Are you looking to retire in Chile? Do you need more information on Chile retirement visa? Do you want to know if your income level is sufficient to qualify for a retirement visa in Chile? Or what type of documents are required to apply for Chilean retirement visa?
In this article, we detail why Chile is a great opportunity to enjoy your retirement, and the steps you need to go through to get a retirement visa for Chile
Why is Chile a great country to retire?
Chile is one of South America’s most willing countries to welcome foreigners looking to relocate or retire. Chilean immigration will probably let you in, provided that you prove that you are financially able to live in Chile and are serious about staying in the country for a long time.
Below are some reasons why Chile is a great country to retire:
- The beauty of the landscapes: in only one country, you have the opportunity to admire a great diversity of landscapes, from the driest desert in the world in the north, to the glaciers of Patagonia. As a pensioner, you will have plenty of time to visit the country, especially as you can enjoy low season prices. The national transport network is very well developed in Chile, and cheap, so that you can move easily.
- Santiago, a dynamic and cosmopolitan capital: Santiago, which is very similar to a western capital, has everything you need to enjoy a good retirement. You can live in a nice house with a small garden, or in an apartment in a secured community, as you prefer. Moreover, the city has a large expat community.
- The economic and political situation: Chile is considered the most corruption free and stable country in Latin America, both politically and economically. This is why it is part of the OECD. Besides, the security level is the highest amongst Latin American countries.
- The health system: as a foreign pensioner in Chile, you have access to health and pension insurance systems, just like Chileans. Indeed, some countries such as France, Belgium and Switzerland have international agreements with Chile on these points. You will receive the same health benefits and the same pension amount as in the country where you previously contributed.
What is a retirement visa in Chile?
A retirement visa is one of the different types of temporary residence visas. It allows you to live one year in Chile. It is a retirement visa: it is the right visa for any pensioner or retired person willing to live in Chile. Yet, you can still apply for a work permit if you want to work in Chile. The retirement visa is one of the most commonly granted visa to live in Chile.
Who can apply for a retirement visa in Chile?
Contrary to the name of the visa, you do not need to be retired to apply for a retirement visa. The visa is actually called “retirement / income visa”. It allows you to work, start a business, invest in Chile. Of course, you can also enjoy you retirement if you choose to do so!
Contrary to the investor visa which ties your immigration status to the success or failure of your business, you can get a retirement visa whatever your situation is. You do not need to reside in Chile, or to visit the country to invest or own a business there. Thus, if you want to start a business in Chile, the retirement visa may be an interesting alternative.
What are the requirements/documents to provide to obtain a retirement visa in Chile?
Of all the different types of visas available in Chile, the retirement / income visa comes with the least number of strings attached, and most foreigners are eligible to this visa. You just need to prove a source of recurring income and sufficient assets to support yourself and your family in Chile. Among the proofs that Chilean Immigration accepts are pensions, rent generated by real estate properties you own, income generated by financial investments.
There is no official requirement as far as income level is concerned. Chilean immigration only states that it must be sufficient to live on in the area you intend to reside. For instance, it is much more expensive to live in Las Condes in Santiago than a small town in Southern Chile. A good rule of thumb, across Chile, is that you should be able to show at least US$1,000 per person including yourself and any people economically dependent on you (spouse, children, parents). This is enough to live a middle class life style in almost every part of Chile.
To apply, you need to provide the following documents:
- Copy of your passport
- One passport-size photo
Proof of recurring income based on your current situation, and the number of family members who relocate with you, you may be required to send additional documents, such as:
- Original or certified copy of marriage certificate
- Original or certified copy of your birth certificate and the birth certificate of your dependents
What is the procedure to get a retirement visa in Chile?
The procedure has significantly changed recently, due to the evolution of the Chilean immigration law. You have two options:
- You can come to Chile under a tourist visa, and then apply for a retirement and income visa to the Extranjería in Santiago. While waiting for your application to be approved, you can stay in Chile without having to renew your tourist visa.
- You can apply to a Chilean consulate outside Chile for this visa. The process if faster, but the type and quantity of documents required vary from one consulate to another.
Based on your current situation and project, one solution might be better than the other one. You can contact us for more information on this.
Once you have your retirement visa, you need to register with the police department and the civil register in Chile. After one year, you can apply for a permanent residency permit, provided that 1) you still meet the income requirement, 2) you have spent at least 180 days within the country in a year and 3) you have paid all your taxes.
Each day you are out of the country is discounted from your temporary residency time. The longest you can be out of the country is 180 days consecutively. You can apply for a one-year extension to meet this requirement, but only once. If you fail to meet this requirement, you will have to start over the application procedure. Thus, when applying, make sure you plan to stay in Chile long enough to keep your temporary residency valid, until you qualify for permanent residency. Especially if you plan to relocate there on a more permanent basis.
Permanent residence permit has a validity of 5 years and is renewable. After 5 years of residency, you become eligible for citizenship. The process to obtain citizenship takes about 2 years. You will have to do an interview, have a good Spanish level and knowledge of Chilean culture.
Last but not least: Chile is corruption free but, in return, there are extensive bureaucratic checks, so the procedures and visa issuance may take time. Just be patient. A retirement visa usually takes between 2 and 10 months, depending on your situation and where you apply.
Frequently asked questions about the Chilean retirement visa
Can I get the Chilean nationality with my retirement visa, without renouncing my current nationality?
Yes. Dual citizenship is recognized in Chile. After 5 years living in Chile t using your retirement visa, you can apply for the Chilean nationality. You need to spend at least 180 days each year in Chile, during 5 years, if you want to apply for the citizenship.
Does Chile prohibit citizens of certain countries to apply for a retirement visa in Chile?
No. Chile has no rules prohibiting citizens of certain countries to apply for a retirement visa. Yet, additional documents are required for some countries. Furthermore, a criminal background check is also performed and you may be denied your retirement visa if you have committed crimes in the past.
Shall I know Spanish language to obtain a retirement visa in Chile?
No. Mastering Spanish language is not required to get a visa in Chile, especially for a retirement visa in which you demonstrate that you have enough income to live (and thus no need to master Spanish to find a job). Yet, having a certain level of knowledge of Spanish is always good for your application. Indeed, it shows that you can sort things out on your own in case of problem.
Do I need to visit to Chile to get a retirement visa?
Yes and No. You do not necessarily need to visit Chile to get a visa. It is possible to apply for a retirement visa outside Chile, through any Chilean consulate abroad. You can be required to travel if there is no Chilean consulate in your country. In some situations, or for certain types a visa, a visit to Chile might be required, or strongly recommended.
Do I need to be a pensioner or retired person in my country to apply for this visa?
No. This visa is open to any person able to justify a recurring income. You do not need to be officially retired in your own country.
Do I have to go to an interview with Chilean immigration department during the visa procedure?
Yes and No. If you apply for your visa while in Chile, there is no interview. If you apply outside Chile, the consulate can request you to come for an interview. It is especially the case in countries with lots of people willing to immigrate.
Does Chile immigration department requests a minimum income level to grant a retirement visa?
No. There is no official requirement regarding income level. From our experience, we recommend income level between USD 1,000 and USD 1,500, for each person of the family relocating in Chile. A lump sum can be another option, especially useful for pensioners selling their assets abroad before relocating to Chile.
Do I need to live in Chile all the time when I get a retirement visa?
No. You are not required to live in Chile all year round. When you get your temporary residency, you need to be there at least 180 days during the first year. When you get a permanent residency, the required amount of days drop to a few days only.
Do you have more questions regarding the retirement visa for Chile? Contact us if you need assistance to get your visa application ready. We are used to deal with it.