From Patagonia to the Andes and Chilean Coast Range mountains, Chile regularly draws tourists and foreign nationals alike. If your company is planning to open an office in Chile, you’ll need to find talented employees in the country or relocate some of your current workers. However, all employees from a foreign country must have a work permit in Chile to function legally.
Types of Work Visas in Chile
After obtaining a job offer or work contract in Chile, all foreign employees should request a work visa.
In order to modernize their immigration system, Chile approved a new immigration law in 2020 that was later published in April 2021 and updated in 2022. Under the new law, Chile’s visa categories have been restructured, with previous residence and work permit categories phased out and a new Temporary Residence Visa category with 16 subcategories introduced.
Foreign nationals wanting to reside and work in Chile must now obtain a Temporary Residence Visa. This new visa can be granted for up to two years and can be renewed indefinitely in two-year increments. Available visa subcategories include:
- Permits for foreign workers (employed by a company or self-employed): This visa subcategory for foreign nationals performing remunerated activities in Chile requires a local work contract, job offer (requires a formal work contract to be submitted within 45 days of entering Chile with their visa), or services contract (if they are self-employed) for application. Unlike the previous Work Contract Visa, this visa is no longer tied to the validity of a work contract, and holders can change employers without issues.
- Permits for investors, managers, directors or specialized personnel: Individuals investing at least USD 500,000 in a project can apply for this visa subcategory. This visa requires the submission of a criminal record certificate and a sponsorship letter from the government’s foreign investment promotion agency, InvestChile.
- Permits for seasonal workers: This subcategory is for temporary foreign workers for a period up to six months in a calendar year.
- Permits for foreign executives or directors who regularly travel to Chile for business activities: This multiple entry visa allows foreign executives and directors with businesses interests or investments in Chile, to regularly enter the country, provided that their time in the country does not exceed more than six months in each calendar year.
It is also important to note that under the new work permit, foreign workers cannot be employed and paid by a home company. Under the new law, foreign workers must be employed and paid by a company in Chile, and have a local work contract, job offer, or services contract that reflects that.
Chile is expected to release additional clarifications and guidelines on the new visa categories and associated regulations.
Requirements to Obtain Chile Work Visas
Employees need several documents to get a working visa in Chile, including:
- Copies of a passport that’s valid for at least 12 months from the application
- Proof of legal status in their country of residence
- One colored passport-size picture taken in a studio with a plain white or off-white background
- Copies of their flight itinerary and reservation
- Proof of hotel reservation or accommodation
- Bank statements from the past three months
- A local work contract, job offer, or services contract with a duration longer than three months
- A letter of invitation, if applicable
- A letter explaining all the reasons they’re traveling
Since Chile uses an online visa application service, all documents should be attached in PDF format. They also need certain names based on document type. For example, the flight reservation should be called “YourLastNameFlightReservation.” It’s also a good idea to keep all original documents and bring them to the nearest Chile consulate while obtaining a visa.
Since Chile digitized the application process, anyone looking to get a work permit in the country can apply through the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. After submitting the online application, the individual should visit the closest Chile Consulate to get the visa stamped on their passport.
In some cases, applicants may be allowed to apply in person at a Chilean Consulate or collect their visa in another country. However, the typical application process includes the following steps:
- Starting the online Chile visa application
- Answering all questions
- Attaching electronic copies of all the required documents
- Waiting for the visa to be processed
- Showing up at the consulate or embassy
- Paying the Chilean visa fee once the application is approved
- Obtaining the visa
Other Important Considerations
Visa fees range from $50 to $150 depending on the employee’s nationality and the type of visa they’re applying for. Applicants won’t know how much the visa costs until they submit their online application, but they won’t have to pay the fee upfront. They’ll pay once they pick up their Chile work visa at the Chilean Consulate. During that time, officials will fasten the visa to the employee’s passport, and they can use it to travel to the country within 90 days.
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