Argentine Residency and Citizenship

brandwach

Registered
I am interested in possibly settling permanently in Arg.
what recommendations/anecdots/suggestions/experience do you have for aquiering permanent Residency and ultimately citizenship in Arg.
Have any of you actually gotten citizenship? or know any body who has gotten citizenship?
How did you go about it and how long and hard was the process?
Are there any benefits to citizenship above perm residency?
 

Trabano

Registered
I'm pretty sure you have to have a residency visa for 2 years before you can even apply for the DNI. After that it can take up to a year to finish all the paperwork and processing.

Easiest way to obtain a DNI.....get married to an Argentine.
 

steveinbsas

Registered
Trabano said:
I'm pretty sure you have to have a residency visa for 2 years before you can even apply for the DNI. After that it can take up to a year to finish all the paperwork and processing.

Easiest way to obtain a DNI.....get married to an Argentine.
A DNI is only a national identity document that includes information regarding resident status.

Actually, any foreigner who is granted residency (whether temporary or permanent ) is required to apply for a DNI soon after receiving a resident visa. A DNI is a small booklet which all foreigners with residency as well as all Argentine citizens must present when using a credit card, making major purchases, leaving or entering the country, making a police report, etc.

As the processing times for the DNI have exceeded a year recently, it is possible for foreigners to use their passport in lieu of a DNI. If six months elapse before one is able to apply for the DNI, it might be necessary to return to migraciones for a new certificate of residency to submit to the RNP, but some expats have actually been able to renew their resident visas and even have had them upgraded from temporary to permanent without ever having received their DNI.

I recently read that a foreigner who has had permanent residency for two years may apply for citizenship, regardless how much time they spend in Argentina during those two years. Evidence of financial stability and a clean criminal record are required.

I have also been told that any foreigner who has been in Argentina for two full years (without leaving the country) may apply for citizenship, but I don't know anyone who has done it...only the two individuals who told me they were going to try (with the aid of a lawyer). I don't know if someone who has been here for two years with an expired tourist visa could apply for and receive citizenship, but I think that the law only stipulates that migraciones must certify that the applicant has been in Argentina for two years. Proof of financial stability and a clean criminal report are also required.

Go to page 12 of this pdf document:

http://www.argentina.ar/advf/documentos/48b3131c3256a5.39188145.pdf

Marrying an Argentine indeed makes a foreigner eligible for permanent residency, but I am not certain if any financial information is required (though I doubt it). Being the parent of a child born in Argentina is also "automatic" grounds for obtaining permanent residency.
 

ElQueso

Registered
On DNI timing, having just had a conversation with my lawyer Wednesday about this (I go Monday to finally apply for residency, having gotten all my papers together finally) once you have applied for residency, the time to be approved for residency is typically 40 days. In some cases, an additional 40 days is needed if you have anything that shows up in your criminal record because it goes through an additional review process.

Once the residency (temporary or permanent) has been approved, you can apply for the DNI (and should - Steve you may be right, it may be required, but I know guys who have lived here for two years going through their temporary residency requirements and never once applied for the DNI itself, but are now that their temporary residencies are converting into permanent).

According to my lawyer, the DNI process takes another 40 days. Indeed, even for a temporary residency, a DNI can be/is issued and the DNI itself merely has lines in it where the date of changing statuses is recorded/stamped with a seal. Therefore, if one gets a DNI while under temporary status, there is a date stamp in specific places in the DNI for each year of completion of the temporary status, and then when the permanent residency is granted, the DNI becomes permanent by the officials placing the stamp on the "permanent" line of the DNI. My wife just finished getting her permenent residency and had the DNI so stamped about three weeks ago.

Now, my wife's process took two years to complete. She did not get the DNI until recently, though she had the residency starting two years ago. She is from Paraguay and is a Mercosur resident. She started the process by herself, had a lot of problems with her paperwork being perfect, all that good stuff. She was told that it just takes a long time because there are so many applying for residency.

In reality, that's not necessarily the case. It seems that lawyers know the right people to talk to (the same people that everyone else talks to) and whose palms to grease. Yes, that's right, the process does not have to take so long and "gifts" applied to the correct people make the process move at the speed it's actually supposed to. The lawyers know who to talk to to push things along and ask about the status and all that good stuff.

In my wife's case, for example, they would study her paperwork for whatever tramite she was doing, would tell her something was wrong with it (once her mother's maiden name ended with an "s" on one document instead of a "z" which was on her cedula, for example) and she would have to go get it fixed. This process would sometimes take weeks or a month or two, then she would go back, only to find out there was some other small imperfection. The problem was, she was NEVER told ALL of the problems at one time.

