RUT and RUN : two ID numbers to know

If you spend some 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 really is.

What is the RUT?

The RUT is 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 when the Registro Civil issues your ID card.

This number is required for a lot of administrative steps (nonexhaustive 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 license
  • To collect your loyalty points in most shops
  • To register a Chilean internet domain name (.cl)

Note: it is not necessary 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 actually talk about RUN. Let’s see the difference

RUT is the acronym of Rol Único Tributario, and RUN the acronym Rol Único Nacional. The RUT is thus your Chilean tax ID number, while the RUN is your civil register ID number.

The numero which is at the bottom left of your ID is then your RUN.

Why do people mix up both then?

It’s quite easy to understand. It is simply because for an individual person, Chilean or foreigner living in Chile, RUT and RUN are identical.

Does this mean that to complete all steps above-mentioned, you need to wait for your visa, the registration with PDI, and the ID card? No, you can get a temporary RUT issued by the Chilean tax services. That’s why the difference between RUN and RUT is important to understand.

Get a temporary RUT: why and how?

If you are in Chile with a tourist visa, you don’t yet have an ID card, nor RUN/RUT.
Yet, if in the meantime you need to complete one of the following things before being 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
  • Legally work as a freelance in Chile (ie. Being able to issue bills to your clients)

How to obtain it?

You can get a temporary RUT by going to the tax services (SII). You just need to go to the office near where you live and ask for form 4415. Or you can also download and print it online (http://www.sii.cl/formularios/imagen/F4415_1.pdf). Bring also your passport and a copy of it!
For more information: http://www.sii.cl/documentos/circulares/2014/circu31.pdf
Don’t forget to ask for “una clave secreta” (secret key) at the information desk. You will need this key to connect to your member area on sii.cl if you have to do other steps (like inicio de actividades)
Pay attention
1) This temporary RUT usually starts with 48 and is given to you on a plastic card of the tax services. 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:

  • Open a cuentaRUT
  • Subscribe to a phone/internet plan

2) Once you get your ID card with your RUN/RUT, you need to come back to the tax services to register “a continuacion de RUT”. This means telling the tax authority: all salaries I have earned using my temporary RUT should be now linked to my real RUT. Otherwise, you may have to do two tax declarations. They will not understand, and that’s when troubles start.

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 health insurance (FONASA or ISAPRE, see our dedicated page). That’s possible without ID card.

You need to tell the health insurance that you do not yet have a Chilean ID card. They generate a temporary number allowing you to start contributing. This number does not have any legal value. Yet, you can still try to use it for other purposes. Several persons have had success doing this… yet it is not very recommendable as 3 to 4 months later, you will need to update it, once you get your ID.

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