurance on outgoing parcels, certified mail, and return receipts. Services not available are money orders, registered mail, and COD mail. The APO facility receives and dispatches mail daily. The APO counter is open Monday through Friday. APO mail should be addressed:

Name Unit _____ American Embassy-Santiago APO AA 34033-_____(Unit Number)

List of Unit Numbers for APO AA 34033:

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) 4100 Executive Offices (Ambassador/ DCM) 4101 Admin Section 4102 Economic-Political 4103 RSO 4104 Consular 4105 CLO 4106 Budget & Fiscal (B&F) 4108 General Services Office (GSO) 4109 Facility Manager 4109 Health Unit (HU) 4110 Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) 4111 Marine Security Guards (MSG) 4112 Animal Plant Health Service (APHIS) 4113 Defense Attaché‚ Office (DAO) 4115 MILGP 4116 Regional Security Office (RSO) 4117 Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) 4118 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 4119 Defense Mapping Agency (NIMA) 4120 Commissary 4121 Nido de Aguilas 4122 Public Affairs Santiago College (STGO) 4124 Military Retirees 4125 Cope (Apo) 4126 Information Technical Center (ITC) 4127 NASA 4129 IPC 4130 Legal Attaché 4131 International Preparatory School (TIPS) 4132 Information Systems Office 4133 Boy Scouts 4134


Radio and TV Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:06 PM

Radio is Chile’s most extensive mass communication medium. Of the total 800 AM and FM radio stations in Chile, some 50 broadcast from Santiago. Broadcasting is almost exclusively in Spanish, but a few English-language programs can occasionally be heard. Several Santiago stations broadcast a broad range of American music in FM stereo. English-language news can be heard on shortwave via the Voice of America (VOA) and the British Broadcasting Company (BBC).

Santiago has six VHF-TV channels, all of which broadcast in color, using the U.S.-compatible NTSC system. Programming includes older U.S. TV series and movies, local and imported soap operas, and a variety of news and local entertainment shows. There are no UHF stations. All of the neighborhoods where Mission personnel live have access to one or two cable TV systems that carry the international versions of standard American cable fare such as CNN, ESPN, TNT, HBO, MTV, FOX, TNT, etc. There are also stations from Europe and other Latin American countries, as well as C-SPAN and Worldnet at certain times. Direct satellite television is also available in Chile. VHS videotapes of English-language films are available for rent through numerous outlets around Santiago such as Blockbuster Video. U.S.-standard video tape recorders and television sets function in Chile with a 220v–110v step-down transformer. VCRs can be ordered through the APO, but a TV with a screen size larger than 13–14” frequently exceeds APO size restrictions. Dual voltage or 220v TVs can be purchased locally.


Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:07 PM

Because English-language books and magazines are scarce in Chile, order books and subscribe to your favorite periodicals via the APO. Books in English can be obtained from a few local bookstores, but they are expensive. The Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano has 10,000 English language books and 115 U.S. periodicals. The American Association of Chile (AAC) sponsors book clubs that buy English-language books for members to share, as well as maintains a lending library at its club house. The Santiago Lending Library is a volunteer organization, which has a small, but high-quality collection of fiction and nonfiction books. Students of Nido de Aguilas and their parents have access to the school’s modern library. The Community Liaison Office (CLO) also maintains a small paperback fiction library.

In addition to an English-language weekly newspaper, the News Review, some local newsstands sell international editions of Time and Newsweek, or 2- to 4-day-old U.S. city newspapers. Some Embassy personnel subscribe to a U.S. newspaper such as USA Today via the APO, but it will arrive chronically late. A subscription to the Miami Herald can be arranged for same-day delivery, but the subscription rate is high. The American Association of Chile publishes a monthly newsletter for members, The Spotlight, which has practical information for expatriates living in Chile. The Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce is geared to the needs and interests of the business community.

Chilean newspapers are printed in Spanish. El Mercurio, a conservative, Santiago-based morning newspaper, is Chile’s most prestigious and influential daily. Several weekly news magazines representing various political points of view have a nationwide readership.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:09 PM

The Embassy’s Health Unit—staffed by a Regional Medical Officer (RMO), a Registered Nurse (RN), and a secretary—offers a full range of services to official personnel and their families, including emergency treatment, immunizations, treatment of minor illnesses, medical information and counseling, referral assistance, and monitoring of medical problems. The Health Unit staff write periodic articles and medical alerts for the weekly Embassy newsletter, underscoring current medical problems of interest, with a focus on prevention. Although traveling frequently for medical consultations to other regional posts, the RMO is available to see employees and family members when in Santiago. Individuals with a chronic medical condition will be assisted in obtaining an appropriate doctor and consult with the RMO as a secondary caregiver. The Regional Psychiatrist (RMO/P) is stationed in Lima, Peru, and makes periodic visits to Santiago. He is also available for consultation via telephone from Lima.

It is recommended that all standard pediatric and adult immunizations be up-to-date prior to arrival in Santiago. In addition, Hepatitis A and Typhoid immunizations are routinely recommended. On arrival, employees and their eligible family members should bring their shot records to the Health Unit for the nurse to review and update. The Health Unit provides a full range of immunization with the exception of the Yellow Fever vaccine. While in the U.S., employees and their family members should obtain the vaccine, which can be given only at approved vaccination centers such as the Department of State and National Foreign Affairs Training Center. Though Yellow Fever is not found in Chile, the immunization is recommended for travel to some surrounding South American countries. Employees and family members who have already arrived in Chile, but plan to travel to a country where Yellow Fever is present, can obtain information on the location of the Chilean immunization clinic where the vaccine can be administered.

Most diseases or disorders can be successfully treated in Santiago. When this is not possible, medical travel may be authorized to Miami or another U.S. medical facility. Many local physicians speak English and have obtained medical training in the U.S. or Europe. Well-trained, English-speaking dentists and orthodontists are also available. Several hospitals in Santiago provide full medical services, including 24-hour emergency services with ambulance transportation. The quality of care in these institutions approaches care in the U.S. The Health Unit periodically evaluates hospitals that Embassy personnel use, and retains on file the curricula vitae of preferred physicians and dentists. The cost of medical and dental care by Chilean practitioners is comparable to costs in the U.S.

People recovering from alcohol or drug addiction should note that there is a lack of English-speaking recovery groups, e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. However, English-speaking psychiatrists and psychologists are available in Santiago. Please contact the Health Unit for treatment options.

Many pharmacies are open 24 hours a day. A list of around-the-clock pharmacies is published daily in the newspapers. The cost of some medications is higher than in the U.S. and some state-side medications are not available at all. The Health Unit urges all personnel to check with the RMO or nurse before taking unfamiliar local medications, even those prescribed by a local physician. Some prescription drugs in Chile are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and may be unfamiliar to the Embassy’s medical staff. Employees should bring an adequate initial supply of required prescription drugs. The RMO can renew a prescription, and drugs can be ordered by E-mail or fax. It is also wise to bring a supply of favorite nonprescription drugs. Additional supplies can be ordered via the Internet, if they are not available in Chile. Fluoride tablets are provided to employees with children since some water sources are not fluorinated. Eyeglasses and contact lenses can be readily obtained in Chile but are more costly than in the U.S.

