Today I went to the lovely Servicio de Registro Civil e Identificación to get my Cédula de Identidad, which is your id card in Chile. Everyone gets one, foreign or citizen, and you also get a RUN number, which is much like a social security number in that it is unique to each person.
With these simple directions, you too can follow the appropriate procedures to get this nifty card!
You will need:
- Photocopies of your passport´s photo page, your student visa, your tarjeta tourista (the little paper you filled out in the airplane), and the certificate of visa registration
- All the original documents listed above
- 4050 pesos in cash
- Your fingers and face
- To get out of bed early!
- Check the website for the Servicio de Registro Civil e Identificación to find the office closest to you and its hours of operation.
- The night before, set your alarm so that you will arrive at least half an hour before the office opens, more if you can handle the agony of waking up so early.
- Wait outside of the office. When it opens, tell the official you are there to apply for your Cédula de Identidad and get a ticket with a number.
- Wait. And wait. And wait. And then… Pay attention to the numbers called so you don´t miss your turn!
- Yeay! It´s your turn! Sit down at the desk and present your materials to the official. She/He will ask you where you live, your phone number, and some other questions. He/She will take your picture and fingerprints and ask you for money. Pay and you will get a certificate with your RUN number and a date to return to pick up your card, about 2 weeks away.
- When you pick up the card, bring the certificate and just to be safe your passport. When I pick mine up I will update this post with what you actually need, but I figure its better to bring stuff then to have to come back another day.
Yesterday was a pretty boring day, we registered our visas with the PDI to get official papers that we need to register with the police to get our identification cards. Yeay bureaucracy! Then we had lunch and enjoyed a one on one advising session with a professor at Universidad de Chile. There’s a really interesting class I might take there called “Science and Religion: Thanks to God we are Atheists”. Also I took this picture of me with some mounted caballeros (police officers).
Me with some mounted police
Today was a bit more interesting. Some friends and I went on an adventure to the Cemeterio General, a huge cemetery in the north of the city that houses the mortal remains of common folk as well as some extremely famous Chilean heroes. It is one of the largest burial places in Latin America with around 2 million burials, established in 1820. It is the final resting place for all but 2 of Chile’s presidents and also features a huge monument to the victims of Pinochet’s regime.
Burial options include wall niches in child and adult sizes (available for 5 to 10 years, after which the remains are moved to a family ossuary) or family crypts or mausoleums. The crypts have a single large gravestone above and then stairs that lead down to bookshelf-like niches for interments. Sometimes the stairs have a metal gate at the bottom and sometimes they are simply covered with a stone slab. The mausoleums are very elaborate, almost all have a stained glass image on the back wall, and inside there are faux or real flowers, small statues, and a variety of personal effects for the deceased.
Enjoy my fancy slideshow below that I spent ages getting the coding right for, from now on I will be able to host my images on flickr and integrate them in this way instead of the clunky WordPress slideshow widget.
For best results, click the full screen button in the bottom right corner. Then at the top of the screen there is a “show info” link that will display the image name and description for you. Most of the plaques have been translated for you in the descriptions. De nada!
I just got off the phone with our lovely health insurance providers who gave me the great news that my vaccinations at the travel clinic will be fully covered without a copay. Yeay! I won’t know for sure until I get there, but I know that the CDC recommends that I get vaccinated against typhoid, tetanus, and one of the hepatitises before I go. I love shots (said no one ever).
Otherwise my preparations are going splendidly. As you know I successfully acquired a student visa from the mysterious geriatric twins of the Honorary Chilean Consulate of Boston (think Burt and Ernie, except Burt and Burt). I’ve registered myself with the Department of State so they can save me in an emergency, and my plane tickets are purchased and accumulating interest on my credit card.
Thank you also to my family for the generous gifts this year! I have enough travel-sized toiletries to last me my whole trip, which is actually a great money saver, thank you! A HUGE thank you also to my Uncle Chris and Auntie Nicole who were much too generous with their present!
Now on to the final stages of the preparation, getting poked with hypodermic needles and packing. Hurray!
It’s official-I have booked my flight to Santiago (and my flight home)! I will be flying with Delta. Yeay! I booked through Expedia, saved a few hundred bucks which is nice. Geez airfare is expensive these days. $1,500 round trip. Yikes!
Now I am in Boston getting my student visa. The Chilean consulate of Boston is an adorable little building tucked into a side street. We are quite early so my mom and I are waiting in a Starbucks down the street.
30 minutes later….
Success! The Chilean consulate of Boston consists of two gentlemen in their basement office. They were all business, and I left with my visa stamped in my passport and all the necessary papers! Yeay!
For those of you interested in a complete list of what it takes to get a student visa for Chile, here is the complete list (DISCLAIMER: They could change the requirements at any time, so call your local consulate first and double-check!):
- $160 in cash for the visa fee
- A federal background check, conducted by the FBI. This means you will need to send fingerprints to the FBI and have them run them and send them back. It took me like 2 months to get my results from when I mailed them. The fee is $18 for this service, plus a stamp. More directions are linked here.
- A letter from your doctor, signed, stating that you enjoy good health and are free from communicable diseases, dated no more than 30 days from the date of your visa appointment.
- A clean HIV test preformed no more than 30 days from the date of your visa appointment.
- A valid U.S. passport
- A letter of acceptance from a Chilean educational institution
- 4 color photographs of you, passport size (2×2), full face, no glasses
The good news: I finally got my background check back from the FBI. The bad news: they did find out about that string of grisly murders I committed back in 2010, so I’m not sure how that will affect my visa status. Just kidding, I burned all the evidence and killed all the witnesses so there’s no way they will ever trace that back to me! The actual bad news is that the Chilean consulate in Boston turns out to be an “honorary consulate” meaning they represent Chile but don’t actually have the authority to issue visas. Which means the next closest Chilean consulate to me is in NYC. Side note: I hate New York City. It’s too crowded and dirty and smelly and full of strangers and it makes me feel claustrophobic. So now I may need to look into options for a service that can process my visa for me, which means more $$$! But then again driving to NYC twice (once to drop off the application, again to pick it up) might be more $$$ so I’ll need to look into both options. Gah!
Update: I found an email address for the chilean consulate and sent them an email asking for directions. Turns out the consulate in Boston is able to do student visas by appointment. Yeay!
Now that I’ve been accepted by my program (IFSA-Butler) I need to get myself a student visa. This involves many different components and has been a minor pain in my patootie but not a big deal.
First was sending in my background check to the FBI, with a complete set of fingerprints. It takes 4-6 weeks from when they get my mailed application to send the results back to me so I’ve been twiddling my thumbs waiting for that. Here’s hoping that grisly double murder was never traced back to me.
Yesterday I went to the Bristol Medical Center for my HIV test, also a necessary for the visa. I DO NOT THINK I HAVE HIV, but I have to get tested anyway. I’m such a baby I almost fainted after and had to sit in a recliner with my feet up and have a juicebox. I was a little embarrassed, considering the little old lady in the other chair gave three blood samples and tottered off without a problem.
Once I get those back I’ll be in good shape to apply for my visa. Hopefully the Chilean consulate will decide I’m not a threat to national security and let me into the country!