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Chilean Visa for Technology Companies

Foreign companies operating in Chile often need to bring in skilled workers or management teams for their local operations. This could be on a temporary basis for specific projects or in other cases to manage the business on an indefinite basis.  Luckily, Chile has always had a variety of visas and in comparison to some countries the process is relatively straight forward for companies and/or individuals. 

In the past, foreign workers could enter Chile under a tourist visa and then to apply for a temporary visa. The benefit was that the employee in many cases could often start working while waiting for the final documentation. Although this is still possible, the local immigration offices have been overwhelmed with applications which has made the process long and drawn out. As of late, we often see applicants waiting in excess of 1 year when applying from inside the country.

The alternative was to apply from the applicant’s home country through the consulate which can be done online. In our experience, this process was taking approx. 3 months but recently the time frame has increased. Another option which was introduced a few years ago by the government is called the “Visa Tech Chile”.

What is Visa Tech?

Visa Tech was an initiative to streamline the process of obtaining a work visa in order to make it easier for technology companies with operations in Chile to hire professional and technical personnel specialized in the area of technology services who are not available in the country, either in the number or of the standard required.

The benefit is that under this streamlined process, it is possible to obtain a Work Visa within a maximum period of 15 working days.

Who can apply for the Visa Tech?

The visa is aimed at foreign professional or technicians who work in the areas of science and technology. The program also includes founders with proven experience in innovation. The companies can already be operating in Chile or be looking to incorporate in Chile.

What type of Visa can be obtained through the program?

It is possible to obtain a temporary visa or a visa subject to an employment contract depending on the circumstances of the applicant.  Additionally, it is also possible to apply for a permanent residence visa. It should be noted that the permanent residency applications can take up to 90 days.

What is the application process?

  • Companies without an entity, will need to have a letter of invitation and/or a certificate of sponsorship from InvestChile.
  • Companies already operating in Chile will need to have a letter of invitation and/or a certificate of sponsorship from the Undersecretariat of Economy.

In the case of a foreign citizen already in Chile, companies interested in accessing the Visa Tech system through InvestChile should submit a request for a Certificate of Sponsorship. If the potential employee is not in Chile, the company should request a Personalized Letter of Invitation for Business Purposes, which will permit the potential employee’s early entry into Chile in order to complete the hiring process there, and then apply for the Work Visa.

What documents need to be presented?

In order to demonstrate compliance with the requirements, the company must present the certificate of sponsorship and a simple copy of the work contract. This contract must be for a minimum of three months and include specific clauses on social security, income tax and the period of the contract.

What happens within the 15 days after the visa application is submitted?

During the period of application for a Visa Tech, the sponsoring institution will notify the company making the application about the dates and times for:

  • Stamping the visa in the passport and making the corresponding payment;
  • Registering the visa with the Police Service;
  • Applying for and collecting an identity card.

Conclusion – The Visa Tech creates a path for technology founders, investors, and professionals to come to Chile under a more streamlined process. More than ever, there is need for companies to have access to talent in order to support their growth or create new technologies.

Even in more established industries where technology is now becoming more prevalent, the new visa is a great option for companies that qualify to recruit new talent under an expedited process. In addition, it makes it easier to move employees between related companies which can be beneficial when companies have internal or clients projects that require technical staff. 

Visa Tech is a government initiative that further exemplifies why Chile is a great regional base for foreign companies looking to have operations or to service Latin America.  The free movement of workers is an important part of ensuring that companies have access to the human capital they need to grow and service clients. 

Ax Legal is a legal and business advisory firm that works with foreign companies in Latin America. Our team of legal and commercial advisors have a distinguished track record of helping foreign technology and services companies to grow and operate in Latin America. Over the years, we have worked with starts up, mid-size businesses, and publicly listed companies. The one common factor that connects are clients is that they are leaders in their field, providing innovative technologies and services to the industrial sectors.

To better understand how we can support you in the Region, please contact Cody Mcfarlane at