March 16, 2024

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Chile Retirement Visa: Ultimate Guide 2024

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Chile Retirement Visa: Ultimate Guide 2024

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Why Retire in Chile?

According to the Global NATIXIS Retirement Index 2023, Chile is one of the top 10 countries in finance in the retirement sub-index. Chile is a popular retirement destination due to its stable economy, modern infrastructure, and stunning natural beauty. The cost of living, while not the lowest, is reasonable, allowing retirees to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without excessive financial strain. Chile's average cost of living (USD 1,021) is 58% less than that of the United States (USD 2,434). 

The country offers a high quality of life with a range of climates to choose from, including the Mediterranean-like central region and the picturesque landscapes of Patagonia. Furthermore, Chile's retirement visa program (Residencia Temporal permit for Retired Persons) facilitates the process of establishing permanent legal residence for retirees, easing the transition to a new chapter in life. 

As retirees consider the diverse factors influencing their choice of retirement destination, Chile stands out as a country that not only provides a secure and stable environment but also offers a wealth of opportunities for cultural exploration and outdoor enjoyment.

Chile Retirement Visa Benefits

The Chilean Retirement Visa program permits foreigners with a stable pension or passive income to live in Chile for up to 2 years, enjoying the following benefits:

Access to Healthcare and Medicine

Chile has a well-developed healthcare system. Both public and private healthcare services are available. In addition, Chile consistently invests in medical infrastructure and research, contributing to its high standard of healthcare. According to the World Health Organization, Chile had a doctor-to-population ratio of approximately 29.73 physicians per 10,000 people in 2023, reflecting the nation's commitment to providing accessible medical care. Expatriates are encouraged to explore comprehensive health insurance options tailored to their needs, ensuring access to quality healthcare services during their stay.

Obtain Residency and Citizenship 

The Retirement Visa grants you Chilean legal residency, allowing you to live in the country for a specified period. After 2 years as a holder of a Retirement Visa, you are eligible to apply for a permanent resident visa. After 5 years of residency, you can apply for Chilean citizenship

Upon acquiring Chilean citizenship, you acquire the right to participate in national elections and enjoy all the benefits of full citizenship. Moreover, Chile recognizes dual citizenship, enabling you to retain your original nationality while holding your new Chilean citizenship.

Utilize Taxation for Retirees 

Foreign retirees in Chile can explore the concept of tax residence, which is crucial for understanding their tax obligations in the country. Chile determines tax residency based on the number of days spent in the country over a certain period. Individuals residing in Chile for more than 183 days in a calendar year are generally considered tax residents and are subject to taxes on their worldwide income. However, tax treaties between Chile and other countries may impact the taxation of specific income types for foreign retirees. 

Generally, there are no stay duration requirements for foreign retirees in Chile and their worldwide income is not taxed if they live in Chile for less than 183 days per year. Moreover, retirees may benefit from a favorable tax environment, which can include exemptions or reductions. These can include property tax reductions and exemptions from certain types of income.

Explore Travel Opportunities 

Retirees holding this visa can explore Chile's diverse landscapes, from the breathtaking Andes mountains to the picturesque coastal areas. The country's strategic location also provides convenient access to other South American destinations, enabling retirees to embark on enriching journeys throughout the continent.

With Chile's solid passport standing, retirees can enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 170 countries, facilitating hassle-free travel.

Enjoy Safety

Chile consistently ranks as one of the safest countries in South America, with low crime rates and a stable political climate. According to the Global Peace Index 2023, Chile is placed 58th out of 163 countries, reflecting its commitment to maintaining social harmony and safety. The country's strong economy, efficient public services, and well-developed infrastructure contribute to a sense of security for retirees. With its commitment to maintaining a peaceful and stable society, the Chile Retirement Visa ensures that retirees can enjoy their golden years in a serene and secure setting.

Benefits from Pensioner Discounts 

The Chile Retirement Visa brings with it a host of financial benefits, notably in the form of pensioner discounts that enhance the overall retirement experience. Retirees with this visa are entitled to various discounts on goods and services, including healthcare, transportation, cultural events, and recreational activities. Chile's commitment to supporting its aging population is reflected in these discounts, ensuring that retirees can stretch their pensions further and enjoy a higher quality of life. 

