Emigrate to Chile

⇒ Chile culture

⇒ Climate

⇒ Language

⇒ Chile school system

⇒ Health care system

⇒ Vaccinations and medical certificates

⇒ Tax system

⇒ Economy

⇒ Prices by index

⇒ Real estate

⇒ Company foundation

⇒ Visa

⇒ Safety

Chile culture

Chilean culture is characterized by a rich history, a diverse population and an impressive natural environment. Here are some of the main characteristics that distinguish the culture of Chile:

  1. Mixture of cultures: Chilean culture is the result of a mixture of indigenous, European and African influences. Indigenous peoples, particularly the Mapuche in southern Chile, have left a significant cultural legacy.
  2. Food and drinks: Chilean cuisine is characterized by regional ingredients and traditions. Well-known dishes include empanadas (stuffed dumplings), asado (grilled meat), cazuela (stew) and coastal seafood dishes. Wine, especially Chilean wine, enjoys an international reputation.
  3. Music and dance: Chilean music is diverse, ranging from folk music such as cueca to classical music. The Nueva Canción Chilena, a social and political movement, has produced important artists such as Violeta Parra and Victor Jara. The Cueca dance is the national dance of Chile.
  4. Arts and Literature: Chile has a rich literary tradition, including famous authors such as Pablo Neruda, Gabriela Mistral and Isabel Allende. The art scene is also vibrant, with many contemporary artists.
  5. Holidays and festivals: Chile celebrates many religious and national holidays, including independence on September 18, which is celebrated with fireworks, parades and traditional food. Easter is an important religious celebration, which in some regions brings impressive processions.
  6. Nature and outdoor activities: Chile’s stunning natural environment, including the Andes, deserts, lakes and Patagonia, influences the way of life and activities of its people. Outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing and surfing are popular.
  7. History and heritage: Chile’s history is marked by important events such as independence from Spain and the Pinochet dictatorship. These historical events have shaped Chilean identity and culture.
  8. Hospitality and social life: Chileans are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards guests. Social relationships play an important role in people’s lives, and family celebrations are often opportunities to get together.

Climate

Chile’s climate is extremely diverse, ranging from extreme desert conditions in the north to temperate and subpolar climates in the south. Due to its great extension from north to south and the different geographical features of the country, there are different climatic zones. Here are some of the main climatic zones in Chile:

  1. The Atacama Desert (North): The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is one of the driest regions in the world. The climate is extremely dry, and rainfall is extremely rare. Temperatures can be very high during the day, while at night it cools down considerably.
  2. The Central Valley (Central Chile): The central region of Chile, including the capital Santiago, has a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Most of the precipitation falls in winter.
  3. The Lakes Region (South): The southern regions of Chile, including the Lakes Region and the Aysén Region, have a temperate climate with higher rainfall. There are lush forests and numerous lakes here.
  4. Patagonia (South): Patagonia, in the extreme south of Chile, has a subpolar climate. Winters are cold and summers are mild. There are strong winds and significant rainfall.
  5. Tierra del Fuego (South): Tierra del Fuego, located in the extreme south of Chile and Argentina, has a sub-Antarctic climate with cold, stormy conditions.

Language

The official language of Chile is Spanish (Castellano), and the majority of the Chilean population speaks Spanish as their native language. The Spanish language spoken in Chile has some regional characteristics, including its own accent and some specific words and phrases that may not be common in other Spanish-speaking countries.

In addition to Spanish, indigenous languages also exist in Chile, although their use in the population is more limited. The best known indigenous language in Chile is Mapudungun, spoken by the Mapuche, an indigenous people in southern Chile. Mapudungun is part of Chile’s cultural heritage and is actively maintained by some Mapuche communities.

