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I'm trying to buy a bus ticket within Chile, from either Pullman or Tur bus.

As far as I can tell, I need to have a rut to be able to buy a ticket. The order forms won't allow me to continue without one.

How am I as a tourist supposed to have that? Does this mean I won't be able to buy tickets even when I'm already in the country as well?

Are there strict identity checks when I'm there. (That is, can someone else with a RUT buy the ticket for me?)

  • I put "N/A" in an car rental form that required a RUT, and the form submitted successfully. In hindsight the Chilean processing the form may not know that English expression, but it got me through the form :) – dimo414 Jan 25 '16 at 2:15
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Like in some other countries, this RUT identifier is only for tax purposes, including VAT. There is little information in English on how the system works precisely, but this RUT number field on the bus reservation system is intended at Chilean tax payers. VAT/sales tax is collected on sales between businesses (compared to some countries charging it only to end customers) so I suppose this RUT is more intended to businesses, which are required to have a RUT.

In fact, I tried booking a ticket on the Tur bus website and there was no issue leaving the field empty, to go forward to payment.

Foreigners are not required to have one unless they have to buy "major assets" (like a house, or a car). For buying bus tickets, that would not be needed - unless you already pay taxes in Chile, which I doubt if you're asking. Lonely Planet mentions needing the RUT only if you want to buy a car.

As a funny use of this number, in the case of Portugal (where receipts also have a Tax Identification Number (TIN) field), the government decided to run a lottery for people that pay the sales tax and give their TIN, and people could win fancy cars. The goal is to push people to pay sales taxes and limit fraud.

  • As OP found, some online systems might not be designed for individuals without a RUT. – MastaBaba Mar 12 '15 at 18:25
  • @MastaBaba which ones? as I wrote, Turbus is not one of them. – Vince Mar 12 '15 at 18:29
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    @Vince, that history you told about Portugal using consumer IDs in a lottery is a strategy for consumers to ask for their receipt in an effort to minimize tax evasion from businesses. It also happens in some states in Brazil. In Sao Paulo you even get a part of the tax back as money! – gmauch Mar 12 '15 at 19:13
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    @Vince: can't say I remember. I took a few busses in Chile last year but couldn't book all of them online without a RUT. I also remember that, last year, I had the same issue with a few Brazilian bus companies (with their CPF). – MastaBaba Mar 13 '15 at 1:07
  • @Vince I actually cannot proceed without entering a RUT on Tur bus website. There's an early entry, which I think might be for frequent return customers, where it's not necessary, but later it's a requirement. Tur bus answered on Facebook that "If you´re not a chilean, you will need for a chilean friend that can buy the ticket for you." – user50849 Mar 15 '15 at 17:01
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I bought many bus tickets while traveling in Chile and was never asked about a Rut, they may ask for your name at the ticket counter, but I never had to fill out anything.

  • And this has been while on location, not online? – user50849 Mar 15 '15 at 17:02
  • Yes, this was at the bus stations in Chile, never online. It's been a few years though. So I don't know the current situation. – Peter Hahndorf Mar 15 '15 at 17:14
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    Re: current situation: Was the same for me when buying Tur Bus tickets in person about a month ago. I don't even recall getting asked for a RUT. – Max Starkenburg Nov 11 '15 at 18:49

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