Getting citizenship through marriage is a significant milestone that allows foreign nationals to establish deeper roots in Chile. This process grants them the rights and privileges enjoyed by natural-born citizens, including the ability to live and work freely in the country as well as participate in its vibrant cultural and social life.
Chile, known for its stunning landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality, has a well-defined legal framework for acquiring citizenship through marriage. This pathway is evidence of the country's dedication to diversity and appreciation of the value of close family ties.
Chilean Citizenship by Marriage Overview
Obtaining Chilean citizenship by marriage is an increasingly popular choice among foreign spouses of Chilean citizens seeking a more secure and permanent legal status in Chile. This avenue offers a range of compelling advantages, making it an attractive option for many.
One of the key benefits is the promotion of family reunification. This process ensures that families can stay together and affords foreign spouses the same legal rights and protections as Chilean citizens.
Moreover, acquiring Chilean citizenship by marriage comes with significant practical advantages. Once citizenship is granted, the foreign spouse gains the right to work and reside in Chile without the need for additional visas or permits. This eliminates bureaucratic hurdles and enables smoother integration into Chilean society.
In addition to work and residence rights, Chiean citizenship also provides access to a range of essential social services. This includes healthcare, education, and various government benefits, which are invaluable resources for individuals and families seeking to build a secure foundation in Chile.
It is worth noting that Chile has recently experienced a surge in marriages, with a record-breaking 69,069 unions registered in 2022, as reported by the Civil Registry. This trend underscores the growing significance of marriage as a route to legal status in Chile.
The legal framework governing the acquisition of Chilean citizenship by marriage is rooted in the Chilean Constitution, Civil Code, and Law on Immigration. Furthermore, there have been significant strides in legal inclusivity in recent times. In June 2021, President Sebastián Piera announced the sponsorship of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Since March 10, 2022, same-sex marriage has been officially recognized and protected under Chilean law, further expanding the avenues for foreign spouses to secure their legal status in the country. This progressive step reinforces Chile's commitment to inclusivity and equal rights for all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Chilean Citizenship by Marriage Requirements
To acquire Chilean citizenship by marriage, there are specific requirements and documents you will need to provide.
According to Article 85 of the Law on Immigration, the main requirements for getting a Chilean passport through marriage are as follows:
- You must be married to a Chilean citizen for at least 2 years;
- You have to hold a Chilean permanent residence permit;
- Your marriage has been registered in Chile;
- You have lived with your Chilean spouse in the same household for at least 2 years;
- Both parties must be of legal age (18 years old or older);
- You should not have a criminal record in Chile or in your home country.
As an applicant, you have to submit the general documentation as well as the specific documentation outlined below:
General supporting documents
- Two passport-size photographs;
- Application form;
- Scan of a passport identification page (if you don't have a passport, provide a national ID card or consular certificate from your home country that proves who you are and where you are from);
- For people over 18 years old, a certificate of their country's criminal or court record that has been legalized or attested, as well as translated if needed.
Citizenship will not be granted to foreigners who have been convicted in the last 10 years for acts that deserve to be classified as crimes in Chile, those who have been convicted in the last 5 years for acts that deserve to be classified as simple crimes in Chile, and when there are records that support it.
Documentation showing family bond with a Chilean citizen
- Marriage certificate registered in Chile;
- Spouse's birth certificate;
- Documents certifying that they both share a common household today and 2 years prior to the date of application.
Chile Citizenship by Marriage Application Process
The process for obtaining Chilean citizenship through marriage involves several steps, as mentioned below:
Step 1. Meet the Eligibility Criteria
You must be legally married to a Chilean citizen and have resided in Chile for a specified period (usually 2 years) with a residence permit. Initially, you apply for a visa at the nearest Chilean consulate in your home country, or the Servicio Nacional de Migraciones (SERMIG). Then, you will receive a temporary residence permit for one year, followed by a permanent residence permit after one year.
Step 2. Gather the Required Documents and Submit Application
You have to make sure you have compiled all the essential documents for your citizenship by marriage application. This includes a certified copy of your marriage certificate, valid passport, proof of current residence in Chile, evidence of financial stability, a police clearance certificate from your home country, passport-size photographs, etc. Be prepared to submit any other supporting documents relevant to your specific situation. Ensure all documents are in order, complete, and meet the official guidelines to facilitate a smooth application process. Your application should be submitted via an online portal.
Step 3. Pay Application Fees
There may be fees associated with the application process. Generally, it is $33.026. There might be additional charges for specific services, such as document processing or expedited processing. Therefore, it is advisable to thoroughly review the application instructions and fee schedule provided by the institution to ensure that all necessary payments are made in a timely manner.
