Visa for Chile: Visa types and visa requirements

How to get a visa for Chile

The process to get a visa for Chile is relatively straightforward and offers several options to suit the different objectives of your stay in the country. For example, signing an employment contract with any local company entitles you to a visa in Chile. If you are considering company formation in Chile, for example, this could be very useful.

After two years of continuous employment, you will be eligible for permanent residency. Three years later, you can apply for naturalization and a Chilean passport, provided you meet the minimum requirements for staying in the country. This involves continuous possession of a valid visa for Chile.

Although the immigration process involves minimal bureaucracy and does not always require a lawyer, local guidance and assistance can expedite the visa process for Chile, given the occasional slowness of the visa system. A specialist such as Biz Latin Hub that understands the local conditions and ways of doing business is ideal for this.

Visa for Chile. Doing business in Chile market snapshot

3 Types of visa for Chile:

The 3 most common types of visa in Chile are:

  1. Tourist visa.
  2. Temporary residency visa.
  3. Permanent residency visa.

1. Tourist visa 

The most common and recommended way is for foreigners to enter the country under a tourist visa, and then apply for a change of status to other forms of visa for Chile. It is not recommended that foreigners apply at their consulate in their home country before coming for other types of residency visas for Chile.

2. Temporary residency Visa

This is the first type of visa issued when applying for any sort of permanent visa for Chile. A temporary residency visa is most commonly granted after applying and being granted a visa under the retirement and periodic income visa, work visa, professional visa, family member, or through an investor visa application in Chile.

All people, regardless of the reasons for applying, must first be a temporary resident before they qualify for permanent residency in Chile. Depending on the type of visa, you will need to be a temporary resident in Chile for one to two years, and you must be physically in the country for at least 180 days within a one-year period to qualify for permanent residency.

6 Most common types of temporary residency visas:

  1. Retirement and periodic income visa: This is commonly used for people wishing to live, work, retire or invest in Chile.
  2. Professional visa: The applicant must prove both that they have a professional degree as well as a sufficient income to support their stay during their time in Chile.
  3. Contract work visa: You must be under contract with a Chilean employer. You must live under this visa for 2 years to qualify for permanent residency.
  4. Independent worker visa: This is the newest visa in Chile; it allows the applicant to work for numerous employers and provides a quicker path to full permanent residency than a contract work visa.
  5. Chile student visa: A temporary residency visa is granted to students that have been accepted into a Chilean university or other educational institute in Chile.
  6. Investor visa: This visa is complicated to attain and should be avoided, unless circumstances are such that you do not qualify for any other type of visa.

3. Permanent residency visa 

This should be the ultimate goal for residency application, and regardless of the application type it requires at least 180 days of temporary residency in Chile within a one-year period. A permanent residency visa generally lasts for five years, and is renewable indefinitely. After five years, permanent residents have the option to apply for Chilean citizenship without the need to renounce their current citizenship

How to get a visa as a foreigner in Chile?

Here are the 5 steps to get a visa in Chile as a foreigner:

  1. Step 1 – Determine the type of visa you need: The type of visa you need depends on the reason for your visit (tourism, work, study, etc.).
  2. Step 2 – Gather the necessary documents: The documents you need will depend on the type of visa you are applying for.
  3. Step 3 – Apply for the visa online or through an experienced office: You can apply for the visa online at the Chilean immigration service website. You will need to create an account, fill out the application and pay the visa fee. This step can be made easier by hiring a company that is dedicated to this to avoid problems and possible denials.
  4. Step 4 – Wait for the visa to be processed: The process can take between 3 and 6 months.
  5. Step 5 – Receive the visa: If your application is approved, you will receive a response. The next step is to apply for the identity card at the Civil Registry.

Please note that if you plan to stay in Chile and you currently have a tourist visa, you can no longer start the temporary visa application process from Chile. If you know before coming that you plan to stay, it is best to apply for a temporary visa about 6 months in advance. Remember that the process may vary depending on your specific situation and current immigration laws.

How can I get a work visa in Chile?

To get a working visa you must have the following documents:

  • Letter from employer in Chile
  • Employment contract in Spanish legalized at the ministry of foreign affairs and signed by you and the employer.
  • Letter of introduction
  • Copy of your academic qualifications
  • The biographical data page of your passport.
  • A recent passport-size photo with white background.
  • Application form
  • Medical certificate ruling out infectious and contagious diseases.