Santiago has an enticing outdoor climate, but the air is dry and the sun is strong. To protect skin, bring moisturizing creams, bath oils and sunscreen. These can also be purchased locally (usually at higher cost). Limit outdoor exposure when the sun is strongest (between 11 a.m.–3 p.m.), and always use sunscreen on any exposed skin, whether skiing in the local mountains or swimming in a backyard swimming pool.

Health and Medicine

Community Health Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:10 PM

Community health standards are generally good in Santiago. The sewage and trash collection systems are efficient. Nevertheless, inadequate supervision of sewers during construction and road repair, as well as periodic earthquake damage can cause occasional contamination of drinking water in some areas. Otherwise, the city water supply is purified and generally considered safe to drink. Just the same, the water is hard, and sediment is often present, prompting many people to filter their drinking water, or buy bottled water. Outside larger cities, water may be contaminated and bottled water is recommended.

Food and beverages are generally safe. However, care is advised in choosing restaurants and in preparing raw fruits and vegetables. (See Preventive Measures.) Milk is sold in paper or plastic containers, often reconstituted, and is pasteurized and safe. “Long-life” sterilized milk, which does not require refrigeration prior to opening, is readily available. Fresh unpasteurized milk should be avoided unless boiled. Good-quality powdered and liquid processed milk are sold locally.

Santiago has a serious problem with air pollution. Although a blanket of smog hangs most of the year over the congested downtown area, pollution is particularly heavy in winter when the fumes from heating fuels are added to the dust and vehicle exhaust. Even outlying suburbs generally have air pollution problems, and there are days when the smog reaches high up the slopes of the Andes. As a result, respiratory, eye, ear, nose, and throat problems are common for employees and their family members. Minor eye irritations are endemic on bad days, and many nonsmokers have “smoker’s hack” throughout the winter.

Health and Medicine

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:11 PM

Santiago is a relatively well-organized, modern city and new arrivals are sometimes surprised that mild gastrointestinal disorders occur regardless of precautions taken. Occasional episodes of food-borne illness can result from eating contaminated, undercooked or raw food, either at home or in restaurants. More serious infections such as amebic dysentery and typhoid fever are uncommon.

Because not all farm produce is subject to uniformly high standards of control over processing and pesticide use, a good practice is to wash all produce in detergent and rinse it in clean water prior to consumption. Further precautions, such as soaking produce in antiseptics (available in grocery stores), is a matter of choice.

The best defenses against food-borne illness include understanding and establishing good food preparation practices at home (and making sure your housekeeper does the same), avoiding produce and other food products from street vendors, and choosing restaurants that appear clean and well-run or have been recommended by others. Above all, use common sense. If it looks or smells bad, it probably is.

The best defense against air pollution is to limit outdoor exercise activity when pollution climbs above acceptable levels; the pollution index is regularly publicized by the Government. Local schools choose to keep children indoors when the index is high. Individuals with a history of respiratory problems should also consider using an air purifier in the bedroom; Santiago has sufficient air pollution to warrant its use.

The Health Unit publishes an Information Booklet that provides medical information and outlines preventative health measures specific to Chile. Before coming to post, personnel should request a copy via E-mail and review it thoroughly.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:12 PM

Within the U.S. Mission, every effort is made to assist spouses in finding employment, if they so desire. At present the roster of family member positions includes several office manager positions, a commissary manager, a nurse, an Information Resource Center research assistant, an APO supervisor and clerk, two consular clerks, two consular associate positions, a Community Liaison Office (CLO) Coordinator, classified pouch escort and Information Management Associate. In addition, the Embassy frequently hires spouses on temporary appointments to fill in for assigned personnel on leave. In most cases, knowledge of Spanish and computers is an asset.

For spouses who prefer to seek employment outside the Embassy, there is a de facto work agreement with the Chilean Government, and several spouses have found positions with companies or non-profit organizations in Santiago. Once a spouse secures a position locally, the Foreign Ministry must approve the arrangement, a process which can take some time. Family members who do find local employment must pay Chilean income taxes, and are required to waive their diplomatic immunity on matters related to their employment. Again, knowledge of Spanish is helpful.

Local private schools occasionally hire qualified teachers. Generally, applicants are required to have a teaching degree from an accredited university, but there are exceptions. Many language institutes in the city hire native English speakers, even without a degree or experience in teaching English. All teaching positions—and other local positions, for that matter—are paid on a local wage scale, which is generally lower than for comparable positions in the U.S.

When funds are available, the CLO coordinates summer and winter employment programs for Mission high school and college students who wish to work at the Embassy during school breaks. Every effort is made to find work for all interested students.

The Community Liaison Office maintains a list of eligible family members seeking work and makes sure that they are informed of Embassy vacancies as they arise. Family members interested in working are encouraged to contact the CLO office as soon as possible before arrival at post to make their background and interests known.

American Embassy - Santiago

Post City Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:12 PM

Founded in 1541 by Pedro de Valdivia, Santiago is a modern city of 5.5 million inhabitants. It is Chile’s undisputed cultural, political, financial, and commercial center. The country’s standard of living, which ranks high in Latin America, is highest in Santiago, where most of the country’s wealth and 40% of its population are concentrated.

The city’s architectural influences are decidedly European; downtown one finds Spanish, French and Italian architectural styles, state-of-the-art high rises, expansive pedestrian shopping areas, an efficient subway system, wide avenues, outdoor markets, and many well-tended medians, plazas and parks. Modern shopping malls and supermarkets around Santiago compare favorably with those found in any major U.S. city. Santiago lacks the sprawling, desperately poor slums that are found in some major Latin American cities. Nonetheless, there are large swaths of the city that remain economically underdeveloped.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:14 PM

In Santiago, U.S. Government employees and their family members number about 235 and represent eight departments or agencies of the U.S. Government: State, Foreign Commercial Service (FCS), Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Defense Attaché Office (DAO), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Military Group (MILGP), and the Department of Justice (LEGATT). All agencies maintain their offices in Santiago, except the MILGP, which also has an office in Valparaiso. Mission offices are situated in the Embassy Chancery at Avenida Andres Bello 2800. The building is located in the Las Condes residential area near the Mapocho River. The Embassy telephone number is (56) (2) 232–2600. Official hours for all agencies in the Chancery are currently 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

As the President’s personal representative, the Ambassador is the Chief of Mission and responsible for the direction of all U.S. Government agencies in Chile. The Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) assists the Ambassador and takes charge during the Ambassador’s absence. The Department of State also includes the Economic/Political, Consular, Public Affairs and Administrative Sections.