Step 4. Pass Background Checks and Interviews
As part of the application process, applicants should be prepared for potential background checks and interviews. Background checks are conducted to verify the accuracy of the information provided in the application, encompassing aspects like criminal history, educational qualifications, and professional references. Simultaneously, interviews serve as a means to assess candidates' knowledge of Chile, its culture, and its laws. It's imperative to approach the interview with a well-researched understanding of the country's history, customs, and legal framework to demonstrate genuine interest and commitment.
Step 5. Wait for Processing
The processing time takes up to 8-12 months. Be patient and keep communication channels open This duration can vary depending on the complexity of the application, the volume of applicants, and your specific circumstances. During this time, it is essential to exercise patience and maintain open communication channels.
Step 6. Receive a Decision and Take the Citizenship Oath
If your application is approved, you will receive official notification. This could come in the form of a letter or an email. Once approved, you may be required to attend a citizenship ceremony where you will take an oath of allegiance to Chile. Arrive on time, dress appropriately, and bring the necessary documents.
Step 7. Obtain Your Chilean Passport and ID Card
After taking the oath, the next step involves applying for a Chilean ID card (Cédula de Identidad). This document not only serves as official identification but also solidifies your status as a recognized citizen of Chile, granting access to a wide array of essential services and activities. Gathering vital documents such as your birth certificate, proof of residency, and any relevant immigration paperwork is crucial. Once your ID card is in hand, proceed to apply for your Chilean passport, which opens up doors to international travel and allows you to proudly represent Chile abroad.
3 Tips How to Get Chilean Citizenship by Marriage from Golden Harbors Experts
If you are married to a Chilean citizen and wish to become a citizen yourself, it is important to familiarize yourself with the requirements and process involved. Based on our experience, all applicants should become familiar with the following:
- Marriage Requirements
To legally marry in Chile, both parties must be at least 18 years old and undergo a civil ceremony, as religious ceremonies alone are not recognized. Alongside obtaining a marriage certificate from the Chilean Civil Registry, couples will need to provide valid passports or identity cards, birth certificates, and any relevant documentation regarding previous marriages. Two witnesses, aged 18 or older, must be present at the ceremony, and if either party does not speak Spanish, an official translator may be required. While there is no specific residency requirement, some civil registry offices may request proof of residency in the area where the marriage is planned. If the wedding takes place outside of Chile, the marriage certificate may need to be legalized or apostilled before it can be recognized in Chile. It is possible to do so at the nearest Chilean consulate.
- Language Proficiency and Chilean Ties
Demonstrating proficiency in the Spanish language is highly recommended, which can be achieved through formal language courses, certification from reputable institutions, or passing a recognized language exam. Alongside this, you will need to provide essential documents such as your marriage certificate, passport, and residency documents, along with a clean criminal record from your home country. Showing integration into Chilean society through ties like property ownership, employment, and community involvement, as well as testimonials from Chilean citizens, is also crucial.
- Consult with Legal Professionals
To obtain Chilean citizenship through marriage, it is crucial to seek guidance from legal professionals well-versed in Chilean immigration laws. Golden Harbors team will provide essential advice on the specific requirements and procedures involved. Our knowledge extends beyond what is readily available to the public, enabling you to provide crucial insights into documentation, application processes, and potential obstacles. This expert guidance ensures that you are thoroughly prepared for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise, ultimately increasing your likelihood of a successful acquisition of Chilean citizenship through marriage.
FAQs about Chilean Citizenship by Marriage
How Long Does It Take to Get Chilean Citizenship by Marriage?
It usually requires 2 years of residency to get Chilean citizenship by marriage. The application process for obtaining citizenship takes about 8-12 months.
How Can I Move to Chile If I am Married to a Chilean Citizen?
To move to Chile as the spouse of a Chilean citizen, you will first need a valid marriage certificate recognized in Chile. Then, apply for a temporary resident visa, providing necessary documents like a passport, spouse's birth certificate, and criminal record certificate. Once in Chile, apply for temporary residency within 30 days. After a year, you may be eligible for permanent residency. Chilean citizenship by marriage is available after 2 years of residency.
How Long Do I Have to Be Married to a Chilean Citizen Before I Can Apply for Citizenship?
You have to be married to a Chilean citizen for at least 2 years before you can apply for citizenship. Additionally, you must demonstrate that both spouses have lived in the same residence for the past 2 years prior to the application date.
Do I Need to Renounce My Original Citizenship When I Become a Chilean Citizen Through Marriage?
No, you do not need to renounce your original citizenship when you become a Chilean citizen through marriage. Chile allows dual citizenship, which means you can hold citizenship in both Chile and your original country simultaneously.
Can My Children Also Acquire Chilean Citizenship Through My Marriage?
Yes, your children can also acquire Chilean citizenship through your marriage. In some cases, children of a foreign national who becomes a Chilean citizen through marriage may also be eligible for Chilean citizenship. This often depends on factors like the age of the children and the duration of the parents' marriage.