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Buy A Car In Chile: detailed guide - Suzi Santiago

If you are looking to buy a car in Chile but you don’t know where to begin,

in this article you have the guide through all the stages and process of

buying a car in Chile and not failing at the attempt.

In Chile, bureaucracy is something not to play with, but definitely is not

impossible to get the ideal vehicle for you to have an amazing trip.


In order for you to buy a car in Chile, you will need to have your passport,

and a RUT number. This last one, works as an ID that allows you to be the

owner of the car, and also drive with it to other countries in Southamerica.

Even though the RUT number works as an ID, it doesn’t give you any kind

of residency in Chile, it is only used to buy a car, or even a land. For this,

you will need to have a sponsor with residency in the country, and the

process of obtaining this document can take up to a week.


In a matter of finding a vehicle, there are many pages where you can look

for cars, vans or even bikes.

There are sites like ChileAutos, which is the main one, and you can find

from used cars to brand new, also you can negotiate with locals selling

their cars.

Marketplace and Yapo, are sites used to sell many other things as well, but

you can find really nice deals, mostly for used cars and vans.

Now, if you would like it better to go directly and see many cars at the same

time, you can go to dealerships. There are specific avenues in Santiago

like Av. Francisco Bilbao, or Av. Las Condes that are full of dealers. Youmay need to have into consideration that prices in this places are probably



There are various pros and cons to considerate when buying from a

dealership, it will totally depend on what is best in your personal case.

For example, time. If you have in your plans crossing out the border from

Chile to another country in less than 4 months, would be recommended to

buy from a local person.

Why is this? In order for you to cross borders with the car successfully, you

need to have an authorization from the previous owner notarized, while the

ownership of the car is transfering to your name (obtaining the ownership

can take at the moment up to four months). This authorization, you can get

it the same moment that you are buying the car at the notary, since the

owner will also be there to sign it.

Dealerships cannot provide you with this document, since they have an

open contract signed by the owner of the car, ready for the buyer to sign,

and most of them can’t contact the owner to do this paperwork.

Now, if within your plans is not crossing out to other countries, you don’t

need to worry about this. Dealerships are also good when you are thinking

of your credit card as payment method, when you are buying to a local you

would need to pay in cash, bank transfer or deposit.


Once you have found your vehicle, if it’s from a local person, the next step

is to go to a notary. Ownership transfer can also be done at the Civil

Register, but only if you have residency in Chile. If you only have a RUT

number from the SII, the transfer needs to be done at a notary, and from there they will send all the paperwork to the civil register to start the

transferring process.

At the moment of the transfer, both seller and buyer needs to be present,

and the seller will need to bring the following documents:

- ID card

- Padron (ownership document of vehicle)

- Permiso de Circulacion. This is a permit that allows to drive the car, it

needs to be renewed every march, and it needs to be up to date at

the moment of the transfer.

- Seguro Obligatorio SOAP. This is a mandatory insurance, also

renewed every march, and it only covers the personal injuries, not

damage of the vehicle.

- Revision Tecnica y Emision de Gases (Technical Revision). This is a

two-in-one document, and it is a mechanical revision done by an

specific garage (Planta Revision Tecnica) which you can find in every

town or city in Chile. This paper can be updated at any point of the

year, and it is recommended for it to be up to date when transferring it

to your name.

- Certificado de Anotaciones Vigentes. This is a document provided by

the Civil Register, and it shows the history record of the car like

previous owners, if it has any restriction to be sold, and all details

about the car such as year, model, brand, chassis and motor number.

This document costs 1,090 CLP.

- Certificado de Multas no Pagadas. This is also a document by the

Civil register, which shows if it has any fine not paid yet. If it has any

fine pending, the notary will let you know. This document has a cost

of 1,000 CLP. Both of these documents can be downloaded from the

civil register page and they need to be from the same date of the

transfer at the notary. It is recommended to have them printed, even

though some notaries allow you to send them by mail the PDF’s.

