What is the change? An immigration bill that is moving through the Senate contains a provision that would eliminate the ability of foreign nationals to change their status from tourist to resident, thus requiring that all first-time visa applications be made at the Chilean consulate prior to travel.

  • What does the change mean? If the bill passes, foreign nationals will no longer be able to enter on a tourist visa and convert to a work permit.
  • Implementation time frame: The bill has not become law, but is expected to pass next year.
  • Visas/permits affected: Conversion of tourist visas to work permits.
  • Business impact: Foreign employees would need to apply for their work visas at a consulate and wait for processing to conclude before traveling to Chile.
  • Next steps: The Senate must approve the bill before it will take effect. 

Background: Chile is one of the few Latin American countries that allow foreign employees to enter on a special work permit tourist visa and then convert to a work permit without having to leave the country. This allows foreign nationals to start work upon arrival in the country and continue working while their work permit is being processed.

Analysis & Comments: If passed in its current form, the bill would still allow special work permit tourist visas for short-term assignments (up to three months), but those needing to stay beyond three months would need to leave Chile and apply for an initial work permit at a Chilean consulate. This would have a significant impact on foreign employees, as it is currently common to enter on a special work permit tourist visa and convert in-country to a work permit.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.