After completing the Carretera Austral, we took two days to cross from Chile to Argentina. This was our first border crossing on our own, so we dedicated a full day just to crossing, giving us time to accommodate setbacks. We slept the night in Chile Chico at a hostel. The next morning, we crossed into Argentina.
The border crossing (my first without a guide) made me nervous. Foreigners come and go across the border all the time. Our circumstance was a bit unique in that I was a foreigner who had bought a Chilean car and wanted to leave the country with it.
I already knew this was an eyebrow raising situation at border crossing. The crossings aren’t always successful, but I was optimistic because I was at a crossing known to be friendly to the situation.
As a foreigner, I needed a bunch of documentation to cross.
I was required to show the following:
- My passport
- The PDI immigration slip
- The original purchase contract
- The vehicle history (A document called Certificado Vehículos de anotaciones Vigentes. Purchased here: https://www.registrocivil.cl/principal/servicios-en-linea using PayPal since my credit cards were rejected)
- A valid circulation permission (which is like a US annual inspection + obligatory insurance for Chile)
- And the padron (like a U.S. registration card + title).
I think that’s all. As a backup, I had the notarized declaration jurada from the previous owner. This signed document from the previous owner said he permitted me to leave the country and return within six months. I didn’t need this document, but I might have depending on the mood of the border crossing officer.
The crossing officer did look through the documents carefully, but he let us pass without much friction.
After crossing the border, we stayed a night at a crumby hotel called Hotel Mora in Los Antiguos near the border. Too add insult to dirt, the hotel also charged me a fee different than what we booked on Booking.com, claiming we had only booked the four bedroom hotel room for two people to stay. Hmm. Though the hotel was dingy and ripped me off, we did manage to find a good Argentine steak in town, and the grocery stories held some treats we hadn’t seen in Chile.