Virginia, US

Dec 06 2018

Online Appointment System Continues to Cause Processing Delays

Chile

The situation

Foreign nationals submitting immigration applications to the Central Immigration Office in Santiago, Chile continue to experience delays caused by the new online appointment system. Additionally, foreign nationals seeking visa appointments in Santiago are seeing only a few available daily appointments.

Impact

  • Extent of delays. Foreign nationals’ start dates are affected by delays that can last up to several weeks. Their travel may also be impacted as use of the online application system and an immigration appointment are required for all immigration statuses, and those without the proper documentation cannot re-enter Chile after leaving.
  • Other filing locations unaffected. Applications filed outside of Santiago are not impacted as these offices have not implemented the online appointment system and have not reduced available appointments. To file an application outside of Santiago, the foreign national must provide proof of residence in another city.


Possible solutions

Due to the delays, impacted foreign nationals, including temporary residents and Special Work Permit for Tourists holders, may benefit from filing their applications at a consulate or airport, respectively, depending on their situation.

Tourist Card and Special Work Permit for Tourist renewal applicants may need to start their application process much sooner, including scheduling their immigration appointment 15-20 days sooner than before, to obtain an appointment date prior to the expiration of their status.

Background

  • In-country v. consular processing. Visa applications for Chile are processed by two different entities depending on whether they are filed in country or at a consular post. In-country applications are processed by the Immigration Department, which has recently implemented an online appointment system; visa applications filed at consulates are processed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is not currently experiencing delays or problems.
  • Benefits of in-country process. Although foreign nationals seeking a Chilean visa can file an application at a consular post or in Chile, traditionally, the in-country process has been preferred since it allows foreign nationals to start work almost immediately after arrival under the Special Work Permit for Tourists. Consular applications also allow work upon arrival but take 25-30 days to process.
  • Rare delays. This is an unusual development in a country that has traditionally had stable visa processes with few unexpected delays.


Looking ahead

Fragomen continues to work closely with the authorities to find solutions and will issue further updates as they become available.

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 lar@fragomen.com.