Chile 1980 Constitution (reviewed 2021)

Table of Contents



Chileans are:

  1. Those born in Chilean territory, with the exception of the sons of foreigners who are in Chile in service of their government, and the sons of transient foreigners, all of which, however, may opt for the Chilean nationality.
  2. The sons of a Chilean father or mother, born abroad. However, it is required that one of his ancestors in a direct line of first or second degree, has acquired Chilean citizenship under what is stated in numbers 1, 3 or 4.
  3. Foreigners who obtain letters of naturalization in accordance with the law, and
  4. Those who obtain special naturalization granted by law.

The law shall regulate the procedures to opt for Chilean nationality, of the granting refusal, and cancellation of letters of naturalization, and of the creation of a register of all of these acts.


Chilean nationality is lost:

  1. By voluntary resignation manifested before the competent Chilean authorities. This resignation will only take effect if the person has been previously nationalized in a foreign country.
  2. By means of a supreme decree, in case of having provided services, during a foreign war, to enemies of Chile or their allies.
  3. By annulment of the letter of naturalization, and
  4. By a law revoking naturalization granted by special grace.

Those who have lost the Chilean nationality for any of the reasons set out in this article, may only be rehabilitated by law.


The person affected by an act or resolution of an administrative authority that deprives him of his Chilean citizenship or does not take his citizenship into account, may appeal, by himself or through anyone in his name, within the period of thirty days, before the Supreme Court, which shall hear the case as a jury and in full court. The file of the appeal will suspend the effects of the act or resolution appealed.


Citizens are those Chileans who have reached the age of eighteen years and who have never been sentenced to afflictive punishment.

The status of citizen entails the rights to vote, the eligibility to hold positions subject to popular voting, as well as all other rights granted by the Constitution or the law.

The citizens eligible to vote and residing abroad, may vote from abroad in the presidential primary elections, in the elections of President of the Republic, and in national plebiscites. A constitutional organic law shall establish the procedure to materialize the registration in the electoral register and will regulate the way in which the electoral and plebiscitary procedures shall take place abroad, in conformity with what is established in the first and second paragraphs of article 18.

In the case of the Chileans referred to in numbers 2 and 4 of article 10, the exercise of the rights that are conferred to them by citizenship will be subject to them having been resident in Chile for more than a year.


Foreigners who have resided in Chile for more than five years, and who meet the requirements stated in the first paragraph of article 13, may exercise the right to vote in the circumstances and manners prescribed by law.

Those nationalized in accordance with N° 3 of article 10, will have the option to opt to public responsibilities of popular election only after five years of being in possessions of their letters of naturalization.


In the popular votes, the vote shall be personal, egalitarian, secret and voluntary.

A popular vote may only be convoked for the elections and plebiscites expressly established in this Constitution.


The right to vote is suspended:

  1. By interdiction in case of dementia;
  2. If a person is being charged for a crime that deserves afflictive punishment or for any other crime that the law qualifies as terrorist conduct; and
  3. For having been punished by the Constitutional Court in conformity with what is established in the seventh paragraph of number 15 of article 19 of this Constitution. Those that for this reason find themselves deprived of the right to vote will recover it after a period of five years from the day of the decision of the Court. This suspension will not produce any other legal effect, subject to the provisions of paragraph seven of number 15 of article 19.


The condition of citizen is lost:

  1. Upon loss of Chilean nationality;
  2. On account of a judicial ruling to afflictive punishment, and
  3. On account of a judicial ruling for crimes that the law qualifies as terrorist conduct and those crimes related to drug dealing and that have merited, additionally, afflictive punishment.

Those who have lost their citizenship on the grounds referred to in number 2, will recover it in conformity to law, once their criminal responsibility has been extinguished. Those who have lost it on the grounds provided for in number 3 may apply for rehabilitation to the Senate once they have served their sentence.


There will be a public electoral system. A constitutional organic law shall determine its organization and operation, shall regulate the manner in which the electoral and plebiscitary processes will be carried out in all matters that are not covered by this Constitution, and shall always guarantee absolute equality between independents and members of political parties both in the presentation of candidatures and in their participation in the specified processes. The said law will also establish a system of financing, transparency, limit and control of electoral spending.

A constitutional organic law shall also contemplate a system of electoral registration, under the direction of the Electoral Service, to which all of those who meet the requirements established in this Constitution shall be incorporated by virtue of law.

The safeguarding of the public order during these electoral and plebiscitary acts will correspond to the Armed Forces and the Carabineros [Police] in the manner provided by the law.