Citizenship in Chile, Obtain Chilean nationality

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

How to obtain Chilean nationality?

There are four ways to obtain Chilean nationality, namely:

  • Territoriality: anyone born in Chile, regardless of the nationality of their parents, is automatically granted Chilean nationality.
  • Blood relationship: people who have a Chilean father and / or mother but are born in another country can apply for Chilean nationality.
  • Nationalization letter: foreigners over 18 years old who have been living in Chile for more than 5 years can apply for nationality. Likewise, children under 18 years old but over 14 years old, who have been living in Chile for more than 5 years and who have a notarial agreement of their legal representatives, may apply for Chilean nationality.
  • Nationalization by grace: conferred by law to foreigners who have provided an important service to the Republic of Chile.

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 recently authorized dual citizenship. From Chile’s point of view, foreigners who decide to opt for Chilean nationality may keep their original nationality. However, if your country of origin is a country which refuses dual citizenship, you will have to waive your current nationality by 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 2 years, you will lose your permanent residence, unless you apply for an extension. When you are a Chilean citizen, you remain a citizen for life.

Furthermore, if you obtain Chilean nationality, you can benefit from certain free trade and free travel agreements between Chile and several as countries, such as MercoSur. You can also get grants from the Chilean state, and you can also work in the Chilean administration…

Be aware that you do not need to be a Chilean citizen to vote in elections. You can register on the voters list as long as you obtain permanent residence.

How to apply for Chilean nationality?

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

  • You are the holder of permanent resident visa.
  • You have held a Chilean resident visa for more than 5 years (the temporary visas are included in this period).
  • You have a clean criminal record (depending on the nature of the offense, minor offenses may not discredit your request).
  • You have a document proving that you have a sufficient recurring monthly income to live in Chile, through a job or a pension.

In case you have Chilean relatives, you can apply for citizenship if your parents or grandparents have Chilean citizenship, or if they had it at some point.

To apply in this way, you must meet the following requirements:

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

How do I apply for citizenship?

If you meet the above criteria, you must provide the following documents:

  • Passport or certificate of the consul or your country’s diplomatic agent accredited to Chile, certifying your nationality or foreign passport.
  • A letter or document that explains why you want to be a Chilean citizen.
  • Photocopies of your passport, both sides of your identity card and your permanent residence card.
  • Your criminal record.
  • In the case of a child of nationalized parent(s), a birth certificate indicating the name of the parent(s). In the event of the death of one of the two parents, you must provide the death certificate.
  • In the case of children under 18 but over 14, you must provide a notarized authorization from both parents.
  • If your spouse is Chilean, you must provide the marriage or civil union certificate (if applicable), the birth certificate of your spouse and the birth certificate of the children (if applicable).

Steps to obtain the Chilean nationality 

  1. 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.

  2. After your application is analyzed, you will be notified by email if it has been approved and / or requires additional information. You can also follow the progress of your application online.

  3. If your application is accepted, you will have to pay fees in order to receive your Decreto Exento, which will then allow 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 reason why your request was declined will be explained to you. If your application is rejected because you do not meet one of the requirements, you can send a document proving that you meet that requirement. Indeed, even if your application is rejected, it does not mean that the procedure is over.

Is it possible to waive Chilean citizenship?

You can choose to waive 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. The waiver will only take effect if you have been previously nationalized in another country.

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