With the coronavirus pandemic, we are looking at an accelerated process of digitalization which does not only promote the possibilities to work from home (home-office) but we can also see that more and more tasks of our daily lives can be processed online. Today we are witnesses of how the process of digitalization accelerates at a rhythm which, according to experts, would have taken at least six years in normal times while at the same time, the pandemic causes the loss of millions of jobs reaching alarming and unexpected numbers at the beginning of the quarantine or lockdown in almost all countries. This comes along with a series of changes we had never thought of at the beginning of this year, including reconsidering our place or country of residence.
Current situation of Peruvian migrants
During the past decades, more than three million of Peruvians decided to leave their home country looking for work and a better life for themselves and their families. These migration movements were especially strong in the 1980’s and even more in the 1990’s when young people between the age of 20 and 39 left. Many of them have now their own families and more than 30 years have passed since they left.
When we look at the official numbers of the I.N.E.I., the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics, we see that about 10% of all Peruvian citizens (a little more than 3 million people) live abroad. Most of them reside in the US, Argentina, Chile, Spain and Italy as this article published by El Comercio comments (in Spanish).
Reverse migration in the times of Covid-19
In moments of crisis, many people plan or consider the possibility “to return home” and once again connect with their roots, culture and language. They want to reduce living costs, find out if it is possible to work remotely and enjoy the company of their families. We notice that more and more children of Peruvian citizens who were born abroad take this decision, people who have the possibility to consider a reverse migration due to their cultural heritage and language. That means that they are exploring possibilities to move to Peru with their families. However, having completed 18 years, they weren’t able to get Peruvian passports directly when they were never registered by their parents when they were minors.
According to data from the consulates of the countries of residence, only 800,000 of 3,000,000 Peruvian immigrants are registered and in a position to cast their vote.
Feeling of identity of Peruvian migrants abroad
From a personal point of view and after having worked for 13 years with citizens from five continents who wished to live in Peru for professional or private reasons, Peruvians and even descendants of Peruvians have a strong connection with their roots. For people from other cultures, this might be difficult to understand or may even sound exaggerated but connecting with Peru’s aromes, its food, enjoying a ceviche with friends or family in or outside Peru is a reason for happiness, a special sensation and also contains deep nostalgic feelings. I’m sure that any Peruvian who reads this article can relate to this.
In the past 20 years, we could watch a constant and growing feeling of identifying with the country, with “pachamama”, encouraged by healthy macroeconomic numbers which boost investments from abroad. Lima has gained the reputation of being the gastronomic capital of Latin America and has become host of many touristic events and Machu Picchu is one of the seven world wonders. As a result, the way Peruvians in and outside Peru see their country has changed favorably and they feel a stronger connection with the country and their roots, a pride of being Peruvian. This is something I see a lot in my daily life, including in my own experience of a father of a teenage boy. Nowadays, children, teenagers and adults wear t-shirts and caps with the Peruvian colors and passionately sing the national hymn. Two years ago, Peru qualified for the Soccer World Championship in Russia for the first time after 36 years and this made the whole country feel proud and happy.
Legal requirements for the registration of children of a Peruvian mother or father who were born abroad and are older than 18
Returning to our topic, we would like to point out that on March 14, 2018, law no. 30,738 was approved by the Peruvian Congress and published in the official journal “El Peruano”. This law partly changes Article no. 52 of the Constitution of Peru by granting people who were born in Peru and also people who were born abroad of a Peruvian mother or father Peruvian nationality by birth.
AMENDMENT OF ARTICLE NO. 52 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF PERU
Single article. Modification of the first paragraph of article no. 52 of the Constitution of Peru
The first paragraph of the article no. 52 of the Constiution of Peru is changed according to the text below:
“Article 52.- Peruvian by birth is everyone who was born on the territory of the republic. Peruvians by birth are also persons who were born abroad as a son or daughter of a Peruvian father or mother and registered correspondingly and according to the law.”
