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Chile - Overview of the current migration policy framework

Chile has various legal instruments that regulate the residency, stay, naturalisation, and tourism of foreigners in Chile. Decree Law Nº 1.094 of 1975 establishes the regulations regarding foreigners in Chile; with it are found:

  • Decree Law Nº 1.094, 1975, that establishes regulations regarding foreigners in Chile;
  • Supreme Decree Nº 597, 1984, regulates D.L. 1.094;
  • Supreme Decree Nº 5.142, 1960, that establishes the revised text of legal provisions regarding the naturalisation of foreigners;
  • Supreme Decree N° 125, 1979, that delegates the power to authorise the exit of irregular tourists to the appropriate authorities;
  • Decree Nº 2.043, 1981, that delegates the powers to change the legal status of tourists;
  • Decree Nº 818, July 13, 1983, that delegates the powers related to foreigners to the Government of the Interior;
  • Supreme Decree N°296,1995, that determines the amount of the fees that must be paid for administrative formalities related to granting residency permits;
  • Law Nº 19.581, 1998, that establishes an entry category for border area inhabitants; individuals that meet the criteria may obtain a “Border Neighbour Card” (“Tarjeta vecinal fronteriza”) through which they may freely enter and exit Chile upon presentation of this card.
  • Law N° 20.050, 2005, that amends the ‘Carta Fundamental’ of 1980 to recognize the Chilean citizenship of children born abroad to Chilean parents as well as others that have direct bearing on the immigration policy in the country.
  • The current Government of President Sebastian Piñera enacted the “Refugee Protection Act,” which encompasses state policy on Immigration and Refugee Claims. Law Nº 20.430 was published in the Diario Oficial of April 15, 2010 and establishes comprehensive regulations to regulate the protection of refugees in Chile and considers the international obligations contained in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.  Currently, Decree N° 837 dictates that the Ministry of the Interior approve the Regulation of Law N° 20.430 regarding the Protection of Refugees, which is in the last stage of the process of the Comptroller General of the Republic.