Becoming an Argentine Resident

October 6th, 2007 Posted in business, lifestyle

Written by Shanie 

There is one question that we are always asked when people find out that we live in Patagonia full time,

“Do you have residency?”

I thought I would relay what we have learned on the subject of Argentine residency. If someone had told me then what I know now our family would be thousands of dollars and hours richer. So here it is in a nutshell…

  • On a foreign visa you are allowed three months to travel within Argentina. Leaving the country into any bordering country gets you another three month extension in Argentina. You can go in and out of Argentina every three months for as long as you like. This is good and fine if you don’t want to create a life here. But if you do, then you need to get the much sought after DNI number and that requires mucho tiempo y triamites (time and paperwork) and residency.
  • There are three options for temporary residency. During temporary residency the DNI papers begin their process. Receiving the precious DNI number can be either obtained during temporary or permanent residency.  This is also a good time to get the paperwork moving in the right direction if you wish to be a citizen in the future.
  • Every person must be a temporary resident for some amount of time. Depending on the path chosen the period of time can range from a few months to years. Eventually permanent residency is obtained. For the patient and not faint of heart, that is.
  • Once permanent residency is achieved the person has the choice to remain in that status, which gives you more privileges than temporary status does. For example, when buying in frontier zones a two year permanent resident does not need to go through the additional paperwork needed to obtain title on a purchased property.
  • After five years as a permanent resident the person can then choose to become an Argentine citizen or remain in the permanant resident category. The decision is theirs.

Here are the multiple ways that the process can be started…

  • Immigrant with Capital: this visa is obtained through investing at least US$40,000 in a producing, operating business or asset. The business must have Argentine employees, be bringing in some type of income and be a producing venture at time of purchase. Our farm allowed us to start our Argentine adventure in this category. A rental property generally does not qualify under this category.  This visa is a misleading category and, therefore, is not recommended by companies assisting in the visa process.
  • Contracted Personnel: people that have already received a job offer in Argentina qualify for this visa. You must have been offered this job while living outside of Argentina.
  • Financier: this is a broad category and one of the easier options. Individual must show a total of 2600 pesos (US$900) being deposited into his/her bank account and that it is available to be transferred to Argentina. The money must come from such sources such as stocks, bonds, annuity, a trust, a personal business, etc.
  • Pensioner: person needs to be receiving an income of minimum 2100 pesos (US$700) from a government social security system or pension from past employer.

The following two means of obtaining a visa are seldom used and only for certain situations.  These are not the typical visas that a person would try to obtain if they were wanting to live in Argentina for a long amount of time

  • Representitives of Foreign Businesses:  owners of foreign companies are elegible for visas with proof of ownership. 
  • Student: not for the person that wants to remain in the country for the long term but great for the younger generation wanting to intimately know another culture while in school. Proof of enrollment in an Argentine university is required. The visa will run out upon end of enrollment.

From our experience and other stories that we have heard we definitely recommend hiring a company to help you with the process. The Argentine Bureaucracy can be intimidating and beyond frustrating. At the same time, though, ask for references and testimonials from companies.

Do your homework.

We can say from experience, because now after two plus years of dealing with the many issues and dollar signs attached to obtaining residency, we have to start all over. The company that we hired didn’t show vital paperwork that we provided proving that we owned and ran a producing farm.

At least we have our DNI’s. It was not all for not.

  1. 40 Responses to “Becoming an Argentine Resident”

  2. By inArg on Jan 8, 2008

    Shanie, the immigration process can also be started by having a family connection to Argentina (spouse, kids or parents). But unfortunately you still have to go through the same bureaucracy and many hours of time in order to get everything approved.

    It’s almost like a test – if you can handle the complicated process and setbacks then you’re ready for anything!

  3. By Patagonia on Jan 13, 2008

    Very True inArg! I left that one out for those of us not lucky enough to have family connections.
    Another one that I forgot to add was the baby residency. It is possible to be granted immediate permanent residency upon having a child in Argentina.

