Citizenship in Chile, Obtain Chilean nationality

How to obtain Chilean nationality? Can I have dual citizenship? What are the advantages, and how to apply?

27/05/2019, updated 15/06/2023

How to obtain Chilean nationality?

There are three ways to obtain Chilean nationality, namely:

  • Territoriality: anyone born in Chile, regardless of the nationality of their parents, is automatically granted Chilean nationality unless their parents are in Chile as tourists or are illegal immigrants.
  • Blood relationship: people who have a Chilean parent but are born in another country can apply for Chilean nationality.
  • Nationalization letter: foreigners over 18 years old who have lived in Chile for more than five years can apply for nationality. Likewise, children under 18 but over 14 years old who have lived in Chile for more than five years and have authorization from their parents may apply for Chilean nationality.

In this article, we focus on the nationalization letter.

Is it possible to have dual citizenship in Chile?

It all depends on your nationality of origin. Chile authorizes dual citizenship. From Chile's perspective, foreigners who opt for Chilean nationality may keep their original nationality. However, if your country of origin refuses dual citizenship, you will have to waive your current nationality when obtaining Chilean nationality.

What are the advantages of Chilean nationality?

Having Chilean nationality can be advantageous in many situations. The main difference between permanent residence and Chilean citizenship is that as a permanent resident, if you leave Chile for more than two years, you will lose your permanent residence unless you apply for an extension. On the other hand, when you are a Chilean citizen, you remain a citizen for life.

Furthermore, if you obtain Chilean nationality, you can benefit from specific agreements between Chile and several countries, such as Mercosur members. You can also get grants from the Chilean state and participate in Chile's elections (as a candidate).

Be aware that you do not need to be a Chilean citizen to vote in elections. You can vote as long as you have been a Chile resident for over five years.

How to apply for Chilean citizenship?

You can apply for Chilean nationality if you meet the following conditions:

  • You are the holder of a permanent resident visa.
  • You have been a Chilean resident for more than five years (including the last temporary visa before you became a permanent resident) — or two years if you have a family link with a Chilean citizen.
  • You have a clean criminal record (minor offenses may not block your application).
  • You have a document proving that you have a sufficient recurring monthly income to live in Chile through a job or a pension.

If you have a Chilean ancestor, you can apply for citizenship if your parents or grandparents have Chilean citizenship or if they had it at some point.

To apply, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Provide documents indicating your relationship to the person of Chilean nationality (usually a birth certificate).
  • Submit a form to be registered by the Chilean Civil Registry. You can do this at most Chilean consulates and in Chile.

Steps to obtain the Chilean nationality 

  1. You apply online on the website of the immigration service.
  2. Once the request has been made, you will be contacted by the PDI to an interview. It can take a year before they contact you, be patient.
  3. After your application is analyzed, the immigration service will notify you by email if your application has been approved or requires additional information.
  4. If your application is accepted, you will have to pay fees to receive your Decreto Exento, allowing you to apply for a Chilean identity card and passport at a civil register office.

Where to apply for citizenship?

All the applications shall be sent online on the platform of the immigration service.

How long does it take to obtain Chilean nationality?

If your request is accepted, the process takes between 2 and 3 years, starting from the date of application.

How much does Chilean nationalization cost?

See on the bottom of our page about visas costs in Chile.

What to do if your nationalization request is refused?

The immigration service will explain the reason why they rejected your application. If they denied your application because you did not meet one of the requirements, you can send additional documents proving that you meet that requirement. Indeed, even after a first rejection, it does not mean that the procedure is over.

Is it possible to renounce Chilean citizenship?

You can choose to renounce your Chilean citizenship. Indeed, if you have Chilean nationality but want to obtain the nationality of another country that refuses dual citizenship, you must renounce your Chilean nationality.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Chilean nationality

  • Be over 18 years old, or 14 if you have the authorization of your parents / legal tutor
  • More than five years of residence in the country
  • Hold a valid Permanent residency
  • Not have been convicted, nor be currently prosecuted for any crime
  • Demonstrate means of subsistence (salaries, passive income, lump sum of money)

Yes, except for:

  • Children of foreigners who are in Chile at the service of their Government
  • Children of non-resident foreigners (tourists / illegal immigrants).

No, Chile accepts dual citizenship with all countries. Yet, some countries may not allow dual citizenship. You need to check this before.

  • Those who have been convicted and those who are currently prosecuted for crimes.
  • Those who are not able to make a living.
  • Those who propagate doctrines that may disturb the social or political regime or affect national security.
  • Those who engage in illicit work, or who have an offensive behavior, and, in general, foreigners whose nationalization is not deemed appropriate for reasons of national security.

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