Guide on Resident Visas for Chile

**This article is part of an original series of expat resources we contributed to the Chile Pages, read the original here.
Procedures, requirements and all information related to Chilean visas and legally living in Chile.

Residents have 2 choices to acquire a Chilean Visa:

  • Apply at your nearest Embassy or Consulate
  • Enter as a tourist and apply for a visa through el Departamento de Extranjeria y Migracion

Types of Visas:

  • Tourist
  • Resident
  • Flight Attendants

Required Documents:

***Different visas have additional and particular documents. Below is a general list of the common documents.
  • Visa Application
  • Photocopies of valid passport picture page
  • Recent, color photos (3X2 cm.), with full name and passport number
  • Photocopy of your last, valid Tourist Card
  • Prove economic sustenance
  • Certificado de Registro
  • Birth or Marriage certificates if you are a dependent
  • Other additional, requested documents explaining your stay in Chile, etc.

Recommended Steps:

Step 1: Prepare Application

Once you figure out which visa best suits you, gather the required documents. If you are legalizing and translating documents, take into consideration how long this could take with the respective institutions – likely to be through public institutions, so add some wiggle room.
If you are looking for work in Chile, check off the box on the application to receive a work permit while your visa is processed.
Step 2: Send Application
Send and expect to receive a response in 30 days.
Step 3: Notifications
Your application will be entered into a database, processed and reviewed (en tramite) which can take an additional 30-60 days to complete.
You will be notified via mail or SMS, but luckily you may also check the status online.
Step 4: Payment
Once approved, you’ll receive a bill paid at any bank or through ServiEstado.
Step 5: Departamento de Exptranjeria y Migracion
There are daily horror stories of people arriving at the wee hours of the morning when no other souls are roaming the streets just line up or camp out. It’s not necessary, but it is highly recommended to get there early or make an appointment if in Santiago!
Step 6: Register your Visa and Obtain Chilean ID
Last steps! See our guide here: Chilean ID Card

Renewing your Visa

  • Applications must be sent with 30-90 days anticipation
  • Keep copies! You will most likely present the same documents, some may require updates. The application and process is the same. Yes, unfortunately that includes going to the PDI and Registro Civil for your ID, but you’ll be a veteran by then.

Changing Visa Status

  • Getting the visa subject to work contract can be a catch 22 – requiring a work contract for the visa and, usually, a visa for a work contract. You must also work for the employer listed on your visa to maintain and renew it. If you have a new employer, a new visa application is required.
  • It is best to change the status of your visa to temporary residency once you acquire the visa subject to contract.


  • Visa fees by country
  • Obtaining the work permit with your visa in process is 50% of your visa cost.

Helpful Tips

  • The application process averages 3 months.
  • Expect to wait 2-4 hours at Extranjeria after it officially opens. Make an appointment in Santiago!
  • If you’re really determined to run a tramites marathon day, you may stamp your visa, register it and apply for your ID all before 2pm. Have faith, it has been done.

On Obtaining Definitive Visas

  • Temporary residents: complete a year as a resident, without being absent from Chile for more than 180 days.
  • Subject to work contract: complete two years under this visa.
  • Student visas: complete two years under this visa and present your college or high school diploma.

Legalizing Education Certificates

You need:
  • Original or notarized copy of the document(s)
  • Document(s) must be certified and stamped by appropriate authorities from your country
  • If abroad, documents must be legalized by your local Chilean Consulate
  • If in Chile, documents must be legalized by el Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
  • ALL documents must be legally translated into Spanish (more information here)

Links & More information

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