South America

Permanent Residency


What makes Chile stand out amongst other Latin American countries is that no minimum financial investment is required in order to obtain permanent residency.

If your temporary residency or work visa is coming to an end, but you don’t want to leave Chile, then apply for permanent residency (Permanencia Definitiva).

To apply for permanent residency in Chile you are required to spend at least 180 days per year in the country if you have a temporary residency visa. If you have a work visa, you need to spend 2 years in the country uninterrupted. Students on a study visa can apply after two years in the country, on the condition they have finished their studies.

Once you have spent the allotted amount of time in Chile, you must apply for permanent residency or revert to a tourist visa.

The permanent visa is valid for five years and renewable indefinitely. After five years you can apply for Chilean citizenship or dual citizenship without having to renounce your current citizenship. If you leave Chile for a period of longer than one year, your permanent residency visa will be revoked.

How to apply

Applying for permanent residency is much the same as applying for other visas. Two months before your temporary residency visa expires, you will need to present the following documentation to the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Santiago.

  • Certification from the International Police in Chile showing no criminal history
  • A medical report
  • A statement about why you want to live in Chile
  • Proof you can financially support yourself (bank statements, or proof of income)
  • Certificate of your entries and exits from Chile (from the International Police)
  • 2 colour passport photographs with your RUT or passport number on them
  • Copies of all your passport pages and both sides of your Chilean ID card (if you have one)

If you are applying at a consulate outside Chile, you may have to present additional documents or not require all of the above.

Benefits and disadvantages of permanent residency

Applying for and receiving a permanent residency in Chile has several benefits. 

Two of the key benefits are that:

  • With a permanent visa you can apply for loans and mortgages
  • You are likely to find it easier to get a job

Disadvantages (depending on your point of view):

  • You are prohibited from voting
  • Once you have permanent residency, you are expected to apply for a Chilean driving licence (licencia para conducir) which is taken in Spanish.
  • If you leave Chile for a year continuously you will lose your residency. You can apply for an extension of this time if you have a reason, such as if you’re studying outside the country.
  • Once you become a permanent resident, your worldwide income is subject to Chilean taxation. However, company income made offshore that stays offshore is not taxed. Most Chileans do not declare international income and have little problem unless they try to bring the income into Chile.