Oficina de Postdoctorados

International Postdocs

About Visa

Welcome to the Physics Faculty Postdocs Community! This is a very international and dinamic group of researchers working on a variety of projects.

At the moment you receive a postdoc position offer from UC, we generally begin the visa process roughly 90 days before arrival, although this depends a bit on where you will be planning to apply for the visa. International Postdocs will need to get a VISA DE RESIDENTE TEMPORAL, this type of visa can last for up to two years, leads directly to a PERMANENT RESIDENCY. It allows you to be paid from multiple sources and also allows foreigners the flexibility to issue "boletas" (legal document representing a manner of payment) for any other institution other than the one who is contracting them. Because of this, we do not accept any other type of visa.

The Postdoctoral Office of the faculty will be glad to help you go through the immigration process.

If you are a Postdoc coming from abroad, register here to receive your invitation letter for your Chilean visa: 

Postdocs Abroad

Register here if you are Chilean or have a Chilean residence: Postdocs in Chile

For an overview of all steps to settle in Chile, download this Checklist

The UC Vicerrectory of Research has avalaible all general information for Postdocs coming to our University HERE

About Santiago and first accommodation

Santiago is a big city. The urban cluster of counties and neighborhoods (comunas) effectively associated to Greater Santiago amounts to about 8 million people (almost 40% of the national population).

One can find some write-ups on Santiago, its neighborhoods and the rest of Chile in the web page of the National Service of Tourism.

The university doesn't provide any type of accommodation neither inside nor outside the campus. You can use an open service such as Airbnb to book your accommodation, or feel free to contact our administration for special discounts with ContactChile

It is recommended to get a temporary accommodation for the first month, and then select your permanent one when you are in Santiago. For permanent housing you can check at Portal Inmobiliario

Campus Life and transportation

The neighborhood around the Campus San Joaquín is neither very pretty nor perhaps very safe very late at night if one walks alone, although incidents nearby are very rare and usually connected with events like high stress football matches in the Colo-Colo stadium, located just 1 km away. The campus itself is quite safe and guarded 24 hours a day by personnel on mountain bikes. Every entrance is manned. You need an electronic key to gain access to the buildings, and only authorized personnel, professors, postdocs and some students are given such keys. However, if you bring in your laptop to work, you are encouraged to use a security cable and lock your door when you leave your office. The bus stop and metro station are directly outside the main entrance, and it is very safe to take a bus or the subway (called Metro) even until quite late at night (but note that the Metro closes around 22h45). Furthermore, one can ask the guards to call a taxi to pick you up at the entrance. Regular cabs can also be waved down from the main entrance easily at any time of the day.

Some graduate students and postdocs (although basically no professors) live in the university neighborhood. However, access to our campus is very easy, whether by metro, bus or car, from basically any place in town.

Campus San Joaquín UC

Take a look to the metro system at Metro de Santiago

Living Expenses

In this section, prices are quoted in Chilean pesos if not specified otherwise. The current exchange rate available at http://si3.bcentral.cl/Indicadoressiete/secure/Indicadoresdiarios.aspx.

The cost of living is similar to the U.S. or Europe (though not as expensive as in California or New York, for instance, or some cities in Western Europe). Food and raw materials are generally cheaper (particularly bread, fruits, and vegetables), housing varies widely depending on neighborhood, clothing more expensive (by about a factor 1.5), and mechanical or electronic devices are also more expensive (typically between 20% and 50% more). If you plan on bringing any household appliances with you, note that the local system uses 220 V and 50 Hz. Transformers for 110-220 V can easily be purchased in Chile, although the required adapter plugs may be trickier to find—bring your own with you, if you can.

Public transportation in Santiago is cheap, with about 800 pesos for a one-way trip in either bus, subway (called Metro, consisting of five lines crossing much of Santiago), or a combination of both. There is a Metro station, San Joaquín, just steps away from the main gate of the University, and from there you can easily get to most places in town where you might need to go. You are advised to get a "BIP!" Card, which is an electronic card that works for the Metro and buses. Buses and the Metro can be very full at rush hour, but many in the Institute use both buses and the subway regularly to come to work. In particular, Santiago's Metro trains are modern, fast, clean and safe. Taxis are also relatively cheap in Chile, compared to the U.S., Western Europe, and even other places in Latin America. Gasoline prices are around 800 Chilean pesos per liter.