  4. By Mario Hugo on Jan 14, 2008

    Hi – so my girlfriend and I are New Yorkers. We traveled to Argentina a year back – spent the holidays in Bariloche, visited family in Buenos Aires and Cordoba, and we fell deeply in love. I grew up in an Argentine household here in the states. I speak my castellano well enough and understand everything. My father remains an Argentine citizen, though my mother is a US citizen. Anyway – I’m a freelancer working with international clients – and Buenos Aires feels like the perspective shift I’ve been craving.

    Simply: I’m curious how you suggest I best apply for residency? If my father is an Argentine citizen, and I’d like to work for myself, is there a proven route??

    I’ve only just begun to research this topic, so any advise is welcome! Thanks so much for your time. :)

  5. By Richard on Apr 9, 2008

    Hi Shanie,

    Interesting information about becoming a permanent resident. Possibly I can add to it.
    My wife (who is Argentine) and I moved to BA in January and right away we acquired medical insurance with the Italian hospital. Then we started on the immigration process for me. I was told to my face that they were going to make my life as miserable as possible because the American Embassy is a major pain in the ass to Argentines trying to get a visa to visit America. I can verify this because they flat out refused to allow my Mother-in-law a visa to visit us and her credentials are impeccable. We spent 3 days running around BA jumping through hoops for our paperwork. I don’t speak Spanish so trying to do all this would have been completly impossible without my wife’s help.
    An interesting situation developed at this point. I find that in BA everyone knows someone that can get things done quickly and as in our case at no cost. To make a long story short and so as not to get anyone in trouble I obtained my permanent residency in 10 days and there were smiles and congradulations on both side of the equation.

    Acquiring the DNI is a different story. That part of the government is so backlogged they are still looking for clerks they misplaced in the paperwork system. At any rate my papers are filed for and we go back to BA on July 1 to get it.

    I look forwar to meeting you and Jamie here in Bariloche.I have purchased and read his book Che Baludo. My kind of reading.

    We also brought a dog with us from Tucson. I have to let his hair grow so he does not freeze his buns off.

    Take care,

  6. By sandhu on Jun 13, 2008

    i am temporary resident of Uruguay(Residency en tramite), how can i apply my temporary residency , leading to permanent residency in Argentina.

    pl guide me

  7. By Patagonia on Jun 13, 2008

    Sandhu, I sent you an email. Suerte, Jamie

  8. By Jaime Medina on Jul 1, 2008

    I sent for information from
    and was told that at the end of the third year of residency you can apply for citizenship. I would also like to know how
    marrying an Argentine would effect the residency, DNI, citizenhip time table etc.
    thanks in advance,
    I’m american

  9. By Patagonia on Jul 1, 2008

    Jaime, I sent you an email. Suerte, Jamie

  10. By Meredith on Jul 13, 2008

    Hi! Love your site. I am planning on moving to BA in August. I currently am on SSDI due to an illness and collect $1900 monthly. However when I am fully recovered I do plan to work. I have just started with a network maketing company and can work form anywhere e in the world and sell globally, mostly online. This will be my work once I am fully up to speed again physically and should make me $2000 a month unless I am a complete dope. :o ) Since I will be paid in USD$ will that allow me to apply for permamnt residency even though it is a commision based income…not salaried? Would I be able to apply for permanent residency based on SSDI, even though when I better I wont be taking it anymore? Is any of this enough to establish temp 1 year residency and just renew? I also have a dog…..will the 90 days in teh country as a tourist apply to him? Will i nee dto cross him at the border each 90 days? How risky is it to purchase property in Argentina without a DNI? Any legal rights of foreigners to protect them in RE deals. This woudlnt be a second home for me but a primary so I can risk losing it but I see where its often better to buy there than to rent $$ and long term rentals around BA to non DNIrs is pretty tricky….

    I have a headache now…..thanks for your insight and any help you can offer. Congrats on your move – Im already jealous!

  11. By kurt on Oct 13, 2008

    This is a question for Richard (April 9 posting). My wife and I are here on Rentista Visas, we have an appointment to get our DNIs in BA during February. I’m wondering how your scheduled appointment went. Did you leave BA with your DNIs, or did they only check some things out and give you another date? Thanks, kurt

  12. By Mai on Feb 6, 2009

    Hi.I just got baby here in argentina.
    I came as a turlist and had a baby last month.
    But before i´ll apply for residency visa my turlist visa is expired.
    Will it be difficult to apply for residency because i have expired my turlist visa?or it won´t matter?
    i also have a Argentine boyfriend so it will be easier for me to just get marry and get residency??

