Visas in Chile: Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about a visa for Chile. You may find the answer here. If not, send us a short! email and we’ll try to help if we have the answer.

Frequently Asked Questions by tourists in Chile

Who is considered a tourist by the Chilean immigration department?

Tourists are all foreigners who enter the country for recreation, sports, health, studies, family, religious or similar purposes. The following categories are not considered tourists: people willing to immigrate / stay in Chile, or people realizing remunerated activities.

All tourists may be requested to prove that they have sufficient financial means to survive during their stay in the country. Failing to do so can lead to being denied entry to the country.

What documents must I submit to enter Chile as a tourist?

To enter Chile, you need a valid passport, which must be presented to the International Police when arriving in the country. Most countries have agreements with Chile so that you obtain your visa for free automatically while arriving at the border.
In some rare cases, you need 1) to formally apply for a tourist visa, or 2) pay a reciprocity fee on arrival. Yet, this is very specific to a small number of countries.

To be noted: citizens from the following countries can enter Chile as tourists without passport, only with a valid National Identity Document: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Yet, if they wish to apply later for a temporary residence visa while being in Chile, their passport will be required.

While traveling with a child, what documents are required for him/her to enter Chile as a tourist?

a) If the child is traveling accompanied by both parents, the following documents are required:

  • Passport or current National Identity Document depending on the country of origin.
  • Original birth certificate or family notebook, plus three photocopies.

b) If the child is traveling accompanied only by one of their parents, the following documents are required:

  • Valid passport or national identity document, depending on the country of origin (see question above).
  • Original birth certificate or family book, plus three photocopies.
  • Original authorization of the parent who does not travel, signed in front of a notary, giving his consent for the departure of the minor, or the authorization of the corresponding family court, plus three photocopies.
  • Original death certificate, in case one of the parents is deceased, plus three photocopies.

c) If the minor does not travel accompanied by his parents, the following documents are required:

  • Valid passport or national identity document, depending on the country of origin (see question above).
  • Original birth certificate or family book, plus three photocopies.
  • Original authorization of both parents, signed in front of a notary, giving their consent for the departure of the child, plus three photocopies.
  • Original death certificate, in case one or both parents are deceased, plus three photocopies.
  • Original authorization of the corresponding family court, giving consent for the trip of the child, plus three photocopies.

In the case of children residing in Chile with their parents, the authorization simply needs to be signed in front of a notary. It is not necessary to legalize at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the travel authorizations for minors who leave the country without their parents, except if the minor is going to settle abroad.

Is there any procedure to perform, or any authorization to request before entering Chile as a tourist?

For most countries, no visa or prior authorization is required to enter Chile as a tourist. However, for residents of some countries, an authorization is requested, known as tourist visa, which must be requested at any consulate of Chile abroad.

If you wish to travel to Chile as tourist, contact the Chilean consulate of your country of residence to learn about the requirements to enter the country.

How long can I stay in Chile as a tourist?

The normal allowed period is 90 days from the date of entry into the country. However, the immigration or police departments may exceptionally limit the stay of the tourist for a shorter period. This will be indicated on the stamp in your passport or tourist card.

What should I do if I want to extend my stay as a tourist in Chile?

You can:

  • Request an extension of your tourist visa: if the immigration or police department limited your stay to a period of less than 90 days, you can ask for an extension up to 90 days (including your initial allowed stay). This procedure exempt from payment.
  • Request a renewal of your tourist visa: this is the standard case for most tourists, when you want to stay more than 90 days. You can ask to renew your tourist visa for an additional period of 90 days. This procedure must be done within the last 30 days of validity of the tourist visa. The amount to be paid is the equivalent in Chilean pesos of USD 100.

Both procedures can be carried out at the Immigration department in Santiago (appointment is necessary) or at the regional administration (Gobernación Provincial) of each province.

What should I do if my tourist visa has expired and I need to leave Chile?

You must go to the Department of Immigration of Santiago or the regional administration to apply the penalty and be granted the authorization that will allow you to leave the country (appointment is necessary).

As a tourist, can I work in Chile?

Yes. You must request a special work permit for tourists, valid only for 30 days, whose cost depends on your nationality (it is 150% of the cost of a standard work permit). It is called Permiso de Trabajo con Turista, or Permiso PET.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding temporary visa in Chile

What is a temporary residence visa, or temporary visa in Chile?

It is a temporary authorization (for a determined period) to live in Chile and perform any activity authorized by law.

Can I apply for a Chile temporary visa from abroad?

Yes. You can apply at any Chilean consulate, either in your country of origin or in another country. Be aware that not all type of temporary residence visa may be available.

What are the types of temporary residence visa in Chile?

There are four types of temporary residence:
1) Work Visa: this visa allows you to live in Chile and to work exclusively with the employer who signed the work contract. It has a duration of up to two years and can be extended indefinitely. Yet, after two continuous years with this visa, the permanent residency can be requested. If you or your employer terminates the employment contract, the visa terminates immediately. If you are changing job, you must therefore apply for a renewal of the visa, with the new contract, enough in advance.

