Driver's License

Hey yall

Having trouble with getting a driver’s license. My RD FINALLY came through after 2 years 7 months of useless inactivity, so this is the next Chilean project.

I have been to the city offices (Provi) and they keep webiando with tsunamis of excuses to NOT accept my docs. I have university transcripts already apostilled. I have too much conflicting info. Do I need to show ONE document? One person says yes, that I need one, others gave me a LIST of documents to present. Such as university diploma + transcripts + grades + curriculum + dates/times/schedules.

Anyone know? Lol. As always, Chile sucks for efficiency in, well, all categories.

In passive-agressive Chile, they really want to say NO, but in a non-confrontational way. I seem to recall on the old forum that one person actually took the cuarto medio exams to get a license.

Chile’s treatment of driver licenses for foreigners reminds us once again that the country will never be considered civilized, much less minimally developed.

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Yeah, they were doing everything they could to get me out of their office. Heaven forbid I delay them at 14:00 for their lunch hour…

Besides the cuarto medio, any other way to get this taken care of?

I also read a while ago (cannot find it now) that a huge % of the population just cruises around without licenses. I have been pulled over once and just played the fool and spoke English. The paco did not want to deal with me and told me to GTFO of there after “reviewing” my expired international DL and US DL (valid).

Ugh reminds me of getting a visa with constantly moving and morphing goal posts.

Are they really asking for all those details? The curriculum? Sounds insane

Yes its not the first time ive heard of people just collapsing into taking their basic education test out of sheer exhaustion

Yeah last week the guy asked for a notarized and translated copy of my university curriculum. I told him what he asks simply does not exist. He was too busy trying to get to lunch, then kicked me out. But, when I asked another lady, she said no. So, chasing tails again.

Your experience suggests that you are not the Lone Ranger in these matters. Many people cruise for years on expired International Driving Permits and not one Paco in 100 knows the proper legal implications, nor is willing to press the matter.

The cuarto medio [ correction: octavo básico ] approach is rather painless and friends of mine have gone that way. In fact I recommend it because it may offer insights into the country you might not observe otherwise.

Of course then the national record keeping will lose all evidence of your having taken that test.

Because this is not a Serious Country.

I will def check this out. Thanks!

Not the cuarto medio, my bad, but rather the octavo básico. Sorry about the brain-fade earlier.


Obviously the test is in Spanish, or at least chilensis. The arithmetic part will require that you remember that 1.000 is one thousand, for example (puntos y comas al reves y cabeza abajo).

I would recommend the materials for study for not just the exam but for anyone stubborn enough to try to remain in this country.


I might like to add that although there are formal dates for the equivalency testing, sometimes arrangements can be made for out of schedule individual testing. In Punta Arenas, for example, foreigners can apply to the local Ministry of Education and if they are feeling helpful on that day, a funcionario may contact a cooperating school nearby which will perform the test on the same day. Your mileage may vary.

I found out recently that there is a law project going through Congress to eliminate high school equivalency as a requirement.

Avanza proyecto de ley que elimina requisito de escolaridad básica para licencia de conducir no profesional | Ministerio de Transportes y Telecomunicaciones (

Aprueban disminuir requisito de escolaridad para obtener licencia de conducir no profesional | Nacional | BioBioChile

Looks like it is stuck in the Senate.

Given that I don’t have a car and live in Santiago, I’m just gonna wait this one out. There is no way I will pass a high school exam in Spanish.

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It’s a primary school exam (octavo básico) the equivalent of 8th grade in the US system, and even easier since this is Chile mierda. You owe it to yourself to achieve this level of knowledge just to be functional in the country even if you don’t use it for the license.

As long as it is not like some of the tests in the U.S. Have you seen some of the pictures of kid’s tests out of the 5th grade? They are questions I cannot answer and are vastly more difficult than high school. This was floating around on Reddit back in February:

Nah, I solved it before my morning coffee but my generation was the last before everything went to hell in the US education system.

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Hello, fellow GenXer.

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I’ve been here 7 years and managing ok. There is no way I’m passing grade 8 in Spanish. If it was multiple choice, maybe. But if I have to use writing or speaking, there’s no way.

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We are not worthy. Just move on in your personal mission if any and do what you gotta do. :slightly_smiling_face:

Graduated from uni 1986, probably the last year at the U of O where nearly all wrote term papers on a typewriter. The very last semester, a new mandated class was instituted on using PCs. Sat down in front of an IBM and then a Mac 512K and fell in love with the Mac.

My mother who worked as an accountant for a commercial transport company decades ago noted the marked difference in university graduates starting in the 1990s.

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Agree 100%. Its a real eye-opener just to be able to at least partially comprehend why things are the way they are here.

I sometimes think that the disjunction between Chile as (still) portrayed by the foreign media, and a somewhat shabbier reality is due to the efforts of intermediate “axe-grinders”, each one peddling their own tendentious narrative to remote audiences unaware of the bigger picture because they don’t understand Spanish…

Just another fun observation about the use of the “8th grade equivalency” exam (called “equivalencia de estudios” here) as a path to taking the driver license test:

In the past few years, the results of the equivalencia exam have been made part of a national database, through MINEDUC, the ministry of pseudo-education. If you took this test or other qualifying exams in the country in the last XX years, the results are supposed to be accessible online.

If MINEDUC has not lost your results you can download them but… always a but… just taking the printed-out results may not be enough for your license Nazis at the municipalidad. Typically what happens is they send you to a national wicket, probably ChileAtiende, so that the results you just printed can be validated. The printout has a code (and a QR I think) that is then used to validate your printout.


So then you take the whole empanada back to the municipalidad and they will give you a package in which you swear to all manner of questions so help you.

Tune in again for more helpful hints.

Sorry, I don’t have any advice with the license. I got extremely lucky with mine. However, I did want to congratulate you on your permanent residency!