Immigration to Chile
Living and Working in Chile
Chile is located in southwest South America. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, and Argentina to the east and the Atlantic Ocean. Islands located in the Pacific, such as Easter Island (Rapa Nui) and the Juan Fernández Islands (including Robinson Crusoe Island), also belong to the national territory. Due to the long north-south extension of about 4,275 kilometers in north-south direction along the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, but also because of the considerable differences in altitude in west-east direction, Chile has a large variety of climate and vegetation zones. The narrowest point in continental Chile (excluding Antarctica) is 90 kilometers, the widest point about 440 kilometers.The capital city of Chile is Santiago and the national language is Spanish.
Chile offers pure variety, lovely beaches on the Pacific Ocean, the mountainous region of the Andes (a paradise for skiers in winter), dreamy islands, part of Antarctica, the Atacama Desert (driest desert in the world), fertile valleys, clear lakes, active volcanoes , picturesque fjords, huge glaciers and much more. Beauty is one reason that people love to come here, but Chile has attracted lots of immigrants because of its economic growth and clear immigration policies. Political stability is also one of many reason that immigration is increasing in Chile. The Chilean government guarantees that the state will “promote all the initiatives that contribute to the individual spiritual and material well-being” and therefore its political institutions must serve the citizens to achieve that goal which includes the foreigners and expats who immigrate to Chile. When it comes to security and safety, Chile ranks among the top position to provide personal, health, digital and infrastructure safety.
The Chilean government has set a number of requirements for travelers who are vaccinated non-resident foreign citizens. These requirements are set under the Covid-19 management plan, ““#SeguimosCuidándonos Paso A Paso”, which has 3 alert levels. Chile is at Alert Level 1 as of now. Chile continues to experience the transmission of Covid-19 but has considerably reduced due to the vaccination. Pease refer to the plan before taking up plans to travel in to Chile. The link to access the website is: chile.gob.cl
Chile is connected to major international airports in Europe, UK, Australia, North America and New Zealand. Chile has 47 Airports and most of them have direct flights from these countries. The biggest airport in Chile is the Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago city. The official Airlines is LAN which travels to 91 destinations. Aerosky (Sky Airline) and Pal Airlines are the other two airlines of Chile.
How to immigrate to Chile
To work legally in Chile a work permit/visa is a must. Once you have a local job offer/work contract, you can apply for work visa. Under the new immigration law which was last updated in 2021-22 has introduced temporary Resident Visa category with 17 subcategories for the Foreign nationals wanting to work and reside in Chile. The initial period of the visa a 2 years and can be renewed in two-year increments. The law also makes it clear that the worker must be employed and paid by the company in Chile, not by the home country. Under the sub-categories the visa is issued to the following personnel’s:
• Employed by a company or self-employed
• Investors, Managers, Directors or Specialized personnel
• Seasonal Workers
• Frequent travelers to Chile for business activities
The following list of documents are required for a Work Visa, which must be enclosed in PDF format and submitted online to the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: Please visit serviciosconsulares.cl
• Passport copies (valid for 1-year minimum)
• Home country residence proof
• Studio color Passport size photo on plain white background
• Flight itinerary and reservation document copies
• Proof of hotel or accommodation bookings
• Bank statement of the last 3 months
• Local work job offer/work contract (longer than 3 months)
• If applicable, a letter of invitation
• Letter explaining the reasons of travel
Once the applications are filed online, applicants may need to apply in person with all the original documents at the Chilean consulate to get the visa stamped. The visa fees have to be paid at the Chilean consulate once the Chile Work Visa is picked up by the applicant. The officials will fasten the visa on the passport which is ready for travels within 90 days from than. The visa fees ranges from $50 to $150 depending on the applicant’s nationality and type of visa.
The people of Chile are known as Chileans (Spanish: Chilenos), who are genetically from European descent and native American descent with 4% African. The largest indigenous group in Chile are the Mapuches who make up about 12% of Chile’s population. The population of Chile is 1.94 crores as of 2020. Christianity is the main religion practiced here, with 66.7% roman catholics The Protestant 16.4% and 1% are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Other religions are being practiced by 3.4% and 11.5% has no religion.
Chile has a mixture of Spanish, Mapuche and other Immigrant culture. North and South Chile have their own culture with their own folk dance and music. Cueca (zamacueca) is the folk dance of Chile, neighboring Argentina, Peru and Bolivia. Chileans are quite decent, friendly and hospitable people. They are very good with foreigners and invite them to their house. Chileans are always ready to help.