Chile school system

For emigrating to Chile with your family, the school system is obviously of great importance:

The education system in Chile is divided into different levels and includes both public and private schools. Here is an overview of the school system in Chile:

  1. Preschool Education (Educación Parvularia): Preschool education in Chile is provided for children ages 2 to 5, although it is not mandatory. It is divided into two cycles: Nursery (Nivel de Sala Cuna) for the youngest children and Kindergarten (Nivel de Educación Parvularia) for the older children.
  2. Primary Education (Educación Básica): Primary education in Chile is compulsory and lasts eight years, usually from 1st to 8th grade. The curriculum includes subjects such as mathematics, language, history, science, art, physical education and ethics.
  3. Secondary education (Educación Media): Secondary education is also compulsory and lasts four years, usually from 9th to 12th grade. Students can choose from a variety of concentrations, including science/humanities, technical, and vocational programs.
  4. Higher Education: Higher education in Chile is diverse and includes universities, technical colleges and technical institutes. Access to higher education is usually after completing secondary school and usually requires an entrance exam (PSU – Prueba de Selección Universitaria).
  5. Private and private schools: Chile has a wide range of schools, including public schools, private schools and subsidized schools. Private schools often charge a fee and may offer different curricula and educational approaches.
  6. Education reforms: In recent years, Chile has implemented extensive education reforms to improve quality and access to education. This includes measures to reduce educational inequality and increase educational participation.

Healthcare system

The health care system in Chile is a mix of public and private services and is considered one of the best in Latin America. It consists of various parts designed to provide health care to the population:

  1. Public Health Care (Sistema de Salud Público): The public health system in Chile is administered by the National Health Service (Servicio Nacional de Salud, or Sernameg). It provides health services to those who have paid into the public system, such as workers, retirees, and some low-income citizens. Health care services are often free or require only low copayments.
  2. Private Health Care (Sistema de Salud Privado): Chile has a well-developed private health care system operated by private hospitals, clinics and health care providers. Those who can afford private health insurance can receive services and treatment at private clinics. This system is often more efficient and offers shorter wait times for non-urgent procedures.
  3. National Health Insurance (Fondo Nacional de Salud, Fonasa for short): Fonasa is the national health insurance, which is divided into different classes. The classification depends on income and employment status. People in lower income brackets can often access health services for free or at reduced cost.
  4. Private health insurance (Isapres): Isapres are private health insurance policies purchased by the insured. The quality of care and cost may vary depending on the plan chosen.
Auszug aus der Tierwelt von Chile

Vaccinations and medical certificates

No specific vaccinations are required by law for emigration to Chile. However, there are some vaccinations that are generally recommended if you plan to travel or live in Chile. These recommendations may vary depending on your health status, travel plans, and where you are staying in Chile. Here are some of the recommended vaccinations:

  1. Standard Vaccinations: Make sure you have the standard vaccinations recommended in your home country. These include vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox.
  2. Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A vaccination is often recommended because hepatitis A can be transmitted through contaminated water or food.
  3. Typhoid: In some cases, vaccination against typhoid may be recommended, especially if you are traveling in rural areas or living in simple hygienic conditions.
  4. Hepatitis B: Vaccination against hepatitis B may be recommended for long-term stays or certain occupational groups.
  5. Rabies: If you come in contact with animals, especially stray dogs or bats, rabies vaccination may be considered.
  6. Yellow Fever: If you are entering from or have traveled to a country with a yellow fever risk, proof of yellow fever vaccination may be required upon entry into Chile. Make sure you have an international vaccination certificate, if applicable.

Tax system

The tax system in Chile is relatively simple and transparent, but it has undergone changes over the years. Here is some basic information about the tax system in Chile:

  1. Income tax (Impuesto a la Renta): Income tax in Chile is progressive and subject to different tax rates depending on income levels. The highest tax rate is usually 35 percent for the highest income brackets. However, there are also numerous tax breaks and deductions.
  2. Value Added Tax (Impuesto al Valor Agregado, IVA): Value Added Tax in Chile is normally 19 percent on most goods and services. However, there is also a reduced rate of 10 percent for some staple foods and an exemption for certain goods and services.
  3. Corporate taxes: Companies in Chile are subject to corporate income tax, which is normally 25 percent. There are also special provisions for certain industries and activities.
  4. Capital gains tax: Chile levies a capital gains tax on gains from investments. The amount of tax may vary depending on the type of investment.
  5. Real Estate Tax: There is a real estate tax on the value of land and real estate in Chile. Tax rates vary depending on the location and value of the property.
  6. Customs and import taxes: Chile imposes customs duties on imported goods. The amount of duties may vary depending on the product.
  7. Inheritance and gift taxes: Chile levies taxes on inheritances and gifts. The amount of tax depends on the value of the assets and the relationship.