The Public Affairs Section is responsible for the Embassy’s information and cultural programs. Through educational and professional exchanges, digital video conferencing, speaker programs, support for educational advising, English teaching and American Studies programs, publications and the services of its Information Resource Center (IRC), the Public Affairs Section supports the Embassy in articulating U.S. Government policies and fosters greater understanding of U.S. society and culture. The PA section also manages the Embassy’s website, in both English and Spanish.

The Administrative Section provides comprehensive support services to all agencies within the Mission. The Budget and Fiscal Office offers a full range of fiscal services for all personnel. Payroll and allowance payments for State, FAS, DEA, MILGP, and FCS personnel are made by the Charleston Financial Service Center. Employees allot their salaries to U.S. banks; the State Department forwards these allotments each payday.

The Human Resource Section is responsible for accreditation, assignment and transfer procedures, leave, health, language training, and the awards program. This office is also in charge of recruitment, hiring, compensation, evaluation and other employment policies for foreign nationals and locally hired American personnel of the Mission.

The General Services Office (GSO) oversees employee travel, shipment of personal goods (including personally owned vehicles), housing, maintenance, printing, procurement, contracting, property and supply, and transportation (including control of a motorpool of some 20 official Embassy vehicles).

The Community Liaison Office (CLO) assists post management in maintaining high morale at post. To this end, CLO’s duties include coordinating the sponsor and welcome program for newcomers, as well as providing information on family member job opportunities, schools, shopping, domestic help, community activities, and tourism. CLO periodically organizes events, seminars, and trips for the Embassy community. There is an Internet kiosk in the CLO office, which is available to all staff. Persons assigned to Santiago are urged to write to the CLO with questions about the post before their arrival.

The Regional Security Officer (RSO) is the Ambassador’s security liaison and manager whose chief duties include the physical security of all U.S. Government operations and facilities in Chile, protective security for the Ambassador and visiting VIPs, oversight and operational supervision of the Marine Security Guards and the Local Guard Program, counter terrorism planning, new arrival briefings, and employee debriefings, investigations, security surveys, and liaison with appropriate government and local police organizations.

Employee services within the chancery include a cafeteria, that serves breakfast, hot lunches, sandwiches, and snacks, and a commissary that offers snack food, cold drinks, microwavable meals, a dry-cleaning service, a gift shop, and rental of VHS tape players, TVs, and tables and chairs. There are also in-house bill paying, banking, and ATM services (see Exchange Facilities).


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:14 PM

The Embassy has a few transient apartments to which incoming employees are assigned when permanent quarters are not ready on arrival. All apartments are furnished, and equipped with linens, dishware, glassware and other basic housekeeping items. Daily domestic service can be arranged. Reservations for transient quarters may be made as soon as exact arrival dates are known. Incoming employees with family members have priority. If a transient apartment is not available, new arrivals will be lodged in one of several good hotels, some of which have cooking facilities.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:15 PM

The U.S. Government owns and furnishes the Ambassador’s residence and the homes of the DCM and the defense attaché. It leases residences for other American personnel of all agencies. All decisions on housing assignments and new leases are made by the Embassy’s Interagency Housing Board. Where practical and appropriate, an arriving employee will move directly into assigned quarters. For government-owned or -leased quarters, the Embassy pays charges for electricity, gas, and water, but not for telephone, TV cable or Internet. The tenant is responsible for repairing any damage to the house or its equipment that occurs during his or her occupancy.


Furnishings Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:16 PM

The post provides a complete set of basic furniture and large appliances (stove, refrigerator, freezer, washer and dryer) to all State employees. Other employees should contact their respective agencies. Houses are selected based on Housing Space Standards, and thus are unlikely to have adequate storage for a full shipment of 18,000 lbs., even where such is authorized. Standard-issue beds are queen size for the master bedroom and a twin bed with headboard for every other occupied bedroom. Employees are expected to provide blankets, bed linens, bed spreads, shower curtains and rings, and all kitchenware, as well as cots and bed linens for household help (all available locally).

Employees should also plan to bring or locally purchase computer tables and bookshelves. Although the post provides a limited number of transformers for small- and medium-sized appliances, bring additional heavy duty ones to meet any special needs. If you are assigned to a house rather than an apartment, you may wish to bring a lawnmower, gardening tools, hoses and related attachments. Although gardening services are readily available, prices typically run about $30–$35 per week.

Most single family houses and many apartments have swimming pools. Pool cleaning services are readily available (for about $40–50 per month), as are cleaning equipment and chemicals for the do-it-your-selfer.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:16 PM

Electrical current in Chile is 220v, 50-hertz, single-phase, 3-wire, AC. Electrical appliances are manufactured locally, as well as imported. A general statement about quality and prices is difficult to make, as both vary; however, with comparative shopping, good quality items can be found at reasonable prices. Most 110v appliances will operate with step-down transformers; employees who plan to buy new appliances, however, should purchase 220v/50-hertz or dual voltage models. Modern stereo and video equipment will operate on 50 hertz without conversion. Older record players, tape recorders, and other 60-hertz items can be converted to 50 hertz. Include conversion kits in your freight. U.S.-purchased electric alarm clocks running on 60 hertz cannot be converted to 50 hertz and will not keep proper time on a transformer. U.S. microwave ovens and TVs can be used with transformers. Air-conditioners are not necessary, but electric fans may be desirable and can be purchased locally.

Food Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:17 PM

Typical Chilean cuisine is simple, hearty, and rather bland. Beef, chicken, and seafood are the most popular main dishes. “Cazuela,” a stew of chicken, beef, pork, or fish, and the “empanada” (a pastry turnover filled with meat, fish, spiced onions, cheese, or even edible seaweed and served hot) are specialties. Wine accompanies most meals. Other typical Chilean drinks include “borgoña,” red wine mixed with sparkling water and fruit; “cola de mono,” a Christmas drink similar to eggnog; “chicha,” grape or apple cider; and “pisco sour,” a mixture of indigenous grape brandy (pisco), sugar syrup, and lemon juice.

Americans are usually delighted with Santiago’s modern supermarkets, which offer most of the variety of major U.S. grocery chains. The colorful array of high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the many attractions of Chile. Winter produce is more limited but selection is still good.

Fish and other seafood from the vast Chilean coastline include many interesting, little-known varieties that Americans come to enjoy. Good quality fresh milk (full and low fat), as well as long-life milk (full, low fat, and nonfat)) are sold in Santiago. Condensed, evaporated, and powdered milk are also sold. Other dairy products include local and imported cheeses, yogurt, margarine, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and ice cream.

Local and imported brands of basic staples (flour, rice, etc), breakfast cereal, cake mixes, snack foods, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, baby formula and strained foods are all readily available. Chile is famous for its fine selection of good and generally inexpensive wines. Beer and soft drinks (including diet varieties) are of good quality. In general, it is safe to say that most domestically produced food items are currently less expensive than comparable items in U.S. supermarkets.

The Embassy commissary, located in the basement of the Chancery, carries a limited stock of locally purchased snack foods and drinks. The American Employees Recreation Association (AERA) operates the store. Limited space, high transportation costs, and local competition necessarily inhibit the Association’s ability to stock a large selection of groceries in the commissary. Those who prefer items or brands not stocked in local supermarkets can special order them via the Internet. Families with infants requiring special items should ship these items in sufficient quantity in their freight.

