Virginia, US

Aug 15 2018

Advance Online Appointments Now Required for All Immigration Filings


The situation

Foreign nationals submitting any immigration application to the Central Immigration Office in Santiago must now schedule an online appointment before appearing at the Office. Due to this change as well the reduced amount of daily available appointments, foreign nationals should expect an increase in the time it takes to obtain an appointment, the time spent at an appointment and the general processing time for all applications submitted. 

A closer look

The main processes impacted by the new appointment requirements are discussed below.

  • Provisional work permit and visa stamping. This refers to the work permit that allows the foreign national to begin working once the application package is received while the visa is approved, and the approved visa.

    • Impact. Employers and foreign nationals may see delayed start dates and will need to wait several days or weeks until the provisional work permit is stamped to begin working or to have proof of legal status.
    • Possible solution. Fragomen will attempt to obtain these documents outside of Santiago, which may require the foreign national to travel locally.  


  • Obtain/renew visa-in-process or residence-in-process certificates. Since all visa/residence applications are submitted via mail, these certificates serve as proof of status while the visa/residence is being processed and may be needed for traveling out of the country during visa/residence processing.
    • Impact. Employers and foreign nationals may experience delays in obtaining proof of legal status and should allow enough time to obtain these certificates before making travel plans.

  • Tourist Card extension. This extension is needed when the foreign national seeks to remain in the country for business or tourism beyond the initial time granted upon arrival.
    • Impact. Foreign nationals visiting Chile for tourism or business may experience delays in obtaining proof of status and should plan to submit these applications far in advance.
    • Possible solution. Foreign nationals may exit to a neighboring country and re-enter to obtain additional time.


  • Obtain/renew Special Work Permit for Tourist. This permit allows foreign nationals to work in Chile for up to 30 days while visiting for business or tourism and can be extended in country.
    • Impact. Start dates may be delayed due to the appointment-related delays.
    • Possible solution. Fragomen recommends using the RUSH process, which does not require an appointment and is filed at the airport. Although it is more expensive and requires that the foreign national be at the airport for several hours or sometimes the full day, it allows the foreign national to obtain the permit on the same day.


General impacts

  • Employers and foreign nationals must plan ahead to allow additional time to obtain an appointment, additional time on the day of the appointment and must wait longer once the process is approved to obtain proof of status.
  • Future delays caused by the significant reduction of daily appointments should be expected.


Looking ahead

Fragomen has appealed to the Immigration Department to amend these restrictive policies and expects to meet with immigration officials on August 17. An additional alert will be issued if changes occur as a result of this meeting.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].