Migratory displacement within Latin America has reached significant figures for more than 5 years. This fact is attributed to the incessant violence in Colombia and the political, social and economic crises in Venezuela. In this sense, one of the places that these people have sought to settle is Chile, because it is an emerging country with a high growth potential.
To date there are about 515,000 refugees in Chile, who enjoy the benefits indicated for their welfare; however, 500,000 of these people are Venezuelan immigrants. Isn’t it too impressive the proportion of people coming from the country that, for many years, was considered the richest in Latin America?
Read on and find out why Venezuelans have found Chile to be an excellent option to apply for international protection and start a new life. And, to begin with, the simple reason of becoming a permanent resident in this territory results in an extraordinary benefit, very difficult to find in another country.
First considerations to apply for protection in Chile
The first thing you should know is that Chile works together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide the maximum support to those who ask for help; which has made it possible to steadily increase the asylum figures in the country. For this reason, if you have any legal questions, do not hesitate to contact them via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. remember they are free advice.
On the other hand, keep in mind that Chile has been working with high frequency in the laws that protect refugees. The most current is from the year 2022, at which time the already existing regulations were merged with the Stateless International Conventions of 1954 and 1961. That is, since it is a strong legislation it is recommended to have legal assistance at all times.
Also, consider that for start the asylum application it is strictly mandatory to be within the territory, so if you go to a consulate abroad They will not be able to process the procedure, as they lack authorization to do so. Now for enter the country legally you must evaluate the established requirements; to do so, click here. For example, those who come from Venezuela must present one of the following visas:
- Consular Tourist Visa (VCT). Approved on June 22, 2019, this visa is valid to stay in Chile for 90 days, without a work permit. It costs 50 USD and is processed through the consulate.
- Visa of Democratic Responsibility (VRD). The approval was made at the end of 2019, and the visa will be valid for one year. However, the maximum stay allowed is 90 days with supporting travel tickets.
However, at this moment the refugee law determines that if at the authorized borders of entry to Chile, you indicate to the officials that you require international protection, then they must approve your access to the territory. A refusal of entry is a serious infraction, since it exposes the individual to the danger from which he/she is fleeing.
Procedure for processing an asylum request in Chile
Until mid-2022, to start the asylum request in Chile, you had to ask for a date, via online; but, as you will see the page (click here) not available. Hence, now you have to visit directly the authorized agency officeswhich are:
- Refugee and Resettlement Section of the Department of Migration Aliens. This applies to those who wish to initiate the process in Santiago de Chile, from Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 01:00 pm (13:00 h). For more information on the competencies of the agency you can call (+56) 600 486 3000 and (+56) 23 239 3100.
- Department of Immigration and Migration of the provincial governments. If you are outside Santiago, you can go to the offices that have been designated for the international protection process closest to your home. The list of addresses and contact telephone numbers can be obtained by clicking here (to access, you must use a Chilean VPN).
Visiting any of the above sites is the first activity that will formalize the immigration process. Upon arrival, tell the assigned officer that you need international protection and what are the reasons (in detail). This will start the next steps that we will explain below:
Step 1. Appointment and interview.
Depending on the request volume officials have on the day of your visit, they may at once ask you for the following information:
- Application form. It will be delivered by the officials and in it, basically, you must explain the reasons why you fear returning to your country of origin. In addition, your identification data.
- identity documents. It can be a photocopy of the identity card or passport, but you must also show the original support.
- Interview. During it, you will speak directly with an official from the refuge and resettlement section (man or woman of your free choice), to whom you will explain in as much detail as possible what motivated you to leave your country. Depending on the case, you may be asked for evidence that proves the facts reported and if you do not have it, you will have to indicate the reason. If your language is other than Spanish, there will be free interpreters at your disposal.
- Proof of address. A necessary requirement for notifications to be delivered, in a timely manner, to the applicant. If any change of residence occurs during the refuge resolution process, it is a duty to notify it 15 days in advance.
Now, although this is the first step, officials may tell you to wait for a appointment notification and they only ask you complete the form. Which means that the asylum seeker must be prepared for both scenarios.
Having to wait for said appointment will be attributed to the fact that the office has reached the maximum requests of the day. But also for the assigned official to consider that the case should be evaluated by the technical secretary for approve your continuity and thus proceed to the interview and delivery of documents.
Step 2. Delivery of provisional document.
While the refugee status is being evaluated, the applicant will receive at his/her home a document certifying the process. This document will be valid for 8 months and can be extended, via online, for the same period of time, until the final response is received. It should be noted that there is no established time to know the decision, but the average waiting time is 4 years.
The document in question is a proof of temporary residence, which allows the processing of a foreigner’s identity card under the same category at the Civil Registry and Identification Service. Thereafter, the applicant will enjoy the right to:
- Enjoy public benefits such as educational and health benefits.
- Rent housing and
- Move throughout the Chilean territory
Step 3. Procedure response.
There are only two possible answers from the Undersecretary of the Interior of the shelter and resettlement section, remembering that there is no time limit to receive them. Now let’s see what to do in each case:
- Recognition of refugee status. In other words, international protection has been approved. Therefore, together with the notification, a permanent residence permit and an identity card for foreigners will be issued. With both documents, you will be able to go to the civil registry and identification service to process a kind of passport that is valid to leave and enter Chile.
- Refusal of refuge. The denial of protection can be appealed up to 5 days after the delivery of the notification, with a lawyer. Although the other option is to accept the decision and resort to a conventional migratory regularization process.
- Review document
When the response is negative, with the option of filing administrative appeals, usually no change in the decision is achieved. In this sense, those who have already experienced the denial of the Undersecretary of the Interior recommend to accept the decision and seek a way to remain legally in the country.
Rights and duties as an asylum seeker
As we mentioned at the beginning, Chile is constantly working on the update of the laws that govern their international protection processes. In this way, they define more clearly each of their articles. Likewise, they contemplate in detail the duties and obligations of those who are refugees in the country. Let’s know what they are:
|Have access to the country, at the authorized borders, even without presenting the established entry requirements.||Respect the laws of the country, issued by national or local bodies.|
|No extradition to the country of origin of any applicant or refugee. With free transit throughout Chile.||Keep the temporary residence renewed.|
|Public education at any level, promoting integration.||Keep the certificate of residence up to date.|
|Protection of the applicant and their direct relatives, in case of approval, by reunification.||If travel abroad is required, prior authorization must be requested from the refuge and resettlement section; supplying the requested information.|
|Public health care.||Cooperate throughout the evaluation process, with interviews, interrogations or evidence.|
|Work permit throughout the process pending resolution.|
|Permission to travel abroad for serious reasons.|
|No discrimination for any reason: racial, religious, social, gender or political ideas.|
As in any country, Chile also sanctions the breach of its laws and that is why the applicants for international protection they have to be cautious. And take advantage, of course, of the benefits that are offered to you while your status is defined in the competent entities.
A refuge in Chilean territory is one of the most advantageous options in Latin Americafor the fact of granting once the permanent residence when protection is recognized. This opens the doors to apply for usa visaand it is the reason why many Venezuelans have mobilized to the wonderful nation.