Corrugated City

Friday, 19 March 2010

Obtaining Residency in Chile: The Intelligent Way

1. Talk to Francisco Agurto so he can tell you exactly what paperwork you need for your type of visa.

2. Get all the paperwork together and meet with Francisco somewhere nice, like Starbucks.
3. Hand the paperwork to Francisco.
4. Forget about things for 3 weeks and then...
5. ...your 'Visa en Tramite' will arrive in the post.
6. Depending on your visa type, wait 6-8 weeks and then start checking Extranjeria once a week to see whether your visa has been processed.
7. When the visa is ready, phone Francisco and arrange to meet him at 8.50am on any work day in Extranjeria. He'll be waiting with a number which he picked up at 8am.
8. 9am, have your visa stamped in your passport.
9. 9.05am, register your visa with Policia International (in the same building).
10. 9.10am, go to Registro Civil to order your Cedula de Identidad.
11. Pay Francisco 60-80,000 Pesos, depending on your visa type.
12. Laugh at everyone else who could afford to pay 80,000 Pesos but thought it'd be more fun to sit in Extranjeria for hours upon end, have their applications rejected due to missing (or not) paperwork forcing them to return to wait even more time.

Get in touch if you want Francisco's number (email address here). He'll save you hours, if not days, of your time, you won't make any mistakes and you'll get your visa quicker as well.

I now have my Residencia Definitiva. Time taken? 4 months and only 15 minutes total in Extranjeria. Actually, the visa was ready in less than 3 months- I just didn't check because Residencia Definitiva usually takes 9...

Yesterday was quite a good Chile day. By 9.45 am I had my permanent residency and a real bank account, complete with cheque book, credit card, debit card and possibility of getting a mortgage. To anyone outside of Chile, this may not seem like much but, trust me, it's a pretty big deal!


wanni said...

Hi. My name is Whitney. I am an American living in Chile. I am in the process of getting a temporary residency visa and have a job offer. I don´t know how getting paid works because I don´t have a RUT. I was wondering if you had any experience working while you were still in the "waiting process" for getting your temp residency visa? Any advice helps. THANKS!

Matt said...

Hi Witney,

I think what most people do in this situation is have the business put through all the tax paperwork in itso own name until you get your residency through. You'll lose the tax you have to pay for the time it takes to get residency (at the end of the year you usually get it back) but I think it's the only way. You can get a temporary RUT as a foreigner (starts with 48) but I don't think you can use this to work with.

Lily said...

Hello Matt,

My name is Lily and I currently live in Athens, Greece. I have been following your blog for a couple of years, since I got together with my boyfriend (who is Chilean) during a course in the UK! the reason I decided to write is that I finally decided to move to Chile and build a future with him. Therefore I would find all your advice really helpful, especially those regarding how to resolve bureaucratic issues...

I would like to apply for a temporary residency visa on my arrival; however I am not quite sure this could work on my case. I am a freelance architect (so is he) and we are intending of working on a family project together. Consequently, there is no official job offer for me, nor a contract of employment. Thus I was wondering what would be sufficient to prove to estranjeria that THERE IS actually work waiting for me there and that I am eligible to do it...

Any other suggested approach on how to get a recidency, as well as waiting times (from your personal experience etc) would be really appreciated!!!

Thank you in advance!!

wanni said...

Hi Lily,

I am from the US and living in Chile. I just got a temporary residency visa. There are other ways, but this is what I did...
I legalized my undergraduate diploma at my university in the US and with the Chilean consulate in the US. Then I legalized my diploma in Chile at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Santiago. After all the stamps and signatures, I turned in my legalized diploma and a "promise of work" letter from a potential employer. (This letter is NOT an official contract - it is to show that you will be able to get work in Chile once you have a temp. res. visa)

The process took 3 months. Now I am qualified to work with or without a contract. I can get "boletas" which are similar to independent contractor tax forms in the US (get paid by the month etc). With this Visa I do not need to have an official contract to work and get paid because I have "boletas".

The temp. res. visa lasts for 1 year and after that you can apply for permanent residency. There are different fees for the application depending on where you are from. I will see if I can find the website for you. Hope this helps.


Lily said...

Hello Whitney,

Thank you for all the info, it really helps a lot!!

I have a quick question that has to with the procedure you described. Which was actually the first step you took with the Chilean authorities after legalizing your degree? Was it necessary to have this 'promise of work' letter in hand before applying for the temp. res. visa? Or you have to be granted the visa for the letter to be valid?

Kind regards!

wanni said...

Hi Lily,

The process for legalizing your diploma probably changes depending on your country of residence and where your university is located.

In Chile, after you have your diploma fully legalized, you go to the Extranjeria (there are various locations throughout the country) and turn in the following items (I don't remember the exact quantity - the Extranjeria can give you a list)

1. photocopies of your passport and tourism card (you receive it when you enter Chile)
2. passport photos
3. legalized diploma and a notarized copy
4. "promise of work" letter and a notarized copy

(This is written by a potential employer and includes the name and address of the business, the hours and salary, and a specific phrase stating that you can begin working there once you receive your temporary residential visa. The Extranjeria can give you more exact info. This is NOT a contract and you are free to work where ever you want after you receive your visa. This letter shows that you will be capable of supporting yourself once you get the visa.)

I could not find the application instructions for applying in Chile.

The link below is to apply for a temp. res. visa via mail. But the process is a little different, and I have no experience with it.

I suggest reading this forum for more information about visas and legal issues. There is a ton of info. You can post any questions once you register.

Hope that this helps, navigating the visa system is really difficult. Once you get to Chile, most processing times for visas are 3 months. But also look into applying before you get to Chile. Good luck!

Matt said...

Good to hear the promise of work letter is still valid- I thought they'd closed that door.

I think Whitney's advice is the one to follow in this case.

Good luck!

Lily said...

Much appreciated!! Thank you for your replies!! :)

Anonymous said...

hi im shane,
i am from boyfriend is from europe but hes been working at chile for 4 years now and hes planning to bring me to it possible that i can get a tourist visa or fiancee visa at chile? thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi whitney
I have 9 years experience of teaching English but I dont have university degree,just hight school diploma.Can I still apply for temprary residency?

wanni said...


First, Shane - I that the visa requirements change based on what country you are from. I am pretty sure that you will need to apply for a tourist visa with the embassy first. The easiest thing to do, in my opinion, is get a tourist visa and then find a work contract in Chile. But you should look at the specifics for your country. Below is the information about the Embassy in Chile.

Philippine Embassy in Santiago, Chile

Felix de Amesti Street, No. 367
Las Condes, Santiago

Phone: (+562) 208-1313, 208-1939 (+562) 228-1670

Fax: 00-562-2081400

Email: / /

And to the second comment...

The most important thing in Chile for the temporary residence visa is showing that you can support yourself financially.

There is another way to get a temp. residency visa - you will need a work contract that says you can work upon receiving a temp. residency visa. You need to show that you have a place to live and that you will make money. I suggest sending your resume and a cover letter to all the institutes and express that you are looking for long term work (It is important to tell the institutes that you are planning to stay for a long time - most foreigners come only for a first months and it causes problems at the institutes).

You can always try calling the Chilean consulate in your native country and asking what your options are. Hope that helps.


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Anonymous said...

Where's Francisco Agurto's email?


Anonymous said...


I am interested in moving to Chile. Please email me privately how to go about it with costs and your service cost?