Chile is an enormous country with beautiful scenery that may attract remote employees from all over the world. In addition, the country is one of the leaders in Latin America when it comes to cyber security and digital advancement. Furthermore, the country has widespread internet access and mobile usage, making it the ideal choice for international employers and employees who rely on technology to communicate.
However, alongside these advantages come the significant challenges associated with international hiring in Chile, one of which is meeting the Chile immigration requirements.
If you're interested in learning about the types of Chile work permits and visas that exist and what you will need to do to obtain them, continue reading.
Types of work visa and permits in Chile
Several types of work permits and visas entitle you to live and work in the country, although each permit or visa has unique requirements and different benefits.
Whether you're an employee interested in moving abroad or an employer hiring new international candidates, or relocating an existing employee to Chile, you will need to be aware of the types of work permits available in Chile to know which one applies to you. Below is a list of work visas and permits you can apply for to be legally entitled to work in Chile.
Permits for seasonal workers
Unlike many foreign countries, Chile does not offer a seasonal work permit. However, individuals can apply for a work permit as a tourist, which may offer a similar benefit.
'Subject to contract' visa
If you're interested in living and working in Childe for an extended period, obtaining a 'subject to contract visa' may make the most sense. With this visa, you, your spouse, and your dependents can live in Chile for up to two years.
However, you can only bring your family with you if you prove that you have the financial ability to support them while they're living in Chile (and they meet the Chile Immigration requirements), as each individual will be required to obtain their own work entitlements to work legally while living in Chile.
To get a 'subject to contract' visa, you must have a valid employment agreement with a Chilean-based employer. The terms of your visa will depend on the contract you have with your employer, but you are eligible to renew your 'subject to contract' visa so long as your employment contract is still valid.
If your employment contract is terminated at any point, your visa will become invalid within 30 days. During this time, you can apply for another visa if you wish to continue living in Chile.
PET: work permit as a tourist
Unlike a 'subject to contract' visa, a work permit as a tourist does not allow you to live and work in Chile long-term. This is because rather than being a visa that recognizes your intention to live in Chile, it is simply a permit that allows you to work while vacationing in Chile.
The work permit is less commonly used for several reasons. Firstly, this Chile work permit comes at a significantly higher cost than typical Chile work visas. In addition, although you can renew the permit on an as-needed basis, it doesn't allow you to live in Chile; because it doesn't allow long-term residency, the high permit cost is often deemed "not worth it."
However, a work permit as a tourist can be beneficial for workers who need to enter Chile for short periods, as the permit application is typically processed within ten days.
A temporary visa, or temporary resident visa, allows a foreign national to live in Chile for 12 months for work, school, or other business-related activities. The primary difference between this visa and the 'subject to contract' visa is that the temporary visa only lasts for a year, but with this visa, you are not required to work for a Chilean employer.
Like a 'subject to contract visa,' individuals' families can apply for adjacent visas that allow them to live in the country with you but not work.
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Chile work permit requirements
Although the exact requirements will change based on the type of Chile work visa or permit you're applying for, you will need to meet some or all of the following Chile visa requirements to have your visa application approved:
- A completed Chile visa application form that corresponds to the visa or work permit you're applying for
- A passport that will be valid for at least six months after the time you enter the country
- Photocopies of every page of your passport, including blank pages
- Two additional color passport photos that meet the following requirements:
- Four-and-a-half centimeters by three-and-a-half centimeters in size
- Your face is in a neutral position, and you are looking directly into the camera
- Your face takes up between 60% and 70% of the photograph
- The photograph cannot be more than six months old
- The photograph has a white background, and you are dressed in non-white clothes
- Nothing should be covering your face or ears unless included under a religious exemption
- If renewing a visa, you will need to attach copies of any previous Chile work visas you've received
- A signed and sealed medical report from a general practitioner that indicates your health is in good standing; your health examination must take place within 60 days of submitting your Chile visa application, and legalization of this document is required
- A Police Clearance Certificate from your home country that indicates you have a clean criminal background; this document must be issued within 60 days of submitting your Chile visa application, and legalization of this document is required
- Apostilled copies of any diplomas, certificates, or. professional licenses that are relevant to your ability to perform the job you're being hired for
- You will need the following documents if you plan to apply for a visa that indicates familial ties with one or more Chilean citizens:
- A marriage certificate and letter from your partner if the Chilean individual is your spouse
- A birth certificate if the Chilean individual(s) are your children or parents
- Relevant documents from your employer, including the following:
- A legalized copy of your employment contract that conforms to Chilean regulations. The contract must be in Spanish, signed by your employer, and authenticated by the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- A company letter stating why you've been hired to fill the available position and providing contact information for the relevant company representative
In addition to the above documents, you may need a valid employment contract to have your Chile work visa approved; the employment contract will need to include the following sections:
- Travel clause: This clause stipulates that it's the employer's responsibility to purchase travel arrangements for the employee (and their family, if applicable) to return home once their contract has ended.
