Work visa for Chile

How to get a work visa in Chile? What are the types of visas and permit that you can use to work in Chile? How long does it take to get a work visa?

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 visa in Chile?

Chile is interested in attracting foreign skilled workers, so there are several types of work visa exist, and are more or less difficult to obtain.

“Subject to contract” visa

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 with a Chilean company.

You must apply for this visa online, before coming to Chile. Since the immigration reform that came into force in 2022, it is no longer possible to apply for a visa after arriving in Chile with a tourist visa. The subject to contract visa is valid for one or two years, renewable.

Please note:

  1. You are eligible for this visa only if you already have a signed employment contract. Moreover, you cannot start working until the immigration service has formally received your documents and granted you a work visa.

  2. This visa also allows the worker’s family (spouse and children) to come to settle in Chile, provided you have the financial means to take care of them.

  3. If one of the parties decides to rescind the contract, the visa expires automatically. From the date of the breach, the worker has 30 days to apply for a new visa or to leave the country.

Temporary 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. You have to apply for a temporary visa.

The 2022 immigration reform did not consider this case initially. The legal context as well as associated requirements are still being clarified. Contact us if you are in this situation.

PET: work permit as a tourist

The work permit as a tourist is not a visa, but a work permit allowing you to work while in Chile as a tourist, renewable as necessary.

This permit costs 150% of a standard work visa. It is therefore only useful 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 of time in Chile. For instance, this is the case of specialists on a technology, or of a particular need to make up for a labor shortage to finish a project, by transferring employees from another subsidiary.

What if I want to come and seek work in Chile?

In this situation, the “subject to contract” visa above-mentioned 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. As this possibility has been abused a lot (issuance of fake recruitment offers), it has been definitively removed. This option has been re-instated in 2022, but:

  • applying with a work offer only gives you a 45-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 as well as fake companies.

Therefore, we do not recommend you to apply with a job offer, unless you found 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 in order to obtain these types of visa, you can read our article about visa requirements in Chile.

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