Operational Context

Chile uses both jus sanguinis and jus soli principles for acquisition of Chilean nationality. However, children born on Chilean territory to “foreigners in transit” (“hijos de extranjeros transeúntes”) are excluded from acquiring nationality on the basis of the jus soli principle according to the Chilean Political Constitution. Challenges are compounded by the fact that there is no information available on the stateless population in the country, and no mechanism is in place to identify stateless persons. Phase 2 of an inter-institutional project called “Chilereconoce,” related to ensuring nationality for eligible children of foreigners, is planned for 2017. It aims to (i) confirm the nationality of at least 100 new cases identified; (ii) establish a functioning, accessible and efficient procedure of confirmation of nationality within the Migration Department of the Ministry of Interior and Public Security; and (iii) update the number of people registered as children born to foreigners in transit in the country.

Chile is neither a party to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons nor to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, but has shown willingness to accede to both once it brings its domestic legislation in line with international standards. The current legislation regulating migration issues dates back to 1975, and there is general consensus that this legislation is outdated and no longer responds adequately to current dynamics. The current Government has drafted a new preliminary draft migration law, in consultation with civil society, public authorities and international organizations, including UNICEF and UNHCR. This new preliminary draft law has not yet been formally introduced by the Government to the Congress.

Iliana and her family are part of a pilot project in Chile that aims to identify people who were registered as the descendants of “transient foreigners,” with to help them confirm their Chilean nationality. © UNHCR/ David Alarcón, November 2016.

Strategy Objectives

1. Promoting law reform, and its implementation, to ensure safeguards in nationality laws to prevent statelessness among children.

Goal: By the end of 2018, the draft law on migration is strengthened and better aligned with international standards through the integration of recommendations made jointly by UNICEF and UNHCR with a view to safeguarding children’s rights and the protection against childhood statelessness.

2. Promoting confirmation of nationality and civil registration of children born in Chile that are registered as a son or daughter of foreigners in transit.

Goal: By the end of 2017, at least 100 individuals registered as a “son or daughter of foreigners in transit” have confirmed their Chilean nationality in the framework of the phase 2 of the project Chilereconoce.

3. Promoting accession to the UN Statelessness Conventions.

Goal: By 2018, Chile has acceded to the two UN Statelessness Conventions.


Strategy Timeframe: 2017 to 2018

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