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.