The Chilean visa process is relatively straightforward and you can obtain a visa for Chile to suit various purposes of your stay. For instance, to obtain a residency visa and work permit, all you need is a work contract from just about any local company, and you are entitled to what is called a “sujeta a contrato” visa. After the second year of continuous employment, you are entitled to permanent residency and three years later, you can apply for naturalization and a Chilean passport (as long as you meet minimum time-in-country requirements). The red tape involved in the immigration process is minimal and it is not entirely necessary to hire a lawyer, however, some local guidance and assistance does ease the process somewhat as the system is often slow in which to register the visas.
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Types of Visa:
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.
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 at least 180 days within a one-year period to qualify to become a permanent resident.
Most Common Types of Temporary Residency Visas:
- Retirement and Periodic income visa: This is commonly used for people wishing to live, work, retire or invest in Chile.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 last for five years, and is renewable indefinitely. After five years’, permanent residents have the option to apply for Chilean Citizenship or Dual Citizenship without the need to renounce their current citizenship.
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.
Common FAQs for getting a visa for Chile
Based on our extensive experience these are the common questions and doubts of our clients.
Tourist visa (tourism); Visa subject to contract (temporary residence); Student visa (temporary residence); Temporary visa (temporary residence); Permanent stay (permanent residence).
Temporary residence visa
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 in 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.
Business visas in Chile are called Business and Tourism visas.
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 licence.
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 notarised 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 notarised (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.
LETTER FROM EMPLOYER IN CHILE
-EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT IN SPANISH LEGALISED 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.
-MEDICAL CERTIFICATE RULING OUT INFECTIOUS AND CONTAGIOUS DISEASES.
Chile based companies can sponsor a Working visa if they meet the requirements established by the Immigration Office.
Although it is not necessary to have Chilean residency, 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 temporary or definitive stay in Chile can obtain a RUT number.
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 https://tramites.minrel.gov.cl/, 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.
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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.