Visas for Argentina
Visa procedures for expats moving to Argentina are relatively simple unless they have arrived and only decide to stay permanently after being in the country.
Expats applying for such long-term visas for Argentina from within the country should be prepared to jump through some hefty hoops.
Visitor visas for Argentina
Nationals on a list of countries with a visa waiver programme with Argentina are able to enter Argentina and get a 90-day tourist visa stamped into their passport upon arrival. These include nationals of Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa, among others. Such expats should ensure that they have at least six months before their passport expires and at least one clear page on the visa can be stamped.
All other foreign nationals are required to apply for a tourist visa from their Argentine consulate or embassy before travelling to the country. It is advisable to allow 30 days for this process.
Tourist visas in Argentina last for 90 days, after which it is possible to apply for an extension for a further 90 days, in-country (total of 180 days per tourist visa). To continue to live in Argentina legally, expats will then need to exit the country before the extension lapses and return to obtain a new 90-day tourist visa. It is then possible to get another 90-day in-country extension (total 180 days). However, after this second circuit, expats are no longer allowed to apply for in-country extensions; thus, they will need to exit and return within the first 90-day period.
There is no minimum time period that an expat must be outside Argentina before renewal, so it is often possible to leave the country and return on the same day. People in this situation tend to cross the border into neighbouring Uruguay or Chile.
Alternatively, some people often let their tourist visa expire and pay a fine when they depart.
Permanent and residence visas for Argentina
Expats intending to reside permanently in Argentina have a number of categories of visa available. Once approved, expats will be issued with a permanent resident’s visa, which is usually valid for one year.
Applying for a visa from within Argentina is a long and arduous process involving much paperwork and numerous trips to the Immigration Department. Although applications can be made locally, expats will be required to turn up at the central Immigration Department in Buenos Aires for an interview regarding their application.
Foreign expat employees of large corporations will have their visas dealt with by their companies, who usually employ a local relocation agent, which makes the process very simple.
Independent expats are bound to experience considerably more headaches. For this reason, many expats remain on tourist visas for some time and even overstay their visas, merely paying a fine on departure from the country. This is not advisable, however, as it can easily create legal complications and even more paperwork than the official route.
A permanent or residence visa is necessary to apply for a credit card (although for most foreigners a passport is sufficient), a phone line, television service or to open a bank account. It also effectively means the holder is entitled to work.
Each family member, including dependent children, need to apply for a separate visa.
Those living in Argentina for longer than 90 days will be eligible to apply for a Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI) - a national identity card.
*Visa regulations and requirements for work permits are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.