SANTIAGO – Visa regulations in Chile have been eased after hundreds of migrants, the majority from Venezuela, stranded at the Chilean border. Last week, hundreds of migrants were refused entry in the country for not having a consular tourism visa. This caused chaotic scenes at the crossing.
At least 500 migrants, mostly Venezuelans, gathered involuntarily at the Chacalluta pass on the Chile-Peru border last week. They were refused entry for not having the consular tourism visa, stamped at the Chilean consulate in Venezuela. For days, migrants, among them children, women and elderly, camped at the border, prompting Chile to change visa regulations to solve the chaotic scene.
Venezuelans who wish to enter Chile can now opt for a democratic responsibility visa, which was only available at the consulate in Venezuela but can now be requested at any Chilean consulate in the world.
With the democratic responsibility visa, an administrative answer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Venezuelan migrant influx, migrants can stay for one year in Chile and extend their stay later for another year.
Tourist Visa Regulations Tightened
Venezuelans who plan to visit Chile as tourists can only do so with a tourist visa from now on, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs added. Previously, Venezuelans could enter Chile and stay for 90 days without needing tourist visas.
After publishing the policy change, which went into effect on Saturday morning, around 100 Venezuelans started blocking the road at the Chacalluta border crossing.
They later returned to Peru in Chilean buses to obtain the relevant documents. In Peru, the situation for Venezuelan migrants recently became more difficult, after the country demanded Venezuelans enter the country only with a special visa.
Guaidó Representative Worries
The representative of Juan Guaidó in Chile, Guarequena Gutiérrez, expressed her concerns to Cooperativa news service about the situation of Venezuelan migrants at the Chacalluta crossing.
“We understand that Chile wants regularized migration, we understand that it is a sovereign and autonomous state (…), however, we ask that for flexibility in terms of understanding the situation of Venezuelans (…) who flee from a humanitarian crisis of global dimensions,” Gutiérrez said.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.