We arrived into Chile after a truly horrible flight but our entry into Santiago was fairly smooth. Customs waived us through very quickly and my kids even got to pet the sniffer dogs as I’d fainted.
It’s probably a good thing as I do wonder if I had items to be declared in my case. I don’t remember if I definitely had restricted food in there; in fact I don’t remember a lot from that day, but next time I fly into Chile I’ll be a whole lot more cautious.
The southern american paradise has some of the strictest rules regarding the importation of food products and any traveller on the wrong side of the law faces possible fines of around $200 USD upwards and delays of several hours.
Chile is a proud exporter of many agricultural products, with oceans, mountains and deserts setting it apart from its Latin America neighbours. No wonder it wants to protect its biodiversity.
I’ve had a few emails asking about which foods can and cannot be taken into the country, so I did a little research.
Milk, butter, cream and cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, meats of any kind, cold cuts and sausages as well as seeds, grains, nuts, dried or dehydrated fruits must all be declared. If they’re processed and come in sealed packaging you should be OK. If they contain raw, unprocessed meat, fruits or vegetables, they most likely won’t.
To be on the safe side, avoid any bureaucratic delays and declare your goods. Click here for the form which will be presented to you upon arrival.
As a checklist the following are permitted, but must be declared. They must be in their original sealed container or packaging.
- Frozen, confit, pickled or tinned fruits and vegetables
- Fruit juices
- Toasted, dried or salted nuts and seeds, for example coffee, cocoa, peanuts, pistachios etc.
- Ground or sliced nuts, for example ground almonds
- Dried, ground herbs and spices, for example oregano, nutmeg etc.
- Dried whole herbs and edible seeds will be subject to inspection from a customs official. These include for example cumin seeds, whole nutmeg, vanilla pods, chia seeds, cloves etc.
- Tea, herbal infusions and mate. Customs officials may check that they do not contain seeds, bark etc. Tea bags are fine, while loose herbal infusions may be inspected more closely
- Jams and marmelades
- Cereals, for example corn flakes, Quaker oats etc. (but for the record Chile stocks almost all breakfast cereal, so why bring them in anyway?!)
- Food colourings and essences
- Alcoholic drinks and liquors
- Prepared food for personal consumption, for example sandwiches and fast food
- Processed, dried or cooked meats without bones, for example pates, sliced Serrano or Iberico ham
- Pasteurised milk and milk products, for example milk powder, yoghurts, condensed milk, infant milk formula
- Long life factory manufactured cheese for example Gruyere, Emmental, Edam, Roquefort, Comte, Parmesan etc.
- Pet foods, as long as they don’t contain bone, bone meal or meat meal
- Dulce de leche
- Pasteurised mayonnaise
- And hoorah – chocolate and peanut butter!
For more tips on what to pack when moving to Chile, read this post. Check out my resources page too, which includes a directory of all my favourite places in Santiago.
I have sent a gift to the family my son stayed at in Chile and the package can’t seem to be cleared by the border control. It’s been there since august!! UPS can’t deliver. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do? It contained chocolates, candy and coloring books.
I hope you have a solution, we paid so much for it, wanted to just thank people for what they did for our son and now it’s stuck.
Unfortunately I experienced a similar scenario with some cosmetics that were gifted to me and never arrived. And the same re some books. If you are willing to invest the time (and the money!) you could hire a broker but I doubt it’s worth it to be honest.
I’m sorry not to be able to provide a more useful answer.
In future if you ever want to gift something in Chile I’d suggest buying from an online store based in Chile.