Why invest in Chile?
Chile boasts one of the most rapidly growing economies in South America. It is characterized by stability, abundant natural resources, and extensive areas of unspoiled nature, along with renowned vineyards - a great draw for wine enthusiasts seeking permanent residency in Chile. According to the Economist, the Chilean economy will expand in 2024, fueled by strong external demand for copper and lithium exports, disinflation, and an aggressive easing cycle pursued by the Banco Central de Chile (the central bank), which will boost private consumption and investment.
In recent times, Chile has become an attractive destination for expatriates who are looking for a welcoming environment. It offers one of the most affordable, accessible, and easy-to-maintain residency options globally. Moreover, with a robust legal framework, low corruption levels, and a history of respecting property rights, Chile provides a secure environment for businesses to operate. Its strategic location and immense network of free trade agreements make it a gateway to markets across the Americas and beyond.
Chile Residency by Investment Benefits
Chile attracts many foreign investors due to the following benefits:
Chilean residency offers long-term stability and security for you and your family. It provides a sense of belonging and peace of mind knowing that you have secure legal status in Chile. There are various investment options available. The initial residence permit is valid for 1 year, and it is renewable. You may apply for a permanent residence permit after 2 year of temporary residency.
Path to Citizenship
After 5 years of residency, you may be eligible to apply for Chilean citizenship. This grants you full rights as a Chilean citizen, including the ability to vote and participate in the political process. It also solidifies your status as an integral member of Chilean society, fostering a deeper sense of belonging and connection to the country. In addition, Chile allows dual citizenship, so you can retain your original citizenship while also becoming a Chilean citizen.
By obtaining temporary residency through investment, you gain access to a variety of business and investment opportunities in Chile. This can be particularly advantageous for entrepreneurs and investors looking to expand their ventures. Moreover, the country has consistently shown strong economic growth. Chile's real gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 3 percentage points between 2023 and 2028.
Chile is considered the most transparent country in Latin America, ranked 26th on the Corruption Perception Index in 2023 (for comparison, the USA is ranked 23rd). This transparency fosters a trustworthy and secure environment for residents and investors alike.
Chile boasts one of the most stable currencies in the region, thanks to its robust foreign trade activities. This stability contributes to a favorable economic environment for both residents and businesses. In 2023, Chile's inflation rate stood at a relatively low 5.1%, underscoring the stability of its currency, the Chilean Peso (CLP).
Direct Foreign Investments
Chile stands as one of the world’s biggest recipients of direct foreign investment, highlighting the country's attractiveness to international investors. Foreign investment totaled USD 7.286 billion in 2023, a 34% increase compared to the previous year. This substantial inflow of capital underscores the confidence that global businesses have in Chile's stable economic and political climate.
As a permanent resident, you have the right to work in Chile without the need for a separate work permit. This can be beneficial if you're looking to explore employment opportunities in the country. Between 2023 and 2028, the unemployment rate in Chile was projected to fall by 1.3 percentage points. According to this forecast, the rate will have dropped to 7.5 percent for the fourth consecutive year in 2028.
Permanent residents have the same rights as Chilean citizens when it comes to owning property, which can be a valuable asset for personal or investment purposes. The Chilean real estate market showed resilience, with property prices remaining relatively stable despite the global economic challenges posed by the pandemic. The real estate market is worth USD 1.87 trillion in 2023.
Chile's tax system is relatively uncomplicated, and individual income taxes are typically less burdensome compared to numerous other nations. Notably, there is no capital gains tax imposed in Chile. Regarding corporate taxes, the standard practice is for companies to face a 27% tax on their corporate earnings, unless they fall under the classification of small and medium-sized entities according to Chilean tax regulations, in which case they are subjected to a 25% corporate tax rate.
High Quality of Life
Chile is known for its high quality of life, including good healthcare, education, and overall infrastructure. Residents can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with access to modern amenities. Chile consistently ranks high in various global quality of life indices. According to the Human Development Index (HDI) of the United Nations, Chile had an HDI value of 0.8 in 2023, placing it in the category of countries with very high human development.
