Visas and Work Permits 8 min

Work permits and visas in Chile: an employer’s guide

Written by Sally Flaxman
April 22, 2024
Sally Flaxman


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If you’ve decided to hire a new employee in Chile or if your team member decides to move to the country, you have to make sure they have the correct work permit and visa to legally work there.

Staying compliant with employment laws in Chile can be challenging for companies, especially if they have limited knowledge of local rules. If you fail to comply with Chile’s labor laws and immigration regulations, both employers and employees might face regulatory penalties and, in some cases, hefty fines. 

This article addresses the key work visa and permit requirements for non-citizens to work and stay compliantly in Chile. Our guide also explains how you can use an employer of record (EOR) service to make hiring it quick, easy, and compliant.

The importance of immigration compliance in Chile

Chile does not have nationwide work authorization checks or entitlements for non-citizens. Specifically, non-citizens who wish to work in Chile need to apply for a job privately at a Chile-based employer.

Once the job offer is accepted, they can proceed to apply for a relevant visa to enter Chile. Non-citizen and citizen workers receive equal employment rights and are protected under the Chilean labor code. 

That said, choosing to work under an incorrect visa, such as a tourist visa, exposes workers and employers to a series of regulatory risks ranging from fines to civil and criminal offences. 

Who needs a work authorization check in Chile?

Specific requirements and exceptions apply for certain classes of workers, including:

  • Permanent residents. In many jurisdictions, Permanent Residents are authorized to work anywhere and for any employer in Chile, without needing a work visa or permit.

  • Temporary residents. This is a class of residents who hold a Transitory Permanence (" Permanencia Transitoria") permit and who are by no means allowed to work in Chile except in certain cases.

  • Work permit holders. These workers are still required to get a visa to work and stay in Chile. Work permit holders can work for a Chilean employer for up to two years. Once a work permit holder's visa expires, he or she must leave Chile within 30 days. Visa extensions are decided on a case-by-case basis and are dependent on whether an employer is willing to extend the employment contract or not. 

Typically, the visa application process for any visa type is done via the National Immigration Service (" Servicio Nacional de Extranjería"). 

The visa application process for foreign workers wishing to work in Chile may be confusing for international employers. An established employer of record (EOR), can be of enormous value here. Remote’s expert team offers in-house legal expertise and labor market knowledge, making visa application procedures quick and simple.

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Do non-citizens need a work visa or work permit in Chile?

Non-citizens need a work visa to be able to stay and work compliantly in Chile. 

Non-citizens also need to apply for a job or be invited by an employer to be able to work in Chile.

What are the eligibility requirements for a work visa in Chile?

The National Immigration Service — despite offering a well-serviced online platform to inform and guide applicants about different visa classes and requirements — doesn't provide specific guidance or instructions on visa requirements for non-citizens who wish to work and stay in Chile temporarily.

The lack of guidance on non-citizen work visas (and permits, if applicable or needed) makes it even more difficult for international employers to figure out requirements. That’s why partnering with an established EOR is‌ your best option if you’re considering hiring or relocating a team member to Chile. 

What are the long-stay visa types in Chile?

Two types of visas that fall under the long-stay category in Chile include:

  • Residence ("Residencia"), is a visa class for persons who wish to stay Chile for longer periods (usually over 180 days) and who are primarily working in the country but need to stay permanently based on a work contract 

  • Permanent Residence in Chile ("Residencia Definitiva en Chile"), a visa class for persons who wish to settle in Chile permanently. It’s applicable to individuals who already have a valid resident visa, who have not stayed for over 180 days outside Chile in the past year, and are eligible to apply for permanent residence.

How do you get a work visa for Chile?

The visa application process, paperwork required, and average processing time, vary from case-to-case and depend on the contractual agreements between employers and workers.

For employment contracts to be legal, compliant, and conducive to visa approval for workers, the contract must be written and co-signed by both parties, i.e. employer and worker. The agreement must include: 

  • Place and date of the contract 

  • Company name

  • The worker's basic information: name, nationality, Unique Tax Number ("Rol Único Tributario," RUT), marital status, address, etc.

  • The amount and form of monthly or weekly salary or wage 

  • The employment period

If you are planning to hire many workers from Chile, you might find yourself overwhelmed handling to deal with a wide range of visa requirements and possible permits, which can only be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Choosing to manage visa and permit requirements for your employees and contractors in Chile is often beyond any employer's means, both legally and financially. Any mistakes while hiring or relocating prospective team members in Chile could‌ lead to legal complications or regulatory fines.

Using Remote not only makes hiring and relocating employees and contractors in and to Chile less time consuming but also simplifies compliance with local laws.

Through our expert Mobility team, who are available 24/7, Remote provides relocation services. Remote can help you: 

  • Populate employee and contractor information in relevant visa and permit applications

  • Gather all information required for documentation and application processes via custom-designed questionnaires

  • Conduct eligibility checks (if and when needed) and provide expert legal advice on sponsorship eligibility

  • Conduct pre-hiring assessments so you can filter in your desired employees and contractors whom you wish to proceed in your hiring process

  • Manage relocation process end-to-end for employees, contractors, and families 

What are the visa requirements for digital nomads in Chile?

Chile does not have a digital nomad visa. Individuals who want to travel and work in Chile can do so under the Temporary Resident Visa. This visa allows the holder to work in the country for up to a year.

To be eligible for the Temporary Resident Visa, applicants must have a valid passport, a clean criminal record, and a medical report signed by their doctor. They need to apply for the visa online through the Chilean government website.

How Remote makes compliance in Chile so much easier

Hiring a team in Chile is a solid way to grow your company in Latin America. 

Keep in mind that whether you’re relocating an existing employee to the country or want to hire a new team in Chile, you’ll have to make sure you do so via your own entity in the country. 

Setting up an international entity is not easy. You’ll have to spend time and resources to streamline processes around hiring, onboarding, taxes, payroll, benefits, and compliance. That’s why many companies find it easy to use an employer of record to handle all this and more while expanding globally. 

Remote can help you hire ‌or relocate employees to Chile by:

  • Fulfilling requirements for immigration, resettlement, work visas, and permits

  • Understanding international taxation

  • Avoiding permanent establishment risks

  • Staying compliant with local labor laws and regulations. 

Download our Relocation Guide for handy tips on how to make employee relocation quick, simple, and hassle-free. You can also contact us for legal advice and guidance on relocation. 

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