So, you’ve arrived to Santiago de Chile, either on a temporary resident visa, a student visa or working visa. You’ll be needing a RUT/RUN number as soon as possible, since almost everything you do in Chile will require you to present this number.
There are a few steps required before getting your RUT number, so with a little preparation, it should be quite a simple process.
First things first, you will need to register your Chilean visa.
Registering A Chilean Visa in Santiago
Before getting a RUT or RUN number (no one really knows the difference it seems), you will need to register your visa at the Jefatura Nacional de Extranjería y Policía Internacional (often referred to as the PDI). The office is on Eleuterio Ramírez 852, a 5-10 minute walk from either the Metro Santa Lucía or Metro Universidad de Chile. Get there as early as possible, as the office opens at 8am and there will already be a long queue at 7:30am, although we found that it moved fairly quickly.
Once inside the building, you will be asked for the purpose of your visit. Say ‘registro de la visa’, and you will be issued a ticket number. Next, queue to pay the $800 CLP fee, take your receipt and wait for your number to be called.
Once you are called to the booth, you will have to show the immigration paper that you filled out on the airline, and your passport with your visa and entrance stamp. You will also be asked for your address in Chile (a hostel address is fine), your occupation and sometimes for your parents’ names. Next, they will take your photo, and print your registration document.
Make sure to check all of the information on the document before leaving, to ensure there are no spelling mistakes, or information entered incorrectly. It happens a lot!
If you arrived early to the office, you should make it out before 12 noon at the latest, so you’ll have time to go straight to the Registro Civil E Identificacion to apply for your cedula de identidad or RUT/RUN card. Both offices close at 2pm.
IMPORTANT: If you’re reading this article before entering Chile, make sure that the stamp you get at the airport immigration is perfectly legible. It’s better to ask the immigration officers to make the stamp as clear as possible before they do it. Unfortunately, I didn’t know this until after I’d already queued for an hour to get my RUT number at the Civil Registry office. They quickly sent me on my way to get a ‘travel certificate’ of my entrance to the country from the police station, because they couldn’t work out whether my passport stamp said the 27th or the 21st of February.
If you have already entered the country, and you notice that your entrance stamp is quite faded, you might as well get this travel certificate while you’re registering your visa, as this can also be done in the PDI office and is quite a quick process (from personal experience). The longest queue is the one for the RUT number, so you’re better off getting the certificate rather than queuing all day, only to be turned away because of a faded passport stamp.
The travel certificate (called a Certificado de Viajes) is only $800 CLP, the same cost for registering your visa.
Applying for a RUT/RUN number in Santiago
Before going to the Registro Civil E Identificacion, get a photocopy of your passport, visa, entrance stamp, certificate of registration of the visa (above), and anything else you think might be necessary. I always find being over-prepared for dealing with Government offices to be the easiest approach.
The office is located on Huérfanos 1570 (entry is at Manuel Rodríguez Street) and it will take about 20-30 minutes to walk there. You can also take the 301 bus from San Diego Street, just three blocks left of the PDI building. Get off near Huérfanos, and keep walking left until you see the Registro Civil E Identificacion office on your left.
Mentally prepare yourself for a long wait in the queue. Once you’re called, you’ll need to present your passport with your visa and entrance stamp. You will need a photocopy of all of these things also. You will also need the certificate you received from registering your visa, as well as your immigration document.
They will take your photo, your fingerprints, ask for your signature, and for your address, telephone number (it’s good if you already have a local SIM card) and your parents’ names.
Pay the fee of $4,050 CLP and you will be given a document with the details of your new RUT number and when the official card (cedula de identidad) is expected to be ready for collection. Usually it takes around 10 days to be processed, but you can check the status of your card on the following website: https://portal.sidiv.registrocivil.cl/usuarios-portal/pages/DocumentRequestStatus.xhtml
Collecting a RUT/RUN card in Santiago
After waiting around 10 days, checking the website for the status of your cedula and ensuring that it is ready to be collected, you will need to go back to the Registro Civil E Identificacion office again to pick it up.
You’ll have to queue and wait in line again before, finally, getting your hands on your new RUT/RUN number.
Once you have it, make sure you bring it with you everywhere, as you’ll often be asked for it when purchasing high value items in Chile.
Photo Credit: Nicolas Raymond