I’ve been waiting for over six months to publish this post, I wanted to be sure my information was accurate before sharing it with you here. Turns out that I had nothing to worry about – yesterday my Permanent Residency in Chile was finally approved!
In this post I will share with you the exact steps I took to be granted my Permanent Residency (Permanencia Definitiva) status in Chile just 18 months after stepping off the plane for the first time. I know of no other country in the world that will grant such a high quality residency in so little time.
(This post is a counterpart to my previous documentation outlining the steps necessary to get a Temporary Residency in Chile in just one year using the Jubilados and Rentistas visa.)
Why Permanent Residency?
Permanent residency in Chile conveys a number of advantages over the temporary residency that might come from a work contract or by demonstrating proof of financial support.
For example, as a temporary resident I was not able to open a full bank account (Cuenta Corriente) or indeed any type of bank account at all at many banks. Holding a cable or monthly internet service in your name is impossible for non-permanents, and incorporating a company is difficult to impossible for non-permanent residents also.
Temporary Residency also comes with a hefty requirement to stay on Chilean soil – to maintain it, you must spend at least 183 days of the year in the country, and all temporary residency visas have an expiry date, upon which they must be either renewed or converted into permanent residency status.
Thankfully though, all this tedious paperwork is behind me and I am now officially a resident. I can do all of the same things any Chilean citizen can do except for vote.
This includes opening a full bank account, owning real estate, holding a phone or cable contract and incorporating a company. Plus the best thing is, that I’m free now to spend time outside of the country if I want to – I only need to set foot in Chile one time per year to maintain it.
Some people have even reported that if you can’t make it to Chile, you can get an extension for up to four more years from a Chilean Consulate. So you only actually have to be in Chile once every five years to maintain your Permanent Resident status.
How to apply for Permanent Residency
I will document here how to upgrade from the Jubilados y Rentistas temporary residency visa. Upgrading from a work visa to permanent residency may differ slightly.
- You must have been a temporary resident in Chile for one year and have spent at least half of that year on Chilean soil.
- You must submit your application 90 days or less before the expiry of your temporary residency.
(Required documentation for every type of temporary visa can be found here. In this walkthrough I will discuss the Jubilados y Rentista requirements)
Most of the supporting documentation will essentially be a resubmission of everything you sent for your initial temporary residency application, with the addition of proof of financial support for the 9-10 months you spent in Chile on your temporary visa. It includes:
- The official solicitud – Solicitud Permanencia Definitiva por Correo
- The requirements document – Requirimientos para Inversionista o Rentista
- Certificate of activity from the SII, obtainable online – Certificado de inicio de actividades emitido por el Servicio de Impuestos Internos (Fotocopia)
- Boletas from SII, obtainable online- Boletas de Honorarios de los últimos 8 Meses (Fotocopia).
- Annual report from the SII, obtainable online – Informe anual de Boletas de Honorarios (Electrónicas).
- NOTE: Even if you never worked for a Chilean company and don’t have any boletas, you will still be required to register and submit a summary demonstrating this fact.
- Sales tax payments (only applicable if you have your own business and pay sales tax) – Últimos 8 pagos de I.V.A. (Fotocopia)
- A photocopy of your most recent rent payment (note: in the house that I lived, the rent payments weren’t in my name so I didn’t include this item and simply explained the reason in my personal letter) – Última Declaración de Impuesto a la Renta
- Certified, legalised photocopy of your degree certificate – Copia del Título profesional o técnico, legalizado por el Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Chile, en caso de tener tal condición.
- Clear criminal record, obtainable online from Registro Civil (costs $1.050)- Certificado de antecedentes para fines especiales emitido por el Servicio de Registro Civil e Identificación.
- Travel certificate, obtainable from the PDI – certificado de viajes original, completo y actualizado, correspondiente al último año de residencia. Este documento es emitido por Policía Internacional.
