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Moving to Chile

Chile, the long and narrow country on South America’s west coast, often evokes images of rural life in Patagonia and the Andes. However, there is more to Chile than its breathtaking countryside. Learn all about moving to Chile, including location and climate, visas, and transportation.
Expats moving to Chile experience an incredibly diverse country with volcanoes, mountains, and beautiful beaches to discover.

At a Glance:

  • Chile is a diverse country, with borders spanning three continents and a climate ranging from deserts in the north to icy and cold in the Patagonian south.
  • There are different visas depending on how long you plan to stay in Chile. Most expats will need a short-term visa or a work visa, depending on the purpose of their stay.
  • Prior to beginning your job in Chile, your work permit has to be signed by yourself and your employer, and then notarized at your Chilean consulate.
  • If you do not have a car, traveling by plane or bus are the most common ways of covering long distances within Chile.

Chile: Four Seasons, Three Continents

Chile is an incredibly diverse country, with deserts, islands, the Andes, and Antarctica to discover. Expats moving to Chile get to explore a country which stretches across three continents. While Chile's main territory is located on the west coast of South America, Easter Island — its westernmost border — belongs to Oceania. In the south, its territory reaches all the way to Antarctica.

Much like its geography, Chile’s climate varies greatly. In the north, you are likely to experience desert weather, while the Patagonian south is often icy and cold, known for its strong winds. The central zone has a mild, warm climate, but rainfall is more frequent.

The Various Regions of Chile

As mentioned above, Chile has a lot to offer. It is not only the capital, Santiago, which is worth visiting. Other areas within this long and narrow country have their own unique and attractive characteristics. If you were ever to travel the length of the country from north to south, the extreme contrasts of the country would quickly become very noticeable.

Santiago de Chile

On a smog-free day, one of the first things you’ll notice about Chile’s capital is the dramatic scenery that surrounds the city. Rising to the east are the Andes Mountains and to the west the smaller Chilean Coastal Range. Despite the noise and air pollution, Santiago has so much for expats to discover. With varied, characterful districts, Santiago seems to have it all: Spanish-style arcades, beautiful palacios, countless museums, a buzzing art scene, charming cafes, and much more. In summer, the temperature is always around 30°C but may fall to 15°C at night. In winter, the proximity to the Andes is ideal for winter sports enthusiasts.

The Andes and Norte Grande

The Cordillera de Los Andes forms the backbone of Chile. The mountain range has an average height of 5,000 m, but begins to descend just past Santiago and vanishes once you get to the south of the continent. Outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring its peaks, including the volcanoes Llullaillaco, Tres Cruces, and Ojos del Salado.

Norte Grande, or Grand North, borders Peru and is home to the Atacama Desert, which is considered one of the driest areas in the world. Some areas of Norte Grande do not see any rainfall throughout the entire year, which is why most people settle on the coast.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Mathias Döringer

"Before moving to Santiago de Chile I joined the InterNations community and got useful hints regarding housing and business."

Emma Willems

"When I first came to Santiago de Chile I didn´t know one anyone. On InterNations I found many expat friends in the same situation."

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