My sister-in-law got her residency in 30 days (we are using the lawyer for her, once we figured out the benefits of using a lawyer) and only one little thing fouled her up from getting her DNI about as quickly - my wife had an authorization to be her sister's guardian, but it wasn't a paper granting her all rights. The people who issue the residencies are different fromt he people who issue the DNIs and the people who issue the DNIs said she had to have the paper granting all rights. Nothing is ever perfect, even using the lawyers, but certianly quicker and easier. My wife is heading back to Paraguay Tuesday to get that paper from her parents and my sister-in-law will have her DNI probably before the end of February.

My lawyer brought my documents down to the people that he "knows" and has them review it carefully and we find out at one time what may be wrong.

As my lawyer was very careful to spell out, the "greasing" will not get you anything illegal. You can't be given a residency paper in one day for example, under the table, no matter if you have no valid status for applying for residency or because of your criminal status or doing anything outside the actual law. What it does do is allow people to pass through the system smoothly and anyone who is not paying the little gifts, sits outside the system and waits.

I have seen three other guys I know pass very quickly through the system with lawyers while the others (including my wife and much of her family) go through the process agonizingly slowly.

As far as how you can get residency - marry*, have an investment that pays you a steady dividend of 2500 pesos a month (retirement that pays enough is one way, being a shareholder in a company or having savings that produce interest in that amount is another - all have to be certified by accountants in your home country), get sponsored by someone here related to work, start up a business in which you are a part owner (but the business has to actually operate), or go to university/study. You can also deposit the equivalent of 1,500,000 pesos with the government (the amount changed recently - used to be 500,000), buying bonds I believe, that have to remain in your possession (i.e., you can't sell them no matter what happens) until you are granted permanent residency (two years for most people).

* A note on marriage. It doesn't have to be an Argentine citizen that you marry. Anyone who has residency (even temporary) can give the other person residency through that as well. My wife being a Mercosur resident was eligible automatically for residency and although I could have started my process as soon as she was granted her temporary residency, I waited until she was permanent. Now that she is permanent, I am directly applying for permanent residency.
 

steveinbsas

Registered
ElQueso said:
It seems that lawyers know the right people to talk to (the same people that everyone else talks to) and whose palms to grease. Yes, that's right, the process does not have to take so long and "gifts" applied to the correct people make the process move at the speed it's actually supposed to. The lawyers know who to talk to to push things along and ask about the status and all that good stuff...

...As my lawyer was very careful to spell out, the "greasing" will not get you anything illegal. You can't be given a residency paper in one day for example, under the table, no matter if you have no valid status for applying for residency or because of your criminal status or doing anything outside the actual law. What it does do is allow people to pass through the system smoothly and anyone who is not paying the little gifts, sits outside the system and waits...

...I have seen three other guys I know pass very quickly through the system with lawyers while the others (including my wife and much of her family) go through the process agonizingly slowly.

I received my temporary resident visa three years ago, renewed it twice, and recently had it changed to permanent without any delay whatsoever. I never had a single document challenged, offered anyone at migraciones any type of gift, or used the services of an immigration lawyer.

As a matter of fact, the ladies at the prorrogas de permanencia went out of their way to be helpful (telling me to return without a numero de atencion and actually accompanying me to other sectors to translate for me when necessary).

My ego tells me it must be due to my extensive charm and incredibly good looks.

What other possible explanation is there?
 

ElQueso

Registered
steveinbsas said:
I received my temporary resident visa three years ago, renewed it twice, and recently had it changed to permanent without any delay whatsoever. I never had a single document challenged, offered anyone at migraciones any type of gift, or used the services of an immigration lawyer.

As a matter of fact, the ladies at the prorrogas de permanencia went out of their way to be helpful (telling me to return without a numero de atencion and actually accompanying me to other sectors to translate for me when necessary).

My ego tells me it must be due to my extensive charm and incredibly good looks.

What other possible explanation is there?
steveinbsas said:
As the processing times for the DNI have exceeded a year recently
Well, my original desire to reply was based off of the last comment quoted. As stated in my response, one doesn't have to wait more than a year to have their DNI processed if one plays the game.

As to why you had no problems at migraciones three years ago? I don't know. Perhaps because you were not a Mercosur resident. I have always suspected that Migraciones gives other Mercosur residents (particularly those from Paraguay) a seriously hard time. I've seen Argentine officals AND citizens give Paraguayans a hard time when it wasn't called for.

I know a couple of guys who went through a visa process two years ago, through an "Asian Visa Program," who did it themselves very easily. But the funny thing is, before they could go permanent (just short of two years) the government cancelled this program. It was originally (from what I've been told) to encourage all the illegal Asians who were here to get legal and start paying taxes. There was some loophole that allowed anyone to get in the program, and it was only open to entrance for a short time. When the government realized that many of the asians in the program were still not paying taxes, they cancelled the program.

When the government recently cancelled the program, all people who had not completed the program had to move into another visa program and if they were not eligible they were shit out of luck. A good friend of mine tried to get moved over to another visa category and had all sorts of problems and finally hired a lawyer to help him. Once he had the lawyer, everything slid through without a problem.

