imagen of retiree

Chile for retiree, affordable, safe, temperate climate and low cost of living

Chile as a great place to retire has understood how to become a magnet for citizens around the world, as regards the consistency of its institutions and economy. With a privileged geography in terms of beauty and variety of the landscape. Chile welcomes foreigners with a perfect blend of natural beauty, social security, political stability, increasing social development and modern infrastructure. Together, these features make the country the best destination for retirees living in Latin America.  Chile in Data.


The magnificent National Park Torres del Paine in Chile.

“Chile is a global leader in economic freedom and an example for other countries in America. It is the first in Latin America and the Caribbean, and seventh worldwide in the Global Index – Heritage Foundation – 2015.”  Compared with Canada.


Map of South America, Chile and Los Lagos region.


Chile is the south-western tip of South America. It surprises with a varied geography that has been shaped by mountains, valleys, deserts, forests and thousands of kilometres of coastline.

Its natural boundaries are the Atacama Desert to the north, the Andes Mountains to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west and glaciers in the south. Its island territories are noted for the beauty and heritage interest of Juan Fernández Islands and Easter Island. In addition, Chile represents great diversity in a narrow swath of land.

Chile for retirees has recently been discovered as a paradise by retired Americans and Canadians. Although for over forty years it had been also chosen as a retreat for many Germans and Swiss: those who came under the advice of relatives who had arrived as settlers. The Lake District is strongly influenced culturally by the descendants of those settlers, especially Valdivia, Osorno, Puerto Montt and their surroundings.

Summer time is wonderful, with many warm, sunny days and cool nights. Chile is a great place to which the swallows fly every winter from North America and Europe (this is why people with second home from North America are called Snow Birds).

Retiree in Chile

The Lakes Region is known for its abundant nature and the large number of protected areas. Highlights are activities such as rural tourism, fly fishing, and bird watching, as well as flora and fauna in general, and other adventure sports such as rafting and kayaking, two activities that attract worldwide interest, thanks to the quality of the rivers and lakes.

The cost of living well is affordable in Chile compared to North American and European nations, and is a bargain considering the quality of life that you are buying.

Chile is the country with the highest living standard in Latin America. Water is delivered by companies that supply drinking water, telephones and the Internet are fast and reliable, there is an efficient system of public transport and the roads are modern, fast and well maintained.

It is certainly not the same to visit a country as a tourist as to reside in a place, either seasonally or permanently. These are the main reasons to consider when choosing Chile as the ideal place of residence for foreign retirees:

Affordable Health Insurance

Most people do not say that health care in Chile is cheap. But if you come from the US, where medical costs can cause bankruptcy, in Chile you will find it much cheaper, and – most importantly – with very high quality standards.

The ISAPRE System – health insurance – although private, is controlled by a Superintendent of Health to prevent abuses by health insurance companies.

You can choose your doctor and make appointments directly on the website of the clinics. Keep in mind that you must first apply for a provisional RUT, a number that will identify you in Chile, then you will sign the relevant contracts with the health insurance company you choose.  Source.

Clinics in the Lakes Region:  Clínica Alemana in Valdivia.  Clínica Alemana in Osorno.  Clínica Alemana in Puerto Montt.


Chile has been a democracy since 1810 – except during the sorrowful episode of Pinochet – and its stability since 1990 is recognised worldwide, so much so that Chilean citizens who want to enter the United States do not require a visa. Chile is considered the most stable country of the Americas, after Canada and the United States.

No Corruption

You never have to pay a bribe to the police, and do not try it because it is a crime. Nor will you pay for a certificate of residence or a license etc. If you meet the requirements and pay the legal rate, you will be granted these without problem. Chile has an honest culture, with low levels of corruption in the public sector.

According to the 2014 Transparency International survey, Chile is is in the “clean” category, along with Uruguay, Barbados and the United States. (Only Canada is in the “very clean” category in the Americas.)

Let’s be clear: there is some corruption, as in any place on earth, but at minimum levels, and when a corruption scandal occurs, the defendants are prosecuted and soon sent to jail.

Ease of Obtaining Residence

Chile has a special category for foreign retirees and annuitants when applying for a residence visa, either temporary or permanent. The requirements are minimal, and if you are already in Chile as a tourist, you can send the form and documents by mail. If you have difficulty filling out the form – in Spanish – you can pay for the services of a translator, because no lawyer is required and it is very simple.

The steps are: first, a simple tourist visa or multiple entry visa that lets you stay for 90 days each time and can be renewed for another 90 days, with a one-off legal fee. Then before the deadline, you must apply for a temporary resident visa, valid for one year, which can be extended for another year, and which also requires a legal fee. You must then apply for a permanent resident visa, which will enable you to remain indefinitely.

After five years since obtaining residence, a person who has mostly remained in the country – with trips of less than six months per year – can apply for citizenship if desired. No additional requirements apply.

Chilean citizenship is an interesting possibility because of the health coverage guarantees and other benefits granted to Chilean citizens.  Temporary Visa    How to get a Visa    Principles of Chile´s Foreign Policy

Chile to retire: Properties

Chile is a great country for foreigners to buy properties, since it is not necessary to be a resident, but there are a number of legal requirements to meet. The most important requirement is to obtain a temporary RUT to make a purchase, which should be requested at the Internal Revenue Service.

Properties are purchased through a contract notarizsed by a Notary Public. Then a copy of the contract has to be registered with the Real Estate Register that corresponds to the place. In Chile foreigners have the same rights as Chileans as regards properties.

The purchase process is usually quite fast. The day prior, the purchaser must send a draft of the purchase contract by mail to the chosen Notary. It is not necessary, but it is convenient, if you do not speak Spanish, to hire a lawyer. At the appointed time, the buyer and seller sign in the presence of the Notary and the buyer pays the seller the price as agreed in the contract. Chile to retire frequent questions.


Ocean view


Chile is very strict as regards taxation. However, people who have income from other countries, such as retirement pensions and/or social security payments, are assured that taxes are paid only in the country where such income originates.

Chile has bilateral agreements with many countries to avoid double taxation, including the US. This means that a tax-free retirement in Chile is possible and legal. This depends on your country of origin and existing agreements. International tax conventions.


Researcher & Translator: Mª Verónica Brain


Contact the Gateway to South America team to learn about the best investment opportunities in the region. The company is a benchmark for foreign investors wishing to invest in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, providing expert advice on property acquisition and investment tours.

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About Gateway to South America

Established in 2006, Gateway to South America began as a single office in Buenos Aires. Since then, it has grown into a vibrant regional network, providing professional real estate marketing services to clients in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. If you enjoy reading our news site, please share it on your social media!

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