New visa category covers foreign nationals in civil unions, marriages abroad

20 Aug 15



What is the change? Chile’s immigration department has created a Temporary Residence Visa by Civil Union that will allow previously ineligible foreign nationals to reside in Chile.

What does the change mean? Chile does not recognize same-sex marriage, but foreign nationals  who marry a same-sex Chilean national or resident while abroad can qualify for the new visa. The visa is also available to foreign nationals in same- or opposite-sex relationships with a Chilean national or resident who enter civil unions in Chile or abroad.

  • Implementation timeframe: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected:Temporary Residence Visas by Civil Union.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals marrying a Chilean national or resident abroad in a marriage that is not recognized by Chilean law (e.g., a same-sex marriage) and foreign nationals entering civil unions with a Chilean national or resident in Chile or abroad.
  • Business impact: Foreign nationals who qualify for the visas will be able to carry out any type of licit business activity in Chile. They will also be eligible to apply for special work permits, which allow foreign nationals to carry out work activities once issued.
  • Next steps: The temporary residence visas will be valid for one year. At the end of the one-year period, visa holders can renew their temporary visas or apply for permanent residence. Only one renewal will be issued; at the end of the second year, the foreign national must apply for permanent residence in order to remain in Chile.

Background: The new visa will make it possible for more foreign nationals in same- or opposite-sex relationship with a Chilean to temporarily reside in the country. Applicants for the new visa will be required to provide a marriage certificate, agreement certificate or civil union certificate as part of their application. The certificate must be duly legalized by the appropriate Chilean official or consulate post. If the certificate is in a language other than Spanish, English, French, Italian or Portuguese, an official translation must be provided.

BAL Analysis: The new visa category corresponds with Chile’s move to recognize civil unions. The change will allow previously ineligible foreign nationals to qualify for temporary residence, making it easier for them to live, conduct business and work in Chile.

This alert has been provided by BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Chile. For additional information please contact your BAL attorney.

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