2) Temporary Visa: this visa allows you to live and perform any activity authorized by law. It has a duration of up to one year, and is renewable for only one more year, after which, you must request the permanent residency or leave the country. They are a lot of visa categories:

  • “Family reunification”: if you have a family link with Chilean or foreigner already having Permanent Residency
  • Priest / clergyman
  • Retirees or people with recurring foreign income
  • Investors and business owners
  • Former residents (foreigners whose residence in Chile has expired)
  • Children of a non-resident foreigner (foreigner not living in Chile)
  • Professionals and experienced technicians
  • Workers with Chilean contract
  • Workers paid abroad
  • Journalists or media professionals
  • Pregnant women and/or people undertaking a medical treatment
  • Nationals from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay
  • Civil union

3) Student Visa: this visa allows students to study in educational establishments recognized by Chile. It lasts up to one year, or until the duration of the scholarship for those who have one. It is extendable until the end of the studies, and then allows to postulate the Permanent Residency.
4) Refugee / political asylum: For foreigners whose life is in danger.

What are the requirements to obtain a temporary residence visa in Chile?

There are specific requirements for each type of Temporary visa. The major criteria for Chile to grant a temporary residence, is to be sure that you have recurring income, or a lump sum of money allowing you to live in Chile upon arrival, while you are looking for a job, creating your company, studying…

There are no fixed requirements regarding income. Contact us for more information.

What is the cost of a temporary visa in Chile?

It depends on the nationality of the applicant. See our page Cost of visa in Chile.

If I have a family relationship with a Chilean, what type of temporary visa should I request?

You can apply for a temporary visa for “Family reunification” (they don’t call it like this, but it is for you to get the meaning) if you have a first-grade family link with a Chilean citizen, which means, if you are:

  • father or mother a Chilean citizen,
  • spouse of a Chilean citizen,
  • child of a Chilean citizen.

When my temporary visa is approved, am I automatically allowed to work in Chile?

No, you need to complete a few extra procedures. The visa only enables to work once it is stamped in the passport. Once done, you have 30 days to register with police department and civil register, to get your Chilean identity card. Most employers will refuse to employ you without this document, as they need the card number to pay social contributions.

To be noted:

  • the visa only enables its holder to work and get paid. The dependents (spouse, parents, children) are not allowed to work and get an income.
  • if you wish to work while your temporary/work visa is pending (en tramite), you must apply for a special work permit for applicants with a pending visa. The cost is 50% of the Visa Subject to Contract according to the corresponding nationality.

Can I work in Chile with a student visa?

You can only work under two circumstances: 1) when performing the professional practice corresponding to your studies and/or 2) when this work is necessary to pay for your studies.

If I had an employment contract which has been terminated, what should I do?

  • If you had a work visa subject to a contract, it expires automatically. You have 30 days from the end of the contract to regularize your situation by applying for a new temporary residence visa. The process may take more than 30 days, but as your Chilean Id card number does not change, you may not be too affected.
  • If you had a temporary visa, student visa or permanent residency, your situation is not affected

What are my rights as a foreign worker in Chile?

As a general rule, you have the same rights as any Chilean worker, except for specific exceptions ordered by law, such as:

  • limitations to work for a public administration or government agency
  • required compliance with the 15% limit of foreign workers in Chilean companies.

What is the cost of visa / permanent residency in Chile?

It depends on the type of visa / work permit that you request, as well as of your nationality. See our page Cost of visas in Chile.

Once I have obtained my work / temporary visa, or permanent residency, what should I do?

Within 30 days after receiving your visa you must:

  • register your visa at the international police department: go to the nearest international police office, presenting the passport in which your visa was stamped by the immigration department.
  • request your Chilean identity card: go to the nearest civil registry office. It may take more than 30 days to receive it, but as long as you have performed both procedures within 30 days from receiving your visa, you are good to go.

From November 2018, you must request an appointment before going.

I have a work visa subject to a contract and I change of employer, but the new employer belongs to the same holding company than the previous one. Do I have to change my visa?

If the contract is not terminated but amended, you must only communicate in writing the change to the immigration department. If the contract is terminated and a new one is issued, you must request a visa renewal within 30 days from the date of termination of the initial contract.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding permanent residency in Chile

What is the permanent residency in Chile? What rights do I have?

It is the permission to settle indefinitely in Chile, and perform any legal activity.

How long must I reside in Chile to request permanent residency?

  • With a work visa subject to contract: two uninterrupted years.
  • With a temporary visa: one year.
  • With a student visa: two years and you must have completed your studies

What is the deadline to request the permanent residency?

Within 90 days before the expiration of your temporary visa

What is the cost of permanent residency?

40% of the minimum income in Chile. The spouses of Chilean citizens and minors do not pay. More information on our page Cost of visas in Chile

Once I receive the Certificate of permanent residency, what should I do?

1. Register your permanent residency at the international police department: go to the nearest international police office. You must bring with you:

  • Valid passport.
  • Certificate of permanent residency.

2. Register to the civil register to obtain your updated identity card: go to the nearest Civil Registry office. You must bring with you:

  • Valid passport.
  • Registration card received during step 1 at the international police department.
  • Certificate of permanent residency.