Tax tricks

In Chile, there are legal ways to save taxes depending on various factors such as your source of income, business structure and personal circumstances. Here are some legal strategies to optimize taxes in Chile:

  1. Tax incentives for certain industries: Chile offers tax incentives in some industries, such as mining and agriculture, to attract foreign investment. It is advisable to find out about such benefits if you are working in these sectors.
  2. Tax incentives for small businesses: Small and medium-sized enterprises (PYMEs) in Chile can benefit from various tax incentives. This may include lower tax rates and deductions for certain expenses.
  3. Pension funds (AFP): Chile has a private pension system in which employees pay money into private pension funds. These contributions may be tax deductible, resulting in a reduction in taxable income.
  4. Investing in tax-advantaged assets: Some assets, such as stocks and bonds, may offer tax advantages if held for long periods of time. This may result in lower capital gains taxes.
  5. Real Estate Tax Incentives: In certain areas of Chile, real estate investors can benefit from tax incentives. This may include lower property tax rates or exemptions from certain taxes.
  6. Tax planning for corporate structures: Choosing the right corporate structure can have a significant impact on the tax burden. This may include the establishment of companies, holding companies or subsidiaries to take advantage of tax benefits.
  7. Use of tax treaties: Chile has tax treaties with many countries to avoid double taxation. These agreements can be used to tax income and capital gains efficiently.

Economy

The Chilean economy is considered one of the most stable and developed in Latin America. It is based on various sectors and is characterized by its openness to international trade relations. Here are some important features of the Chilean economy:

  1. Mining: Chile is one of the world’s largest producers of copper and has significant deposits of minerals such as lithium, molybdenum and gold. The mining sector is an important driver of the Chilean economy and contributes significantly to the country’s export revenues.
  2. Agriculture: Chile is known for its agricultural production, including wine, fruit, fish and seafood. The agricultural sector plays an important role in exports and is diverse due to favorable climatic conditions.
  3. Services sector: The services sector, including tourism, financial services and information technology, has grown strongly in recent years and contributes significantly to GDP.
  4. Foreign trade: Chile has concluded numerous free trade agreements, including the agreement with the USA, the EU and China. This has made the country an important trading partner in the region and facilitated access to international markets.
  5. Stability: Chile is known for its economic and political stability. The inflation rate is low, and the country’s central bank has pursued a responsible monetary policy.
  6. Investment: Chile has created incentives to attract foreign investment. Foreign companies have invested in various industries, including energy, mining and technology.

Prices by index

Since prices can change constantly even in a stable economy like Chile’s, we refer here to the Cost of Living website. This constantly updates its values and thus keeps you up to date

Real Estate

As an immigrant in Chile, you can buy or rent real estate. Chile has no special restrictions for foreign nationals when it comes to purchasing real estate. Here is some information about both options:

  1. Buying Real Estate: As a foreigner, you can easily purchase real estate in Chile, be it residential, commercial or land. However, you will need a tax number known as “RUT” (Rol Único Tributario). This is an identification number that you must request from the Chilean tax authorities. The purchase process is usually straightforward, but requires the cooperation of a notary public and, if necessary, a lawyer to review and finalize the purchase agreement.
  2. Rent: If you are settling in Chile and do not want to buy a property right away, you have the option of renting a property. In Chile’s larger cities, particularly the capital Santiago, there is a wide range of rental properties, including apartments, houses and commercial properties. Die Mietbedingungen können je nach Vermieter und Region variieren.
Company foundation

As an immigrant, you can start a business in Chile. Chile has a relatively easy and business-friendly business environment and encourages foreign investment. Here are some basic steps to start a business in Chile:

  1. Apply for a tax number (RUT): Before you can start a business, you must apply for a tax number (Rol Único Tributario, RUT) from the Chilean tax authorities. This number serves as your business identification number.
  2. Create articles of association: You must create a partnership agreement that sets forth the structure and rules of your business corporation. This should be prepared by a lawyer or a specialized firm.
  3. Capital contribution: Depending on the type of company, you must pay in the minimum capital. The amount varies depending on the type of company.
  4. Business registration: You must register with the Chamber of Commerce (Cámara de Comercio) and register your business. This is an important step in officially establishing your business.
  5. Tax registration: Once your business is established, you must register with the Chilean tax authorities. This will allow you to pay taxes and make the appropriate levies.
  6. Business license: In some cases, depending on your business activity, you may need a special license or permit from the relevant authorities.
  7. Open a bank account: You must open a commercial bank account in Chile to process your financial transactions.

