Monday, November 4, 2013

Documents Needed for Residency

What documents do I need, and what stamps do I need on them?
Picture of Miami International Airport
What do you need to bring with you now that you have decided to leave the USA and become a resident in Chile. Note: This process is very similar for Uruguay as well and likely many other countries.
Thomas has put together his portfolio of necessary documents with all the stamps. I am sure he will have no problem clearing these documents with the Chilean Immigration office.
What do I need in my Portfolio?
Each country will need the documents of your life and your identity. Lets start at the top and work down:
1. Your Passport to get into the country on the day you arrive at the airport. Expect it to take at least 6 weeks to get this or as long as 2 months and to cost $115.00. You will need passport photos and you can get them at "AAA". You can also get an international driver license at "AAA" which is a good idea!

2.  A visa slip that you will be asked to fill out as a tourist on the Airliner. NOTE: It will be a real pain in the you know where if you lose this slip of paper. Some times it is stapled in your passport once it has been stamped at the Aduana desk at the airport, but remember you must carry your passport at all times as this is your ID in country and it is very easy to lose this document. It sounds silly but it is important to not lose this paper.

3.  You will need all of your personal documents processed in the following manner:

All documents must be originals ordered from the place of issue (the hospital where you were born, the college where you graduated, the branch where you bank, the place where you work)

All documents must be translated into Spanish. Anyone can do this that speaks SOUTH AMERICAN Spanish. There is no license or stamp for this it is just stapled to the original and will also be notarized at the same time the original is if possible. If not possible then do not sweat it, as it can be translated down here easily enough. Also if you have a sales receipt for your guns then you would likely not have it translated as it is pretty simple to read what it is.

      A. Notarized (any current notary will work, and it is NO GOOD WITH OUT A NOTARY SEAL!)

      B. Legalization - This is done at the secretary of state's office. They are just verifying that the seal and notary are legal and current and they stamp it as well. In South Carolina this costs $12.00/document. I drove down with Andrew to Columbia SC and walked into the Secretary of State office and we were back on I-26 with in an hour. In South Carolina they do take Debit Cards at the office. Other wise I would send a money order.

      C. Stamped at the Appropriate Consulate: This is a little more complicated as the APPROPRIATE is vital. I was born in Cincinnati Ohio so my Notarized Stamp Sealed Birth Certificate would be sent to me at home then I would send it to the Secretary of State for South Carolina (in this case Mark Hammond who I happened to go to high school with). The Secretary of State would Apostille my birth certificate and send it back to me again. Once I got it back to me I then sent it to the Chilean Consulate in Chicago who are over Cincinnati Ohio. For Lori who was born in Connecticut it would go to New York. For my kids who were born in South Carolina it would go to Miami, Florida.

Now for your other documents they would also need to go to the Chilean Consulate that oversees the area from which they originated. For instance my Marriage Certificate, which is very, very important in Chile, was issued in South Carolina, so it would go to the Secretary of State for SC then to the Consulate in Miami, Florida. My college Degree was issued in Florida so it had to go to the Florida Sec. of State to be apostilled and then to the Chilean Consulate in Miami.

Here is a sample letter you would send to the Chilean Consulate and it will cost you $12.00 / Document in the form of a money order made out to "The Chilean Consulate". Do not send a personal check.

We included a simple letter with the document mailed to the consulates:
For a marriage certificate:
Your address
Name and address of the consulate (with authority for the state that issued the document)

To whom it may concern:
Enclosed is $12 (or a multiple for more documents) and a stamped self-addressed envelope for legalizing the following enclosed document from the state of Kansas (or other state that issued the document): Your names... marriage certificate.
Thank you.
Best regards,
Your name
Phone Your phone number
For one or more birth certificates (or diplomas):
Your address
Consulate name and address

To whom it may concern:
Enclosed is $36 (or other multiple of $12) and a stamped self-addressed envelope for legalizing the following enclosed documents from the state of Maryland (or other state):
1. Name ... birth certificate
2. Name ... birth certificate
3. Name ... birth certificate
Thank you.
Best regards,
Your name
Your phone number
Lori's the kids and my documents were mailed using the letter above. You will need to go to this Chilean Web page to find out what the particulars are for each of your documents:

Chilean Consulate Map
Please use the link above in case this has changed
D. Stamped again here in Chile at the Ministry office for Documents: I do not have the name of this office but I have been to it and was turned away because we did not have our documents stamped by the Appropriate Chilean Consulate in the USA. You live, you learn. The good side is that this stamp which can only be obtained in Santiago Chile at one office is totally free and it is not a big deal to have done if you have everything else in order before you get there.

Ok all this is great but, what documents do I need to bring other than the standard birth certificate and marriage certificate mentioned above? Well I can only say that if it is important to you and to who you are then send it through the process and bring it. The worst case is that you will be doing all this again by mail. The best cast is that you will have it with you and not need it.

So what it come to is that if it is important then it needs to go through the process.
Documents like:
Retirement Income Statements, if you have them

Bank Account statements from all accounts for past 4 months and a letter from your personal banker touting what a wonderful person you are and how much they have loved your business

Divorce Decrees

Employment Contracts showing your income

College degree or High School Diploma (even down here a HS Diploma goes a long way)

Sales Receipts with serial numbers for all weapons (guns). If you do not have this, then make one up and sell your guns to a friend and buy them back 5 minutes later.

DD 214 if you are retired military, as well as your retirement and VA documents showing your income.

You want to show them who you are and how much money you have or will potentially be making!

One Last Thing then you can go! In Chile a Notary is like our Clerk of Court or Registrar for your county. They love stamps here. They put them on everything, even mundane things like sales receipts. If you have ever watched an old Humphrey Bogart movie where the little Frenchman is stamping the hell out of document then you have a good feel for how it is done here in Chile. No Stamp! No Service! Get the stamp and go on down the road.

One Last, last thing: You do not need any vaccinations to come to Chile, none, nada zip.

Thomas is packed with all his Stamped documents in hand and ready to go on down to Chile. See Y'all!


  1. Thanks, again, Jim.
    This post and the previous one on the container are VERY helpful as we assess whether or not this is a move we want to make.

  2. Thanks Flambeaux

    This has become a real bear to figure out with the container. There are a lot of hoops and I am jumping. I will keep you informed as it proceeds. Thanks for the comment.


  3. This is also an amazing amount of information you've pulled together and are sharing. Thanks so much!!