John Cobin, Ph.D., Chile Consultant
I am delighted that you are interested in coming to Chile and making it your new home. Chile is a great place to live, from its First World and beautifully-treed capital, Santiago, to its world-class beach areas, to its provincial towns and spectacular landscapes. Chile is relatively inexpensive, has a wonderful climate in its mid section, with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world in its southern half.
Briefly, Why I came to Chile
Having traveled to every corner of Chile, literally every mainland town over 500 people (except Juan Fernández Island) and many scenic areas, I am convinced that it is the most beautiful country in the world. And that is not the only reason I chose to come to Chile. Other reasons abound. It has a largely free market based economy, is business-friendly, Americans and Europeans are well-liked, its mid section has a wonderful Mediterranean climate, recreational activities abound, and Spanish proved to be a useful language for me and my children to learn.
I am delighted to hear that you will soon be joining us in Chile! The country is civilized, beautiful and fabulous. I am sure you will enjoy it. That is not to say that Chile is a perfect place. On the contrary, there are many threats and we welcome as many freedom-minded folks as possible to join in the ranks.
Note: This page was originally posted in 2011 but is still relevant today in 2015-2016.
Obtain a retiree (or real estate or stock market investor) visa for US$2,995
One must show to Chilean authorities an account statement with US$100,000 minimum somewhere in the world. Note: obtaining a checking account, credit cards, mortgage and safe deposit box are more difficult with this visa program, in fact it will be nearly impossible unless one shows over a million USD to the bank.
Starting in 2015, U.S. citizens have to pay a US$475 fee for their temporary (initial) visas and US$90 for permanent residency. The USA started charging Chilenos for residency visas and so the Chilean government responded by charging Americans the same fee when they come to live in Chile.
As of June 10, 2014, the Chilean government has posted the fees charged to those that apply for a temporary resident visa for retirees on a pension or real estate and stock/bond investors. The fee varies widely by country, ranging from nothing to US$1,387.