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Immigration Law

Different kind of visas to visit and live in Chile

Chile offers different kind of visas depending of the activities a foreigner wants to perform in Chile. The following are the most used visas to come and stay in Chile.

I.- Tourist visas

All foreigners who enter the country for recreational, sport, health, study, business management, family, religious and other similar purposes, without the aim of immigration, residence or to develop remunerated activities are considered tourists.
 
As a general rule, the only document needed in order to enter to Chile is a valid passport. However, the residents of the following countries must apply for a Tourist Visa before traveling to Chilean territory, which must be requested in any Chilean Consulate:
 
Afghanistan, Angola, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros Islands, Congo, Cote D’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Guyana, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Laos, Lesotho, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome et Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leona, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe. It also applies to stateless people, asylees, and refugees.

II.- Temporary residence

It is a temporary authorization to live and to develop activities expressly allowed by the law.
There are four types of temporary residence:

a.- Subject to Contract Visa:

It allows to reside and to work exclusively with the employer who signs the contract. It has a maximum duration of two years, although it can be indefinitely extended after staying in the country for two continuous years and applying for the Definitive Permanence. The end of the contract necessarily means the end of the visa.

b.- Temporary Visa:

It allows to reside and to perform any kind of licit activity within the country. It has a duration of one year, and it can only be extended for another year, after which the Definitive Permanence must be requested, or it will be mandatory to leave the country.
This type of Visa can be granted to the following foreigners:

c.- Investor’s visa

In Chile is possible to obtain a residence permit as an investor.

Foreigners can either apply for a visa after having a company formed in Chile or even before they formed it.

If the investment is in a stage of an idea, then a description of the project must be summited.

This description must include the location of the project, number of employees to be hired, capital to be invested and the profit projections of the project.
 
If the company has been already formed, then all the documents related to the incorporation must be summited along with the documents proving that the capital of the company has been already paid and the money has entered the country. In the event of an investment in a stage of an idea or if the company has been already formed, but the capital has not been already summited, then suitable documents must be summited to prove that the person applying for the visa has enough means to start the project or pay his part of the shares of the company.
 
The application for the visa can either be summited when the person arrives in Chile as a tourist or at the Chilean consulate in the respective country.
 
All foreign documents must be legalized at the Chilean consulate and documents in a foreign languages need a legalized translation.

d.- Renter’s and pensioner’s visa

A pensioner or Renter’s Visa is a temporary residency visa that applies to applicants that are retired and have a retirement pension or with the means to support themselves in Chile via a periodic income that they receive from the ownership of property and/or lease contracts in Chile or abroad or from any other legal means, such as stock ownership, interest income, bond investments, among others.

The amount of income required is not established by law and is finally determined by the competent authorities in Chile. This amount is determined by different factors, such as the place where the applicant intends to live in or if he or she brings a family to Chile as well. The approval is based on convincing the authorities that the applicant can support him or herself and his family for at least the duration of the visa, which is one year.

Considering the cost of living, the amount needed is at least USD$1.000 per month per person in the household, depending of course of the place where the applicant intends to live, as this cost varies among different cities and communes. This amount can vary with the exchange rates of the currency.

There are no restrictions on this visa. The applicant that is granted this type of visa can do any legal activity in Chile within the term of the visa.

Ways to apply

This can be applied either via a competent consulate of the country of residence of the applicant or directly in Chile, via a standard form that must be filled, signed and mailed to the Department of Immigration. It is recommended to apply in Chile, as the time required for approval is much shorter, and the rejection rate is lower.

The following general documentation is necessary:

The applicant must also bring the following documentation, specific to the type of visa:

Regarding pensioners

Regarding renters

Documents that prove that the applicant has a regular recurring income that is enough to support the applicant and his or her dependent family members. This can be certificates of ownership of real estate, rent contracts either in Chile or abroad, and other kinds of documents that prove a regular recurring income. This documents must always be legalized before a Notary Public, and any document drafted abroad must be legalized on the Chilean Consulate of the country of origin and translated and legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Regarding dependents

III.- Special programs

The Government from time to time recognizes that there are some areas where the country is lacking from people with the needed skills and creates special programs for those purposes. The current programs are as follows:

Visa Tech

For some professionals that the Chilean government finds to be useful and scare in Chile (e.g. IT engineers) there is a fast forward visa procedure that will allow a company to obtain a visa for this new employee in a couple of weeks.

Start up Chile

Chile wants to become the Silicone Valley from Latin America and therefore it has a program for start ups, that even foreign can apply.  

IV.- Other visas

Student’s Visa:

It allows studying in an educational establishment recognized by the State. It has a duration of one year, or until the end of the scholarship for those who have one. It can be extended until the end of the studies and it allows to apply to the Definitive Permanence afterward.

Refuge and Political Asylum:

For those foreigners whose integrity is in danger.

Definitive Permanence:

It is the permit to reside in Chile indefinitely and to develop any kind of activity, without more limitations than those contained in the law.

In order to obtain the Definitive Permanence, the applicant must have resided in Chile at least two continuous years in case of holding a visa subject to contract, one year in case of people holding a temporary visa, and two years plus having ended the studies in case of people holding a student visa. The Definitive Permanence is granted indefinitely unless it is revoked (i.e. living abroad for more than one year without having requested the corresponding extension, having been convicted of a crime, lying on the permit application or tax noncompliance).
Not only can the main holder of a visa subject to contract apply for permanent residency. Dependents (that is, their children, spouse and parents) of the main holder can also apply along with the main request though they are not allowed to work in the country. If they apply, they must prove their economic sustenance.

The applicant must apply for permanent residency within the last 90 days of validity of the previous temporary residency visa.

The cost of this application is 40% of the minimum wage, which at the time in which this document was drafted was equivalent to $58.056 CLP, or about $94 USD. This fee is waived when the applicant is married to a Chilean national, or if he or she is under 18 years old.

Application Procedure

The application for this kind of visa must be made via postal mail sent to the section of Permanent Residency of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. The letter must be signed by the applicant and include all their relevant information, and must be sent within the last 90 days of validity of the previous residency visa.
It must include, as general documents:

For the main holder, the specific documents needed are the following:

If the main holder has dependents that apply for permanent residency along with him or her, the following documents are required:

Revocation of Permanent Residency

An approved application for permanent residency does not have a specific validity period, so its duration is indefinite.
 
However, permanent residency can be revoked:

Naturalization or citizenship

In Chile, unlike some other countries, there is no program to acquire citizenship through investment.

The recipient can apply for the Chilean nationality if he or she remains 5 years as a Permanent Residency Visa holder, counted from the first visa.

The following are the minimum requirements regarding the applicant:

There are additional documents required regarding assets and for pensioners:

Last modified: 07/11/2019

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