Citizenship, new requirement for time in country

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Citizenship, new requirement for time in country

Post by admin » Thu May 14, 2015 11:55 am

It has come to our attention that the department of Immigration has implemented a new policy of denying citizenship applications, after 5 years of residency (with no family member that is a Chilean involved), based on the idea that the person did not demonstrate a "substantial" or "significant" connection to Chile.

Again, to be clear, this is in reference to people applying for citizenship, after completing their 5 years of residency, without any family members, and have been outside the country for a significant portion of time. The number they are using is 180 days per year in the country.

The old system, allowed people to in theory, to obtain permanent residency, leave the country for 4 of the 5 years that their permanent residency was valid, without returning to Chile for even one day a year in those 4 years. The 5 th year, the assumption was you had to renew your permanent residency by physically being in the country. They could receive an extension / permission at the consulates each year, and maintain their permanent residency. After 5 years of residency, they could still qualify to apply for citizenship.

Now these were fairly marginal cases, but we have had lots of foreigners over the years contact us to obtain permanent residency with no real intent of living in Chile any more than absolutely required. Essentially they were passport shopping. Chile did have a fairly cheap and easy method to get a Chilean passport.

It has also come to our attention that they are denying renewals of permanent residency, also based on this idea.

The standard they have been using is 180 days, which is a loose interpretation of another regulation regarding what constitutes continuous residency. Which is a definition related to temporary residency and some other things. Citizenship is constitutionally defined.

The problem is, for immigration, there is no specific law related to that. They have some administrative latitude to deny, but there is no specific constitutional authority for them to do this. We are waiting for a clear case of denial for this, and then will be filing administrative appeals for a clarification ruling. It might even require a court case to sort of force immigration to justify it one way or the other.

If you fall under the above conditions (being in the country less than 180 days a year, in the 5 years), have filed for citizenship, and been denied based on this reason, would like to hear from you.

Please do not post if you were denied for some other reason. ONLY if you failed to be in the country for 180 days, and were denied with some reason like lack of substantial connection to the country or similar excuse in the rejection. In most cases, this should be fairly marginal number of people.

I would add, I do believe you should have a substantial connection to the country to obtain citizenship; but, this a rather abrupt and arbitrary shift in policy that is only sort of supported by the law. It also leaves a serious mixed message and surprise to people creeping up on their time to apply for citizenship, that did not fulfil this new requirement.
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Re: Citizenship, new requirement for time in country

Post by admin » Thu May 14, 2015 12:04 pm

I would add, this abrupt shift in policy, is also why I have always told everyone to apply for your citizenship as soon as you qualify, and also for permanent residency as soon as you qualify. This is Chile after all. Do not assume today's rules and regulations, are going to apply tomorrow, or next year, or 5-10 years from now.

Political wins change. Administrations change. Congress changes. Bureaucrats change. Even the constitution in Chile is relatively easy to change.

Don't get caught without a chair when the music stops.
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Re: Citizenship, new requirement for time in country

Post by El Lechero » Thu May 14, 2015 12:20 pm

Very good advice. Unlike something I saw the other day that someone posted the other day on a facebook post for gringos. Soverign man or something like that, the biggest list of lies I have ever read about Chile, trouble is when people that know nothing about Chile believe all those lies.

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Re: Citizenship, new requirement for time in country

Post by heatherdevega » Thu May 14, 2015 2:45 pm

admin wrote:I have always told everyone to apply for your citizenship as soon as you qualify
Sorry, this doesn't pertain to the original purpose of your post, but would you mind explaining why taking on Chilean citizenship is beneficiary? I've had permanent residency for about 10 years and have yet to take the step to become a citizen.

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Re: Citizenship, new requirement for time in country

Post by Dosedmonkey » Thu May 14, 2015 2:57 pm

heatherdevega wrote:
admin wrote:I have always told everyone to apply for your citizenship as soon as you qualify
Sorry, this doesn't pertain to the original purpose of your post, but would you mind explaining why taking on Chilean citizenship is beneficiary? I've had permanent residency for about 10 years and have yet to take the step to become a citizen.
"Political wins change. Administrations change. Congress changes. Bureaucrats change. Even the constitution in Chile is relatively easy to change. “

I believe was the explanation.

You can imagine what would happen if there was for example a war between Chile and Peru, the amount of Peruvians with residency and homes could quite easily be kicked out the country. Or if a nationalist party came to power like what we see in Greece now, could help you keep your home if things got serious.

Does it come down to, why not, you can dual passport.

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Re: Citizenship, new requirement for time in country

Post by Donnybrook » Thu May 14, 2015 3:21 pm

It is worth considering that if you take on Chilean citizenship you may no longer count on your present embassy to assist you (if you feel it might) in certain circumstances even if you retain your original citizenship. Once you become Chilean you would be considered as such, for embassy purposes, inside the borders of Chile. Because of my family's abundance of different nationalities, we once found ourselves in the position of only half of us being offered support by the embassy, although all of us shared that nationality. Two of us also had the nationality of our country of residence and were considered locals. Taking on a nationality is more than just acquiring a passport and I agree with Admin that you should have a genuine link to the country to decide to do so. It may have its advantages but also may have disadvantages and should be carefully considered.

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Re: Citizenship, new requirement for time in country

Post by admin » Thu May 14, 2015 4:11 pm

On a functional day to day level, really the passport is the only thing you gain over being a permanent resident in terms of political rights (above a 5 year permanent resident). That may or may not be useful, depending on the passport you have.

