Acceptable documents for Chilean citizens
The only document which is used for proving identities is the identity card ("Cédula de Identidad"), and every citizen 18 y/o and older is required to carry it. While a passport should be reliable enough to prove identity, since the use of the identity card is mandatory, at least one of the presented documents should be the "Cédula de Identidad".
Driving licences are issued by the Town Hall, so they can be considered a good secondary identity document, but should not be used as primary document.
Passports are not so common, since several countries near Chile allows travellers the usage of the Cédula de Identidad as Identity Document.
Everybody in Chile over 18 years old must have an Identity Card (Cédula de Identidad, sometimes referred as "Carné de Identidad") issued by the Service of Civil Record and Identification (Servicio de Registro Civil e Identificación).
At year 2002, the Service of Civil Record and Identification changed the format of this ID card, and since the cards made with the old standard should be expired by now, or almost expired, this article will focus just on the current format.
On the front side there is a colour photograph, a "ghost" smaller photograph, the father's last name, the mother's last name and the name (usually, a first name and middle name, sharing the same line), the sex and nacionality (there are ID cards for foreigners residing in Chile), birth date, date when the ID Card was issued, it's expiration date (usually, 6 years after being issued) the bearer's signature, and the user ID number (Rol Único Nacional, abreviated as RUN). While the ID Card should be renewed each 6 years (but sometimes, the validity of the ID card can be shorter, for reasons unknown to me), the RUN never changes, it's bound to the person identity, not to the current document.
On the reverse appears the right thumb fingerprint, a block containing the main data in bidimentional code bar and some other code containing part of the info. It also includes the serial number of the card, which can be used to block it in case of being lost or stolen, and it also allows to check the current status of the card in the web site of the Servicio de Registro Civil e Identificación ( registrocivil.cl ).
The user's ID number ("RUN") is an eight digit number (but people about 40 years old and older have less digits), followed by an 1 digit number or K character, used as CRC to verify the correctness of the number. This ID number is unique, and currently it is issued to people at their inscription at Registro Civil, at birth time. Both public and private services rely on this number to keep track of people, so it would be highly sensitive information, if it were not so commonly used.
The ID card includes several security measures, in order to avoid forgery. Among them, the easier to check are:
1.- Relief figure depicting Copihues (the national flower) located as a vertical line near the right edge of the card (front side).
2.- Image of the Chilean Coat of Arms, visible only under UV light.
3.- The whole card has an UV coating, if the card is modified, the coating would be damaged.
The driving licence (Licencia de Conductor) is about credit card size, and consist in a printed paper, containing the picture and some data of the owner, and it's protected with a thermo-laminated coating.
On the front side, it includes the user's picture, with the full name and RUN number on the picture. It also contains the category of vehicles the user is allowed to drive (A1, A2, B, C and E), the Licence Number (actually, it's the user's RUN), the municipality issuing the licence, first and middle names (sharing the same row), father's and mother's last names (sharing the same row), the user's address, date when the licence was issued, and the expiration date (the licence must be renewed each 6 years). It also contains a number in near the right edge of the card.
On the back side, it contains the stamp of the vehicles department of the issuing municipality, the signature of the director of the vehicles department, and the signature of the user.
The security measures include:
1.- Holographic image of the National Coat of Arms (simplified).
2.- Some colours visible under UV light.
Passports are issued by Government, through authorized Registro Civil offices, as well as Consulates (if the citizen is residing abroad). It's a booklet very similar to other passports.
It uses some security measures, among them:
1.- A number perforated in the cover and half of the sheets inside the document.
2.- Watermark in each page inside the document.
3.- Elements visible only under UV light.
4.- UV coating in the data sheet, which would be damaged in case of forgery.
(On both links, look at Medidas de Seguridad in order to see pictures of the documents)