Chile Retirement Visa vs Income Visa

The Chile Retirement Visa and Income Visa fall under the same category. Formerly known as the "Chile Retirement and Periodic Income Visa," it has now been rebranded as the "Retirement/Rentista (Leasers) Visa." This visa offers a unique opportunity to not only enjoy your retirement in Chile but also to work, start a business, and make investments in this vibrant South American country. Please keep in mind that you do not need to be retired in order to get a Retirement Visa. You can qualify by demonstrating a consistent source of passive income, which can include rental income from real estate or various financial assets (annuities, dividends, royalties, etc.), and get a Rentista (Leasers) Visa.

Please find a comparison of these two visas in the table below:

Retirement Visa Rentista (Leasers) Visa
Eligibility Criteria Individuals with a retirement pension provided that it allows them to meet at least their basic needs during their stay in the country Individuals with consistent income from real estate or financial assets
Retirement Status Requires retirement pension as per country regulations Not limited to retired individuals; open to those with stable income sources
Investment Requirement No stringent investment requirements; emphasis on regular income sources
Residency/Visit Can reside in Chile during retirement Not obligated to reside in Chile; offers flexibility for those who want to invest or start a business remotely
Application Process Easier compared to investor visa; designed to attract individuals with stable income sources
Residency Duration Can apply for permanent residency after certain years (usually 2 years)
Residency Renewal Dependent on continued receipt of retirement pension Dependent on the regularity and sufficiency of income from real estate or financial assets
Visit/Stay
Requirements
No specific residency or visitation requirements, providing greater flexibility

Chile Retirement Visa Requirements

To qualify for the Retirement/Rentista (Leasers) Visa in Chile, applicants benefit from a relatively straightforward process with a focus on demonstrating a sustainable source of income. Here are the key requirements:

Recurring Passive Income Source

Provide evidence of a recurring income source, which may include:

  • Pensions from your home country; or
  • Rental income generated by real estate properties that you own; or
  • Income generated by financial investments such as annuities, dividends, royalties, etc.

Asset Sufficiency

Showcase sufficient assets to support yourself and any accompanying family members during your residence in Chile.

No Official Income Level Requirement

While there is no official requirement for a specific income level, applicants are advised to have a reasonable and sustainable income.

Recommended Income Range

Although not mandatory, it is advisable to demonstrate a recurring monthly income between USD 1,000 and USD 1,500 for the principal visa applicant. An additional USD 600 per dependent (spouse, children, or parents) relocating with the principal applicant is recommended.

Regular Income Demonstration

Emphasize the regularity of your income, ensuring that it meets the needs of yourself and your family throughout your stay.

No Criminal Records

The absence of criminal convictions is a crucial component, reinforcing the applicant's eligibility for a successful visa application.

Chile Retirement Visa Documents

In order to qualify for a Chilean Retirement/Rentista (Leasers) Visa, the following documents are required: 

Documents provided by retired people

  • Passport or other form of identification;
  • Certificate of criminal record or equivalent document issued by the competent authority of the country of origin or the country where you have resided in the previous 5 years (required for applicants over the age of 18);
  • Certificate of retirement, stating the amount of income and the time frame for receiving your pension. The certificate must be legalized or apostilled, depending on the situation;
  • Receipt of the most recent pension payment available at the time of application, legalized or apostilled as necessary.

Documents provided by real-estate leaser-owners 

  • Passport or other form of identification;
  • Certificate of criminal record or equivalent document issued by the competent authority of their country of origin or the country where they have resided in the previous 5 years (required for applicants over the age of 18);
  • Certificate issued by the competent agency, duly legalized or apostilled, certifying the applicant's ownership of the property in question. This certificate will not be required in the case of Chilean real estate;
  • Property lease contract in which the applicant's obligation to pay a specified amount on a regular basis is stipulated, duly legalized or apostilled, as appropriate;
  • Documents attesting to lease income.

Documents provided by leaser-owner of financial asset 

  • Passport or other form of identification;
  • Certificate of criminal record or equivalent document issued by the competent authority of their country of origin or the country where they have resided in the previous 5 years (required for applicants over the age of 18);
  • Certificate issued by the competent agency, duly legalized or apostilled, certifying the applicant's ownership of the financial assets. This certificate will not be required for assets from which income is generated in Chile;
  • Documents attesting to the income generated as a direct result of such financial assets.

