by Scott Sadil
For the adventuring sportsperson, are there any sadder words to begin a story with than these? I got stopped at the border.
Unless, maybe: They wouldn’t let me on the plane.
One of the beauties of sport, of course, is learning to live with disappointment. Nobody wants to lose a big fish. But if you’re in the game, not just adrift in a digital meta space, you can be sure you will inevitably experience those searing moments when a taut line suddenly goes slack. For some of us, it’s the chance to learn, over and over, that blame gets you nowhere.
Truth, we discover once more, can be a bitter pill to swallow.
And, maybe, just maybe, claim the poets, set you free?
Here’s what happened: As soon as Chile announced November 1 that the country was open again to foreign tourists, I booked a flight; I’d been talking with Marc Whittaker from Rod and Gun (www.rodandgun.cl.) in Santiago since before the pandemic began. He immediately put together an auspicious itinerary. We even met, in Oregon, when Whittaker came north for a family visit.
Back in Chile, Marc had some fresh insight into travel procedures, described on several different websites in fuzzy and often contradictory terms. Yes, of course, I was already vaccinated; I also received a booster. Then I sent my vaccination information to the appropriate Chilean government website, mevacuno.gob.cl., set up a PCR test within 72 hours of my departure date, and on receiving the negative results, filled out the official online travel affidavit within the final 48-hour window before departure.
Next stop, Houston. I sat through a short layover. Then I stepped to the counter at my boarding gate – and was told I couldn’t get on the flight to Santiago.
It’s not like this was the first time I’ve been in this sort of situation. I recalled somehow entering the Transkei, the then-designated Xhosa homeland in South Africa, while my passport was in Johannesburg, awaiting review for a visa renewal. Or the time I walked across the border to the Tijuana airport and, again without a passport, finagled my way onto a flight to Cabo.
But those were different times.
I spent a long night in Houston, picturing lakes and rivers and trout slipping beyond reach while I gnawed on the corner of my complimentary hotel pillow. And where, I wondered, were my rods and the rest of my gear?
Back in Oregon, it took nearly two weeks before I finally felt confident I had all of my t’s crossed, all of my i’s dotted.
When you know the answers, every question is easy.
Flying to Chile? Here’s what you need to do:
- Create an account at mevacuno.gob.cl. Use your e-mail and a password to log into the site.
- Enter your account and register your Covid vaccinations. Besides data, you can upload a photo of your CDC vaccination card.
- If the uploaded information is incomplete, you’ll receive an e-mail asking you to provide what’s missing. If your application is complete, your status will be “pending” until further notice.
- When your vaccination information is validated, you’ll receive an e-mail confirmation. The validation process takes two to three weeks.
- After receiving an email confirming your vaccine validation, log into your mevacuno account and find a printable version of your validation. This may take another 24 hours. At this time, you will also find your Digital Vaccination Pass, which includes the QR code that serves as your all-important Pase de Movilidad or Mobility Pass – the most important piece in the puzzle.
- Within 72 hours of your arrival to Chile, have a Covid-19 PCR test. The test is invalid if administered more than 72 hours before your flight. Make sure, as well, that you will have the results before you fly. You also need the results before you can complete the next step.
- Within the 48-hour window before your flight, complete the online Travel Affidavit: Affidavit for Travellers to prevent Coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) (c19.cl). In the affidavit you will need to provide proof (upload docs and/or photos) that you have foreign travel medical insurance coverage for a minimum of $30,000 (US).
- When you arrive in Chile, you’ll have to endure another PCR test at the airport. While awaiting the results, you have to quarantine in Santiago— approximately 12 to 24 hours. Recent (unconfirmed) reports say that as of December 1, if you’ve received a booster, you will not need to take the PCR test at the airport.
- When the PCR result is negative, you can end the isolation and your “Pase de Movilidad” (“Mobility Pass”) will be enabled for 90 days.
Important: Make sure you use the the same ID, your passport number, for all forms.
Also, for the latest, in English, directly from the Chilean government, refer to this site: www.c19.cl/assets/Protected_Borders_Plan_V02.pdf.
Gray’s Angling Editor Scott Sadil can’t quite remember where he was the time the border official said, yes, the necessary document was free, but you had to go back 200 kilometers to get it – or hand over a thick wad of pesos and be on your merry way.
Editor’s Note: Scott did not get to Chile. He’s going to try again on November 30. You’ll be the first to know.