The type of visa you need in Chile can sometimes be confusing. We will here list the most common types of visa application types and also explain diffrent immigration status that foreigners might have in Chile. We will also describe the type of person or circumstances in which an individual should apply for a particular visa or immigration status in Chile.
There are typically three stages, or type of immigration status for foreigners in Chile, that all immigrants must go through, regardless of the type of visa they use to apply.

Chile Tourist Visa or Tourist Card –  This is your standard issued tourist card or tourist visa issued at the airport on arrival. Certain countries are required to apply for a tourist visa in advance for Chile, but citizens of most countries can simply arrive at the airport and be issued a 30-90 day tourist visa. This is the first type of visa that almost all foreigners will enter Chile with, even if you plan to later request residency under some other category. We do not recommend that foreigners apply at their consulate in their home country before coming for other types of residency visas for Chile. The recommended procedure of the Chilean immigration department is for foreigners to enter the country under a tourist visa, and then apply for a change of status to other forms of Chilean visas.

Temporary Residency Visa – This your first type of visa issued when applying for any sort of permanent visa (e.g. retirement, work visa). There is some confusion as to exactly the different types of temporary residency visa on the Internet. They mostly refer to the reason for obtaining or requesting a temporary residency visa, rather than there is some sort difference between the status it conveys on the holder of the visa.

A temporary residency visa is most commonly granted after applying and being granted a visa under the Retirement and Periodic income visa, work visa, professional visa, family member, or through an Investor Visa application in Chile. All people, regardless of the justifications for applying, must first complete temporary residency before they qualify for Permanent residency in Chile. Depending on the type of visa, you will be a temporary resident in Chile for one to two years, and you must be physically in the country at least 180 days (not contiguous) within a one year period to qualify for applying for Permanent resident.

Permanent Residency Visa – This should be your ultimate goal for residency application, and regardless of the application type it requires at least 180 days of temporary residency in Chile within a one year period. A permanent residency visa generally last for five years, and is renewable indefinitely. After five years permanent residents have the option to apply for Chilean Citizenship or Dual Citizenship without the need to renounce their current citizenship.

Other types of immigration status in Chile
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There are two other categories of Visas for Chile:

Chile Work Visa or Work Permit
--- With an offer of a job in Chile or work contract, foreigners may request a work visa. This is generally tied to your contract and job, and you must file for change if you should loose your job. If you request apply for temporary residency under one of the other process, you may also request a work permit with a separate application, while your temporary visa application is being processed. People with temporary residency may work in Chile.


Chile Student Visas --- A temporary residency visa granted to students that have been accepted to a Chilean University or other educational institute in Chile. Work permits must normally be requested separately.
 
The major visa application types:

Retirement and Periodic income visa: this is the most widely used visa for people wishing to live in Chile, work, retire, invest, or many other things.

Professional visa: Must prove both that you have a professional degree and income to support yourself.

Contract Work Visa: You must be under contract with a Chilean employer, and it takes two years of temporary residency to qualify for permanent residency.

Independent worker visa: This is the newest visa in Chile, and allows for working in Chile for an employer, but also allows working for others. It provides a quicker path to full permanent residency than a contract work visa.

Family member of a Chilean resident or Citizen:

Investor visa: This visa should be avoided, unless your circumstances are such that you absolutely do not qualify for any other type of visa.
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