If you drive as a tourist in Chile you are supposed to have an International Driving Permit. In reality, if you are ever stopped, showing a driving license from your home country and playing the dumb gringo who can’t speak Spanish will get you some grumbling but you probably won’t be arrested (incidentally, corruption is almost unheard of in Chile. NEVER try to bribe a police officer or you really will end up in jail).
Once you are a resident in Chile, however, the rules change. In this case, you must have a Chilean driving license if you wish to legally drive. Here’s how to apply for a Chilean driver’s license:
- Be 18 years or older
- Have your carnet and RUN/RUT
- Show a diploma or transcript proving you have at least an 8th grade education
- Have your initial driver’s license graduation certificate to hand
- Complete an eye exam
- Complete a written theory exam in Spanish
- Complete a driving test in a car on the street
Some municipalities may accept your valid foreign driver’s license and allow you to skip the written test.