Clothing Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:19 PM

Located in the temperate zone, Santiago has four discernible seasons. Winter (from June to September), when most new arrivals first arrive in Santiago, tends to be cold and foggy, with temperatures in the 50s and 60s during the day, the 40s at night. During this period rainfall is more frequent and many homes, being poorly insulated, become damp and chilly. Spring and autumn are sunny and mild with some rain. Santiago’s summers (December through March) are warm, sunny and dry; temperatures can reach in the 90s, though generally cool off at night.

Given the weather, a good selection of warm and cold weather clothing is a must. Chileans dress fashionably, though conservatively, and malls and most boutiques display a wide variety of tasteful clothing and shoes. Locally produced clothing tends to be of good quality; leather goods and wool and cotton sweaters are particularly good buys. Imported clothing—including many well-known U.S. and European brands—is available at generally higher prices, though seasonal sales can produce good finds.

Some familiar brands have outlets here with prices that run generally lower than in the U.S. Note that large and extra long men’s sizes, and narrow and wide shoe widths, are difficult to find. The quality of workmanship among Santiago’s seamstresses and tailors varies, but most personnel have been pleased with their work, which costs less than in the U.S. Good quality men’s suits can be fashioned from locally available woolen, cotton, and synthetic fabric; a wider variety of material is available for women’s wear. Dry-cleaning service is good.

Except for the Ambassador, DCM, and their spouses, formal attire is rarely required. Employees and family members who already own formal attire should bring it, however, since it is the preferred dress at the Embassy’s annual Marine Ball and several other gala events held during the year.


Men Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:19 PM

Most men wear a business suit or coordinating sports coat and slacks to the office. Senior officers are generally expected to wear dark suits. A dark suit is also appropriate for almost all evening occasions. For year-round wear, mediumweight wool blend suits are most practical, but some men prefer a heavier fabric for winter and wash-and-wear suits for summer. A raincoat is necessary, preferably washable with a zip-out lining. A topcoat is also useful; hats are a matter of personal preference.

Chile’s four seasons require a variety of casual wear. Flannel or wool shirts are comfortable for winter. Attractive wool, cotton and synthetic knit shirts and sweaters are available; usually for less than you would pay in the U.S. A general array of summerwear is available, but sizes, styles and colors may be limited, cuts may not appeal to everybody, and many locally-produced clothing requires ironing or special laundering.


Women Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:20 PM

Wool or wool-blend suits, knit or woven dresses or skirts, tailored pants and sweaters are popular for office wear or daytime social functions in the winter season; among Chilean women, dark colors tend to predominate. The widely varying temperatures during a 24-hour period often make the “layered look” very practical. A raincoat and winter coat are very useful. In summer (as well as on mild days in spring and autumn) women wear cotton, linen, and synthetic fabrics. Cool evenings all year usually require a light wrap.

For evening wear, bring cocktail dresses, tailored dresses or pantsuits. Stoles and blazers, as well as sweaters or sweatercoats are useful. Hats are seldom worn, and gloves are only necessary in winter. Good-quality stockings are available in most sizes. Several stores specialize in maternity wear.

Even on casual occasions, Chilean women tend to dress more fashionably than most American women do. Not many Chilean women would be caught at the grocery store in sweat clothes, flip-flops, cut-offs, or a T-shirt. Attractive casual wear of every type is readily available in local stores, or it can be ordered from the U.S.


Children Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:21 PM

It is possible to find attractive and reasonably priced children’s clothing here, but most parents bring an initial supply from the U.S. and supplement with local purchases or mail order from the U.S. Again, children should have clothes that address a variety of temperatures: knit and flannel garments, jeans, warm pajamas, sweaters, a medium-weight ski jacket for winter. Snowsuits and boots are useful for trips to the ski resorts. Satisfactory cotton and synthetic shorts and shirts can be purchased locally for summer wear, but often require more care than similar U.S. garments.

Children’s shoe stores are ubiquitous in the malls, but styles and sizes are sometimes limited. Popular brand-name athletic shoes are sold in most stores at relatively high prices, but local brands are more reasonably priced. Baby supplies of every kinds can be purchased in Chile, as can larger items like strollers, cribs, and high chairs, but brand names Americans recognize are significantly more expensive. In most cases, these can be ordered from the States. Good-quality clothing for infants and toddlers is readily available.

School uniforms are required in Chilean schools, with the exception of nursery schools. However, The International School Nido de Aguilas, the school which most Embassy children attend, requires uniforms for grades 1–5 only. Children in the middle and high schools at Nido are required to wear uniforms only during P.E. Otherwise they wear the same clothing popular in a typical U.S. high school. Children at The International Preparatory School (TIPS) do not wear uniforms, except in P.E. classes. Uniforms, if needed, should be purchased locally to meet the requirements of the school. Younger children sometimes wear coveralls or smocks over their uniforms. These are also sold locally.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:22 PM

Many well-known brands of American and international toiletries are available on the Chilean market; some are manufactured locally and reasonably priced. Bring an initial supply of over-the-counter medicines, cosmetics, sunscreen, moisturizers, and other personal grooming aids. Favorite toiletries that are unavailable here can usually be ordered via the APO.

Welcome Kits are available for use pending the arrival of household effects (HHE), but personnel should bring basic household supplies and appliances useful for setting up housekeeping. Remember that electricity in Chile is 220v/50-cycle. Plastic containers, kitchen, and hardware items are available in local stores to supplement personal supplies.

A quarter-inch drill with concrete and carbide bits is useful for hanging pictures. For minor household repairs, include a basic tool kit (including hammer, insulated screwdrivers, and large pliers or wrench). There are several large do-it-yourself stores in Santiago. They carry all the same familiar hardware and household items that one can possibly need.

Well-stocked office supply stores and supermarkets carry a wide variety of ribbon, wrapping paper, school, art, and office supplies. Significantly more expensive items, such as specialty printer paper (for digital photography, greeting cards and transparencies) and printer cartridges can be brought from the U.S. or mail-ordered. Name-brand children’s toys, such as Lego or Fischer Price, are significantly higher priced than in the U.S. So is computer software (which is also mostly in Spanish). Because of the many birthday parties to which younger children get invited, many parents put a stock of presents in their airfreight. Santiago has party stores, with a good supply of decorations for birthdays and other occasions. You may wish to bring an artificial Christmas tree in your shipment. Good-quality artificial trees are available here, but at higher prices than the U.S.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:23 PM

Most services one would find in the U.S. are available here. Laundry service, dry-cleaning, and shoe repair are good quality and also less expensive. Service at beauty salons is comparable to that in the U.S. The same is true of barbershops.

Car repairs and service are readily obtained for American and foreign cars, but quality can be uneven. Include basic auto replacement parts such as belts, gaskets, filters, and windshield wipers in your HHE shipment, since spare parts are more expensive, or may not be available for your particular model. Auto rental rates are very expensive—$60 and up per day.