Unfortunately, in the last year or two, it has become more difficult to find good apartments at good value, with the best places likely to rent the same day they are listed. A modern, well-located 1-bedroom (2-bedroom) apartment typically costs around 400,000 (500,000) CLP per month, excluding common expenses. Rent of a house with two bedrooms, two+1/2 restrooms, a service bedroom, and a nice garden on the outskirts of the city, down the pre-Andean hills, goes at about 600,000-700,000 CLP. Many available rental options can be found on the either in the classified section of the newspapers or online (see, e.g., www.corredoresintegrados.cl, www.vivaqui.com, www.procasa.cl, www.portalinmobiliario.com, inmuebles.mercadolibre.cl) and to find out where exactly a given address is located, point your browser to www.mapcity.com. There are also apartment placement companies which can streamline the process significantly for the equivalent of one month's rent.

A typical weekly purchase at the supermarket for 2 adults with a 3 year old kid is about 200,000 CLP. It would be cheaper if one bought less wine, frozen fish (fresh fish is cheaper), expensive meat cuts, etc. Shopping for fresh vegetables, meat, and fish at the various open markets around the city will generally yield better quality at better prices.

Internet is more expensive than in the U.S. or Europe, typically costs around 30,000 CLP for high-speed (broadband wireless) connection. There are several Internet providers in the city (such as Movistar, VTR or Telefonica), also offering phone line and cable TV, with many U.S. and European channels in addition to the Latin American ones, so one can watch TV in English, French, Italian, German, etc. Available channels include CNN (English and Spanish), BBC, RAI, Discovery, FilmZone, HBO, Cartoon Network, ESPN, FoxSport, etc. Such a triple pack (fast internet+telephone+TV) costs about 50,000 CLP. Note that you need to obtain your Chilean I.D. card (commonly referred to as RUT or carnet) before purchasing any such services. Request your RUT as soon as possible upon your arrival: It usually takes three weeks to just over a month before a foreign citizen's RUT is ready. You will also need your RUT to open a bank account. Below, we give 2 examples of itemized monthly expenses, first from the point of view of a professor with a family, and then from that of a single postdoc:

Example of monthly expenses for a four-person family, in Chilean pesos:

Rent (a nice, 5 small bedroom, 3 bathroom house with a small garden in a nice neighborhood, not very close to campus): 700,000;

A good private school for 1 child (public schools are free, but are often not as good as the private ones in Chile): 300,000 (the total range of possibilities goes at least a factor of two either way from this number);

Nursery school (mornings only) for 2-year old child: 300,000;Various utility bills (phone, water, electricity, cable TV): about 80,000;

Various utility bills (phone, water, electricity, cable TV): about 80,000;

Nana (full-time monthly salary and benefits for a woman who does the cleaning, cooking, etc., and takes care of the children when they are not at school): 350,000 to 400,000. Hiring a "nana" is quite common and most people in the Institute do it to help with at least some of the cleaning at their homes;
Supermarket (food, etc.): about 400,000.
Rent (a modern, 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment in a fancy neighborhood, like Providencia or Las Condes, 20-30 mins by bus or metro to campus): 450,000 including common expenses;
Various utility bills (phone, water, electricity, gas, cable TV): about 80,000;
Supermarket (food, etc.): about 250,000;
Nana (weekly visits to clean up the house, iron clothes, etc.): about 100,000;
Social activities (drinks, clubs etc.): depends, of course, on how much you drink and go out. Typically, a Saturday night out with friends in a bar will cost about 25,000 pesos, including snacks and a few drinks. You will find that you can live without hardships and can easily afford weekend trips to the coast or the mountains. 


On the good side, Santiago has an extremely nice weather pattern in the spring, summer, and fall, probably most similar to Northern California or some places in Southern Europe. It is generally fairly dry, with nearly all rain concentrated in the winter months. During the summer months, weeks can easily go by without you noticing a single cloud in the sky. Early mornings tend to be cold, while the afternoons warm, with a swing of perhaps 15°C within the same day not uncommon. Maximum temperatures in the summer tend to be near 35°C, minimum temperatures in the winter rarely go below 0°C. It very rarely hails or snows in the city. This climate has meant that central heating is common only in the more modern buildings, whereas air conditioning remains relatively rare (and unnecessary) in most places. That being said, the IA's offices are equipped with heating and air conditioning systems.

Benefits and Resources


As a member of Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University you will access to:

  • TUC Card: identification card as a member of Universidad Católica de Chile; this card incorporates access to the campus, BIP Card (Subway card) and a free bank account
  • Bank account (administrative charges free)
  • UC email account
  • Institute email account
  • Library access
  • Campus Wifi access
  • Salas Crisol
  • Gym access
  • Discounts in sports classes
  • Discounts in cultural activities


In Chile, taxes are paid monthly, and it is a percentage of the salary (for 2023 is 13%, and will be increasing every year until reaching a 17% in a period of 10 years).