Requirements for the application
In order to exercise their right to become Peruvian citizens, the child of Peruvian father or mother can now register at the Peruvian consulate which is responsible for their place of residence by providing the following documents:
1.- Document which proves the relationship with a father or mother of Peruvian nationality
- Recently issued birth certificate of the Peruvian father or mother as an original document
- National identity document of the father or mother (DNI)
2.-Original birth certificate of the applicant which needs to be in good condition and has to be provided with a simple translation into Spanish if it was issued in another language.
*It is recommended to request a new birth certificate because this document will remain in the file and will not be returned to the applicant.
3.-Identity document (passport) of the person who applies for Peruvian nationality
The procedure should be started by sending an email to the responsible consulate or by finding out if all formalities can be done online as most consulates have considerably reduced their publicly available services due to the pandemic.
Peruvian consulates: http://www.consulado.pe/paginas/Inicio.aspx
The consulate will provide the following documents which need to be filled in and sent back:
- Registration form
- Affidavit of non-registration in another consulate
IMPORTANT: We recommend checking the exact requirements of each consulate before starting the procedure since they may vary, especially in non-Spanish speaking countries where more documents may need to be translated into Spanish.
Legal formalities for the registration at RENIEC
Once commercial flights resume, children of a Peruvian father or mother who were born abroad may also travel to Peru with a tourist visa and complete the procedure at any RENIEC office on Peruvian territory. They need to bring their legalized and sealed birth certificate with an apostille of the “Hague Convention”.
This legalization has to be done by the authorities which issued the birth certificate in the country of residence and needs to be apostilled. If the country of residence hasn’t ratified the Hague Convention, the document needs to be legalized by the Peruvian consulate which corresponds to the jurisdiction of the applicant’s place of residence. If the birth certificate is issued in a foreign language, it needs to be translated by an officially recognized translator in Peru.
In addition, the Peruvian father oder mother’s birth certificate has to be submitted, too. Such a birth certificate can normally be issued directly at RENIEC or the civil registries of the municipalities if they are not connected to RENIEC.
Processing time: 45 business day (without counting holidays, non-working days or weekends)
Benefits of the Peruvian passport
Once you have completed your registration and obtained your Peruvian identity card (DNI), you are eligible to apply for a Peruvian passport. At the moment (August 2020), Peruvian citizens can travel to 135 countries without having to apply for a visa beforehand. Check the well-known website of Henley & Partners Passport Index for visa-free travel of Peruvian citizens:
We would like to add that Peruvian citizens can travel to eight countries in South America just with their DNI’s. Venezuela has become a recent exception because a tourist visa has been required since June 15, 2019.
It is also worth mentioning that there are agreements among the Comunidad Andina (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Peru) and the Mercosur countries (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) which make it easier for citizens of the above mentioned countries to establish their residency in one of the member states.
Last not least, we would like to mention that a Peruvian passport enables you to visit the 26 member states of the Schengen area in Europe visa-free. From 2022, the visa waiver registration will be possible and required on the ETIAS website.
Dr. Sergio Vargas Crimi
Founder: Law Firm for immigration and taxes matters in Lima, Peru.
Consultations NVC ABOGADOS through our website www.nvcabogados.com
Links to cited information and resources
Official Journal El Peruano Law 30.738: https://busquedas.elperuano.pe/normaslegales/ley-de-reforma-del-articulo-52-de-la-constitucion-politica-ley-n-30738-1625801-1/
INEI -Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática: http://m.inei.gob.pe/prensa/noticias/mas-de-tres-millones-de-peruanos-salieron-del-pais-y-no-han-retornado-11010/
Diario El Comercio : https://elcomercio.pe/peru/tres-millones-peruanos-salieron-pais-han-retornado-noticia-568762-noticia/?ref=ecr
Peruvian Consulates abroad: http://www.consulado.pe/paginas/Inicio.aspx
Peruvian citizens can visit 135 countries without visa: https://www.henleypassportindex.com/passport
Sistema de Información y Autorización de Viajes (SEIAV): https://www.etiasvisa.com/es
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