Our South America Visa Experiences – part 1

A good thing about San Francisco is that the three South American consulates of Chile, Colombia and Peru are within blocks from each other. In fact, Chile and Peru consulates are on the same floor of the same building. Colombia is about three blocks away.

So with a good plan and a great bit of luck, its possible to apply for all three visas on the same day. We came very very close, but due to unnecessary delays that plagued us during the day, we were only able to get Chile and Peru done.

Addresses:

  • Chile and Peru Consulate: 870 Market Street, 10th Floor. Easy to get in and get out.
  • Colombia: 595 Market Street. Security at gate and need to show ID’s – so factor in 5 minutes. 
  • Fedex Office Supplies: 726 Market Street, for last minute copies/printouts etc. Very convenient.

We took the train from Sunnyvale to SF and then a cab to the Peru/Chile consulate on Market street. We reached around 9 AM. The consulates are located in the Flood Building on Market street, San Francisco.

  • We decided to go to the Chile consulate first as we’d heard from a friend that they dont need your passport to process your application. We submitted our paperwork. Visa would be stamped on passport after 2-4 weeks. They asked for all copies of the passport, so I had to make a trip to Fedex store and back for passport photos.
  • Next was the Peru consulate. Things were very slow here on that day. So we submitted the passport and docs and were asked to come again at 1 PM. When we went back 1 PM, we were out the door with the visa by 2.30 PM. Tip: if they ask you to come back by 1 PM, go earlier. If they see you there, they may get started earlier. Go armed with a book, snacks and infinite patience.
  • We missed the Colombian consulate because they had closed at 2 PM. But we did walk down there when our passport was stuck with the Peruvians to find out what documents were required. A very sweet lady at the consulate quickly told us what we needed and asked to deliver documents anywhere between 9 AM and 2 PM. We returned the following day again and submitted all our documents and original passport.

How to hit all 3 in one go:

If I had to repeat the day, this would have been our best-case scenario:

  • Arrive at Chilean consulate at 8.30 AM. Make sure you have copies of ALL pages of your passport (color copies of the non empty ones). Drop off documents at Chilean consulate.
  • Go to Peru consulate at 9 AM. Hope the stars are shining bright for you – if your lucky, someone will quickly do your stuff for you and you’ll walk out with visa by 11 AM.
  • Walk the four blocks to Colombian consulate and drop off papers and passport there.

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