Carpenters and upholsterers are available, but check their references to ensure quality. Small appliance repairmen charge less than in the U.S., but parts for imported models may be hard to find or expensive. Computer service is good, and rates are close to those in the U.S. Film developing and printing of most types of film are available locally, although some types of color film may require processing in the U.S. Mail order and Internet film developers and suppliers are good alternatives for those who want to avoid the higher price of local developing.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:29 PM

Many employees hire a maid (“nana”), either live-in (“puertas adentro”) or live-out (“puertas afuera”). Live-in maids are becoming more difficult to find, but day maids, full or part-time, are readily available. Heavy work, such as washing windows and waxing floors, is usually done by men called “mozos,” who work weekly or monthly, depending on the need.

Gardeners, who sometimes double as mozos, are available, but may require training. Full-time, live-out help will expect a light breakfast, a substantial hot lunch, and perhaps tea and a sandwich around 5 p.m. Uniforms are optional. Room and board are provided for live-in help. Employers usually are expected to pay transportation costs for day maids The employer pays a monthly salary (presently about $300–$350 for live-out help), as well as social security benefits and taxes equal to about 25% of the total monthly salary. Bonuses at Christmas and on Chilean National Day in September are customary for all household and garden help. The Community Liaison Office has information on finding domestic help and gardeners, and on the going salary and bonus rates.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:29 PM

Chile is predominantly Roman Catholic, but Spanish-speaking Protestant congregations also abound. For the English-speaking community, the Santiago Community Church offers English-language Protestant services, and the Holy Cross Order at St. George’s School provides a Roman Catholic Mass in English. Other faiths represented in the city are Anglican, Presbyterian, Christian Science, Mormon, Baptist, Jewish, Greek Orthodox, Seventh-day Adventist, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Bahai’i; some services are in English.

The Santiago Community Church holds Sunday school for children. Through The International Preparatory School, Nido de Aguilas, and other schools, Roman Catholic religious instruction is available. There is a Jewish day school. The Estadio Israelita (community center) offers religious instruction (in Spanish) on Friday afternoons for children who do not attend the day school.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:31 PM Chile’s established public school system is supplemented by numerous private schools for students from nursery through high school. The Chilean school year extends from March to mid-December, with a vacation of 2 weeks in July and 1 week in September). Most American children attend the International School Nido de Aguilas (Casilla 16.211, Santiago 9), a coeducational, nonsectarian school for Chilean and foreign students in prekindergarten through 12th grade.

Nido follows a modified U.S. school calendar, which begins around August 1 and ends around June 30, with a 2-month break from mid-December to mid-February. The language of instruction is English; the curriculum, textbooks, and teaching methods are all based on U.S. standards. The U.S. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits the school. The student-teacher ratio is 20 to 1.

Currently, Nido has over 1,100 students. The headmaster is American, as are about one-third of the teachers. The elementary school offers an individually guided program based on language arts, math, social studies, science, music, and art. The secondary school prepares students to meet the admission requirements of both U.S. and Latin American universities. The International Baccalaureate (IB) program for grades 11 and 12 offers advanced-level instruction in English, math, science, and social studies, which can provide advanced placement in college.

College and career counseling for Chilean, U.S., and other international students is a regular part of the high school program. The middle and high schools are members of the National Junior Honor Society and National Honor Societies respectively. Middle and high school students can participate in Nido’s active sports program. There are numerous extracurricular activities for students at all levels. The music program includes three bands, an orchestra, and a chorus.

Nido has an active guidance and counseling program at all levels. There is a limited gifted program in the elementary school, but no designated gifted program in the middle or high school, although individually tailored programs are possible in middle and high school, as well as IB coursework in high school. Nido has a very limited program for children requiring supplemental or remedial education in the elementary school, but no such programs in the middle or high schools.

Several other schools offer opportunities to study in English. Some of the schools that Embassy children currently attend or have recently attended include The International Preparatory School (TIPS), a British-based school with an enrollment of about 120, which offers a program from Pre-K to grade 12 and Santiago College (pre-K through grade 12), a U.S. accredited, bilingual school with courses taught in English in the lower grades and switching primarily to Spanish in the upper grades.

There are other private schools throughout Santiago that offer an American curriculum, although most are not U.S.-accredited. For personnel who wish their children to receive instruction in a third language, French, Italian, and German schools offers programs in those languages in the lower grades. Personnel interested in a local school other than Nido de Aguilas can write to the CLO for additional information. Although tuition and associated expenses at Nido determine the education allowance at post, parents who select another school in Santiago receive an allowance up to that level, which is usually sufficient to cover tuition and related fees.

Please note that private schools in Santiago have only limited resources available for learning-disabled children. Both Nido and TIPS offer some special reading programs and remedial assistance, but none of the schools is equipped to handle more than mild learning disabilities. Tutors are available in most subjects, and this expense may be reimbursable under the education allowance (see FAM 271, 274.12, and 276.9). If your child has special education requirements, please consult with the State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools, the Community Liaison Office at post, and your agency before accepting an assignment to Santiago.


Dependent Education

Away From Post Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:31 PM Special Educational Opportunities

Spanish-language courses for adults are available through private tutors. The Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano provides special study opportunities, such as lectures on Chilean history and culture, as well as Spanish- and English-language training. The Institute’s library features facilities in both English and Spanish. A staff member at the Institute specializes in counseling students planning to attend a U.S. college or university.

Courses in painting, judo, ceramics, ballet, guitar, folk singing and dancing and other cultural subjects are offered at various institutes around Santiago. There are good professional schools in classical dance and a respected music conservatory with excellent instruction. Fees vary but compare favorably with U.S. prices.

French-language courses are available at the Alliance Française and the French Binational Institute; German is taught at the Goethe Institute. Admission for Mission personnel to Santiago universities can usually be arranged for those fluent in Spanish and with adequate academic credentials. However, U.S. colleges and universities do not always recognize credits from local universities. Several institutes offer computer training. The Embassy also offers language training and computer classes on a space-available basis.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:33 PM

Chile offers a wide variety of sports activities throughout the year. Tennis is played year round in private clubs or on a few public courts. Most courts are clay, and players should bring balls from the U.S., as they are expensive here. Fees range from about $8 and up per hour for a court. Squash, paddle tennis, and racquetball are all available. Most Embassy homes have swimming pools (useful only in the summer), but serious swimmers might prefer to join a private club with a larger, sometimes indoor, pool.

Golf is a favorite pastime in Chile, and many courses are excellent. All of the golf clubs in Santiago are private, ranging in price from prohibitively expensive (Club de Golf Los Leones) to fairly reasonable (Club de Golf Lomas de La Dehesa). Some clubs welcome nonmembers. For nongolfers, a sports club such as Stade Française, which offers tennis, squash, swimming, and a restaurant, may be more appealing. Commercial gyms with weight machines and supervised exercise programs abound; prices are affordable. Club Universidad Catolica, right next door to the Embassy, offers discounted memberships to Embassy personnel.