- Photocopy of both sides of your Chilean ID card – fotocopia de la cédula de identidad para extranjeros por ambos lados
- Photocopy of your registration certificate, obtainable from the PDI (you can re-use the one from your previous application, otherwise it costs $800) – fotocopia del certificado de registro emitido por Policía internacional
- Photocopy of your current passport, including ID pages and any visas/stamps related to your stay in Chile – fotocopia del pasaporte vigente. Hojas de identificación y de todas las visaciones que dan origen a su solicitud de permanencia definitiva.
- A personal letter explaining your motives for seeking Permanent Residency in Chile – Carta personal que indique los motivos para solicitar permanencia definitiva.
- Three 3x2cm photographs – 3 fotografías tamaño carnet (3×2 cm.) en colores, con nombre y N° de Cédula de Identidad.
Many of these documents are the same as the ones you probably used for your temporary residency application the first time around. Additionally, if you haven’t already registered online with the SII, this would be a great time to do it. It saves a lot of waiting in lines, and costs less.
For the 3x2cm photo (actually for all visa/passport photos) you can go to any photo shop, just ask for foto para visa temporaria Chilena. I go to a very friendly Chileno in the underground part of Portal Lyon near Los Leones metro. He’s easy to find, very friendly and usually charges me about $2.000 for four photos.
I additionally submitted copies of bank statements as financial proof that I was able to support myself during the previous 9 months in Chile.
For my personal letter I explained simply my current plans in Chile – that I had started working for a technology company in Chile, and was also running my own business for expats relocating to Chile. I explained that I looked forward to staying in Chile for many years and making a contribution to business here.
The government simply wants to know that if they grant you your visa, you won’t become a burden on the state – so write your letter and provide financial proof with this in mind and you’ll have no trouble.
Then you’ll need to assemble all of this documentation and mail via Correo Certificado to:
Solicitud Permanencia Definitiva
Clasificador No. 8
Wait for your ‘Visa en Tramite’ to arrive. This will be sent to you by post 4-6 weeks after submission of your visa, and you can also check the status online. Keep this, because you’ll need it if you leave Chile and return while waiting for your visa approval.
Once you have this, you will need to pay a fee of $54.185. You will need to go to the Extranjería to obtain a cheque, then pay it at any bank.
Waiting for approval
This part of applying for the visa merits its own section simply because it takes so long. The Extranjería tells people to allow six months for approval of the visa and they aren’t exaggerating.
Mine was granted 5 1/2 months after I filed it, and I only found out because I was checking the status online every few weeks.
This period is a PITA because for this entire span, you will not have a valid carnet. This makes most business in Chile impossible, including banking. So if you have to do any business here, get it done before your carnet expires (at the end of your temporary residency term).
Finalising the paperwork and receiving your new cédula
Once you have received confirmation online of ‘Permanencia Definitiva Otorgada’ congratulations! All the hard work has been done, now you’re on the home stretch.
- You will need to go to the Extranjería with your passport and carnet and collect your permanent residency visa certificate. Make sure to set up your appointment on the internet to avoid a ton of waiting in line. Once you have this certificate, this is your only proof of permanent residency so keep it in a safe place! I suggest laminating it for protection.
- Go to the Policia Internacional with this certificate and your passport to register your address and receive a certificado de registro for your permanencia. You will be charged a small fee of $800.
- Go to your local Registro Civil office to renew your expired carnet. You will need to take your passport, your old (expired) carnet, and original copies of your Certificado de Permanencia, and the registro certificate from the PDI you got in step 2. You will also need photocopies of both of these documents. A new carnet costs $4.050. They will give you a ‘comprobante’ (a piece of paper like a receipt) when you have finished, do not lose this.
- You can check the status of your carnet online on the Registro Civil website. Go to ‘Consultas y Reclamos’, click ‘ Información sobre estado de solicitud de cédulas de identidad’ and select ‘Cédula de identidad y pasaporte‘. Enter your RUT and that your card is a carnet para extranjeros.
- When the online status is changed to ‘Listo para entregar’ you can go to your local Registro Civil with your comprobante and finally receive your new, valid carnet.
Congratulations. You are now legally an official permanent resident and you are done with all this tramitando!