Company forms

As an immigrant in Chile, you can create different types of businesses depending on your business goals, capital and requirements. Here are some of the most common business forms available in Chile:

  1. Sole proprietorship (Empresa Individual): This is the simplest form of business in Chile and is run by individuals. The owner is personally responsible for all debts and liabilities of the company. This form is well suited for small businesses and self-employed.
  2. Limited Liability Company (Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada, SpA): This is a popular business form in Chile that allows you to separate your personal assets from the debts of the company. You need at least one shareholder to establish a SpA.
  3. Stock corporation (Sociedad Anónima, S.A.): An S.A. is a corporation in which the capital is divided into shares. This enables the participation of investors and the sale of shares. The formation of an S.A. usually requires a higher minimum capital than other types of companies.
  4. Limited Liability Company (Sociedad por Acciones, SpA): This is a variant of the SpA and was introduced to facilitate the incorporation of companies. It combines the flexibility of a SpA with the advantages of a stock corporation.
  5. Branch (Sucursal): If you already own a foreign company, you can open a branch in Chile. However, the branch is not an independent legal entity, but an extension of the foreign company.
Visa

Different types of visas are offered for emigrating to Chile, depending on your personal circumstances and reason for emigrating. Here are some of the most common visa categories:

  1. Tourist Visa (Visa de Turismo): This visa allows foreigners to stay temporarily in Chile, usually for up to 90 days. It is intended for tourist purposes and does not allow work or permanent residence.
  2. Temporary Visa (Visa Temporaria): This visa category includes several subcategories, including temporary work visas, student visas, and family reunification visas. These visas are usually issued for a specific period of time and can be extended depending on the type of visa.
  3. Permanent Visa (Visa Permanente): A permanent visa entitles the holder to live and work permanently in Chile. It can be applied under certain conditions for foreign nationals who meet certain requirements, such as a close family relationship with a Chilean citizen or a certain number of years with a temporary visa in Chile.
  4. Investor Visa (Visa de Inversionista): This visa is intended for foreign investors who wish to invest in Chile. The requirements vary depending on the investment amount and business project.
  5. Pensioner Visa (Visa de Rentista): A pensioner visa is intended for foreign nationals who can prove that they have sufficient income from pensions or retirement payments. It allows permanent residence in Chile.
  6. Humanitarian Visa (Visa Humanitaria): Humanitarian visas can be granted in special cases, such as political persecution or humanitarian reasons.
  7. Diplomatic and Official Visa: This visa category is reserved for foreign diplomats and international officials.
Security in the country

Chile is generally considered one of the safest countries in Latin America. Crime rates are relatively low compared to other countries in the region. Nevertheless, as in any country, travelers and immigrants should take basic safety precautions and be aware that there are some security-related issues in Chile as well:

  1. Pickpocketing and petty crime: Pickpocketing may occur in urban areas, especially in crowded areas and tourist centers. It is advisable to keep valuables safe and pay attention to your personal safety.
  2. Demonstrations and protests: Chile has experienced political protests and demonstrations in the past, especially in Santiago and other major cities. These can sometimes become violent. It is advisable to follow current news and travel advisories and avoid crowds when protests are taking place.
  3. Natural disasters: Chile is located in a seismically active zone and is prone to earthquakes. It is important to be aware of the proper procedures to follow in the event of an earthquake and to prepare for emergencies.
  4. Traffic Conditions: Traffic in some Chilean cities can be chaotic, and traffic rules may not always be followed. It is important to drive carefully and follow the local traffic rules.

It is always advisable to inform yourself about the official warnings and safety instructions, we refer you to the German Foreign Office: Sicherheitshinweise Chile.

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