Every year during March, a tax declaration must be presented, a percentage of the taxes paid the previous year is retained to pay for social security which includes: Health insurance, work accident insurance, disability insurance, and retirement fund.

You can find the detail information at and a simulator of tax reimbursements according to your salary at:


Health Care

The private agencies that provide health insurance are known by the generic name of ISAPRES, the public system is called FONASA. In the private system, there are many ISAPREs, some with names that may sound familiar to you because they are the local counterparts of the same companies in the U.S. or Western Europe. You are entitled to choose whichever one you may want to be associated with. The coverage provided is about U.S. standards in most areas, although it is way behind in terms of coverage of surgeon professional fees. Coverage of most medical services is typically around 80% of all incurred expenses. PUC employees, faculty, and postdocs are entitled to purchase supplemental health insurance, which normally covers 80% of the expenses that are not covered by the ISAPRES. Medication expenses are partially covered by the supplemental insurance as well, but not by the ISAPRES. Dentistry is not covered by either, but you can buy dentistry insurance. The price of the standard plans covered by your benefits is around 80,000 per month, which might give you a scale of the amounts involved. The ISAPRES typically request a period of up to two months before coverage becomes effective (i.e., you sign up with them sometime in month 1, and it is some time in month 2 that you start to be covered). For this reason, it will be advisable for you to purchase some type of travel insurance in your country of residence, before coming to Chile, in order to cover the first 3 months here and help bridge the time before local coverage starts. Travel insurance is trivial to get abroad, but difficult to obtain after arrival. It can be bought at travel agencies, and sometimes even at airports. If you are coming from the U.S., you may want to consider purchasing COBRA coverage, so that you remain covered during the beginning of your tenure in Chile.

In case you do not have neither FONASA nor ISAPRE, PUC offers the Seguro de Salud Alumno de Postgrado UC (de Metlife), which is a private insurance, details about this insurance through Vicerrectoría de Investigación, http://investigacion.uc.cl/contacto

More information about ISAPRES available at http://www.supersalud.gob.cl/568/w3-article-2528.html

Work Accident Insurance

All independent workers in Chile must pay their work accident insurance. This insurance covers all expenses related with work accident issues. 

This insurance is paid monthly through www.previred.cl and calculated: 0.95% x 80% x gross salary of the previous month. To enroll you can contact the Postdoctoral Office.

Learning Spanish

The Chilean national language is Spanish, spoken by everyone. People in Chile all study English at school for about 6 years, but in practice, only some people in the middle to upper-class neighborhoods are able to communicate in basic English; most people one encounters elsewhere cannot, with (rare) exceptions. At the university, of course, all professors and postdocs are fluent in English, and the students generally communicate in English (or are at least interested in improving their skills), though most of the teaching is done in Spanish. Astronomy talks (typically by foreign speakers) are in English. If you speak Spanish but have never been to Chile, don't be surprised to find some local words and expressions which are not frequently used elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world, such as "palta" (avocado), "poroto" (bean), "pololo/a" (boy/girlfriend), "al tiro" (right away), etc. Native speakers will also frequently drop the "s" from the middle or the end of a word.

If you are interested in learning Spanish you can check Spanish courses with Catholic University:


More information you can contact programaespanol@uc.cl in English

If you want private teachers, please contact the Postdoc Administrative Staff in the faculty

Emergency Information

In case of emergency please go to UC Emergency Website.

Postdocs should be addressed to their Work Accident Insurance when accidents in the campus occur

Funding Sources

-Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo


-Vicerrectory of Research UC


-Instituto Milenio de Astrofísica


Websites for Postdocs


 - Astrophysics Institute IT Support System : Wifi; printers; scanners; computer support

Astrophysics Building Maintenance and Support System : Building maintenance; book meeting rooms and visitors office

- VRI Postdoc Register System (Nombramiento): VRI registration system for Postdocs at UC (Funding sources: ANID, UC contracts)

VRI Postdoc Register System (Informativo): VRI registration system for Postdocs at UC (Funding sources: Non UC contracts, external sources)

ANID's Budget Control System  : Declare the expenses of your project

- ANID's Academic Report System : Complete your ANID's academic report

- Estadísticas Banco Central de Chile  : Official Chilean Exchange Rates

- SII office : Tax National office  



The Faculty is pleased to welcome postdoctoral fellows into the Universidad Católica de Chile community. The purpose of the Postdoctoral Office is to provide information and advice to postdoctoral fellows and to serve as a liaison between Postdoctoral fellowship, the funding source organizations and faculty members for administrative purposes

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Physics School

Avenida Vicuña Mackena 4860, Macul

Santiago, Chile


Postdoc Team:

Dr. Julio Chanamé