Water sports are popular throughout Chile. The lakes in the Central Valley and the south attract boaters and water skiers. In some of the coastal cities, motor and sailboats are available for rent. If you have your own boat, you can keep it in private yacht clubs located along the coast and on some lakes. Whitewater rafting trips for beginners and experts can be arranged on some rivers, although care should be taken in choosing an experienced guide, as some of the rivers are treacherous. Scuba diving requires a wetsuit due to the cold ocean water.

Chile offers superb trout fishing from October through mid-April in the south central part of the country and some mountain lakes. However, the nearest freshwater fishing spots are over 4 hours away by car, and ideal trout and salmon fishing streams are a day away by car, bus, or train or about 3 hours by plane. Deep-sea fishing (broadbill, swordfish, and marlin) and surfcasting, are also available but less popular. Heavy tackle (20–25 pounds) is recommended.

Hunting is popular, but all of Chile’s larger game is endangered and therefore protected. Rifles may only be used in the extreme southern part of Chile. Most hunters use 12-gauge shotguns with No. 8 shot. Mission personnel are permitted to import 1,000 rounds of ammunition, which is also available locally. Partridge, quail, doves, ducks, and rabbits are hunted throughout Chile, but very little game is found within a few hours drive of Santiago.

Horseback riding and hiking are year-round activities in Santiago. Several riding academies and clubs rent horses and provide instruction. Riding trips from a few hours to a week can be arranged, and during the summer there are children’s camps that specialize in horseback riding. There is also a polo club. The mountains visible from Santiago offer a challenge to the day hiker as well as to the experienced mountaineer. At 8,700 feet, Provincia can be scaled in a day, while the Cajon de Maipo, southeast of Santiago, is a mountain climber’s paradise, with peaks reaching over 20,000 feet. There are hiking and climbing clubs in Santiago, catering to the needs of beginners and experts alike. Experienced guides are available for the most challenging climbs.

Skiing ranks as the outstanding winter sport in Chile, where some of the finest skiing centers in the hemisphere are located. The skiing season extends from June to October (and occasionally through November). The most popular ski areas are Portillo, 3 hours away from Santiago on the international highway to Mendoza, Argentina, and the local ski runs at Farellones, Colorado, Valle Nevado, and La Parva, all about an hour away from Santiago. Hotel rooms are expensive, and reservations for July and August must be made several months in advance. The slopes are never as crowded as they often are in the U.S.

Spectator sports include soccer, horseracing, and rodeos. Team sports for youngsters are offered at Nido de Aguilas (which has good facilities) and some other schools, as well as at some of the private clubs. The local softball league welcomes players and fans alike. Santiago has two bowling alleys, and several Mission personnel have joined a bowling league. The American Association also sponsors a ladies’ bowling league and a men’s basketball group.

Shoes, clothing, and equipment for nearly every sport are available in Santiago. Prices and quality vary. For instance, imported European skis are expensive but are comparable to U.S. prices, while good fishing gear is very expensive. Golf equipment is expensive, while a top-quality tennis or squash racket may cost slightly less than in the U.S.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:36 PM

Not many posts rival Chile for tourist activities; many opportunities are just a day trip from Santiago. On a typical Saturday in winter, you can choose between a day on the local ski slopes, a trip to a vineyard, a leisurely lunch at a beach-side restaurant, or a trip to a nearby thermal bath. In summer, Chileans head for the beach; clean beaches are within a 2- to a 4-hour drive from Santiago. Some, however, are dangerous because of strong undertows and lack of lifeguards; the cold Pacific water makes swimming a challenge, even in summer. Chile’s largest summer resort area, Viña del Mar, offers excellent hotels, a municipal gambling casino, night clubs, golf and tennis facilities, a racetrack, and public beaches. Other fine beaches, located both south and north of Viña, often lack the accommodations and facilities of the more popular resorts, but are far less crowded.

Farther afield is Chile’s Lake District, about 500 miles south of Santiago. Known as the “Switzerland of South America,” this area offers excellent trout fishing and beautiful scenery. There are also many thermal baths, pubs, hiking and horseback riding opportunities. A limited number of hotels requires advance reservations during January and February. Even further south, one can take boat trips through the channels and fiords from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas through the Straits of Magellan or visit the magnificent wilderness preserve, Torres del Paine National Park, near Punta Arenas. For island fans, there are excursions to the Juan Fernandez Islands, 360 miles off the coast at Valparaiso or a trip to Easter Island in the South Pacific.

In Chile’s extreme north (1,300 miles from Santiago), Arica features year-round spring weather, making it a popular winter destination. It is also the base for excursions to Lauca National Park, with vicu¤as, flamingos, and other Andean wildlife. All of the major northern seacoast cities—La Serena, Antofagasta, Iquique, and Arica—have a mild climate, sandy beaches, and sunshine most of the year. Northeast of Antofagasta is San Pedro de Atacama. Surrounded by the driest desert in the world, San Pedro is also a staging ground for trips into the high plains of the Chilean Andes (Altiplano) and Bolivia.

Throughout Chile, opportunities for mountain climbing, hiking, and camping abound. Camping facilities vary widely, but most provide baths and hot showers. Campsites are crowded during January and February, but usually are empty the rest of the summer. Camping equipment and supplies are readily available, but are usually less expensive if purchased in the U.S.

Mission personnel also have opportunities to visit other countries in the hemisphere. Lima, Peru is only 3½ hours away by air; prime attractions reached from there are the Incan cities of Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Buenos Aires (700 miles from Santiago), Montevideo, and Rio de Janeiro are other favorite tourist destinations. Mendoza, Argentina, a wine growing area, is only 40 minutes away by air or 4–5 hours by car; however, in winter the pass is often closed by snow. Argentina also has a scenic Lake District, and it is possible (in a four-wheel-drive) to drive all the way down to Tierra del Fuego on the Argentine side of the Andes.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:37 PM

In Santiago, the Teatro Municipal is the center of an opera season, two ballet seasons, and two symphony orchestras that offer weekly concerts during winter. Chamber music and choral groups perform frequently. Inexpensive concerts are held weekly during the season at lunch time with sandwiches and beverages on sale in the theater lobby. Economical season tickets are available.

Theater plays an active role in Santiago’s cultural life. Several theaters present a variety of dramatic and satirical plays in Spanish throughout the year. An English-language amateur theater group, Santiago Stage, produces shows and is delighted to welcome amateur stage hands and actors.

Movie theaters in the city and suburbs are good and less expensive than in the U.S. Foreign films, which include many American films, are shown in their original language with Spanish subtitles. Children’s films are almost always dubbed into Spanish. Santiago has a few good nightclubs and discotheques. Chileans prefer entertaining in their own homes, but young unmarried adults frequently patronize clubs. Teenagers are generally pleased with the nightlife here. Several discotheques cater to their age group, and young people usually go with a group of friends. Unfortunately for parents, Chileans keep much later hours, and discotheques and private parties often begin between 11 p.m. and midnight, making typical U.S. curfews a challenge to enforce. Plenty of average-to-very good restaurants are available in Santiago. Most restaurants begin serving at about 8 p.m.

