This is it folks, this is your golden ticket for living in Chile as long as you want to and the absolute best pathway to temporary residency, through permanent residency and eventually to citizenship (if you want that). It’s fairly easy to get and the process is pretty transparent compared to many governments around the world.
This so-called Retirement and Periodic Income visa is pretty much the Swiss-army knife of Chilean visas. Contrary to all appearances, you do not need to be retired to use this visa.
It grants one year of temporary residency, after which (if you spend 185 days or more within the country) you may apply for permanent residency. You also receive permission to work under this visa, and you can even apply separately for permission to work while your visa is being processed.
The bottom line?
If you want to move to Chile to become a permanent resident, this is the easiest way to do it.
Alright Tom, I hear you say, that sounds fantastic, where do I start? Hold your horses sunshine, there’s a catch.
What’s the catch? Well, you must demonstrate the ability to support yourself financially in Chile for the year.
The fundamental approach of Chile in general to immigration is not so much “do they want you” or “will they let you in”, it’s more like asking you to prove that you are able to stay (in terms of money) in Chile and are serious about living in Chile for the long-term.
The Chilean Government is super keen on young, talented, qualified people moving into the country, especially if they have some experience. If you have a degree in Engineering or Science you stand an excellent chance with this visa.
Despite the name, being retired is definitely not necessary to apply for this visa. I know of several people personally (including myself) who have had this visa granted despite being under 30 years old, not to mention countless others I have found on the internet through my research.
So what are these financial requirements then? Here we go:
- You must be able to show a source of regular recurring income to support yourself and for each of your dependent family members in order to live in Chile. It does not need to be monthly, quarterly is OK. A good rule of thumb is between US$ 500 to US$ 1000 per month. Usable income sources include pensions, social security, rent from real estate, long-term contracts, interest income and annuities. This is the preferred form of proof, and you should provide evidence documenting these payments for at least a year.
- Alternatively (or even better, additionally) you may show evidence of a large sum in a bank account that you intend to invest and earn income from. The Chilean government does not publish numbers on what amounts it considers sufficient but from what I have read (and from personal experience in my own case and for several people I know) at least US$ 50,000 in a bank account is likely to be sufficient. Other proof of assets such as stocks, property in Chile or another country, investment in a business in Chile etc are also likely to help.
The easiest (and government recommended) way to apply for a Chilean temporary visa is to arrive in Chile on a tourist visa and apply from within the country.
Don’t whatever you do, attempt to apply for this temporary residency visa through your local consulate before arriving in Chile. Most applications made in this way are rejected after an agonisingly long waiting period.
From within the country, it can take between 2 and 5 months for the slow-as-molasses Chilean government to actually get around to OK-ing your visa. Having said that, I was apparently the exception in this case as mine was granted within one month of application.
Once the government has received your application, they will send you a legal document allowing you to stay in the country for another four months without renewing your tourist visa. If at the end of four months, your application still hasn’t been processed, you may apply for an extension.
Once you have your temporary visa, and corresponding carnet de identidad, you are legally entitled to work in Chile.
You may also apply for permission to work in Chile while your the temporary visa is pending approval. This costs an additional 50% of the visa fee, so if you are from a country like the UK where the fees are high, consider carefully whether you actually need this. By checking this box on the application form, you are obligating yourself to pay the extra regardless of whether you use it or not.
I actually applied for this thinking I needed it to work at all under temporary residency. This is not the case. The extra “permission to work” option only applies to the time period while your visa is actually being processed, once you have been granted temporary residency you automatically get permission to work regardless.
So don’t do what I did and spend a load of extra money on the permision de trabajar con visa en tramite because you probably don’t need it.
Visa fees vary wildly by country and can be viewed here. Yes, if you’re from the UK like me, it sucks (check out the fees for Reino Unido compared to every other country).