What are the requirements for a business visa in Chile?

The requirements for a business visa are:

  • Complete the business visa application form
  • Submit a passport-style photo, two inches by two inches, white background, full face, taken within the last 6 months.
  • Copy of passport valid for at least 6 months.
  • Copy of driving license.
  • A list of the countries you have visited in the last 5 years, with the following format: Year + country(ies) visited. If you have not been to any country, this should be indicated on the application form.
  • A letter from the company where you work, duly notarized indicating name, passport number of each person travelling on business and their activities. The letter must indicate the applicant’s name and position. Only original letters are accepted.
  • A letter from the inviting company in Chile, duly notarized (Notary, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs) indicating name, passport number of each person travelling on business and his/her activities. The letter must specify the applicant’s name, passport number, position, duration of stay and activities to be carried out in Chile.
  • Copy of the hotel reservation.
  • Copy of the return ticket.

What are the requirements for an investor visa in Chile?

You must gather the documents required by the Chilean Investment Agency and the Chilean Migration Service.
You must first submit the documents to the Chilean Investment Agency, which will review them and issue you a letter of support if it validates your project.

You must submit an investor visa application on the website of the Migration Service, before coming to Chile. Applications from within Chile are no longer authorized for this type of visa. Once you have your investor visa granted, you can move to Chile. After your arrival, you will need to register at the civil registry in Chile, requesting an appointment within 30 days.

Moving to Chile

Most people find moving to Chile to be an easy transition. It is a modern, stable and relatively wealthy country that offers expats a great quality of life. With one of the largest economies on the continent, large amounts of international trade as a result of numerous free trade agreements and a thriving market orientated economy, Chile is a great choice for expats considering relocating to Latin America.

Chile has public and private healthcare insurance and its healthcare standards are relatively high throughout the country, although the private medical facilities in the larger cities are slightly more advanced. There is also a multitude of international schools, offering quality education, primarily located in the larger cities across Chile and particularly in Santiago.

Banking in Chile can sometimes progress on ‘Chilean time’ – particularly if one doesn’t speak basic Spanish. There are some banks that have better reputations than others and banking with the bank which one’s company uses can offer many advantages. It is possible to make international transfers, however these can take time.

Expat life in Chile is vibrant and fun-filled. With great living standards, beautiful surroundings and a welcoming population, many expats choose to extend their time there – a sure sign that this South American country is a great choice to relocate to.

FAQs about getting a visa for Chile

Based on our extensive experience these are the common questions and doubts of our clients.

1. What are the types of visas for Chile?

Tourist visa (tourism); Visa subject to contract (temporary residence); Student visa (temporary residence); Temporary visa (temporary residence); Permanent stay (permanent residence).

2. What is an investor visa called in Chile?

Temporary residence visa

3. What is a business visa called in Chile?

Business visas in Chile are called business and tourism visas.

4. Who can sponsor a work visa in Chile?

Chile based companies can sponsor a work visa if they meet the requirements established by the Immigration Office.

5. Do you need a visa to buy property in Chile?

You will need a RUT (TAX ID) number, the national identification document.  You can obtain a personal RUT number immediately after submitting the application at any of the tax offices in the country, using only your passport and a local address (for the reception of your correspondence).

Any person over 18 years of age with a visa for a temporary or definitive stay in Chile can obtain a RUT number.

6. What needs to be provided in order to commence the visa processing service in Chile?

Depending on the type of visa you are required to obtain, specific documents will be requested. But the essential thing is to first go to the government website, fill in the respective form and start the process.

Obtain a business visa in Chile with the help of Biz Latin Hub

At Biz Latin Hub, our team of multilingual legal and immigration experts is equipped to help you with your visa application and ensure the success of your commercial operations in Chile.

With our full suite of market entry and back-office services, we are your single point of contact to do business in Latin America. Reach out to us now to receive personalized assistance to leverage business opportunities in Chile.

Learn more about our team and expert authors.

Biz Latin Hub services infographic
Biz Latin Hub services can help you get a visa for Chile

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Legal Team Chile
Legal Team Chile

Legal Team Chile is the Biz Latin Hub leading experts on doing business in Chile The Team writes on the news, doing business, law, and changing regulations. The team are experts in corporate law, Administrative law, Employment law, Immigration law and legal advisory services. Read more about them here. You can contact Legal Team Chile via our "contact us page".

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