Please visit the link to know the Chilean people better: www.reachtoteachrecruiting.com
Job offers in Chile
The increasing economic growth creates lot of job opportunities in Chile. It is good to be familiar with the Chilean labour market before looking for a job. The labor market is service and natural resource-based industries oriented. The main industries include mining, forestry, agriculture and aquiculture. The second and most important factor is your language of the Spanish language. If you speak good Spanish, you will get the same job opportunities as the Chileans. Employers prefer to give the jobs related to your degree, i.e. if you have studied History than you will become a History Teacher. In Chile a degree in Medicine, Law, Economics or Engineering is more preferred than degree in Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts. To that matter even certain countries university degree are considered best over others. Universities from UK and US are considered better than universities in France, Japan, China, Germany etc.
For certain jobs like Medicine, Dentistry, Education and Translation, the Chilean government has lengthy legal procedure. It is easy to start your own business in Chile if you are well established to do so. Please refer to the Chilean Government website www.empresasenundia.cl. If you plan a business and would like to get advice on setting up your company, refer to Lanzatesolo.cl for assistance.
The best way to find a job in Chile is through personal contacts or network (Pituto) or through job portals. Some known networks apart from LinkedIn, that has worked for many to get jobs are:
- iachile.org/ (International Association of Chile)
- couchsurfing.org / Yapo.cl / Mercadolibre.cl / Meetup.com
- Craigslist (Jobs that does not require Spanish)
- cl (IT jobs) / Pegasconsentido.cl
Chile has some good rules as far as jobs are concerned, like working day should not exceed 45 hours per week. There are minimum wages set by the government and no one can get below that.
To find out salary in Chile and labor rights, please visit: tusalario.org
Chile has the lowest unemployment rate. After recovering from the pandemic blow, it dropped to 7.8% in the quarter of May’22 from 10% in the same period of May’21. The number of unemployed decreased to 750 thousand (16.5%) and the number of employed rose to 8.8 million (10.1%) & the labor force increase to 9.6 million (7.5%). Jobs that were lost during the pandemic has been recovered.
To get the updated unemployment rate, please visit: www.macrotrends.net
Economy of chile
Chile with a mixed economy has the highest GDP among all the South American countries which surely has promising future. The world bank ranks Chile as a high-income economy. In 2021 Chile reached an all-time peak of 317.06 USD billion. It had an average GDP of 87.87 USD billion from 60s to 2021. Chile’s economy is based on mining industry (copper, coal & nitrate), iron & steel, agricultural and tourism. It is a leading producer of copper and exporter of minerals, wood, fruits, seafood and wine.
Chilean Wine and Apples are famous world over. It is renowned for its powerful, soft-tannin Cabernet Sauvignons wine. Seventy percent (70%) of its wine production is exported to around 1.5 billion consumers in 150 countries every year. In 2018 Chile exported 1.2 billion wine bottles with equivalent to US$2 billion. As per Reuters news dated July’22, Chile’s government as sharply increased its estimates for the country’s inflation and expects a rise. Chile’s tumbling currency and inflation are testing the economic and financial system, the government fears.
For more current economic statistics, please visit:www.oecd.org
Renting and buying of real estate’s for foreigners
Foreigners can own a property in Chile, except in border areas. No mortgage is given to non-residents for buying properties. The foreigners buy in cash. The price of the property is listed in the Unidad de Fomento, but adjusted for inflated to provide more consistent price. (The Unidad de Fomento is a unit of account, which is non-circulating currency. The exchange rate betwenn Unidad de Fomento (UF) and Chilean Peso is constantly adjusted for inflation, so the value of UF remains constant during low inflation). Once the deal is fixed, the notary handles all the transaction bulk and a bond is made until the government approves. The closing cost is around 4-5% of the property cost including agent fees, notary’s fee and registration fee.
The process is quite simple but advisable to appoint an agent, who can ensure the property is free of old debts or so. To get answer to the most frequently asked question about buying a property in Chile, please visit: www.bretagne.cl
To rent a house whether furnished or unfurnished is easily available in Chile. The procedure is also very simple mostly like other countries. In most cases the house owner needs a guarantor which can be done by the employer. In case the guarantor is not found than the deposit amount (1 month rent) is increased. However, this is not always the case and the house owner can negotiate the deal without the guarantor. The standard contract is for 12 months, but shorter period if required can be negotiated.
