Immigration. Travel. Living.

Visa via start-up in Chile

Start your business

The weather in the country ranges from hot deserts in the north, a warm tropic in the center, and cold in the Patagonian south.

Chile also has deserts, islands, mountains, and even the icy Antarctica that you can explore on arrival. It is an attractive destination for foreign investors and entrepreneurs because it has one of the best economies in Latin America.

Since foreign entrepreneurs face a lot of legal and cultural obstacles when establishing and maintaining a new business in a foreign country, a startup visa may be what you need to give your business an extra edge and obtain government support.

In this article, we will be giving you an in-depth guide on how to apply and obtain a start-up visa in Chile. We will also take a close look at the requirements and eligibility of a Chilean startup visa for expats that want to start a business in the county.

What is a Chile startup visa?

group of people having a meeting

First off, the Start-Up Chile is a program set up by the Chilean Government to attract young, intelligent foreign entrepreneurs to bootstrap their new business from Chile.

Introduced in 2010, the program aims to position the country as the innovation and entrepreneurship hub of Latin America. The Startup-Chile acceleration program spans six months but is exclusively for startups that are no older than 3 years and have a functional product.

In 2010 after it was launched, the program brought 22 startups from 14 different countries. By 2011, the state planned to bring 300 start-ups that would grow into 1000 by 2014 and create a $1b company that would globalize the Chilean entrepreneurship culture.

The program is managed by the Chilean Economic Development Agency [CORFO] via InnovaChile. Although the program is open to Chileans, most of the applications come from nationals of other foreign countries.

The state will support the startup in every way they can by providing the entrepreneur with a base team that is 100% dedicated to the project, free workspace, 1-year work visa, execute their businesses under a better environment, and receive government funding worth $40,000.

The major mission of the CORFO is to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation to improve productivity in Chile. Successful applicants in the Start-Up Chile program receive funding from the Ministry of Economy, Development, and Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of the Interior.

These ministries will provide the startup with up to CLP 30,000,000 [$40,000] of equity-free seed capital and a temporary 1-year visa to develop and finish their projects within six months.

The selected startups will also receive a 24-week orientation in Santiago where they will receive mentoring, office space to carry out day to day professional tasks, work visa, access to the most potent social and capital networks, and pamphlets that contain all the information they need.

The work visa issued via the program has one of the quickest endorsement times. It is usually issued within 15 days after your startup has been approved. Today, this program has helped more than 3,600 graduates secure jobs in new startups.

As an entrepreneur that is enrolled in the Chile startup visa program, you are expected to organize and participate in events and activities that foster entrepreneurship in the city you stay in.

Application requirements

There are a handful of requirements you must meet before you are eligible to apply for a Chilean startup visa. Some of them include:

  • You must have a letter of welcome or endorsement of sponsorship from the Under secretariat of Economy, InvestChile, or Start-Up Chile.
  • You must be a proprietor, worker, accomplice, or financial specialist of the startup.
  • The startup must be upheld by Start-Up Chile, InvestChile, or by a tech company in Chile.

How to apply for a startup visa?

According to the procedure presented by President Bachelet, this visa would be given to successful applicants that qualified for the program.  You will need to submit a copy of your Chilean ID for foreigners, valid passport, or Chilean National ID (cédula) before your application can be reviewed.

You’ll also need a recommendation letter from an investor, mentor, or expert to advocate your experience and talent of the team. Once you have any of these two documents, you can go to their official website to fill out the application form.

Send the executive panel a seven minutes video pitch stating why you are the perfect person to lead your project, how it will impact the state, and what problem your project intends to solve.

You don’t need to learn how to read, write, or speak Spanish to enter the program since all communications will be in the English language. However, learning the basics of this language is highly recommended.

If accepted into this program, you should submit all the necessary documentation required by your local consulate. Your family members can also be included in your visa.

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