The TRUTH about AFP recovery for foreigners in Chile

As many people struggle with the recovery of their AFP funds, we will give you some key insights for successful access to your funds in Chile.

  1. Yes it is a hassle, involving a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy. The law 18.156 clearly states the requirements and all AFP companies should comply with the same procedure. You can view the actual law here:


  1. You can access your funds while in employment and there is also no need to leave the country. If you apply to the requirements of law 18.156, there is no need to continue paying social contributions in Chile, once you exit the Chilean system. You should carefully consider this as it will likely impact sick and maternity leave coverage.


  1. To retrieve funds, you are required to meet some key requirements.
  • That you are a foreign technical worker with no Chilean nationality/passport.
  • Your employer needs to understand the interpretation of the law and he also needs to be aware of the necessary clause in your work contract.
  • You can demonstrate status as a “technical foreign worker”
  • You can demonstrate coverage of overseas social security/private coverage for the key provisions of Chilean social security


  1. Depending on your nationality, the biggest challenge is the documentation (certificate) to confirm social security contributions/coverage (for pension, sickness, death and disability) outside of Chile (does not have to be your home country) during your term of employment. If you are able to prove that coverage is in place before you start working in Chile, please feel free to contact us as we have a very positive solution for you.


  1. Make sure to get your professional title (higher education/university or similar) recognized and legalized as soon as possible as this takes most of the time involved. If you need further guidance on that topic, please feel free to contact as.


  1. According to an official statement by Spensions (February 2019) the law 18.156 only applies to professional technical employees (with a current work contract). AFP funds cannot be accessed/retrieved by independent workers (issuing “boletas honorarios”) meaning that the current obligatory contributionsby law 21.133stay in the AFP until retirement age (there are some exceptions, read further details here:


  1. There is no need to demonstrate an end of your work contract (“finiquito”). You must make sure that you request the addition of the necessary clause to all of your current/past employment contracts. If you have left Chile and your Chilean ID has expired, you can complete the process with your passport (and sometimes the AFP do request your birth certificate in addition).


  1. Once you have successful recovered your AFP funds, you are exempted from making future contributions(in case you change your employer). In case you decide to “re-enter” the system (because you would like to benefit from maternity leave coverage for example), your employer can start paying into the AFP again on your behalf. but there is no way you can do another withdrawal of your funds. You just have to wait until your retirement age (women in the age of 60, men with 65 years).


  1. If you are reading this before arriving in Chile, you can certainly consider avoiding the AFP at all. There are many considerations to this, most importantly how this could impact sick leave and maternity leave payments. The team at EBG would be more than happy to discuss your options with you.


  1. You can complete the withdrawal process by yourself, you do not need to hire a lawyer as the requirements are stated in the law. That said, you may find it a lot easier to engage a professional such as MEFE to manage this process for you. There is a great degree of inconsistency in process between AFP companies and it helps to have some one with experience review your documents prior to submission. If you have already left Chile but would still like to access your funds before retirement, we are also able to help so please feel free to contact us.