14/10/2016, updated 15/06/2023
If you spend time in Chile, you will hear about the acronym RUT at some point during your stay. Let's have a look at what this RUT is.
What is the RUT/RUN?
The RUT is a 8 or 9-digit number. It's your ID number in Chile. It is unique and never changes, even if you renew your ID card.
You obtain one automatically the first time the Registro Civil issues your ID card.
Many administrative procedures require this number (non-exhaustive list):
- To buy/sell a flat or a house
- To buy/sell a car
- To issue bills as freelance
- To open a bank account
- To open a phone/internet line
- To get the Chilean driving license
- To collect your loyalty points in most shops
- To register a Chilean internet domain name (.cl)
Note: it is unnecessary for tourists, except if you want to buy/sell a car. In this case, see below the section temporary RUT.
What is the difference between RUT and RUN?
Most people who mention RUT talk about RUN. Let's see the difference.
RUT is the acronym for Rol Único Tributario, and RUN is for Rol Único Nacional. The RUT is your Chilean tax ID number, while the RUN is your Civil Register ID number. The numero at the bottom left of your ID is your RUN.
Why do people mix up both RUT and RUN, then?
It is easy to understand. It is simply because RUT and RUN are identical for a person, Chilean, or foreigner living in Chile.
Does this mean that you must wait for your visa and Chilean ID card to complete all the procedures mentioned above? No, you can get a temporary RUT issued by the Chilean tax services. That is why the difference between RUN and RUT is essential to understand.
If you need to find the name of a person using his RUT number, or if you need to find the RUT of a person using his name, there are several sites that exist that allows you to do that. The most commonly used are Rut y Firma, and the Rutificador Chile.
Get a temporary RUT: why and how?
If you are in Chile with a tourist visa, you do not yet have an ID card, nor RUN/RUT. Yet, if, in the meantime, you need to complete one of the following things before being an official resident, this is possible with a temporary RUT:
- Buy a car,
- Buy some land/a flat/a house,
- Create a company or invest in a company.
How to obtain it?
You must be "sponsored" by a Chilean or a foreign resident in Chile to apply for a RUT, who will be your legal representative with the tax authority. Therefore, you shall ask a Chilean citizen or a foreigner who is a permanent resident to apply on your behalf. You will have to sign him a power of attorney at the notary.
Expat.cl provides a temporary RUT service. We apply on your behalf, including the last step of merging your temporary RUT with your Chilean ID RUN, once you get it (see below). Feel free to contact us if you want more information.
This temporary RUT usually starts with 48, and the tax authority will send it by email to the person who applies on your behalf. This is not a Chilean ID card. Therefore, for all administrations/companies that want a copy of your Chilean ID, this RUT will not help. For example, it will NOT allow you to:
- Open a cuentaRUT
- Subscribe to a phone/internet plan
Once you get your ID card with your RUN, you need to contact the tax authority to register "a continuacion de RUT", which consists in merging your temporary RUT with the RUN on your Chilean ID card. This means telling the tax authority: everything that I have done with my temporary RUT (buying a car/property, paying contributinos) should be now linked to my resident RUN. This will prevent you from having problems when you file your tax return.
Temporary RUN: Useful?
Contrary to the tax authority, the civil register does not issue temporary RUN.
Yet, if you need to start working with your work permit (which you can get before the Chilean ID card), you need to obtain a local health insurance in Chile (FONASA or ISAPRE). That is possible without ID card.
You shall tell the health insurance that you do not yet have a Chilean ID card. Then, they will generate a temporary number allowing you to start contributing. However, this number does not have any legal value. Yet, you can still try to use it for other purposes. Yet, it is not very recommendable as, after 3 to 4 months, you will need to update it once you get your ID.
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