21/12/2018, updated 20/10/2023
Are you looking to retire in Chile? Do you need more information on the 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 a Chilean retirement visa?
In this article, we detail why Chile is an excellent 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 in?
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 can admire a great diversity of landscapes, from the driest desert in the world in the north to the glaciers of Patagonia in the south. 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 in Chile is well-developed and affordable 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 lovely house with a small garden or an apartment in a secure gated community, as you prefer. Moreover, the city has a vast expatriate community.
- The economic and political situation: Chile is the most corruption-free and stable country in Latin America, both politically and economically, and is part of the OECD. Besides, the security level is the highest among Latin American countries.
- The health system: as a foreign pensioner in Chile, you have access to health insurance systems, public or private, just like Chileans. Indeed, some countries have international agreements with Chile regarding healthcare.
What is a retirement visa in Chile?
A retirement visa is one of Chile's types of temporary residence visas. It allows you to live for one or two years in Chile, the proper visa for any pensioner or retired person willing to live in Chile. Yet, you can still work in Chile if you need to.
The retirement visa is one of the most commonly granted visas to live in Chile.
Who can apply for a retirement visa in Chile?
You do not necessarily need to be retired to apply for a retirement visa. This visa was previously called "Chile Retirement and Periodic Income Visa" and is now known as "Retirement/Rentista Visa". This visa allows you to work, start a business, and invest in Chile. But, of course, you can also enjoy your retirement if you choose to do so!
By rentier (rentista), the Chile immigration service includes individuals with a recurring income generated by financial investments or real estate. Therefore, the definition is rather broad. Yet, the immigration service does not include remote workers/freelancers in this definition.
Contrary to the investor visa that comes with strict requirements regarding your investment in Chile, you can get a retirement visa more easily. Furthermore, you do not need to reside in Chile or visit the country to invest or own a business there. Thus, the retirement visa may be an attractive alternative if you want to start a business in Chile.
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 for this visa. You need to justify a source of recurring income and sufficient assets to support yourself and your family in Chile. Among the documents that the Chilean Immigration service accepts are pensions, rent generated by real estate properties you own, or income generated by financial investments.
There is no official requirement as far as income level is concerned. However, a good rule of thumb is that an applicant should be able to demonstrate a recurring monthly income between USD 1,000 and USD 1,500 for the principal visa applicant and an extra USD 500 per person who relocates with him (spouse, children, or parents). This sum is enough to live a middle-class lifestyle in almost every part of Chile.
To apply, you need to provide the following documents:
- Copy of your passport
- Proof of recurring income based on your current situation
- Background check from your country of origin as well as from the country where you have been living during the last five years
If you have family members who are relocating with you, you may be required to send additional documents, such as:
- Original or certified copy of marriage certificate
- Original or certified copy of the birth certificate of your dependents
- Support letter
How to obtain a retirement visa in Chile?
- You shall gather all required documents
- You must apply online on the website of the immigration service, before coming to Chile. Chile no longer authorizes applications from tourists in Chile for retirement visas.
- Once you receive your temporary retirement visa, you can relocate to Chile.
- After arriving, you need to register with the civil register in Chile to get a Chilean ID card. Don't delay: you have 30 days to book an appointment.
Can I apply for permanent residency with a retirement visa?
After spending some time in Chile (2 years or more, based on your situation), you can apply for a permanent residency visa, provided that 1) you still meet the income requirement and 2) you have spent enough time in Chile.
Permanent residence is indefinitely valid unless you leave Chile for over two years. Your Chilean ID card is valid for only five years, and you must renew it in Chile. After five years of residency, you become eligible for citizenship. The process to obtain citizenship takes about 2-3 years. You will have to do an interview and demonstrate a decent Spanish level and knowledge of Chilean culture.
Frequently asked questions about the Chilean retirement visa
Yes, if your origin country allows dual citizenship. Chile recognizes dual citizenship. After five years in Chile using your retirement visa and then permanent residency, you can apply for Chilean nationality. It usually takes two to three years to obtain it.
No. Chile has no rules prohibiting citizens of certain countries from applying for a retirement visa. Yet, a criminal background check is required. The immigration service may deny your retirement visa if you have committed severe crimes.
No. Mastering the Spanish language is not required to get a visa in Chile, especially for a retirement visa, where you demonstrate that you have enough income to live (and no need to master Spanish to find a job). Yet, having a certain level of knowledge of Spanish is always suitable for your application. Indeed, it shows that you can sort things out independently in case of a problem. Furthermore, it will be required if you plan to apply for citizenship.
Not at the start. All the visa application process is performed online before coming to Chile. So, you do not necessarily need to visit Chile to get a visa. It is possible to apply for a retirement visa outside Chile. You can be required to travel if there is no Chilean consulate in your country and you need to legalize documents or if they want you to come to an appointment before granting you the 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.
Most probably, No. You might be requested to come for an interview at the consulate. Yet, if your visa application is detailed enough, and you supply documents that explain your project and assets, it is unlikely that they will request an interview.
Yes. Yet, there is no official requirement regarding the amount of income. From our experience, we recommend an income level between USD 1,000 and USD 1,500 for the principal applicant and USD 500 extra for each additional family member relocating to Chile. A lump sum was an another option, especially for pensioners selling their assets abroad before relocating to Chile. Yet, since the new immigration law of February 2022, they have restricted this option. Contact us for more information if you are in this case.
No. You are not required to live in Chile all year round. Since the immigration law of February 2022, there is no minimum amount of time to spend in Chile (It used to be six months). Yet, if you want to apply for permanent residency/citizenship, not living in Chile can delay these applications.
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