Make sure all the terms, taxes and other utilities charges are discussed prior to signing the deal. There are many real estate portals to help you search a house/apartment within your budget. One big portal is www.portalinmobiliario.com
To get answer to the most frequently asked question about buying a property in Chile, please visit: www.bretagne.cl
Chile is a very unique long narrow shape country located in the southern climates. From north to south is about 4300 km (2700 miles) and situated on 17 to 56 degrees’ south latitude. Due to its location and unique shape it falls on the different temperature zone. It has mild desert climate in the north occupied by the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth. Mediterranean in the center, Oceanic in the south and cold in the Andes. It has the opposite type of seasons experienced in North America or Europe.
In the border between Argentina and Chilean Patagonia is the Andes Mountain Range which gets snow from June to September. You will see the snow-capped mountain peaks especially in July when it probably snows heavily. Santiago experiences the most, up to 0.24 inches (6 millimeters) of snow. Rest of Chile will experience heavy rainfall.
Check out for the latest update on Chile’s climate, visit: www.climatestotravel.com
Spanish is the official language of Chile, which is widely spoken by some 14 million Chileans. Other indigenous languages are spoken here like the Mapuche people speak the “Mapudungun” language. The “Rapa Nui” is spoken by the Easter Islanders and a small minority groups living in the province of Arica and Putre speaks the “Aymara” language. Quechua is spoken by around 8000 people living in the northeast high plains. Very few people living in the Los Lagos and Los Rios regions speak the Huilliche or chesungun language. English and German are among the two most widely spoken foreign languages in chile.
Roads are good in Chile, driving is quick here. In Santiago during rush hours when people are going & return from work and school, one needs to be careful. The road rush hours are 8 am to 9.30 am & 6.00 pm to 8.30 pm. During these hours’ traffic will be slow & drivers seems to forget their courtesies. In a split of a second drivers switch lanes. Watch out for Buses, they are known for not showing respect for fellow drivers. Otherwise Chilean drivers obey the traffic rules & also pedestrian’s right-of-way.
The general standard traffic rules in Chile are:
- Seat belts are mandatory for all occupants travelling in a vehicle
- Drive on the right-hand and overtaking is allowed on the left.
- The BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is 0.05%. Driving under the influence of alcohol is Zero Tolerance Policy. It can result in imprisonment.
- Mobile phones without hands-free is not allowed. Listening to music on headphone while driving is illegal.
- Smoking while driving is illegal
- Right Hand turn on red signal is prohibited unless its indicated
- Give way to Pedestrians at all times
- Do not drive on lane that is provided for Buses and Taxies.
It is mandatory to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP) along with Driver’s license and Passport. The IDP is mainly required if your licenses are not in roman script. The speed limits required within city is 50-60 km/h (31-38 mph), In rural roads, its 100 km/h (62 mph) and on highways its 120 km (75 mph). More speeding tickets are very high. On the highways and freeways, the Chilean Police (Carabineros de Chile) have set up speed radars to check overspending.
To get the New Driver’s Handbook for Chile, please visit: www.mtt.gob.cl
The Chilean Peso (peso chileno) is the official currency of Chile. The symbol is $, CL$ or CLP.
The Peso is available in coins of the following denominations:
10, 50, 100 or 500 pesos
The Peso is available in Notes of the following denominations:
1000, 2000, 5000, 10000 and 20000 pesos.
Chile has the highest eCommerce transaction per capita in Latin America with 85% of the eCommerce puchases are domestic. It is estimated that Chile has an extense internet penetration of over 92% with 1.9 M mobile shoppers. Around 40 million credit and debit cards have been issued (2 cards per person) in Chile. Approximately 74.3% of its population has access to banking services.
The following methods of payment are popular in Chile:
International Credit card (53%)
Domestic credit cards (25%)
Debit Card via webpay (25%)
Cash payments (10%)
Bank Transfers (3%)
Prepaid cards (MACH)
The EBANX has direct connections with Chilean banks and acquirers in Chile, which makes it possible for consumers to process credit card payments as a local and also boost the approval rates. Under this platform, users can offer 48 interest free installments to their customers in Latin America. To find out how EBANX works, please visit:www.rapyd.net
The apartment rent in Chile is around 65% lower than in the United States. The rent depends on the city, neighborhood and standard. On an average, a one-bedroom apartment in a city is around $388/month and $330 in the suburbs. A three-bedroom apartment in a city will be approximately $700 and around $556 in the suburbs.
