• New Mandatory Online System and Documentary Requirements for Permanent Residence Applications
  • May 10, 2019
  • Law Firm: - Office
  • At a Glance

    • Effective immediately, permanent resident applicants must submit their applications online instead of by mail. This requires a personal appearance by the applicant in Chile to obtain a code for the online system. This system should eventually reduce permanent residence application processing times. However, immigration authorities may delay adjudication of online applications until they complete the review of applications previously filed by mail, which would cause a delay in the initial stages of implementation of this system.
    • Also effective immediately, all permanent residence applicants must submit an apostilled or legalized criminal clearance certificate from their country of origin, whereas previously this requirement only applied to Colombian, Peruvian and Dominican Republic nationals. This may delay the permanent residence document gathering time, since it may take a significant amount of time to obtain this document in some countries.

    The situation

    The Chilean Immigration Department has announced two major changes for permanent residence applicants, both effective immediately, that will add administrative hurdles to the process.

    New online application process

    • Online application process. Effective immediately, permanent residents must submit their applications online through the Immigration Department’s digital portal, instead of by mail.
      • Personal appearance required. To use the online system, applicants must first obtain a code (Clave Única) in Chile by appearing at any civil registry office and then accessing their code on the online system. Once they have a code, Fragomen can assist the applicant with the permanent residence application.
    • Impact. The online application process should reduce permanent residence application processing times by at least 20 days, according to the Immigration Department. However, immigration authorities may delay adjudication of online applications until they complete the review of applications previously filed by mail, which would cause a delay in the initial stages of implementation of this system.
    • Exceptions. Applications filed before May 1 are not affected by the change. Also, nationals of Brazil, China, Cuba, Haiti and Peru are not yet eligible to file their permanent residence application online and must continue to file their applications directly at a ChileAtiende office.

    Police clearance certificate requirement

    • Details. All permanent residence applicants must submit an apostilled or legalized criminal clearance certificate from their country of origin. Previously, this requirement applied only to Colombian, Peruvian and Dominican Republic nationals. The certificate must also be translated into Spanish unless issued in English, French, Italian or Portuguese.
    • Impact. This may delay the permanent residence document gathering time, since it may take a significant amount of time to obtain this document in some countries.
    • Exception. Applications filed before May 1 are not affected by the change.

    Background

    • Influx of permanent residence applications. In 2018, over 100,000 foreign nationals regularized their immigration status in Chile through an amnesty program and will be eligible to apply for permanent residence this year. In preparation for the significant volume of applications expected in the next few months, the Chilean Immigration Department has implemented the online system to streamline and expedite the process.
    • Permanent residence details. Permanent residence allows foreign nationals to reside indefinitely in Chile and perform any legal activity in the country. Prior to applying for permanent residence, the foreign national must have resided in Chile for two years under a Work Contract Visa or for one year under a Resident Visa and must not have spent more than 180 days outside the country during this time. A permanent residence application can be filed within 90 days of expiration of the visa. The current average government processing time for permanent residence applications is five months.
    • Growing use of online processes. Chile is one of many countries that are using digitalization to streamline the immigration process.

    Looking ahead

    As the number of foreign workers in Chile rises, the government has expressed its commitment to reduce paperwork and bureaucracy in its processes using technology, and expects that by 2022, 80% of government processes will be completely digital. It is likely that the system will be expanded to additional immigration applications in the future and Fragomen will report on any relevant developments.

    This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected]