27/07/2019, updated 15/06/2023
What is a work visa in Chile?
A work visa is an administrative authorization allowing a foreign citizen to work in Chile legally.
What are the different types of work visas in Chile?
Chile is interested in attracting skilled foreign workers, so several types of work visas exist and are more or less challenging to obtain.
The most granted work visa in Chile is the "subject to contract" visa, which allows foreigners to live in Chile and work with an employment contract signed only by a Chilean company.
You must apply for this visa online before coming to Chile. Since the 2022 immigration law, filing a visa application after arriving in Chile with a tourist visa is no longer possible. The subject-to-contract visa is valid for one or two years, renewable.
You are eligible for this visa only if you already have a signed employment contract or a signed offer. Moreover, you cannot start working until the immigration service formally receives your documents and grants you a work visa.
This visa also allows the worker's family (spouse and children) to settle in Chile, provided you have the financial means to take care of them.
Since the 2022 immigration law, if one of the parties decides to rescind the contract, this visa no longer expires automatically. If you terminate your contract or decide to change jobs, you no longer need to inform the immigration service.
Temporary investor visa
If you come to work in Chile on behalf of a foreign company while remaining an employee of the foreign company, the procedure is more complex. In that case, you must apply for a specific investor visa.
Following the 2022 immigration law, the Investment Agency is in charge of reviewing investment projects to decide whether an investor visa is appropriate. However, this process involves quite a lot of documents. Therefore, we strongly suggest signing a work contract with the Chilean branch and going with a "subject-to-contract" visa. If not possible, contact us to review the situation and structure of your company to see if your employees qualify for an investor visa.
Multiple-entries permit for business purposes
This permit is for foreigners who need to come to Chile for business but only stay up to six months per calendar year. Ideal, for example, if you are supervising several countries in the region for your company and need to come regularly to Chile but without living here.
Work permit as a tourist
The work permit as a tourist is not a visa but a work permit allowing you to work in Chile as a tourist, renewable as necessary.
This permit fee is 150% of a standard visa fee. Therefore, it is only applicable (from a financial point of view) in rare cases. It is mainly used by foreign companies that need to send employees for a short period in Chile.
The advantage of this permit is that you get a reply in 7-10 days.
What if I want to come and seek work in Chile?
In this situation, the "subject-to-contract" visa does not apply unless your profile is so interesting that the company is ready to sign a contract and wait 3 to 6 months for you to receive your work permit.
Until 2018, you could apply for a visa with a recruitment offer. However, foreigners abused this possibility (issuance of fake recruitment offers), and the immigration service removed it in April 2018.
This option was re-instated in 2022, but:
- applying with a work offer only gives you a 90-day visa, and you must submit a work contract before reaching the 45-day limit
- a strict control of the Chilean company will be performed, to avoid fake offers and fake companies.
Therefore, we only recommend you apply with a job offer when you find a company willing to hire you. If not, the only option available is to apply for a temporary visa. There are more than fifteen temporary visas, which are detailed here.
If you want more information about prices, requirements, and documents to provide to obtain these types of visas, you can read our article about visa requirements in Chile.
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