Chile Investor Visa Overview
The Chilean Investor Visa offers a pathway for foreign investors to establish a presence in Chile's dynamic economy. Eligible individuals can secure this visa by making a substantial investment in the country, which can take various forms, including starting a new business, contributing capital to an existing enterprise, etc.
The visa initially grants temporary residency, typically valid for 1 year, and can be extended if the investment and business requirements are met. This visa not only allows investors to live and work in Chile but also provides opportunities to actively engage in business activities and benefit from Chilean residency privileges.
One of the key advantages of the Chile Investor Visa is the potential to include immediate family members in the application. This means that the investor's spouse and children can also reside in Chile and enjoy the benefits of Chilean residency.
Chilean Investor Visa Eligibility Requirements
Granting Investor Visa to foreign individuals, legal representatives, and executives in foreign companies seeking to invest in Chile is critical to facilitating international investments. This permit allows individuals to reside in Chile for a specified period, engage in executive or senior management roles, and invest in projects aimed at the production of goods or services.
The 2022 immigration law (Decree 177 of 2022) has refined the eligibility criteria for the investor visa, narrowing it down to two primary categories:
- Investment in Chile
Individuals must have invested or intend to invest a minimum of USD 500,000 in a project in Chile. Proof of funds is mandatory to qualify for this category.
- Employment with a Foreign Company
Employees (senior managers) can qualify for an Investor Visa if they work for a Chilean company in which a foreign investor directly controls at least 10% of the company’s voting rights. It is essential to demonstrate the equity link between the foreign and Chilean companies.
Please keep in mind that, fundamentally, there are no rigid constraints regarding the nature of assets eligible for investment. To initiate a business venture in Chile, an investment of approximately USD 60,000 to USD 75,000 is sufficient.
Chile Investor Visa Documents Requirements
When it comes to the list of supporting documents, it is as follows:
- Passport or identification document.
- Certificate of criminal record or equivalent document issued by the competent authority of their country of origin or residence in the last 5 years (applicable to applicants over 18 years old)
- Sponsorship letter issued by the Agencia de Promoción de Inversión Extranjera.
- Detailed investment document specifying the purpose and amount, along with the nature of functions (if applicable).
- Additional documentation for established company owners or partners:
- Certificado de inicio de actividades (issued by the SII - Tax Service) of the company
- Carpeta tributaria electrónica (Electronic Tax Folder, issued by the SII)
- Certification of payment of the patente municipal (municipal tax for companies located within city or commune boundaries)
The Chilean investment agency issued a resolution in August 2022, which outlines specific document requirements based on the project's size and category. It is advisable to seek a consultation to evaluate your project's classification and ascertain the necessary documentation.
For applications submitted abroad, it is imperative that the passport should be valid for a minimum of one year from the date of application. Any documents not in Spanish or English must be accompanied by an authorized translation from a certified body. Moreover, all documents issued abroad or by a respective consular representation in Chile must undergo apostille or be duly legalized, in accordance with Articles 345 and 345 bis of the Código de Procedimiento Civil (Code of Civil Procedure).
Furthermore, documents provided by private entities should be submitted within 30 days from the date of issuance, while those issued by public institutions and agencies must be presented within 60 days from the date of issuance, unless the document explicitly states its validity period.
Chile Investor Visa Application Process
To secure a Chilean investor visa, follow these steps:
Step 1: Gather Required Documents
Collect all necessary documents specified by both the Chilean Investment Agency and the Chile Immigration Service. This may include identification documents, financial statements, project proposals, and any other documentation deemed relevant to the visa application process.
Step 2: Submit Documents to the Chilean Investment Agency
Present the compiled documents to the Chilean Investment Agency for review. The Chilean Investment Agency plays a crucial role in validating the feasibility of your investment project. Upon successful validation, they will provide you with a support letter, a key document in the application process.
Step 3: Apply for the Visa Online
Submit an investment visa application through this online portal before your arrival in Chile. After logging in, you should look for the "Solicitud de Residencias Temporales para Extranjeros Fuera de Chile" (Application for Temporary Residency for Foreigners Outside Chile). The application fees depend on the nationality and range from USD 0 to USD 2,700. Note that Chile no longer accepts visa applications from tourists already in the country.
