For years, the United States has required Chilean citizens to pay entry fees and obtain legal visas in order to enter the country. In return, Chile has required U.S. citizens to pay the same entry fee upon entering the country. On February 2014, the Department of Homeland Security announced that as of May 1, 2014, Chile would now be included in the visa waiver program (VWP), which previously had included European, Asian, and British Territories. Chile is the first Latin American country to be part of the Visa Waiver Program.
Members of the visa waiver program are required to meet eligibility standards as well as maintain approval from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA prior to arrival. While, the VWP doesn’t require a visa, those who wish may apply for a tourist visa if they prefer to have a physical visa in their passport. It must also be noted that anyone who aspires to study, live permanently or work in the U.S., or works for the foreign press, will not qualify for the VWP and will need to apply for a U.S. visa. VWP travelers are also permitted to enter Canada, Mexico and any Islands and then be readmitted into the U.S. using a portion of the 90 days permitted for their stay in the U.S.
Chile is now the 38th VWP country. For Chile, this means that those who qualify can avoid a long visa process that will also waive the $160.00 entry fee into the U.S. with permission to remain in the U.S. for business, or leisure for up to 90 days.