For children, there are several amusement parks and arcades, including Chuck E. Cheese. There is a zoo in Parque Metropolitano, which is modest by American standards, but relatively clean. It is accessible via an interesting Swiss-built cog railway car. There is a good interactive children’s museum and several children’s theater groups. Many parks in the Providencia, Los Dominicos and Vitacura areas of Santiago have good-quality playground equipment. Both in Santiago and outside of town, there are farms (granjas educativas) that specialize in teaching children about barnyard animals. During the long summer, children can participate in one or more summer camp programs, often organized around a theme such as sports, art and crafts, or the environment.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:37 PM Membership in the American Association of Chile (AAC) is open to all U.S. citizens in Chile, as well as to citizens of other English-speaking countries. Monthly general meetings provide a good opportunity to meet Americans from the private sector. The Association sponsors a variety of activities, such as tennis, golf, bowling, bridge, a library, quilting, and sewing groups, and several charitable activities. Within the Embassy, the Community Liaison Office sponsors tours and parties for Embassy personnel.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:37 PM The Rotary and the Lions Club have several local chapters. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has an affiliate in Santiago. There is also a professional women’s group, to which some Embassy spouses belong. Both the YWCA and the YMCA offer facilities for sports and cultural programs in the downtown area.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:38 PM

Frequent official functions consist of the customary lunches, dinners and receptions. Informal, at-home entertaining is common among Chileans, U.S. and other foreign nationals. Organizations for diplomats at all levels promote contact with counterparts at other Embassies through special programs, lunches, and social events. For example, there is a club for consular officers and the “Circulo Diplomatico” for any officer below the ambassadorial level. A women’s group, the “Damas Diplomaticas,” for spouses of those on the Diplomatic List, meets monthly and sponsors charitable fundraising activities.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:38 PM

All officers and staff employees are introduced to the Ambassador and DCM soon after arrival. Spouses are encouraged — but not expected — to call on the spouses of the Ambassador, the DCM, and their section or agency chief soon after arrival. Members of the diplomatic corps are announced to the Foreign Ministry and to the diplomatic missions by Embassy Note. Officers whose duties require calling on officials outside the Mission should arrange to have business cards printed at the Embassy’s print shop immediately upon arrival.

Special Information Last Updated: 12/8/2003 3:39 PM

Chile is one of the most seismologically active places on earth, and destructive earthquakes have struck the country periodically throughout its history. Residents of Santiago will frequently feel tremors, which seldom result in damage. The Welcome Packet provided upon arrival at post includes information on earthquake preparedness, which employees should review thoroughly and, if applicable, share with family members.

Post Orientation Program

Through the Community Liaison Office, the post operates a welcome and orientation program, which includes correspondence prior to arrival and a sponsorship program whereby members of the Embassy community provide support and guidance to newcomers in the initial period of adjustment. A post orientation is routinely held for all newly arrived U.S. personnel and their family members, at which the Ambassador and DCM explain Mission goals, and section and agency heads explain their respective functions within the Mission.

CLO provides an orientation that includes information on family employment, schools, churches, and domestic employees and tourism, depending on needs. Human Resources, the regional security officer, and the Medical Unit also provide orientation information upon arrival. A Welcome Packet for new arrivals contains administrative guidelines and information on living in Chile. It should be reviewed immediately by the employee and all older family members upon arrival.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 12/8/2003 2:57 PM

United, Delta, and American Airlines all fly from various U.S. cities into Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport just outside Santiago. Flight times vary from 6½ to 9 hours, depending on the point of departure. Most flights arrive in the morning. All agencies meet new arrivals traveling by air if arrangements are made in advance. If for some reason a new arrival is not met, he or she should call the Embassy at 232–2600 (weekdays) or 330–3321 (after-hours), and arrangements can be made for transportation to quarters.

Newly assigned personnel should contact the general services officer, as well as the agency or section head, as far ahead of arrival as possible with details such as exact arrival date, special housing needs, information on accompanying pets, etc. Military personnel should correspond with the Defense Attaché’s Office for specific information about their assignment to Chile. Air freight should be shipped at least 2 weeks before an employee’s scheduled arrival so that it will arrive in a timely fashion. Surface freight (HHE) takes 6 weeks to 2 months.

Employees and family members will each need about six small (1” x 2”) color photographs for identification cards. Men’s photos require ties. All personnel, spouses, and older dependents receive special identity cards issued by the Foreign Office, as well as Embassy I.D. cards. Personnel can obtain identity card photos at post quickly and inexpensively.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 12/8/2003 2:55 PM

Personnel traveling on a diplomatic or official passport must obtain a diplomatic or official entry visa through the Department of State or a Chilean Embassy overseas before arriving at post. Personnel or family members arriving on a U.S. tourist passport do not need an entry visa, but they will be assessed a fee of $61 upon arrival at Customs. Fulbright grantees traveling on a U.S. tourist passport can, however, obtain a visa, and thus a fee waiver. Multiple-entry visas can be obtained as appropriate after arrival by special arrangement between the Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

All personnel with diplomatic or consular titles have duty-free entry privileges. In addition, all personnel of MILGP have free-entry privileges through an agreement with the Chilean Government. Only after the employee has arrived and has been accredited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may the Embassy clear through Customs unaccompanied air baggage, surface shipments of household effects, and a personal vehicle. If UAB or HHE arrives before the employee, the Embassy will remove the property from Customs and place in bonded storage.

Diplomatically accredited personnel are entitled to duty-free importation of their household effects and one personally owned vehicle up to a maximum value of $80,000, including cost, insurance, and freight. These items must be brought into the country within the first year after the employee is accredited to the Chilean Government. Diplomatic personnel are further entitled to import duty free up to $5,000 worth of personal effects during each successive year of their tours. Administrative and Technical personnel are entitled to duty-free entry of their HHE and one personal vehicle up to a total value of $25,000, excluding freight costs, during their first year in Chile. After 1 year in Chile, Administrative and Technical personnel may not import duty free any additional effects. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises that it is contemplating an increase of the limits imposed on Administrative and Technical personnel. Please contact the general services officer for details.

Chile permits the importation of personal vehicles equipped with catalytic converters only. Diplomatically accredited personnel may import a second car after the first one has been in the country more than 2 years. Personnel may dispose of the first car after it has been in the country for 3 years. The second car is not charged against the employee’s import value quota. The following restrictions apply to the importation of vehicles:

The Chilean Government does not allow Administrative and Technical staff to import a replacement vehicle during a tour of duty.

Permission must be granted by post before importing a vehicle. When requesting such permission, provide the make, model, and year of vehicle to be imported.

As of December 2001, the Government of Chile has begun to enforce a regulation that requires only current-model vehicles (automobile, truck, motorcycle) can be imported, with few exceptions. For more information please contact the GSO.