Keep in mind also, "permanent" resident in Chile is actually only sort of permanent. For serious crimes for example, they can cancel or refuse to renew your residency.

The one I am waiting for is the gringo with permanent residency that drops the hammer on some Chilean robbing them, kills them in an otherwise justified homicide, but then immigration decides to cancel their residency because they killed a Chilean. Sooner or later its going to happen. More than likely it will be a trigger happy American screaming about their gun rights or some b.s. in the media that makes it too much of political hot potato for the government to ignore.

You can also loose it by being out of the country too long (even prior to this change). So far, it has been relatively easy to regain permanent residency when lost. My mother in law lost hers three times over about 25 years, after extended trips out of the country, and managed to apply again. Each time she got a bit more of an eye from immigration, but they let her apply again ...

Which leads us to the to a whole pile of reasons that suddenly being a permanent resident is not sufficient. Imagine the U.S. or a U.S. citizen does something stupid to turn Chile hard against the United States, or Europe, or (insert your country here). It might not even have anything to do with us.

It could be say a well meaning change of law or policy targeting Bolivians, Peru, or Argentina, that just happens to catch up citizens of other countries. Imagine Chile had to suddenly close its boarders for some reason, it will be the renewal of permanent residency visas they will restrict in some passing sentence of some law about something else.

Right now there is a growing list of countries that there are not allowed to immigrate to Chile under any circumstances. Pakistan has been on the black list for about 5 years now, after the scandal with the fake passports and visas. Pretty much nationals of any middle eastern country are under strict national security scrutiny when they applying for immigration. I would not be surprised to see that blanket extended to most of Africa with the current stories regarding the problems Europe is having now.

Chile passes all kinds of poorly thought-out laws all the time, and it sometimes takes decades to correct them, if ever.

The reason we have the duel citizenship option at all now, is because of the change of law to encourage Children of Chilean citizens that left during the dictatorship, to claim their citizenship. That took almost 30+ years. the kids born in the U.S. or Europe, did not want to give up their other citizenship just to claim their Chilean citizenship. There is the real possibility that Chile might one day decide to trim that back a bit or otherwise restrict it (which might be what is happening now). Helping foreigners before citizens, does not play well politically for a socialist government.

Point is, historically, people have lost their rights to live in countries for all kinds of reasons.

Citizenship is a better to have it and not need it sort of thing.

Then there is the whole, might not have anything to do with Chile at all. I am just waiting for the nut cases in the U.S. congress to come up with some new and creative way to outright cancel or invalidate U.S. citizenship or block the passports of entire classes of U.S. citizens. They already have a growing list of reasons that they cancel people's passports (child support for instance, certain felonies, and so on). They are already doing it by constructive eviction (FACTA), or the bigger witch hunt for tax evaders that seems to skip all the guys that really owe any taxes, and so on. then again, they don't really need a reason to leave U.S. citizens high and dry without a valid passport in a foreign country. Just ask Snowden how useful his U.S passport is these days.
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Re: Citizenship, new requirement for time in country

Post by Britkid » Thu May 14, 2015 5:47 pm

Useful and interesting thread, thanks.
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Re: Citizenship, new requirement for time in country

Post by Aguila Blanca » Fri May 15, 2015 9:27 pm

admin wrote:It has also come to our attention that they are denying renewals of permanent residency, also based on this idea.
I have never quite understood why it's called "permanent" when you have to renew it.

We encountered this on the other end, in the U.S. My wife was given a green card that said "permanent", and neither of us read the fine print that said it had to be renewed after one year. We missed by about a week (seriously!), and it took us two years, a lawyer, and several thousand dollars to get it straightened out.

I thought it was just the U.S. government that was definition-challenged.

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Re: Citizenship, new requirement for time in country

Post by Donnybrook » Fri May 15, 2015 11:09 pm

Aguila Blanca wrote:I thought it was just the U.S. government that was definition-challenged.

A characteristic shared by all governments around the world. Look at all the countries with "Democratic" in their name which aren't.

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Re: Citizenship, new requirement for time in country

Post by admin » Sat May 16, 2015 2:18 am

Donnybrook wrote:
Aguila Blanca wrote:I thought it was just the U.S. government that was definition-challenged.

A characteristic shared by all governments around the world. Look at all the countries with "Democratic" in their name which aren't.
Well, that all depends on your definition of "Democratic". All animals are equal, just some are more equal than others. PDT_Armataz_01_41 :boom:
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Re: Citizenship, new requirement for time in country

Post by seawolf180 » Sat May 16, 2015 12:23 pm

admin wrote:
Donnybrook wrote:
Aguila Blanca wrote:I thought it was just the U.S. government that was definition-challenged.

A characteristic shared by all governments around the world. Look at all the countries with "Democratic" in their name which aren't.
Well, that all depends on your definition of "Democratic". All animals are equal, just some are more equal than others. PDT_Armataz_01_41 :boom:
It is the difference between "Democracy" and "Liberal Democracy." Something, unfortunately, very few people understand, or demand from their governments, based on their constitutions, and why the worlds leadership is so pathetic. Any group of people can hold an election, and then call themselves a " Democracy." Cuba even considers their elections democratic.
It is the quality of a country's institutions that Matter. Democracy doesn't gaurantee a Civil Society. The more Liberal, as in "Free," Democracies, are those whose government, and leaders, are held to account. In check.
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