Documents provided by dependents 

  • Identification document; 
  • Certificate of criminal record apostilled or legalized by the Chilean Consulate and the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • A marriage certificate or a document proving cohabitation. If the bond was entered into outside of Chile, the document must be apostilled or legalized by the Chilean Consulate and the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • Affidavit signed at a notary public by the spouse or civil partner stating that they will bear the costs associated with their stay in the country;
  • Attest that your spouse and children have enough financial resources to cover living expenses; 
  • Birth certificate of children, duly apostilled or legalized by the Chilean Consulate and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile. 

When applying for a Chilean visa from another country, make sure your passport is valid for at least one more year. If your documents are in a language other than Spanish or English, get them translated and approved by a certified translator. Also, if your documents are from outside Chile or from a Chilean consulate, they need to be stamped or legalized as per the rules in Articles 345 and 345 bis of the Code of Civil Procedure

Furthermore, private-party documents should be promptly submitted within 30 days from the date of issuance. In the case of documents issued by public institutions and agencies, unless their validity is explicitly stated, it is recommended to present them within 60 days of issuance. This ensures a timely and efficient processing of the documents.

Chile Retirement Visa Application Process

The Chilean residence permit application process is straightforward, fast, and hassle-free. It takes around 2–3 months. The steps are outlined below: 

Step 1. Gather Required Documents

At the initial stage, you should collect all necessary documents for your Chile Retirement Visa application. These may include a passport with at least one year of validity, proof of retirement income or pension statements, a criminal record certificate from your home country, completed visa application form, etc. 

Step 2. Apply Online

You have to visit the website of the immigration service (SERMIG) in Chile. Create an account for visa application purposes or use ClaveÚnica. Log in to the Portal de Trámites Digitales of SERMIG. Look for the “Solicitud de Residencias Temporales para extranjeros fuera de Chile” (Application for Residencia Temporal for foreigners outside Chile).

Step 3. Complete the Application and Submit the Application

At this stage, you will fill out the online application form with accurate and up-to-date information. Upload the required documents to the online portal. Review the information provided and ensure all documents are attached. Submit the completed application. 

Step 4. Wait for Visa Approval

You should wait for the immigration authorities in Chile to process your application. In general, it is up to 30 days. You may receive updates or requests for additional information during this period. It is important to regularly check the communication channels you provided for any notifications regarding your visa status.

Step. 5 Receive Temporary Retirement Visa

Once your application is approved, you will receive a temporary Retirement Visa. The visa will grant you the authorization to reside in the country for the specified period mentioned in your approval notice (usually 1 year). 

Step 6. Travel to Chile and Register with Civil Register

With the temporary Retirement Visa, you can travel to Chile. Within 30 days of arrival, schedule an appointment with the civil register in Chile. During the appointment, you will obtain a Chilean ID card (temporary residence permit).

Step 7. Comply with Residency Requirements

You need to adhere to any additional requirements specified by Chilean immigration authorities. Please take note that there is no minimum stay requirement in order to maintain and extend your visa. 

3 Tips How to Get a Chilean Retirement Visa from Golden Harbors

Moving to Chile on a Retirement Visa, in our experience, begins with meticulous attention to detail and thorough research. The following are the primary considerations:

  1. Research Visa Requirements

Start by conducting extensive research on the specific requirements for a Chilean Retirement Visa, including age restrictions, financial criteria, and other necessary documentation. It is crucial to demonstrate a stable monthly income from a pension, retirement account, real estate rent or financial assets in order to meet the visa requirements. Ensure that you thoroughly understand and fulfill all the specified criteria before initiating the application process.

  1. Background Check

Anticipate this step by gathering necessary documents, such as police clearance certificates, well in advance, ensuring they accurately reflect your criminal history. Transparency is crucial; openly address any past issues and provide clear explanations. Proactively addressing any potential red flags and approaching the process with candor will enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome in your Chilean Retirement Visa application.

  1. Engage Professional Assistance

Consider seeking advice and assistance from immigration experts or legal professionals who specialize in Chilean visa applications, especially if the process appears complex or if you have specific concerns. Professionals like the Golden Harbors Team can provide valuable support to ensure that you have all the required documents and guide you through the application process. Their expertise can make a significant difference in the success of your visa application, giving you peace of mind and allowing you to focus on the exciting prospect of starting a new chapter in your life in Chile.