Step 4: Receive Temporary Investor Visa
Upon approval, you will receive a temporary investor visa, allowing you to relocate to Chile. This visa typically has a validity period of one to two years, and it opens the door to various opportunities for business development and investment in the country.
Step 5: Register with the Civil Register and PDI
When you arrive in Chile with a visa, you must register it with the Polica de Investigaciones (PDI). Within 30 days of arrival, schedule an appointment to register with the Civil Register in Chile. This crucial step is necessary to initiate the process for obtaining the temporary residence permit, which allows you to legally reside and engage in business activities in the country.
By following these steps and providing the necessary documentation, you can navigate the process of obtaining a Chilean investor visa efficiently and effectively.
4 Tips for Getting Chile Residency by Investment from Golden Harbors
Our team assists foreign investors with obtaining residency in Chile. Getting Chilean Residency by investment is a significant undertaking, and it is recommended to approach the process with careful planning and attention to detail. Here are some tips to help you effectively follow the steps:
- Letter of Endorsement
Obtaining a letter of endorsement from the Chilean Foreign Investment Agency can significantly streamline the process of securing residency through investment in Chile. This official endorsement serves as a powerful testament to the credibility and viability of your investment plan. It demonstrates your commitment to contributing positively to Chile's economic development and showcases a level of trust from a key governmental agency. Moreover, a letter of endorsement underscores your commitment to transparency and compliance with Chilean regulations. It signifies that your investment proposal has been evaluated and recognized by a reputable government body, instilling confidence in both local authorities and potential business partners.
- Open a Local Bank Account
Opening a local bank account is a crucial step in the process of obtaining Chilean Residency by Investment. To do this, you'll need to visit a reputable bank in Chile and provide the necessary identification and documentation, which typically includes your passport, proof of address, and any additional documents related to your investment activities in the country. Once the account is established, it's important to maintain regular financial activity to demonstrate your commitment to the local economy. Having a local bank account will not only facilitate your investment endeavors but also signal your intent to establish genuine ties with the Chilean community. The popular bank among our clients are Banco de Chile, Banco Estado, Banco Santander Chile, etc.
- Learn Spanish
While proficiency in Spanish is not a formal requirement, it can greatly enhance your ability to integrate into the local community and conduct business effectively. By being able to communicate with locals, you will build stronger connections, gain a deeper understanding of the culture, and navigate daily life more smoothly. This effort also showcases your genuine interest in becoming an active participant in Chilean society, which can be viewed positively by immigration authorities and fellow residents.
- Legal Assistance
A skilled attorney with expertise in immigration and investment law can guide you through the intricate process, ensuring all necessary documentation is properly prepared and submitted. Golden Harbors team can provide invaluable insights into the specific requirements and regulations governing the program, helping you navigate potential pitfalls and streamline the application process. On top of that, we can assist in structuring your investment to maximize its effectiveness in meeting the residency criteria. We can help you choose the most appropriate investment vehicle and ensure it aligns with both your financial goals and the program's eligibility criteria.
What is the Minimum Investment Required to Apply for an Investor Visa in Chile?
The minimum investment required to apply for an Investor Visa in Chile can vary depending on the specific type of investment chosen. To be eligible for a Chilean Investor Visa, the applicant must meet one of the following criteria: a) make a personal investment exceeding USD 500,000 in Chile; or b) hold a senior managerial position in a Chilean company where a foreign investor, who directly commands at least 10% of the company's voting rights, is involved. Essentially, there are no specific limitations on the types of assets for investment. If you wish to start a business in Chile, you will need to invest around USD 60,000 - USD 75,000.
Can Family Members be Included in the Application?
Yes, family members can be included in the application. Immediate family members, typically defined as spouses and dependent children, may be eligible for inclusion. It's essential to provide the necessary documentation and proof of relationship when including family members in the application. This may include marriage certificates, birth certificates for dependent children, and any other relevant legal documents.
Are There any Restrictions on Nationality or Citizenship for Applicants?
No, there are no restrictions on nationality or citizenship for applicants. The Chilean Residency by Investment program is designed to be inclusive and does not discriminate based on nationality or citizenship. This means that individuals from any country can apply for residency through this program.