Dateline: Santiago, Chile

Chile has emerged as a haven for expats looking to relocate to a welcoming environment. It provides one of the cheapest, most accessible and easy to maintain residencies in the world.

For those who spend time skipping around South America, a Chilean permanent residency and eventually a passport will increase your freedom of movement in the Americas dramatically, and will even ease entry to the US.

Half-year requirement

Getting the permanent residence in the first place isn’t all that complicated – just a little time-consuming.

Several documents are required, and the rules are strict about requiring 185 days in the country before you can be considered for permanent residency.

Spanish is the lingua franca here, and a good level of it will be necessary if you want to take on the residency process without the help of a translator or lawyer, in other words, without added expense.

The toughest part of the process could be the travel. Compared to other major capital cities in the world such as New York, Paris or Hong Kong, getting to the capital city of Santiago is a commitment, a long haul flight that is distanced from major hubs (aside from Buenos Aires or Sao Paulo).

Residency permit

Many countries have strict rules when it comes to maintaining a residence permit, including staying in the country for at least half the year, every year. For many in today’s day and age of global travel, the idea of being stuck somewhere for that long is neither practical nor even possible.

In Chile, however, once you have permanent residency you only need to step foot on Chilean territory one day each year to maintain it. It’s as simple as that.

Let’s say you are not able to fly down this year. You can send a letter to your nearest Chilean representation to justify your absence.

Although it sounds just as easy as skipping class in secondary school, only certain reasons will be accepted, such as dire illness, and there is a limit to how many times you can ask to be relieved of the requirement before you risk losing residency.

Chile is a magnificent country that can easily serve as your primary base in the Americas, as long as you drop by once in a while.


Andrew Henderson
Last updated: Dec 28, 2019 at 6:03AM