In cities like Santiago the rent will be higher, e,g one-bedroom apartment here averages about $450/month to $600/month in the downtown. In the posh Las Condes rents ranges between 600 to 900 USD, while a luxury apartment will cost up to 1800 USD. Apart from the rent the utilities charges like water, gas, electricity, internet, water heating etc., will be extra. There are some agencies like www.contactchile.cl/, who offer 20% discount to students on rents.
Cost of Living in Chile
Contrary to the common belief, the cost of living in Chile is similar to western countries. With the average salary in Chile which is around US$780, it is not easy to live in a city like Santiago. Moving to other city where rent is cheaper than Santiago, will reduce the budget by 30% especially on the housing part. Refer the above links to find out the house rents.
Food is cheaper and affordable at supermarkets and market places where fresh and local products are available. Santiago’s “La Vega” market offers cheap fruits and vegetables at much lower prices. The jumbo chain of markets has lots of choices but are expensive. Some common items and services are listed below with their current prices for your reference.
Cost in Pesos
Cost in US dollars
1 ltr of milk
1 kg Apples
1 kg Bread
1 kg meat
1 kg tomatoes
Cigarettes (pack of 20)
Transport (2 rides a day in bus/subway)
For the updated prices of commodities and services in Chile, please visit: www.expatistan.com
Residents of Chili are subject to income tax on the Chilean source income. This is also applicable for persons who spends more than six months in the country. Resident companies are taxed on their worldwide income and the non-domiciled or non-resident companies are taxed only on their Chilean source income. As of 2020 the standard VAT rate in Chile was 19.0%, very close to OECD average which was 19.2%
For detailed information on the Chilean Income Tax System, please visit www.sii.cl
The healthcare system in Chile is very efficient and one of the best in south America, especially in Santiago where the medical standards are very high. Secondly the public healthcare system is very affordable. They have a program called FONASA, which is the national healthcare system, which is publicly funded through a deduction from the salary of the residents. All governance and regulation are overseen by the Ministry of Health at the federal level. Under this system, the government hospitals provide free healthcare to members of the population who do not have healthcare coverage. Any resident paying into the system is covered by the FONASA. The system covers the unemployed, uninsured pregnant women, people with mental or physical disabilities and the poor.
The foreigners and expats who are working in Chile (or a pensioner), have residency and are paying into the health insurance scheme are eligible for the state healthcare. Only those Retirees who are paying 7% of the pension to system will be covered. International students are not covered under this system and they will have to take up private health insurance.
To get the detailed information on the Public and Private healthcare, please refer:www.expatfocus.com
Embassy pf Peru
Av. Andrés Bello 1751, 16277
PHONE: (+56-2) 3392600,2356451
Embassy of Colombia
Avenida Presidente, Errazuriz 3943 las Condes,
Santiago de Chile
PHONE: 56 2 3359948
Embassy of Venezuela
Calle Bustos 2021 Casilla 16577,
Correo 9 Providencia,
PHONE: (+56) 2 2365 8700
U.S. Embassy Santiago
Av. Andrés Bello 2800
Phone: (56-2) 2330-3000
British Embassy Santiago
Av. El Bosque Nte. 125, P 6, Las Condes,
Phone: +56 2 2370 4100
Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport
Armando Cortinez Ote. 1704, Pudahuel,
Phone: +56 2 2690 1796
Chile is an Island nation with breathtaking beauty and no one can deny that it is the most beautiful country in the world. It is also the safest and politically stable country in South America. The Atacama Desert backed by snowcapped volcanoes mountains rising from the sand is the driest desert in the world. You can enjoy world-class surfing, sparkling lakes, abundant wildlife, white-sandy beaches, watch the Penguins play on glacial fields and skiing all in one country at very affordable prices. Europeans and North Americans love to visit & live here to enjoy Chile’s seasons. They also prefer to live in Chile as it’s very clean. Chile has the maximum immigrants from Venezuela, Peru, Haiti, Columbia, Bolivia, Argentina etc. One of the strongest most stable economies in South America, you will not regret to choose Chile as your first choice to immigrate.
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