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How To Apply for Chilean Permanent Residence Visa

Chile just approved my Permanencia Definitiva or permanent residence yesterday so I thought I’d share the steps you need to take you successfully get your visa. If you’re looking for temporary chilean visa info, check my previous post.

The entire process takes 6-7 months from when you first apply to when it’s granted or denied. They accept english applications, but in my opinion it makes sense to translate everything. If your spanish is bad, pay someone to translate your application.

Step 1 - Review Previous Visa Requirements

You must have already had a temporary visa for at least one year and have spent at least six months of that temporary visa in Chile. If you don’t meet this criteria, you must apply for another temporary visa. You’re only able to apply for a temporary visa twice, after that you must apply for a permanent residence. If you don’t meet the previous visa requirements, the extranjeria tells you you should apply for the permanent residence anyway and then appeal if it’s denied.

Step 2 – Review Application deadlines

You can first apply 90 days before your temporary visa expires. Do this as early as possible to minimize time you have with an expired carnet. More on this later.

Step 3 –  Go to Extranjeria website to pick your visa type

If you have your own business, Inversionista is likely the best one for you, but there are many other options. If you get confused or don’t know which one best fits your criteria, go to extranjeria in person and ask. They were very helpful every time I went and had questions.

Step 4 – Review the requirements.

Here’s the requirements for Inversionista. You can find the rest of the requirements for permanent visas here.

Step 5 – Fill out forms

Download the current Residencia Definitiva document (pdf) from Extranjeria and fill it out.

Step 6 – Get Certificado de Antecedentes from Registro Civil

You can do this online if you’ve already registered in the system or you have to go to a Registro Civil in person.

Step 7 – Get Certificado de Viajes from Policia de Investigaciones (PDI)

This document shows how long you’ve been out of the country during your last visa. Go to PDI offices at Morandé 672. This tramite costs CLP$800 and you usually have to wait at least an hour, sometimes more. It’s open from 830-1400.

Step 8  - Get all your paperwork

  • Copy of both sides of your carnet
  • Copy of certificado de registro. You can use your certificado from last year or pay another CLP$800 from the PDI to get a new one when you’re getting your certificado de viajes.
  • Copy of your passport with all ID pages and any pages with Chilean visas or stamps. I just copied the entire thing.
  • Three 3×2 color photos with your name and rut

Step 9 – Write your personal statement

You need to write a personal statement why you’d like to stay in Chile. I included my resume, everything I’ve done in Chile, any press clippings from Chilean newspapers and my plans to stay in Chile, plus bank information showing that I would not become dependent on the state if they granted me the visa. My packet was about 15 pages long and the clerk in Extranjeria told me it was more than enough. Most people write a page and that’s it.

Step 10 – Get business documentation (if Inversionista)

If you’re doing the Inversionista visa for your own company or if you are an independent contractor you need to prove you are making money and have assets in Chile. You’ll need:

  • Copy of operating agreement (Escritura) of your Chilean company
  • Certificado de inicio de actividades from SII
  • Your company’s last 8 IVA payments
  • Your company’s last “balance tributario”
  • Your company’s last “declaracion de renta”
  • Proof you’ve paid your company’s patente
  • Proof that you actually own stock in the company

If you’re doing it as an independent contractor (emits boletas), you need to prove the same things as above, but with your own personal records.

Step 11 (optional) – Take everything to Extranjeria for a review

The clerks at Extranjeria are happy to go through your paperwork with you and tell you if everything is in order. I did this and realized I was missing a form, so for me it was worth it.

Step 12 – Mail all of this via Correo Certificado to:

SEÑORES:
SOLICITUD PERMANENCIA DEFINITIVA
CLASIFICADOR N° 8
CORREO CENTRAL
SANTIAGO

Step 13 – Wait for “Visa en Tramite” temporary 6 month visa.

Extranjeria says it will take 45 days and mine took exactly 45 days. If your old visa has expired (like mine did), you cannot reenter Chile on your old visa and must pay for a tourist visa if you enter before you get your “visa en tramite” paper work. You can check on your progress on the extranjeria autoconsulta website. Once you’re approved as “en tramite” you can print off your form which allows you to travel on your temporary six month visa.

Note: you must bring that paper with you if you travel, as your carnet will be expired. Make sure you have it on your person, not in your luggage. I made this mistake once and had to convince someone from my flight to get my backpack from baggage claim for me while I was waiting with a PDI agent who was mocking me the entire time.

You will get a letter from Extranjeria that says that your visa is “en tramite” and that you’re allowed to do any legal activity that you used to be able to do on your old visa, but no Chilean entity actually recognizes it, including:

  • Entel
  • VTR
  • Movistar
  • Claro
  • SII
  • Banks
  • Anywhere that requires a valid carnet

Basically you can’t do anything in Chile with your letter because nobody recognizes it. This was the most frustrating part of being between visas. I was carnetless from Nov 15th, 2012 until May 17th, 2013. If you have any official business, get it done before your carnet expires or else you’re screwed.

Step 14 – Pay application fee

You have to pay a fee, depending on the visa your applied for, via bank check at any bank. Mine was ~$50.000 and I had to go in person to my bank to pay.

Step 15 – Wait for approval or denial

It took me another five months before I was approved. You can check again on the extranjeria autoconsulta website for news.

Step 16 – Go to Extranjeria with your visa acceptance form, carnet and passport and get your permanent visa

Step 17 – Go to PDI to register your address and get your certificado de residencia definitiva (CLP$800).

Step 18 – Go to registro civil to get your carnet (CLP$4.050)

Step 19 – Wait two weeks and go back to the registro civil to pick up  your carnet

Step 20 – Drink a piscola to celebrate being a Chilean permanent residence and being done with all of these tramites!

Once you have the visa, you must either visit Chile once per year or you must go to an embassy once per year to renew your visa. If you go the embassy route, you’ll need to come back to Chile once every four years to keep your visa valid, or else you lose it.

Note: please review each step on your own, this is the process I used in 2012/2013 and may change without notice.

Looking for more high quality information about Chile? Check out my book Chile: The Expat’s Guide:

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