This is all second-hand from my friends, told to them by their lawyer (who is not my lawyer), so there may be something different that happened than what they recounted to me. What I do know is that they did indeed have to change their visa status because the visa program they were going through was indeed cancelled, that they had problems that were resolved quickly by their lawyers.

It's possible that you were lucky, Steve. It's possible that because you were a foreigner from a country ouside the Mercosur that you have been treated differently than those who I have seen treated who are mostly from Mercosur countries (but not all).

But for the relatively small price that my lawyer charges, and having seen the crap that SOME people seem to have to go through, I think anyone who is trying to go through that process alone is going to have more problems, and the times required to get things done take longer, IN GENERAL than those who don't.

BTW - I am NOT suggesting that ANYONE go to migraciones and offer ANYONE there a "gift." The lawyers who know people and know who to do so to are the ones who should do that.

My lawyer, for example, buys some key people at migraciones and other offices Christmas gifts at the end of the year, offers gift cards (small value) here and there during the year, takes them out to lunch, so on and so forth, so that they have access to people in the know (daily basis type things).

This level of "greasing" is only meant to have access to people to set up quick appointments (I got an appointment three days from the date the appointment was requested and when I ended up not being able to make that, yesterday it was changed to Monday with no problem, which I have never seen with my wife and her family acting on their own, nor with my other two friends mentioned - those were usually a month or two from the data requested everytime they had to make an appointment with migraciones. Her sister, who obviously is also Mercosur, got an appointment in two days a couple of months ago using our lawyer) and to be able to push them to find out statuses and move their clients on ahead in the pile, and have documents reviewed before the clients themselves have to go down and waste time finding out they have an issue, etc.

Only very occasionally do they present gifts of value to make sure that certain things are passed through.

A prime example of where specific grease is required in order to save a LOT of time:

I know a woman who recently applied for residency (she's from the US). 30 years ago she committed a very small indescretion that showed up on her FBI criminal record. Here in Argentina, by law they cannot even show on the criminal records anything that happened more than ten years ago, and normally don't look at things that happened more than 5 years ago.

However, according to my friend, since the FBI sent this issue in her antecedentes, they can indeed look at that. However, it should not be a problem because it was a very small thing and happened 30 years ago. But her visa application has to go to a second level of processing (the extra 40 days I mentioned in my first post) after the first level (the normal 40 days) to be reviewed by immigration lawyers.

The immigration lawyers have the ability to make whatever recommendation they want (based on law), and the overseer who approves these applications who may have some complications (and not all are because of criminal antecedentes) almost always accepts the recommendations of the immigration lawyers.

The immigration lawyers can (and usually do) hold up these applications unless they have some incentive to do otherwise. They can ask for records from the court from the original jurisdiction. They can require that the case be expunged from the person's record before they are allowed to continue in the visa process. There are many things that they can do, and usually do, to hold up visa applications with problems.

It is not illegal for the lawyers to look at something that is 30 years old and pass it on with approval to the head guy. What the specific "grease" does is soften up the lawyer who has been assigned the case to accept the argument that the person's lawyer is making on her behalf and use that argument to the overseer. It is always something they are going to do that cannot be linked to any actual criminal action related to short-cutting the actual system.

Anyone who thinks getting through migraciones bureaucracy is easy, all the time, for everyone, I think is being a bit naive. Just because you had a good time doing it certainly doesn't mean everyone will. Particularly those who are going through on things that require a bit of work to prove the reasons for going through it or have some other small issues that may crop up.

However, to those looking for lawyers beware - there are a lot of lawyers who don't know migraciones and you get nothing from them better than if you were doing it yourself. You should ask to see their Migraciones-specific card that proves they have the certification.

In addition, many charge outrageous sums of money. If you've been quoted more than $1000 USD to go from application to permanent DNI it's probably way too much. Mine was $300 USD for permanent residency and then $300 to go for the DNI. I have a friend from Holland who is spending $500 for residency and $500 for DNI, but this is because he doesn't have a good reason for residency and is going to set up a business here (a real business that will operate within the law and actually make money - hopefully) and use that as his reason for residency, which is a all a bit more complicated than mine which is straightforward.

To those who don't want to use a lawyer, I understand, and you may well have every bit of good luck that Steve had.
 

steveinbsas

Registered
I find the idea that it is necessary to "grease" anyone's palm at migraciones appalling, to say the least!

Additionally, I don't understand what something that happened (criminally) 30 years ago could have to do with a visa application being accepted or rejected. I thought the requirement was only to provide "criminal history" for the past five years. It certainly was in my case.

The delays for the getting DNI are a completely separate issue form getting a visa at migraciones. Migraciones is far more efficient by comparison, to say the least. Nonetheless, once a visa is granted, getting a DNI should not be difficult, provided one submits the correct documents, regardless of how long the process takes.

Hopefully, now that the new system for applying for the DNI has been implemented, it won't take so long and those who apply in the future won't have to ""play the game" (I got my DNI on 90 days in 2007 for 15 pesos).
 
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