How long can I stay out of Chile without losing my permanent residency?

One year uninterrupted. After that period, the permanent residency is revoked. However, within 60 days before the expiration date, you may request a one-year extension at any Chilean consulate. A maximum of four successive extensions may be granted. This is useful if you plan to live outside Chile a few years. You can also come and spend a few days on a yearly basis.

When do I lost my permanent residency?

  • By revocation, for committing any of the actions of articles 65 and 66 of the immigration law and / or articles 139 and 140 of the immigration regulation.
  • By tacit revocation: for staying out of the country for more than one year without interruption without requesting an extension

How many successive extensions of permanent residency can be requested?

Four extensions. After that, you need to come back at least a few days in Chile.

Does permanent residency last forever or should it be renewed at some time?

It lasts forever, unless it is revoked. Yet, be aware that the Chilean Identity card only lasts 5 years, and this card must therefore be renewed.

What can I do after obtaining the permanent residency?

Once you have completed 5 years of residence in Chile (not only the permanent residency, your years with a work / temporary visa counts), you can apply for the Chilean nationality.

Can I renounce the permanent residency?

No. But you can let it expire after one year.

What is the deadline to request the reconsideration of a request for permanent residency that was rejected?

Within three days of notification of the rejection decision.

How many times can it be reconsidered?

Just once

What should I do if I lose my permanent residency certificate?

You must request a duplicate. All the documentation must be sent by mail, to the immigration department in Santiago. If you live outside of the metropolitan region, you can go directly to the regional administration of the region.

What is the maximum time that I can remain without a visa, to be able to apply for a permanent residency, and to comply with the requirement of the 2 consecutive years?

Up to 90 days, counted from the date of the end of a visa and the date of application for the new visa.

How many employer changes are allowed when I have a work visa subject to contract?

There is no limit to the number of employers you can have, as long as you properly and timely request the change at the immigration department level.

As a student, when can I apply for permanent residency in Chile?

Students can apply when they:

  • Have completed their professional or secondary education.
  • Have resided for two years with a student visa.
  • Have economic support. This must be demonstrated with bank deposits, rental contracts, shares, etc.

Are there any restrictions to travel outside Chile while the permanent residency process is pending?

No

Can dependents request permanent residency, even when the holder leaves the country?

Yes. For this you must start a normal process, and accredit income: work contract, tickets, initiation of activities, VAT payments, shares, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Chilean nationality

What are the requirements to apply for Chilean nationality?

  • Be over 18 years old, or 14 if you have the authorization of your parents / legal tutor
  • More than 5 years of residence in the country
  • Hold a valid Permanent residency
  • Not have been convicted, nor be currently prosecuted for any crime
  • Demonstrate means of subsistence (salaries, passive income, lump sum of money)

Can children of foreigners qualify for Chilean nationality?

Yes, except for:

  • Children of foreigners who are in Chile at the service of their Government
  • Children of non-resident foreigners.

What documents must I have to apply for Chilean nationality?

  • Application for a nationalization letter: It must be submitted within the deadline of one year, counted from the time the applicant reaches 21 years of age.
  • Photocopy of the certificate of permanent residency or Chilean identity card for foreigners, if you reside in Chile.
  • Chilean birth certificate, when applicable.

Do you have to pay any right to opt for nationality?

Yes. $20,692 for foreigners, and $4,138 if you have a link with a Chilean.

When I become a Chilean citizen, do I lose my nationality of origin?

No, Chile accepts dual citizenship with all countries. Yet, some countries may not allow dual citizenship. You need to check this before.

Who is prevented from applying for citizenship in Chile?

  • Those who have been convicted and those who are currently prosecuted for crimes.
  • Those who are not able to make a living.
  • Those who propagate doctrines that may disturb the social or political regime, or that may affect national security.
  • Those who engage in illicit work, or who have an offensive behavior, and, in general, foreigners whose nationalization is not deemed appropriate for reasons of national security.

Frequently Asked Questions about immigration fines in Chile

What kind of infractions can be committed?

There are three types of infractions:

  • Staying in Chile with an expired visa (tourist, work, temporary… any type of visa) or expired temporary residency.
  • Working without permission. Both the foreigner and the employer granting the work might be sanctioned.
  • Not registering with police department or or obtain an identity card within 30 days of granting the residence or permanent stay.

What is the value of the sanctions or fines?

It depends on the type of infraction, its duration, if there are previous sanctions and if there is a report from the International Police.

How do I know the amount I have to pay? Where should I pay a penalty or fine?

There are three steps to perform:

  • You must go personally to the immigration department of Santiago or to the regional administration and an official will determine the amount of your sanction, and will give you a document.
  • With this document, go to any bank to request a bank check (vale vista), to be paid to the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security.
  • Once you get the check, return to the office where your fine was calculated to deliver the bank voucher, and you will be given a copy of your sanction and proof of payment.

Once this process is completed, you have 10 days to leave the country, or to send your documentation to apply for a visa. Be sure to have all the documents ready before paying the fine, otherwise you will have to return and pay again.

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