In other hand, the buyer will need to bring RUT and passport. It is

recommended to also bring some cash money, since there is a taxpayment to be done by the buyer part. This tax is 1.5% out of what you are

paying for the car, and in some notaries they only accept this tax in cash.


Once both parties are in the notary, you proceed to the compraventa. This

is the document itself that implies that you are buying this car, each notary

has it’s own format to it, but they have the same content. With this

Compraventa, you can legally drive the car in Chile while you are waiting

for the ownership document (padron), that the Civil Register will send to

your address a few months after the compraventa, or you can download it

as many times as you would like as soon as it’s ready. Also you can collect

it at any office of the civil register around Chile.

If it’s your case, and you want to travel with the car around the continent,

apart from the compraventa and the authorization signed by the previous

owner, you will need to get a ​ declaracion jurada (sworn declaration). This

paper is signed by the buyer, and says that you will return the car to Chile

within a period of 180 days. If you need to extend it, you can cross back to

Chile, and renew it. This paperwork is required for tourists with a car

bought in Chile.

Apart from the 1.5% tax, there are fees for the civil register and notary to be

paid, it can go up to 45,000 CLP and most notaries allow you to pay these

with debit/credit card.

Now, if you found your vehicle in a dealership, it’s very probable for them to

make all the paperwork in the same dealer, so it won’t be necessary to go

to a notary.

They will take a copy of your passport, RUT, and charge you for the fees

and taxes required, and then they will send all of this to a notary in the first

place, and then it’s sent to the civil register to the actual transfer of

ownership.A week after it’s sent to the civil register, you can go to the dealership and

ask for the Impuesto de Transferencia, this is a more official paper that

confirms that the ownership is being handled and soon to be in your name.


There are several ways on how to pay when you are buying a car in Chile.

-International Bank Transfer: probably it’s one of the safest ways if you

don’t have a chilean bank account, but you have to reach an agreement

with seller in order to it, since it takes the money a few days to be from an

international bank account to a chilean one. So, the seller won’t sign the

contract without having the money already, and it’s also not

recommendable to transfer the money without having any paper signed. A

way to resolve this matter is making at a notary a ‘Promesa de Venta’

which says that you will transfer the money, and as soon as seller part has

the funds on it’s bank account, the sale contract will be signed.

-Cash: easiest way of payment, since everything is immediate and you can

handle it to seller while signing at the notary, but you need to be careful

when carrying around such amount of money. Also works when you cannot

agree with seller to do an international bank transfer.

-Transfer from a chilean bank account: if you have a friend or a person of

trust with a chilean bank account then this one would be the easiest and

practical way, since it would be immediate without having that much cash.

FINAL TIPS-It’s completely recommendable to do a check up with a garage or a

mechanic before buying an used car, it can look perfectly on the outside

but what really matters it’s how is the motor, even more when you will use

this car to travel. There are garages that can do this check up for 20,000


-Car Maintenance: it’s ideal when you buy an used car to do a basics

maintenance such as oil change, break pads, tires, etc.

This is something you can also check when doing the pre-buy revision.

-Car paperwork: you should be aware of when the paperwork is expired,

but two of the most important papers are to be renewed in March. You first

need to update SOAP (mandatory insurance) in order to be able to renew

the Permiso de Circulacion. It’s not necessary to get the SOAP in the same

company every year, but you will need to renew the Permiso in the same

municipality as the previous year. You have the option to pay it online and

printing it, or going directly to a municipality’s office.

While the Technical Revision can be expired at any month of the year, you

can make an appointment online before going to the garage

(recommended), or you can go directly and wait in line. This revision has a

cost from 15,000 to 25,000 depending on your vehicle.

-Fines and debt: it’s important before buying the car to check if it has any

kind of fines to pay. Since the ones that are not from tolls, stay registered

with the car and not the owner. You can require the owner to pay them and

demonstrate it before the sale contract.

-When having the sale contract, authorization and declaracion jurada,

make sure to get at least 3 copies of each one, because it’s very likely that

officers at the borders will ask to keep one. Also for your RUT, or any other

type of document. Also is important to scan the documents and have them

in your email or drive, so you are over secure if you lose your papers.


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