So I am currently in the process of obtaining Peruvian citizenship by naturalization—NOT due to marriage or Peruvian Parents
. I have combed through the different forum posts, and while some of the information offered was helpful, none of the posts fit my exact situation. I have spent a lot of time researching and asking questions at Migraciones
, and I believe it has paid off. I have not yet finished the process, but I am well along, and I would like to share my progress thus far. Perhaps in the future I will write another update detailing the end of the process.
When I started this process, the first thing I wanted to make sure of is that I would not lose my American citizenship. I called the US Embassy here in Peru, and they assured me that under no circumstances will this cause me to lose my American citizenship. While according to US law, obtaining naturalization in a foreign state is a potentially expatriating act, you will only lose your citizenship if you expressly intend to do so. If there is no intention to relinquish citizenship, then there is no problem. You can read more on the State Department’s website (http://travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizenship_778.html
). Obviously, if you are not from the US, then you will have to research your own country’s laws.
There was a time when Peru required you to expressly renounce your other citizenship in order to naturalize as a Peruvian citizen, but the laws changed in 2006, and that requirement was abolished.
If you were wondering, I currently live here in Peru on a Non-Catholic Religious Visa. That is a fancy way of saying that I work in partnership with an evangelical mission here in Peru. I am choosing to take Peruvian citizenship, and I am not married to a Peruvian.
First off, here are the requirements that qualify you to be able to request citizenship through naturalization:
- Express a desire
to obtain Peruvian citizenship.
- Be an adult
(at least 18 years old).
- Have resided legally in Peru for at least two consecutive years.
(Note, that this does not mean that you cannot set foot outside of the country for two years. It means that you have to have held a Carnet de Extranjeria
for that amount of time. To maintain a valid Carnet de Extranjeria
, you must not spend more than six months of the year outside of the country, and you have to pay the yearly fees to maintain the visa. You also have to meet other requirements depending on the type of visa that you apply for. In my case, I needed to work full time with my mission, and they needed to request the visa on my behalf. On a religious visa, I am not allowed to earn a salary from within Peru. I need to have a foreign source of income).
- Regularly exercise a profession, art, office, business activity, and/or be an investor.
- Have no criminal record
and generally good conduct.
- Demonstrate economic solvency
that proves that you can live as an independent without putting a strain on public order. (This seems to be quite subjective, but the immigrations officer that I spoke with said that they usually look for a minimum of $1000 per month regular income).
- Demonstrate a strong grasp of the Spanish language and Peruvian history, geography, culture, and current events
(this will be tested).
In order to begin the process, I was required to present a number of documents at the naturalization office in the immigrations building. The office is on the far right hand side of the third floor as you are coming up the main stair case, and they only provide personal attention Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30am until 1:00pm. Here is a list of the documents that I had to provide along with a list of how to get them:
- A receipt from Banco de la Nacion of S/. 54.25
as an application fee (derecho de tramite
- DIGEMIN Form F-006
) which you can print from the internet or pick up for free at Migraciones
. You will need to check the box “Adquisicion de la naturalizacion
.” It also asks for your personal information as well as a brief reasoning of why you are seeing naturalization.
- A hand written letter to the President of Peru
according to the established model. This step was a little bit difficult because I could not find the established model anywhere. I searched online, but couldn’t find the information anywhere. I called Migraciones
, and they told me that they had a model letter, but I had to personally go and get it. It turns out that the only model letter that they were able to show me was hanging on a wall in a busy hallway. It isn’t a short letter either. I had to stand there and copy each word from the model hanging on the wall. Unfortunately, I turned it in already, and I forgot to keep a copy of the model to share with others. You will have to go there in person and inquire for yourself. It is not a short letter. I filled two blank pages completely.***UPDATED December 4, 2012***
Thanks to Lon, we now do have a model for the letter that needs to be hand written to the president. You can find it at the following site (You will need to copy and paste this address into your web browser. I have used the maximum number of hyperlinks for this post, so I cannot hyperlink it directly):12degreessouth.com/downloads/model-letter-to-president.pdf
- An original copy of your birth certificate legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here in Peru
(Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriors
). There are a number of steps one has to go through before a US birth certificate can be legalized here in Peru. First, you have to get an original copy of your birth certificate apostilled. The idea of an apostille was born from an international convention where a number of countries agreed upon a common format by which they would accept legalized documents from abroad. Wherever you go to get an apostille, it will have the same basic format. Both the US and Peru are a part of the treaty. Note that the wording that Migraciones
will provide you is a bit confusing. They tell you that the birth certificate first has to be legalized by the consular authority in your country of birth and then by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here in Peru. Before Peru joined the Hague Treaty about apostilles, that meant that you had to go to the Peruvian consulate closest to your place of birth and have them legalize your birth certificate. Now the Secretary of State’s apostille counts as the consular authority. You do NOT have to take the birth certificate to the Peruvian consulate in the US. Below I outline the entire process of legalizing the birth certificate:
1. First, you have to obtain an original copy of your birth certificate from the state in which you were born.
2. In each state, the Secretary of State’s office is responsible for doing apostilles. You will have to research the process for your state. In Michigan, my mom was close enough to a Secretary of State’s office that she just took the document in person. It took about five minutes and cost only $1.
