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Chile Relocation and Retirement Articles
passports_tnIn order to immigrate to Chile, start with what you want to do. Are you just living in Chile for a few months a year? Do you plan to simply retire and do nothing in Chile? Are you coming to Chile to start a business? Do you have family members? How many months of the year do you plan to be in Chile? Many other countries in Latin America will simply take your relocation money, and not ask any questions. Chile wants to know why you want to relocate.

First things first. For almost every type of visa you must first come to Chile as a tourist, then change. The Chilean embassies may tell you different, but the immigration office in Chile will have the last say. If you start the process incorrectly, and it results in your rejection, it can be very difficult to undo. Our advice is to seek help, for anything but the most basic visas.

Chile Tourist visa

The first place to start is the Tourist Visa in Chile. This is almost certainly the way you will first enter Chile. There are many people that live in Chile just fine for years on a tourist visa; however, after a while it can become inconvenient as it must be renewed and it also bars you from contracting certain services. There are also special cases of people from certain countries that must constantly pay reciprocity fees at the airport each time they enter Chile. For them, getting off the tourist visa would be a top priority.

That said, you can get a lot done with just a tourist visa. For example, you can by real estate or property in Chile or buy vehicle in Chile. All you need is to apply at an IRS office for your RUT or Tax payer Id number. The tourist visa is also well suited to people that simply plan to be in Chile for a couple of months a year. When you are ready to apply for other types of visas, you can switch visas at the Chilean Immigration office in Chile.

Please keep in mind that owning property or real estate in Chile does not entitle you to residency. It may help later when you apply in as far as it proves that you have means to survive in Chile, but by itself gives you no right to a permanent residency. The same can be said for your IRS rut number. The RUT (sometimes called a RUN), is just a tax payer id number. Again, the taxes you pay in Chile may help you prove income for immigration purposes, but does not entitle you to residency in Chile.

A tourist visa in Chile is for the most part only for three months, and then it must be renewed. You can however renew your tourist visa indefinitely.

Chile Work Visa

This is the second most common type of temporary visa in Chile. This is fairly easy to get for most people and for most jobs, as long as you have an employment contract. Generally to get this you would simply enter Chile as a tourist, find a job, and then apply for your a work visa. As soon as you apply, you can legally work in Chile.

Businesses in Chile, if they hire you, are required to sponsor your work visa application. If a company tells you that you do not need a work visa to work for them, they are breaking the law. You can be deported, prohibited from obtaining a new visa. In addition to violating Chilean immigration laws, it might potentially place both you and your employer in violation of the tax laws in Chile. This is a common problem among English schools in Chile that fail to handle their employee work visas correctly. Reputable companies will not have a problem with helping you get your work visa. For the most part, a work visa is simply done by sending an application by mail. Send it certified mail, and keep your receipt as proof that you sent it until you get your official authorization.

Chile Business or Investment Visa

We get a lot of people that come to Chile to start a business under the mistaken impression that this is the easiest route to permanent residency. It is not. Many mistakenly believe that they can start a "business" (wink, wink) simply to get residency. This is not true. Chile is well wired. The IRS knows all and sees all in the Chilean economy.

The immigration department will issue fairly easily a business / investor visa for the first year. Where most loose there visa is in the second year, because they need to prove that they are a real viable business. You can not cook the books. You need a a real business plan.  Find professional help to apply for this type of visa.  You will need an attorney, an accountant, and a tax expert to get started with applying for a business visa in Chile.

Chile Retirement visa

This is for most people wishing to relocate to Chile likely the path of least resistance for obtaining permanent residency in Chile. Currently we are told by the public relations department of the Chilean immigration office that they are processing these sorts of Visas in approximately three months. This will likely very depending on your situation, which Chilean immigration office you apply to, and other factors. You still must go through the standard procedures of one year temporary residency, proving that you have sufficient funds to live in Chile, and submitting your paper work.

We will examine this process in more detail in future articles in this series about immigratiing or retiring in Chile..we will look at some of the common pitfalls, where to apply, what sort of documents you will need to immigrate to Chile, and the procedures you will need to follow both before you obtain your Chilean residency and after. We will also look at some of the benefits and obligations that go with being a permanent resident in Chile.

Recommended Articles on Law and Immigration in Chile:
Chile Retirment and Periodic Income Visa

Chile Notaries and Powers of Attorney