- Validity clause: An agreement between the employee and employer that guarantees the employee will only begin working in Chile once they've received the necessary visas and permits.
- Social security clause: A clause stating the employer will withhold appropriate social security contributions from the employee's paycheck and that the employee approves these withholdings.
- Income tax clause: The inclusion of this clause is dependent on the employee's salary.
The Chile visa requirements and the application process will change based on the specific visa or permit you're applying for, so be sure to check the requirements specific to your visa before submitting your application.
If you're unsure whether you meet any visa requirements, consider contacting your local Chilean embassy or consulate for guidance.
How to apply for a Chile work permit and visa
Like many countries, Chile has moved to a digital application process that allows individuals to apply for their visas and work permits through an online portal that allows you to submit your Chile work visa application, check your visa application status, and more.
Although the exact application process may vary based on the type of visa or work permit you're applying for, it will likely include the following steps:
- Determine which supplementary documents you and your employer will be required to provide with your application and compile them before beginning your application.
- Navigate to the Consular Procedures Online page on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores) website.
- Click the button that says "Visa Application."
- Fill out the requested information on the visa application form
- Attach any requested documents (e.g., copies of your passport pages, previous Chile work visas, etc.)
- Wait to hear whether your visa was approved or denied or if there are any next steps you will need to take from the relevant Chile immigration government body.
Chile work visa processing time
The amount of time it takes to process your Chile work permit varies based on the type of work permit you're applying for. For example, the PET: work permit as a tourist usually only takes seven to ten days to process, while a temporary resident visa is typically processed in 20 days.
However, you should be prepared for the processing time to take longer than the predicted windows and allow extra time to avoid delays in your ability to work. In addition, you should allocate additional time for processes like legalizing your documents.
Planning to hire or work in Chile? Here's how Skuad can help
Whether you're an employee planning to move to Chile for a job or an employer interested in hiring a foreign national candidate, compliance is an essential part of any international expansion strategy.
At Skuad, we understand how challenging it can be to navigate the challenges associated with international employment, including immigration, onboarding, payroll, and more, which is why we're here to help you manage compliant hiring in Chile, Latin America, and beyond.
Below is a list of frequently asked questions about obtaining Chle work permits and visas and navigating the Chile immigration system.
How do I get a work permit in Chile?
Although the process may vary depending on the work permit or visa you're applying for, follow these steps to obtain your Chile work visa:
- Fill out the online visa application form on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores) Consular Procedures Online page.
- Attach the requested employee and employer documents
- Wait to hear about a decision of whether your visa was approved or denied
Can US citizens work in Chile?
A US citizen can work in Chile as long as they obtain the necessary documentation. The length of time you can live and work in Chile as an American depends on factors like the type of Chile work visa or permit you receive, whether or not your employer is based in Chile, and more.
How long does it take to get a work permit in Chile?
The amount of time it takes to get a work permit in Chile differs based on factors like the type of permit or visa you're applying for, how long it takes to have secondary documents apostilled or legalized, and whether your application is returned for correction of mistakes.
However, you can expect your work permit or visa to be processed in roughly seven to 20 days. You will not be legally entitled to live and work in Chile without having your work permit processed, so it's best to start the application process as early as possible to avoid unnecessary delays.
Do I need a work permit to work in Chile?
You will be required to obtain working entitlements if you plan to work in the country. However, the type of Chile work permit or visa you receive will depend on the work you plan to do while in the country and how long you plan to stay.
Some Chile work visas entitle you to live and work in the country for years, with the opportunity to apply for a visa renewal. Others are tourist permits that don't entitle you to live in the country long-term but rather to work while entering the country for brief periods.
Is it hard to get a work visa in Chile?
Getting a Chile work visa is relatively easy compared to some other countries. However, the likelihood of your work visa being approved varies based on factors like your profession and where your hiring company is based.
In addition, some work entitlements, like the PET: Work Permit as a tourist, are easier to obtain than others, such as the 'subject to contract' visa.