I’ve gotten a bunch of questions lately about how to renew your Chilean work visa that you got as part of Startup Chile. You have three options:
- Let your visa expire. You must leave the country within 2 weeks of your visa’s expiration or else you must pay a fine. If you’re not sure how long you are going to be in Chile, you can always take a trip over to Mendoza and reenter on a tourist visa.
- Apply for a visa extension (prorroga de visa)
- Apply for permanent residency
Your original visa lasted for one year from when you arrived and will expire if you do nothing. This means your RUT will expire and you won’t be able to conduct much business in Chile. Also, if you stay in Chile past your visa, you will have to pay a fine as you are leaving.
The process to renew your Chilean work visa is not that difficult, but it can be confusing and time consuming. Here’s what I did to renew my visa in November 2011. I know a few other friends did the same process and had success. Please verify that this information is up to date before you rely on it, but I believe it to be current as of Oct 1, 2012.
You should start the renewal process 2-3 months before your visa is set to expire.
1. Review the information from the Chilean Extranjeria.
You must decide if you would like to extend your visa (prorrogar) or apply for permanent residency. It is much easier to apply for a visa extension, so I will be covering these steps in this article.
NOTE: Depending on your nationality, applying for permanent residency can have adverse tax implications, so consult with an attorney or accountant who will be able to advise you.
2. Review the Requirements to Extend (Prorrogar) your Chilean Work Visa. You will need the following information:
- Your completed application form that you printed off from the government website. Note: In box #9, check the “prorroga de visación” box
- Three 2cmx3cm photos with your name and rut on the bottom. Any photo shop should be able to do this for you. Ask for foto carnet con nombre y RUT.
- A photocopy of the front and back of your carnet
- A photocopy of passport photo page
- A photocopy of previous visa that is in your passport
- 1 photocopy of Certificado de Registro, which you get from the Policía Internacional (Morandé Nº 672, Santiago Centro). You can potentially use a copy of the half page paper we got from the police when we first got here, but to be safe, go get a new one.
- Certificado de antecedentes from Servicio de Registro Civil e Identificación de Chile emitted within the last 30 days. There are many offices in Santiago where you can get them, including the one on Huerfanos. Go to registro civil and click oficinas for a full list.
Note: Los nacionales de Colombia deben presentar además un Certificado de Antecedentes Judiciales vigente y totalmente tramitado y los nacionales de Perú deben presentar un Certificado Consular de Antecedentes Penales vigente solicitado en su consulado.
3. Include additional supporting documentation
Chile wants to renew your visa. At its most basic, Chile prefers skilled immigrants and wants to make sure that visa holders won’t end up living in the streets, participating in anti-government protests, committing crimes or asking the government for money. In addition to all of that information, I included the following documentation. I suggest you think about including the same. All documents translated into Spanish:
- My professional resume
- A list of all of the things I’ve done in chile
- Any press I’ve gotten in Chile or abroad
- A one page letter explaining why I wanted to stay in chile
- A copy of documents showing that you have either incorporated in Chile or plan to incorporate. If you have already incorporated, send documents showing that you’re up to date on your taxes and all fees. Showing an office address is helpful as well.
- An executive summary of my business
- If you are employed by a company here in Chile, include your employment contract.
- If you don’t have a business incorporate here or an employment contract check the box “trabajando por cuenta propia.” I’ve heard that it’s harder to get renewed without a company or an employment contract, but it can be done.
- A copy of my original startup chile invitation letter
- An overview of my personal finances including copies of my Chilean bank statements and current balances in selected foreign accounts.
4. Send all of this by certified mail (Correo Certificado) to:
CLASIFICADOR N° 8
Note: Some people have had success going to the office in your region where you are living and delivering the documents in person. If you are able to do this, it’s better than waiting for the documents by mail, but many have been turned away. It’s worth a shot to try it in person.
5. Wait for your visa en trámite confirmation
You will get a piece of paper that says your visa is “en trámite” and you’ll need to take this paper with you if you want to leave the country. Chile’s computer system is not connected together, so the only way to leave and enter without paying fines or paying for a new visa is to bring this paper along with you.
If you have more questions, check out the extranjeria website or feel free to ask in the comments! Hope this is helpful!
Looking for more high quality information about Chile? Check out my book Chile: The Expat’s Guide: