Regulations for import – export procedures…
There are many stories regarding difficulties at the customs control – specifically, with the SAG office – when crossing the borders of Chile from the neighboring countries. There is a strict regulation concerning the import of products of vegetable/animal origin and handcrafts. Here, we share our experiences during our trip. Please note that, apart from the official leaflet from the Ministry of Agriculture (Ministerio de Agricultura) which you can find in this post, the story that follows describes our own experience. Other travelers may have different stories to tell.
Paso de Jama (Argentina-Chile) – 06/2015
When we crossed to Chile from Paso de Jama, it was early in the morning (around 7:00am). Apart from us, there was a Swiss cyclist and a family driving a car with Chilean license plates, so we guess that they had plenty of time and no pressure. There was no fuss at all concerning our passports (Greek, EU) or the papers for our vehicle. Everyone at the office were polite and helpful and while we were filling the forms of the “Servicio Agricola y Ganadero” – SAG, we remembered that we were carrying a jar of honey with us. We asked and we were told that we had to note it down, so immediately after that, two officers requested that we should unpack everything and started a thorough search of all our luggage. They only took the aforementioned jar of honey and that was it. It took us about 1 hour and a half to finish with all the procedures and pack our stuff again on the Vespa.
Tacna – Arica (Peru-Chile) – 10/2015
This border is a very busy one. There were several tourist buses and cars queuing but the officers told us not to wait in the queue since we were on a motorcycle. The procedures for us and the Vespa were fast and this time we filled the SAG form answering negatively to the question whether we carry prohibited products. After filling the form, we had to unpack everything and pass all our luggage through X-rays. The queue was long enough but apart from the X-rays, no-one checked “manually” our luggage, so we just had to pack and go. Again, we needed about 1 hour and a half to finish with all the procedures.
Paso Laurita – Casas Viejas (Argentina-Chile) 01/2016
A quiet border with almost no traffic. The whole procedure was very fast (we answered negatively when asked about the prohibited products). The officer just came out of his office, quickly glanced at our Vespa and asked us what do we carry in our saddlebags. We answered and he asked us to open them so he can look inside. He seemed satisfied, so we left in maybe less than 30min.
Paso San Sebastian (Argentina-Chile) 01/2106
Very busy border as it is the main way in and out Tierra del Fuego. Fast procedures but long queues. The officers there, after our negative reply concerning the prohibited products, trusted us and let us go. (Of course, we had filled in the form with a negative answer). Total time needed for all the procedures: about 1 hour.
*In all the above mentioned cases officers were polite and helpful (the amount of smiles depend on the personality). In no case there was any implication of bribing. In every border, the procedures for us and the vehicle were very fast. Being polite and patient always help!
Here’s the official leaflet from the Ministry of Agriculture (Ministerio de Agricultura) :