The Chilean Government requires that the owner of a duty-free vehicle pay 18% VAT (Value Added Tax) upon resale in Chile, effectively reducing the potential resale value of the vehicle.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Passage Last Updated: 12/8/2003 2:55 PM

Employees wishing to drive to Santiago from a nearby post on transfer orders should save all border/Customs documents and deliver them to the GSO Section once in Chile. After the Embassy receives this documentation and the employee has been accredited, the Embassy will obtain a free-entry decree for the vehicle.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Pets Last Updated: 12/8/2003 2:56 PM

Importation of household pets is permitted. To import a dog or cat, the owner must have a rabies certificate that is not less than one month old but not more than twelve months old prior to shipment, as well as a health certificate issued by a veterinarian. The certificate must be offically certified by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS). Rabies and health certificates must be presented to the Chilean Animal Health Department upon entry into Chile. There is no quarantine required.

Some U.S. airlines will not accept pets as accompanied baggage during the summer months (May 15–September 15). The State Department’s Overseas Briefing Center website maintains up-to-date information on current airline restrictions on pet travel. Employees planning to import a pet should contact the post’s Administrative Section for more information prior to arrival.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 12/8/2003 2:54 PM

Only the following nonautomatic firearms may be brought into Chile:

Pistols and revolver — one per adult, nothing larger than .357 or 9mm Rifles — one per adult, .22 calibre only Shotguns — one per adult, sporting models only Shotguns — no restrictions Rifles — hunting caliber Ammunition — 1,000 rounds for above firearms Firearms may be included in household effects but not carried in luggage or included in airfreight. The packing list must provide the make, model, caliber, and serial number of the firearm. Weapons will be registered as per Chilean Law with the Ministry of Defense, Direccion General de Movilización Nacional. All Mission personnel wanting to import firearms into Chile must request permission in writing from the Ambassador and provide in advance (via cable) the following information to the RSO.

Name of Owner Date and place of birth Passport number Make, model, caliber, serial number of firearm Intended use of firearm (defensive or sport)

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 12/8/2003 2:53 PM

The peso (written $) is Chile’s official currency. The official rate of exchange as of December 2001 was $666 to 1 U.S. dollar. In the past year, the peso has depreciated about 15% against the dollar. The peso/dollar exchange rate continues to change slightly on a daily basis, and the trend toward a weaker peso is expected to continue into the near future.

Chile has a large number of modern banking facilities offering convenient branch banking and an array of Internet banking services. U.S. banks, such as Citibank and Bank of Boston, have full-service operations in Santiago and in other major cities. Automatic teller machines (ATMs) featuring “Cirrus” and “Plus” systems abound; one is located in the chancery basement. Citibank operates a currency exchange and limited banking facility, located on the first floor of the chancery. Staff should consider bringing ATM and/or debit cards to post in addition to personal checks.

Chile uses the metric system of weights and measures.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 12/8/2003 2:52 PM


Official U.S. Government personnel do not pay Chilean income taxes (except for Eligible Family Members working on the local economy) but do pay an 18% value added tax (IVA) on most goods and some services acquired in Chile. This tax is usually included in quoted prices and rates. No fee is charged for CD (diplomatic) or PAT (administrative-technical) license plates, which are valid for the duration of the assignment. Driver’s licenses are provided for a small fee.

Applicable taxes must be paid on cars (and selected other personal property items) that were imported duty-free when such items are sold. The Embassy can provide reverse accommodation exchange (pesos to dollars) for pesos received from the sale of cars and other personal property only when the employee is transferred or a car is sold for replacement purposes.


Citibank at the Embassy accepts personal U.S. checks to purchase Chilean pesos and maintains a limited supply of U.S. dollars for travel outside the country. Personnel may establish a peso checking account at local banks, and some people use local credit and debit cards. U.S. traveler’s checks are available at the Embassy Citibank window or through a local bank at which one has an account.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 12/8/2003 2:52 PM

These titles are provided as a general sample of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse these publications.

Allende, Isabel, The House of Spirits, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York, 1986.

Boeninger, Edgardo, Democracia en Chile: lecciones para la gobernabilidad, Editorial Santiago, Chile, Andrés Bello, 1998.

Collier, Simon, and William F. Sater, A History of Chile, 1808–1994, Cambridge University Press, Oxford, 1996.

Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives. United States and Chile During the Allende Years, 1970–73, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1975.

Constable, Pamela and Arturo Valenzuela, A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet,W.W. Norton, New York, 1993.

Davis, Nathaniel, The Last Two Years of Salvador Allende, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1985.

Duijker, Hubrecht, The Wines of Chile, Het Spectrum BV, 2000.

Larraín, Felipe; Vergara, Rodrigo, Centro de Estudios Públicos (Chile), La Transformación Económica de Chile, Editorial Santiago, Centro de Estudios Públicos, 2000.

Lomnitz, Larissa Adler, Ana Melnick, et. al., Chile’s Political Culture and Parties: An Anthropological Explanation, University of Notre Dame Press, 2000.

Loveman, Brian, The Legacy of Hispanic Capitalism, Oxford University Press, 2001.

Martínez Javier, Chile: The Great Transformation, Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1996

Meehan, John, With Darwin in Chile (Con Darwin en Chile), Frederick Muller, Ltd, London, 1967.

Muñoz, Heraldo, and Carlos Portales, Elusive Friendship: A Survey of U.S.- Chilean Relations (Lacc Studies on Latin America and the Caribbean), Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1991.

Neruda, Pablo, Memoirs, Viking Press, 1999.

Nunn, Frederick. The Military in Chilean History, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1976.

Popcock, H.R.S., The Conquest of Chile, Stein and Day, New York, 1967.

Roraff, Susan, and Laura Camacho, Culture Shock! Chile, Graphic Arts Center Publishing Co., Portland, 1999.

Rodriguez Monegal, Emir, Ed., The Borzoi Anthology of Latin American Literature (Volumes I and II), Alfred K. Knopf, New York, 1977.

Sigmund, Paul, The United States and Democracy in Chile, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1993

Smith, Brian, The Church and Politics in Chile: Challenges to Modern Catholicism, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1982.

Toloza, Castillo, Cristián Lahera, Eugenio, Chile en los Noventa, Editorial Santiago de Chile, Presidencia de la República: Dolmen Ediciones, 1998.

University of Chile, Institute of International Studies, Chile: The Balanced View. University of Chile, Santiago, 1975.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 12/8/2003 2:51 PM

The U.S. Mission observes official U.S. holidays and is also closed on the following local holidays:

Good Friday April (Variable) Labor Day May 1 Battle of Iquique May 21 Corpus Christi Variable St. Peter and St. Paul Day June (4th Monday) Assumption Day August 15 National Unity Day September (1st Monday) Chilean Independence Day September 18 Day of the Armed Forces September 19 Discovery of Two Worlds October (2nd Monday) All Saints Day November 1 mmaculate Conception December 8

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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