BORDERS OPENING IN CHILE: DECLARATION VS. REALITY
It is important to take into consideration the gap that exists between what our authorities declare and what really happens. Especially regarding the trips of tourists or expatriate workers or people from the business world who want or need to enter the country.
Javier Edwards Renard
It is known to all that the Chilean government, given the improvement in the indexes associated with the Covid 19 pandemic and the need for the country and the people to return to a more normal rhythm of life, announced, first, that the borders were open to foreigners as of October 1, and later, as of November 1, five days quarantine or mobility restriction will not be required. Everything seemed auspicious and reasonable, necessary.
However, in practice, the process is not so easy for foreigners and, therefore, the borders are not so open, with a clear discriminatory treatment between Chileans and foreigners who enter the country from abroad.
What usually happens with Chileans when we travel and return to the country
When a Chilean travels abroad, let’s think of most Latin American countries, the United States, Spain, the sanitary requirements that are asked from us are:
- A PCR that is no more than 72 hours old on the date of entry into the country, and
- In some cases, additionally:
- Some kind of physical or online affidavit.
- To show the vaccination certificate with QR Code or the physical cards that are given in each country indicating dates and type of vaccine applied.
- Eventually, quarantine or mobility restriction (normal average, 5 days).
When those same Chileans return to Chile, they must present a Negative PCR taken in the country from which they come (with an antiquity of no more than 72 hours), undergo a new PCR at the airport, show the C19 affidavit and, until the 1st of November, conduct a five-day quarantine at your home or residence as indicated. In addition, a health report must be made -via online- for no less than 14 days.
What about the foreigner who wants to visit our country?
In addition to all of the above, and for the purposes of being able to record with a mobility pass, it is not enough that they show their certificate or vaccination card, but they must have validated their vaccines through the mevacuno.gob.cl platform, filling out the data that is requested there and uploading the documents that prove the vaccination. This extraordinary requirement leaves the foreigner subject to a process that we do not know what it consists of and that – according to what is said in a rather informal and unserious way – can take up to 30 days (it is not clear whether working or running).
Without this “validation” the foreigner does not obtain his mobility pass and, a big surprise, many travelers have been trusting in the friendly government statement and, with purchased tickets, they have arrived at the airports of their countries of origin or at stopover places where They have been notified that, as long as this “validation” is not verified, they cannot enter the country.
When a foreigner opens the profile and uploads their data to the mevacuno.gob.cl platform, they are left in the hands of uncertainty. You receive an email that says: we have received your information and your data will be validated. From then on, just silence and the need to look at what the aforementioned portal indicates, whose behavior is unstable (we imagine that due to overload) and, day after day, when clicking on “Request Status”, the answer is usually a brief and laconic: “Pending”.
Considering the number of steps and procedures that must be done to enter Chile at the airport, the logical thing would have been that – as is done in most countries – to review the requested documentation at the time of immigration procedures, being the passenger in Chile. But no, in this sort of hyper sanitary control in which we have lived for almost two years, an inefficient, uncertain system has been chosen, which causes great damage to foreigners who want to visit the country.
It seems that those who decided to adopt and announce the generous measure of opening borders did not report things properly and has a concept of openness that aims to go beyond what is sensible. Paradoxically, if someone wishes to enter the country illegally, through a non-authorized border crossing, they deserve (and I share the criteria) a humanitarian treatment that does not ask for any paper, but, if someone wishes to do so officially, the process has no consideration at all.
The following has also been forgotten that /i/ in Chile the vaccine is not compulsory but voluntary, that is, those who do not want to be vaccinated do not do so and will only not have access to the mobility pass, which will generate some displacement and social restrictions, but that does not suspend the right to be in the country. /ii/ Our legal system seeks to give equal and non-discriminatory treatment between Chileans and foreigners.
That said, and as long as this process of “validation” of vaccines that the Chilean government has decided to impose as an entry requirement for foreigners is not reconsidered or improved, it is necessary that we understand that, for the moment, the opening of borders to tourists or people who come on business trips or for personal reasons, it is not such until it is possible to have the validation (in an uncertain period) of the papers that must be uploaded to the aforementioned platform.