CHILE 

Ratification of the 1954 Convention: NO

Ratification of the 1961 Convention: NO

Existence of a statelessness determination procedure: NO

Existence of any other legal provision concerning statelessness: NO

Current challenges and concerns

Article 10 of Chile’s Political Constitution recognizes the principle of jus sanguinis and the principle of jus soli for the acquisition of nationality. Every person born in the territory is Chilean, with the exception of children whose parents are in the service of a foreign government and “children of foreigners in transit”.

Given the absence of a legal definition of the concept of “foreigners in transit”, the government has interpreted it in different ways over the years. Between 1996 and 2014, a person with an irregular migratory status was considered a “foreigner in transit”, which meant that their children born in Chile were registered as “children of foreigners in transit” rather than Chileans.

According to information provided by the Civil Registry and Identification Service, between the years 2000 and 2014, close to 3000 children were registered as “children of foreigners in transit” and thus arbitrarily denied Chilean nationality. 50% of these cases were registered in the Northern region of Chile (Arica and Iquique) near the Peruvian and Bolivian borders. Many of these cases involved the Aymara people.

In March of 2014, the government created a new administrative criterion interpreting the constitutional article: the concept of foreigners in transit was limited to tourists and crew members, confirming that the migratory situation of parents is not a valid reason to deprive a child of nationality.

Nevertheless, this new criterion has not been legislated, and the situation of thousand of children registered as “children of foreigners in transit” has not yet been rectified.

Without a nationality, many of these children face obstacles in their access to education, health and justice.

Useful links

Clínica Jurídica de Migrantes y Refugiados de la Universidad Diego Portales: webpage.

Legislative initiative to specify the new interpretation of the right to nationality, available here.