I've been to Chile before, Santiago is a wonderful city. We had only a few weeks in the country, but in that time we saw a little of the area and even went to Easter Island (which is part of Chile.) There's whole regions of Chile we didn't get to see, such as the high desert, punta arenas, etc.
SU Chile gets you a 1 year visa, and se we're planning to spend at least a year in Chile (they said they can help with renewal so we might stay 2 years even.) And while we're going to be working really hard on our startup I can't imagine a better place to do it than a county where stepping out of your door to go to dinner and suddenly you're on a foreign vacation for the evening!
I hope everyone whose considering going to Chile will also consider staying longer than 6 months. If your startup is internet or software based, you don't really need to come back to your home country right away, do you?
But looking at just that visa, there are so many moving parts we have to get aligned to get that visa. Its really no big deal in terms of visas on the global scale-- imagine trying to get a 1 year visa that lets you work in the USA! Much, much harder. So, bureaucracy is involved in the visa, and the reimbursement process.
The thing is, TANSTAAFL (there ain't no such thing as a free lunch). They don't take equity, but they want you to help the with their project. That's fine, part of our business plan is helping build a community of independant startups anyway, we've got no problem doing that. But that's how we "pay our way".
With expenses, every expense is different, and so, of course, some expenses might be approved for some people but not for others-- some people might forget to get receipts or might make an other error. The bigger question is whether the rules are straightforward, comprehensible and clear. Or not.
Maybe it would be better if the program worked as a grant, and they gave each startup $6,500 a month just as a check to spend as the startup wishes. The thing is, that would run the risk of scary stories like "These drunken 20 year olds from Amsterdam came to Chile and bought drugs with government money!!!" (or maybe not, don't know if they have tabloids in chile.) So, government money, government bureaucracy.
I havent' heard anyone say that they were cheated by SU Chile... and with any reimbursement system, you have to expect there will be imperfect coverage. Someone else commented that they spent $7-8k over the 6 months (with the rest covered by SU Chile reimbursements) -- that's a hell of a low burn rate!
So, maybe you could theoretically live in Chile on the $40k and have it all be reimbursed, but expecting that seems silly.
Santiago is a GREAT city indeed (one of the best in latam), although a bit expensive (specially if u eat out a lot!)