What is the change? Chile has introduced a fast-track tech visa for foreign professionals and technicians in science and the IT fields.

What does the change mean? In order to sponsor foreign professionals for tech visas, a company must be approved through a letter of invitation or certificate of sponsorship from InvestChile (the government agency responsible for attracting direct investment), Start-Up Chile (the government accelerator program), or the Undersecretary of Economy, and enter into an employment contract with the employee for at least three months.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tech visas.
  • Who is affected: Companies in the science, tech or other innovative sectors.
  • Impact on processing times: Residence visas and the Chilean ID card will be issued within 15 days.
  • Business impact: The new visas are intended to attract IT companies and high-tech talent and promote Chile as a regional innovation hub.

Background: Companies should apply for a certificate of sponsorship either from InvestChile if they are funded by foreign capital, the Undersecretary of Economy if they are local companies, or Start-Up Chile if they received funds through the government innovation-incubator program. To apply for the tech visas, companies must present the certificate of sponsorship and a copy of the employment contract, which must be valid for at least three months and contain required social security and income tax provisions.

Employers seeking to hire a foreign national who is already in Chile may apply directly for a tech visa through InvestChile. Employers seeking to bring a foreign professional into Chile should first request a personalized letter of invitation for business purposes and secure a business visa; after the individual enters Chile and is hired, the company may then apply for a work visa and finally apply through InvestChile for a tech visa.

BAL Analysis: Chile is vying to become a tech hub by offering targeted visas and faster procedures to innovative companies hiring international science and tech talent. Notably, the new tech visas are issued through InvestChile, not through the Immigration Department, and are not subject to regular immigration procedures.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Chile. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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