Argentinian immigration


Oct 25, 2005
How exactly should I go about the process of obtaining Argentinian immigration? I'm a British citizen with an American Green Card, and I want to do everything properly.

As I understand it, I need a one year residence visa, which can be renewed twice; at the end of three years I can apply for permanent residence, and after two more years, for citizenship.

On what basis do I get a residence visa? By investing a chunk of money in some local business?

Would employing immigration lawyers facilitate the process? And are there any particular lawyers that can be recommended?
Don't use ARCA. I've been doing a lot of research over the past few months including reading the laws, speaking with the Consulate, and talking to folks who have done it. I called ARCA to check out their services because my situation is a bit peculiar. They asked me to send 3 documents. I did that. They spent about 2 hours with the docs and emailed me a completely false reply. When I questioned the reasoning behind their position, they revealed they hadn't even done what they said they were going to do with the docs, but made up their minds that something could not be done based on a VERY simplistic reading of the law. The consular staff didn't know I was dealing with ARCA, and they told me that whomever I talked with in BA gave me very bad legal advice.
"SilverMallard" said:
Don't use ARCA.

Thanks. They have a website which I found several months ago, and they sounded very convincing. However, unfortunately, my questions remain:

1) Should I use a professional immigration law firm, or go through the slog myself?

2) If the former, any recommendations? Nothing is coming up on a google search.

3) If the latter, how do I start the ball rolling? I'll be in town (Buenos Aires) in a fortnight, and the better prepared I am, the more effective use I can make of my limited time there to start proceedings.

Again, thanks for the information on ARCO.
Well, I'm not a lawyer and certainly not an Argentine immigration lawyer, but I'll give you my opinions regarding your questions.

There are several different types of residency visas for Argentina. Which type you need depends on which one(s) you can qualify for. They are:

Rentista/Financier: you have to have at least U$S 1,000/mo of permanent income distributed to you due to ownership of some stocks, a trust, an annuity, or other business ownership that is not payment for continuing work done by you. You have to get a letter from a CPA stating these facts and one from your bank stating you are a customer in good standing, for how long, and with an avg. balance over the last 6 months of $XXX. And you have to open an Argentine bank account and transfer at least $1000/mo into that account for the duration of your stay.

Pensionado: if you receive retirement or disability payments from the USSSA (or British equivalent in your case) of at least U$S 1000/mo, you are eligible for this visa...basically. You must provide proof of payment from the issuing agency.

Then there's one for entrepreneurs, I don't recall the name. You must invest at least U$S 40k in a commercial entity in Argentina. This can be a farm, a shop, a taxi cab co., a factory, a professional service business, or virtually any traditional "business." It cannot be in the Argentine stock market or other purely financial investment vehicle. This one can be a bit tricky and is frought with investment risk.

Work visa: done just about like in the US.

Now, there are some things worth mentioning that apply to all of these visas. You must have no criminal record in at least the past 5 years. American citizens no longer require a health certificate, but as a British citizen you may. I'm not certain. All visa applications must be processed through the Argentine consulate in your COUNTRY OF ORIGIN. As a resident alien of the US, you MIGHT be able to process through an AR consulate in the US, but you will need documentation from the UK that you may not currently have in your possession. If you come to Argentina on a tourist visa and then want to apply for residency from down there, you will still have to apply via the appropriate consulate. That means your intake interviews, etc. must be done at that consulate. So you will have to leave Argentina to complete that process. There was an amnesty program running through the early part of 2005 which allowed folks in Argentina on expired tourist visas to apply for residency from down there. So some folks might tell you otherwise with regard to having to go through the home consulate, but that IS the law. The amnesty program has expired.

The consulate I've dealt with has been very helpful. I have friends who have also gone the "do-it-yourself" route and been fine just following the instructions from the consulate. That's how we are doing it even though our situation is a bit out of the ordinary. I'm certainly not paying an Argentine gestor U$S 5,000 to do it for us ($3000 for a single person was the quote from ARCA) when a) we can do it ourselves without any additional difficulty b) I already KNOW the gestor gave me bad legal advice.

The best advice I can give you is to call the appropriate Argentine consulate in your region of the US and tell them what you want to do. They'll help you and they are (in my opinion) much more likely to tell you the truth. It seems like every attorney and businessperson I've dealt with in Argentina has an "angle" they're working. You will find that many other foreigners who have dealt with Argentina will tell you the same thing. ARCA isn't the first law firm in BA that has brazenly misrepresented Argentine law to me with regard to immigration, taxation, real estate law, and more. However, they are usually quite willing to start their hustle BEFORE you actually pay them any money, so they're not too difficult to sniff out. Of course, I am a professional investigator.

Hope this helps.
I have recently (October) completed a work visa in Barcelona, where I was living until now. It was pretty straightforward, but very time consuming and at times stressful, but it can be done, eventually.I had to produce the following:
Contract for employment from the company here in BA, via immigration here which was sent to me DHL for the attention of the Arg consulate, Barcelona in a sealed envelope (opened by US customs).
2 orig birth certs with apostille UK
2 orig marriage certs with apostile UK
1 orig crime record (UK) with apostille
1 orig crime record (spain) with apostille
1 medical cert
1 CV
all the above translated into Spanish
fingerprints (first time in my life)
All completed in 5 months.Could have been quicker, but consulates don't hurry.
I'm using a gestor for my DNI, and have an appt for 17 Jan.
All in all, not bad really. The fun part was claiming my personal posessions in BA port......I could, and may well write a novel about that! Should be fun and good material for my travel book.
"bjrutledge" said:
Hi, bigbadwolf. I used local immigration consultants. They helped me with getting the visa and then the DNI. Reasonably priced, MUCH cheaper than ARCA. E-mail me privately if you want more detail.
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