There are two ways to obtain full citizenship in Chile. One is to become a temporary resident for one year, then a permanent resident for five years, and then apply for citizenship. If you have made it this far, then you should have no problem getting your citizenship accepted. The second option is more rare, and that is to have parents or grandparents with Chilean nationality.
There is not a big difference between permanent residency and citizenship in Chile, but there are a few added perks. The main one being as a citizen you have the ability to leave the country for more than one year without getting your citizenship revoked. As a permanent resident, without prior permission, your residency will be revoked if you leave the country for more than a year.
Citizenship in Chile can be applied for after completing 6 total years of residency in the country. This means you will have to complete a year of temporary residency and five years of permanent residency. After you have completed these steps, then you can apply for citizenship assuming you have a clean criminal record (small offenses may not count), your own permanent residency visa, and proof of sufficient income to support you and/or your dependents. If you have a Chilean family, then proof of your relationship should be shown to the Extranjeria.
Benefits of a Chilean citizenship
- Visa free travel to countries not covered by a United States passport such as Russia or China.
- MERCOSUR member - This means you have added benefits in many South American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. These benefits included traveling to other MERCOSUR countries with only your Chilean carnet, easier to get a job in other MERCOSUR countries, and easier to gain residency in other South American countries that participate.
- And if you're under 35, special working holiday visas for New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
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