FAQ

How Much Does a Chile Retirement Visa Cost?

The government fees range from USD 0 to USD 2,700, depending on your nationality. In addition to government fees, there may be additional expenses associated with the application process. These can include legal fees for assistance with the application, costs related to document translation, notarization fees, and fees for the legalization of documents. 

Can I Apply for Chile Permanent Residency with a Retirement Visa?

Yes, you can apply for Chile permanent residency with a retirement visa. Upon fulfilling the residency period requirement, which is typically two years or more based on your specific situation, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency in Chile. To qualify for permanent residency, it is essential that you continue to meet the income criteria and have spent enough time in Chile. The permanent residency visa grants indefinite validity unless you leave the country for more than two years. 

Do I Need to Know Spanish for a Chile Retirement Visa?

No, you do not need to know Spanish for a Chile Retirement Visa. Fluency in the Spanish language is not obligatory when applying for a Chilean visa, specifically for retirement purposes. The primary emphasis is on showcasing adequate income to sustain oneself, eliminating the need to master Spanish for employment purposes. However, it becomes a prerequisite if you have intentions of applying for citizenship later on.

What are the Top Alternatives for a Chile Retirement Visa in Latin America?

Several countries in the region offer appealing retirement options, including:

Brazil

Brazil grants a Temporary Visa to foreign retirees demonstrating a monthly income of at least USD 2,000. This visa is initially issued for up to 2 years and is renewable.

Ecuador

Eligibility for an Ecuadorian Retirement Visa requires a pension or other retirement income of at least USD 1,380 per month. This visa is valid for 2 years, with the condition of spending at least 6 months annually in the country to maintain residency.

Argentina

Becoming an Argentine resident is possible through a Retirement Visa, designed for older individuals with a pension or guaranteed income exceeding USD 2,000 per month. The initial duration is 1 year, with the possibility of extension.

Costa Rica

To qualify for the Retirement Visa in Costa Rica, you need to provide bank statements demonstrating a consistent monthly income of at least USD 2,500. The duration varies by application, starting at 1 year.

Colombia 

In order to apply for a Colombian Retirement Visa, you have to receive a retirement or periodic income that is verifiable and credited. The minimum amount stands at USD 995. This visa is valid for up to 3 years and can be renewed.

Chile

Residence Benefits

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Fast application processing

3-4 months

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Global mobility and freedom

international business expansion, entry into the South American market, and setting up a company in Chile allow you to get a residence permit through a business for the whole family

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Access to quality healthcare & education

Residents have access to Chile's healthcare system, which is one of the best in Latin America. Additionally, there are opportunities for quality education, both for the permit holder and their dependents

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Global mobility and freedom

a residence permit is issued with the rights to work, do business and study in Chile

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An opportunity to live in Chile

no residence limits

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Global mobility and freedom

option to purchase commercial and residential real estate with an annual return of up to 5%

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The clear path to citizenship

residents can apply for Chilean citizenship if they have been in Chile for 5 years

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Global mobility and freedom

there is no need to renounce your previous citizenship when obtaining a Chilean passport

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Residence for the whole family

family members (spouse, financially dependent parents, and children) can apply for a residence permit together with the main applicant

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Global mobility and freedom

Chile has a favorable tax regime, with low taxes and generous incentives for foreign investors

Chile

Residence Permit

Processing Time and Terms

Enter your estimated application start date for the Chilean Residence Permit and receive a clear timetable for each step

Step back

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1

Sign a service agreement with Golden Harbors, pay the initial service and due diligence fees, and fill out application forms

14

Prepare the necessary documentation for your chosen residency category

14

Arrive in Santiago and apply for a temporary residence permit. Submit all the documents to the Chilean Immigration Department (Departamento de Extranjería)

60

Government due diligence check, application review, and final approval

30

Get your Residence Permit card, rent an apartment, and register your presence at the Local Police Station.

There are Always Options to EXPAND YOUR BOUNDARIES! Let's Discuss Yours

Every client is unique

Every case requires an individual approach and solution. Our years of experience in the industry allow us to provide both.

We will answer all your questions and provide detailed information about the available second passport and residency programs to help you make the right choice.

Victoria

Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors

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Victoria

Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors