Chile: Delays in Work and Residence Permit Processing

Foreign nationals are experiencing delays in processing initial and renewal applications for Temporary Residence Visas, Work Contract Visas, Temporary Residence Mercosur, and permanent residence applications in country. Depending on the visa type, these delays may affect foreign nationals' work authorization while their applications are pending.

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Mar 09, 2018

The situation

There are significant processing delays for work and residence permit processing in Chile.

A closer look

  • Initial in-country applications for Temporary Residence Visas, Work Contract Visas, and Mercosur Temporary Residence
    • Extent of delays. The processing time to issue the Temporary Special Work Permit, which allows foreign nationals to temporarily work while their actual work or residence permit is pending, has increased from 30-45 days to 70 days; and for the actual work or residence permit from 45 days to an additional 60 days after the Temporary Special Work Permit is issued.  
    • Advice. In order to obtain work authorization faster, affected foreign nationals may obtain a Special Work Permit for Tourists, which allows them to work for 30 days and which can be extended twice for up to 90 days.  
  • Renewal in-country applications for Temporary Residence Visas, Work Contract Visas, and Mercosur Temporary Residence
    • Extent of delays. Renewals usually take 90 to 100 days to process but are currently taking 200 days.
    • Impact. Foreign nationals renewing their visas may have a gap between the expiration of their initial visa and their renewed visa.
    • Advice. Since the Departamento de Extranjería y Migración allows foreign nationals to file a renewal application up to 90 days prior to the expiration date of their initial visa, foreign nationals should submit their application as early as possible, 90 days prior to the expiration. The foreign national will then be able to use their proof of application submission as evidence of their status.  
  • In-country permanent residence applications
    • Extent of delays. The processing times for permanent residence applications is usually 8 to10 months, but approvals are currently taking up to 14 months.
    • Impact. After submitting their permanent residence applications, foreign nationals will receive a certificate of application in progress, which will allow them to work, reside and travel in and out of Chile while their application is pending.
    • Advice. Foreign nationals should be aware that they may have to renew their local identification card (cedula) multiple times while their permanent residence application is pending due to the longer processing times.

Looking ahead

Once the new Chilean president and Director of Immigration enter into office on March 11, the delays may improve. Fragomen will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates once available.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to

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