3. Once the document is apostilled, it is time to bring it down to Peru. Because the original document is not in Spanish, you have to get it officially translated. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a list of approved official translators (Traductores Publicos Juramentados
) on their website (http://www.rree.gob.pe/portal/traducto.nsf/webtraduc?OpenForm
). I didn’t spend a ton of time comparing prices, but I chose a translator who is quite close to where I live. I brought it to her office, and she had it all done for me in about two days. The cost of the translation was about S/. 80.
4. After getting it officially translated, you can finally take it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get it legalized. There are two places that I know of in Lima where they will do legalizations for you—either in their main offices in the center of Lima or at the MAC Center in Plaza Lima Norte. I personally recommend doing it at the MAC Center where it only takes a couple of hours, and they are open longer hours every day of the week. In the center of Lima the process takes a day or two, and the hours are more limited. All I had to do was show up at the MAC center with a receipt from Interbank for S/. 23.50 which paid for the legalization. I turned my birth certificate over to them, and they had it ready about two hours later. Once legalized by them, the birth certificate is ready to be turned into Migraciones
- A simple photo copy of both sides of your Carnet de Extranjeria.
You have to be up to date on your yearly payments.
- A certification of your migratory movements
(Certificado de Movimiento Migratorio
). This is another document that you will have to get from Migraciones
. In order to do so, you need to fill out Form F-003 (http://www.digemin.gob.pe/formularios/f-003.pdf
) which can either be printed from the internet or picked up for free at the Migraciones
office. You will also need to bring your original Carnet de Extranjeria
and your Passport as well as copies of each document. Lastly, you need a receipt for S/. 19.60 from the Banco de la Nacion to pay for the document. Once you have all of that, you go to the first floor of the Migraciones
office. About half way back towards the left on the first floor there is a hall that leads to a patio. This is where you will need to wait in line to get your Certificado
. The process is only supposed to take an hour or two, but I ended up having to come back the next day. I recommend going early in the morning to avoid having to come back. The office is only open Monday through Friday from 8:30am until 1:00pm.
- A copy of your passport legalized by any Peruvian notary.
This should not cost more than S/. 10. All you have to do is go to a notary office with your original passport and copy and ask them to legalize it.
- A sworn statement of health, legal address, and promise of no criminal record
according to the established model: (http://www.digemin.gob.pe/documentos/declaracionjurada.doc
). Your signature has to be legalized by a Peruvian notary. This might cost slightly more than what it did to legalize the copy of your passport, but still right around S/. 10. You will need to show your Carnet de Extranjeria
to the notary to be able to legalize your signature.
- As someone who was here on a Non-Catholic Religious Visa, I had to also provide a document written on my mission’s letterhead and signed by the director of the mission stating that I had been working with them for more than two years
. This document then had to be legalized by the Interconfessional Affairs office (Asuntos Interconfesionales
) at the Peruvian Ministerio de Justicia
, a process which took about two days. Note that in order to have this document legalized, your congregation or mission has to be registered with the Ministerio de Justicia
. If you are in Peru under some other type of visa, then the documentation required will be different. I believe people on work visas have to provide their contract, but it would be best to inquire at the naturalization office to know exactly what you need for your specific situation.
- Documentation proving economic solvency.
This will be different for each person, but they told me that I needed to show a monthly income of at least $1000. This was particularly difficult for me because I cannot have any Peruvian income while on a religious visa. The only income that I have is in the States, and it is deposited into a US bank account. In order to show that here, I had to have my mission headquarters in Miami notarize one of my monthly earnings statements and then send it off to Tallahassee to get apostilled by the Florida Secretary of State. They then sent it down to Peru where I had to get it officially translated and legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (exactly the same process as I described for my birth certificate above). I also had to provide Peruvian and American bank statements to show how my money arrived in Peru from the US. I believe that this process is much easier if you are here on a work visa. All you would have to do is show your Peruvian pay statements that are given to you by your employer.
- Four passport sized photos
of your face with a white background.
Once you have all of those documents together, you must then take them to the Naturalization office on the third floor of Migracones
. Remember they are only open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30am until 1:00pm. If everything is up to par, then they will create a file for you and they will officially begin the naturalization process. In a couple of weeks, if they verify that you have provided all of the proper documentation, then they will send a notification to your home address asking you to come to take the nationality test. The test is given at 3:00pm at the Migraciones
office on the last Friday of every month. Make sure that you bring your letter of notification with you because the offices are closed to the public after 1:00pm. The letter is your permission to enter.
There is little to no information about the test, and that was frustrating to me as I was trying to study. All they will tell you is that it is a 10 question test that covers Peruvian history, geography, civil education, culture, and current events. In order to pass the test, you need to score an 11 on a 20 point scale. If you do not pass the first time, you can retake the test, but they vary the questions. None of the questions are multiple choice. My test included questions about important dates in Peruvian history like Independence Day, and the Combate de Angamos
. It asked about Peruvian authors, names of coastal rivers, and border countries. I also had to write out one of the verses of the national anthem. You must take the test in Spanish. If you don’t speak Spanish, then you cannot pass the test. Thankfully, I passed on my first try.
Once the test is passed, then you just have to wait. This is where I am right now. I have been told that all of the paperwork can take anywhere from six months to a year to complete. I know that once all of the paperwork is filed it has to be approved by the Assistant Director of Naturalization, then by the Director of Naturalization, then by the Director of Migraciones
, then by the Minister of Internal affairs, and lastly by the President of Peru himself.
I will post an update on what comes next, but I hope that this first part is helpful to anyone who is thinking about Naturalizing as a Peruvian citizen.