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According to the US State Department website (emphasis mine):

A Tourist Card will be issued for a stay of up to 90 days upon payment of a reciprocity fee, currently US $160. Currently, the fee is only charged at the Santiago International Airport. Payment can be made in U.S. currency or by credit card.

Does this mean that if I were to enter Chile via other means (e.g., a different airport or via overland travel) that I would not be required to pay the reciprocity fee? Or would I be required to make arrangements to pay the fee before I arrived?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Edit: Note that the reciprocity fee has been removed for US citizens - see Is there still reciprocity fee at Chile airport entry for US citizens? (after US Visa waiver) for more details.

Original answer, still correct for citizens of some countries :

Officially I believe the fee is payable no matter how you enter the country, however the simple truth is that it's only collected at Santiago International Airport, and it's only collected on arrival.

If you do not enter via SCL, then you will NOT have to pay the reciprocity fee - regardless of how you do enter the country (land, water, or air via another airport). It is not collected on exit, even if you didn't pay it on entry so you can still depart from SCL without having to pay.

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On my recent trip, the reciprocity fee was required of citizens of only four countries and the US was not one of them. These countries were easily identified by their flags in the immigration area of the SCL airport (if this is your country's flag, turn left here): Albania, Australia, Canada and Mexico.

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According to the website of the Embassy of Chile (Washington DC) the fourth nation is Mexico. I find there are many things in disagreement with both this answer and the other one. The last time I posted an answer based on an Embassy's website, however, it turned out it was incorrect. I would highly suggest you visit the Embassy of Chile's website from your own capital and if none, then visit the Embassy in person or phone them. – CGCampbell Jul 14 '14 at 23:28
I think this is a recent change; I'd heard lately that there is no longer a reciprocity fee charged for US citizens to enter Chile (and vice versa). – user82 Jul 15 '14 at 0:36
@CGCampbell yes, Mexico is the one I forgot. Please note that my answer is based not on visiting a website, but actually visiting Chile recently. Albania, Australia, Canada, Mexico - turn here to pay the reciprocity fee; everybody else - no fee, straight to the counter where they check your passport. – Kanadsky Jul 16 '14 at 2:23
@todofixthis this is correct, matches my observation during a recent trip – Kanadsky Jul 16 '14 at 2:24
Yes, covered in… – Doc Jul 16 '14 at 2:56

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