History and Facts: 1. The previous S. Piñera administration presented a bill in 2013, and now, in his current and second administration, they are working on perfecting and adding to previous administrations’ drafts and versions of the bill.
2. The current system, as stated on the Immigration Department’s website (“Departamento de Extranjería e Inmigración”), offers different types of visas or permissions to stay in Chile. https://www.bcn.cl/leyfacil/recurso/residencia-de-extranjeros-en-chile
3. Currently, once you are granted a visa you can upgrade it (change for another one) or stay in the same category. All of this is under the principle of "the attachment" that the migrant has with Chile.
The New Project/Bill is aimed at fixing a major problem with foreigners who enter Chile on a tourist visa and overstay their tourist visa and obtain no other visa, remaining illegal or irregular in the country. The bill, before becoming an official law, must first be ratified by Congress, which has yet to happen but could in the very near future.
The new bill proposes a “system of categories”:
Tourist Visas: will be for only 90 days in the country and will prohibit the visa holder from performing any remunerated activities (tourist visa holders will not be allowed to work and receive payment for work in any way). New to this type of visa: tourist visa holders will not be allowed to change their tourist visa into any other type of visa (holders will not be able to upgrade their tourist visa by applying for a temporary residence visa from within the country).
Temporary Residency Visas: for migrants that are looking to stay in the country for a limited frame of time and desire to come to Chile for: •Work •Studies •Humanitarian Reasons •A family bond with a Chilean or with a migrant in possession of a permanent residency visa. After fulfilling the necessary requirements and time periods required, these visa holders can later apply for permanent residency. Applications for these types of temporary residency visas must be made from outside the country and be granted prior to entering Chile. *
And after this, if the migrant wishes to remain in Chile after having a temporary residency visa, he/she will be allowed to request a visa for Permanent Residency, with the option to apply for Chilean citizenship (nationalization) after 5 years since the first stamp in the migrant's passport (when the first visa was issued by Chile).
*The Temporary Residency Visa is what opens the door for a foreigner to stay in Chile longer than a 90-day tourist visa would. It is important to note that once the new bill passes, it will not be possible to obtain a temporary residency visa while on a tourist visa in Chile. The person applying for the visa will need to apply for the temporary residency visa from outside Chile as it will no longer be possible to upgrade a tourist visa to a temporary residency visa.
Note: As indicated above, right now this is just a bill and not yet a law.
Presidential Mandate: Above all, the current president, acting under his faculties, has ordered an administrative decree (a mandate, not requiring the approval of Congress, effective upon the date indicated in the mandate) that removes the option of a temporary visa for work related reasons (visa temporaria por motivos de trabajo) as of April 23rd, 2018. In other words, as of April 23rd, 2018, there will no longer be a "visa por motivos de trabajo."
As of august 1st, 2018, the following three visas will be available:
The presidential mandate a special type of visa called a “visa temporaria de oportunidades,” only applicable overseas for migrants of any country who wish to come to work in Chile for a maximum period of 12 months, extended for only one time, for another 12 months, with the option to then apply for permanent residency.
Additionally, the decree creates a visa for foreigners that have obtained a postgraduate degree in recognized (accredited) Chilean Universities. This visa is called “visa temporaria de orientación nacional,” with the same requirements listed above. With the purpose of bringing foreign talent and knowledge to Chile.
Other mandates to go into effect as of April 16th, 2018:
Simple Consular Tourism Visa: intended for Haitians who want to visit Chile for a period of only 30 days without a desire to immigrate to Chile and purely for the purposes of tourism, recreation, family, health, and sport. Without the purpose of immigration.
Democratic Responsibility Visa: intended for Venezuelans, only applicable inside Venezuelan territory, to request at the Chilean Embassy in Venezuela, a permit to stay in Chile for 12 months, renewable only one time for another 12 months. This permit will also allow the individual to then request permanent residency in Chile.
Humanitarian Purposes Visa: intended for Haitians, without criminal records, to reunite with their families. This visa will allow holders to stay for 12 months, extendable for another 12 months. This type of visa will only be granted by the Chilean Consulate in Haiti and also allows those who have it to later apply for permanent residency. (There are a limited number of slots available and openings for this type of visa will be available as of July 2nd, 2018.)
A Second Chance: Also, this administration is giving an extraordinary chance for immigrants who have arrived in the country before 08 April 2018 as irregular to regularize their situations. This opportunity applies to those: - With an expired tourist visa - Working without "papers" (working without the proper permissions and visas to work in Chile) - Holding expired residency permits or who have other visa issues
This option will not be available for foreigners who are in Chile and have criminal records in Chile or in their native country.
The S. Piñera administration, has taken this measure as urgent, because of the large influx of immigrants.