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I've seen a couple of references to the idea that you can only get a bank account in Chile if you are a permanent resident. This isn't accurate.

As soon as you have temporary residency, you automatically qualify for a Banco Estado Cuento RUT. It's not a great account, but it's better than nothing. You can only have so much in your main account (2.000.000 I think), but you can have as much as you want in savings (double check this, but I've had millions (in pesos! 😎 ) in mine without issue).

I was also able to get a BBVA (now Scotiabank) account with my temporary residency. It was incredibly simple. Did someone screw up? I don't know, but I have the account.

Also be aware that some of the banks here have agreements with world banks such as Citi (Banco de Chile). I think HSBC has a relationship with a local bank too. And Santander is in many countries (in case you're not coming from the US) and may offer some potential.

Finally, don't take anyone's word for it when it comes to things like this in Chile. The simple fact is that even if the standard or guidelines say that you shouldn't get an account (or whatever), someone might do it for you anyways. Don't give up at the first Scotiabank, Santander or UTUA bank you go to. Just keep going and see what happens. The worst they can do is tell you "no". I was actually able to get a Banco Edwards (Banco de Chile's premium bank) account with my temporary residency. That's weird, but who am I to complain?

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