  13. By Patagonia on Feb 6, 2009

    I suggest you contact Lorena at, they will be able to offer you good advice.

    Suerte, Jamie

  14. By Mai on Feb 7, 2009

    I was just checking this conpany´s web.
    I´ll call them on Monday!!!
    By the way your page is really interesting.
    Thanks Jamie.

  15. By Patagonia on Feb 8, 2009

    Great Mai! I am sure Lorena and the team will be very helpful. Please post your findings. Suerte!

  16. By Peter Costa on Apr 8, 2009

    My name´s Pete and have a couple of questions. I´m moving to Bs.As to get married to my fianceé June 12. I´ll be there May 15th because we have to start to do the tramites so that we can have everything ready by the 12th. We´re planning on living there for 6-12 months and I wish to continue with my studies. I already have all the necessary documents to apply for a permanent residency visa so that I can get my DNI. Classes at the UBA start in August. If I apply for the residency the week after our marriage with all the correct documents will I be able to study without a visa in August. Also while waiting for my Permanent Residency Visa and DNI do I still have to go in and out of the country every 6 months? Any advice that I might need before I get down there and get married? Mil gracias!

  17. By Peter Costa on Apr 8, 2009

    I´m sorry, I meant do I have still have to go in and out of the country every *3 months*?

    Thanks ;)

  18. By Patagonia on Apr 8, 2009

    Hi Pete,

    Congrats on the marriage. I don’t think you need a DNI or residenct to study. In either event, once you begin the process, they give you a precario so you don’t have to leave every 3 months while you are being processed. Also keep in mind you will be getting temporary, not permanent residency.

    I suggest contacting Lorena at

    Suerte, Jamie

  19. By Martin on May 17, 2009

    I see most people are obtaining their Argentinean residency through marriage. Does the Argentinean government recognize gay relationships (with an argentinean citizen) for immigration benefits?
    Thank you, Martin.

  20. By Patagonia on May 18, 2009

    Hi Martin,

    I understand it that most are receiving their residency thru a rentista visa, not marriage. I suggest you contacting Lorena at She will know the answer.

    Saludos, Jamie

  21. By Sam on Aug 3, 2010

    I believe you have posted incorrect information about obtaining Argentine citizenship. It is my understanding (as I am in the process now) that citizenship may be obtained after TWO years of PERMANENT RESIDENCY. In other words, your statement about five years is correct and incorrect: THREE years of TEMPORARY RESIDENCY followed by TWO years of PERMANENT RESIDENCY (total five years residency) may then be followed by Argentine citizenship. The way you have stated it gives the impression that eight years would be required.

  22. By Patagonia on Aug 3, 2010

    Hi Sam,

    Thanks for your feedback. The residency process appears to be changing often and was posted as we understood it, back in 2007.

    Kind regards, Jamie

  23. By Paul on May 20, 2011

    I’m at the beginning of my research on how to move to Argentina. I currently live in Canada and planning to sell my things here and bring $150000 for the starters in Mendoza. I work for IT industry. Would this be enough for starters? I speak Spanish somewhat…

  24. By Patagonia on May 21, 2011


    With a US$150,000, you will be just fine. Having dollars and living on Pesos is the key.

    Suerte, Jamie

  25. By September Boettger on Aug 1, 2011

    I will right away grab your rss feed as I can not find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me know in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  26. By bruce on Aug 25, 2011

    Hi Shanie.

    I have an appointment in Rosario for permanent residency in Argentina. I am a US citizen and have just acquired work here that will commence in March of 2012. My appointment for residency is in December this year but I would like to go back to the US to see my parents which are ill and also to work to earn as many US$ as possible before returning to Argentina to settle down with my Argentine wife. So, can I leave Argentina even though my 3 months have expired and then return in March? Is it possible to change my appointment date to get permanent residency?

  27. By Patagonia on Aug 25, 2011


    We suggest you contacting a residency company to answer your questions.

    Suerte, Jamie

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