Doing Business In Chile

  1. Chile’s overall Doing Business 2013 ranking is 37 out of 185 economies, decreasing by 4 points compared with last year. This decrease reflects declines in 8 out of 10 indicators.
  2. According to the latest Enterprise Surveys (2010), Labor Regulations, an Inadequately Educated Workforce, and Access to Finance represent the top 3 obstacles on business in Chile. Despite naming Access to Finance as a major obstacle, Chilean businesses seem to be ahead of those in other countries in the region. 79.6% of firms have a line of credit or loan from a financial institution, compared to 47.6% regionally and 35.9% for all countries surveyed.
  3. Chile is one of the most open countries to foreign equity ownership, as measured by the Investing Across Sectors indicators. With the exception of the oil and gas industry, there are no sectors with monopolistic or oligopolistic market structures, nor are there any perceived difficulties in obtaining any required operating licenses. It takes 11 procedures and 29 days to establish a foreign-owned limited liability company (LLC) in Chile (Santiago). This is one of the shortest processes among the IAB Latin America and the Caribbean countries.
  4. Chile’s economic freedom score is 78.3, making its economy the 7th freest in the 2012 Index. Its overall score is 0.9 point better than last year due to improved scores in property rights, freedom from corruption, and monetary freedom. Chile enjoys the highest degree of economic freedom in the South and Central America/Caribbean region.

Source: World Bank


Visa Information

Except for nationals of Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay and Paraguay, who need only their national identity cards, passports are obligatory. Citizens of Canada, the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and most Western European countries need passports only.
The Chilean government collects a US$132/ 56/132 ‘reciprocity’ fee from arriving US/ Australian/Canadian citizens in response to these governments imposing a similar fee on Chilean citizens applying for visas. The payment applies only to tourists arriving by air in Santiago and is valid for the life of the passport. Payment must be made in cash; exact change necessary.
It is advisable to carry your passport: Chile's police can demand identification at any moment, and many hotels require you to show it upon check-in.
If your passport is lost or stolen, notify the police, ask them for a police statement, and notify your consulate as soon as possible.
Tourist cards
On arrival, visitors receive a tourist card and entry stamp that allow a stay of up to 90 days but are renewable for an additional 90. To renew an expiring tourist card, visit the Departamento de Extranjería (02-550-2484;; Agustinas 1235, Centro, Santiago; 8:30am-2pm Mon-Fri). Take with you photocopies of your passport and tourist card. You can also visit the Departamento de Extranjería in any of Chile's regional capitals. However, since this now costs about US$100 and requires standing in lines for hours, many visitors prefer a quick dash across the Argentine border and back.
If you plan on staying longer than six months, it's simplest to make a brief visit to Argentina, Peru or Bolivia, then return and start your six months all over again. There is no formal obstacle to doing so, although border officials sometimes question returnees from Mendoza, Argentina, to determine whether they are working illegally in Chile. Do not lose your tourist card, which border authorities take very seriously; for a replacement, visit the Policía Internacional (02-737-1292; General Borgoño 1052, Av Independencia, Santiago; 8:30am-5pm Mon-Fri), near the old Mapocho station.

Business Etiquette

Meeting and Greeting

Chileans like an element of formality in all they do.

A firm handshake accompanied with a smile and appropriate greeting is normal in a business setting.

Direct eye contact is important.

Some women may not shake hands with men, although this is becoming less common.

Chileans stand very close when conversing.

Always use surnames and titles - wait to be invited to use someone's first name.

Business cards are exchanged on the initial meeting at the very start.

Try and have one side translated into Spanish.

Keep cards in good condition - a tatty card will reflect badly on you.

Business Meetings

Chile has a relationship driven culture so initial meetings should be used to build a relationship and establish trust. Devote time to non-business discussions and wait for the other party to initiate the change in topic.

Pay attention to hand movements - gestures change in meaning across cultures.

It is common to interrupt someone while they are speaking.

Meetings are not always linear in their progression. Schedules are not very structured and issues can be tackled all at the same time.

 It is important to be patient as time is not of the essence in Chile - meetings will last as long as they need to last.

Remember that decisions are not made at meetings so it is important to provide all necessary information during the meeting.

Chileans are generally indirect in their communication styles, but can become very animated and assertive when if they get emotional.

Communication styles tend to be tuned to people's s feelings. Confrontation is generally avoided in order not to jeopardize another's honour or dignity - it may therefore be necessary to read between the lines in order to fully understand what is really meant.

Never openly criticize anyone.


General Business Hours

Shops in Chile open by 9am, but they often close at about 1pm for two to three hours for lunch then reopen until 8pm or 9pm. Government offices and businesses have a more conventional 9am to 6pm schedule. Banks are open 9am to 2pm weekdays. Restaurant and bar hours are more unpredictable, differing from establishment to establishment.