At a Glance
- Effective immediately, foreign nationals in Chile with pending new or renewal visa or residence applications who are awaiting documents that prove their application is pending must obtain prior authorization from the Immigration Department to exit the country.
- This will add an administrative hurdle and possibly additional costs for applicants and employers, since prior authorization is required for each international trip until the documents proving their application is pending are issued.
- Affected foreign nationals are no longer permitted to exit the country presenting only the original courier delivery receipt or electronic filing of their pending application, as has been allowed since May 2019.
Based on an official government announcement, effective immediately, foreign nationals with pending new or renewal visa or residence applications who intend to leave Chile while their immigration application is being processed (which could take up to five months under currently delayed processing times), are subject to a new step before they can leave Chile.
A closer look
- Proof of pending application. According to standing law, travelers who seek to leave Chile after submitting their immigration application must obtain a visa-in-process or residence-in-process certificate to prove their application is pending. Current processing times for these documents are four to five months instead of 30 to 45 business days, as was the case prior to August 2018.
- New travel authorization process. The new rule now requires such applicants to obtain authorization from the Immigration Department to leave Chile, which requires submitting a request to the Immigration Department by email at least five business days before their trip, attaching a copy of the electronic filing or courier delivery receipt of their pending application; airline or international transportation ticket; and an explanatory letter for their request. It is still uncertain how long the Immigration Department will take to issue the travel authorization upon receipt of the request.
- Impacted foreign nationals. Foreign nationals most impacted by this new rule are those who must leave Chile during the processing of their immigration application. After visa nationals leave Chile with their authorization, they will still be required to obtain a consular visa in order to re-enter the country.
- New step and costs. The new rule adds an administrative hurdle and possibly additional costs for applicants and employers, since a travel permit application is required for each international trip until the visa-in-process or residence-in-process certificate is issued.
- Contact immigration professional. Affected foreign nationals should account for these impacts when planning their trips outside Chile and should inform their immigration professional if they need to leave Chile after they submit their immigration application.
Since May 2019, immigration authorities were allowing foreign nationals in Chile with pending new or renewal visa or residence applications to exit the country with the original courier delivery receipt of their pending applications, without having to wait until their visa-in-process or residence-in-process certificate was issued. The Department of Immigration has eliminated this concession and instead implemented a travel authorization process, which will likely help the government ensure that these foreign nationals are still pursuing their applications once they exit the country.
The issuing delays for a visa-in-process or residence-in-process certificate are not likely to subside in the near future; therefore, Chile may take additional measures to track foreign nationals entering and leaving the country while their applications are pending. Fragomen will continue monitoring and reporting on changes as they occur.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.