Can I come as a tourist, stay as rentista?

pdxuser

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Hi, I'm interested in visiting/moving to Buenos Aires. I'm a US citizen. I love that BA seems like a crazy cheap European city with a temperate climate, the photos I see on Flickr look beautiful, and I already speak enough Spanish to get by and I'm ready to learn more. I'd like to come as a tourist (no visa required for US citizens, I believe), maybe pop back into Colonia every 90 days a few times to re-up, and, assuming I like it, get a rentista visa to stay.

I'm self-employed as a graphic designer. I can work from anywhere, I just need my laptop. I'm paid in US dollars by clients from all over the world and the money gets deposited to a US bank.

I'm in my 20s and I've never been outside the US.

I have a few questions. If you can answer just one, it would be really helpful.

- Is it cool to pop in and out of Colonia to re-up my tourist stay a few times? Is Argentina cracking down on this? How long do you think I could keep that up? As a US citizen, will I ever need a tourist visa for this?

- Can I apply for a rentista visa as a tourist while in Argentina, or do I need to apply for that from the US?

- I read that if I pay myself in "business profits" of AR$2500/mo., rather than in wages, I qualify for a rentista visa, even if it's a sole proprietorship and the only "profits" the "business" makes is my wage earnings. That's because I'd be a "shareholder" of my business, and my earnings would be "investment earnings." Is this true?

- What proof of AR$2500/mo. earnings does Argentina need to see for me to get a rentista visa?

- Do I ever have to pay Argentine income taxes as a tourist, if I spend a certain amount of time in the country? Do you think I could just claim that my money comes from a US business investment?

Thanks a lot! Again, if you just want to venture one answer, even if you're not 100% on it, please do. And if you can suggest where else to go for answers (either some other website or an Argentine governmental agency, an embassy, whatever), please suggest that, too! Thanks again!
 

Fishface

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>>BA seems like a crazy cheap European city

...take a huge pinch of salt with whatever you read.

There seems to be a lot of posts like this and the best advice is to come for a short period and see if you can handle it, see if you can get through all the 'tramites' etc.
 

pdxuser

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Ok, lets forget the visa rentista. If I come here as a tourist, could I expect to be able to do the Migraciones/Colonia thing for up to 2 years? And not pay Argentine income taxes?

Also, what should I beware of in regard to BA maybe not seeming so much like a European city?
 

mini

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pdxuser said:
Hi, I'm interested in visiting/moving to Buenos Aires. I'm a US citizen. I love that BA seems like a crazy cheap European city with a temperate climate,
You've been misinformed: BA is not really cheap nor very European! Don't get me wrong, it's fabulous here! But you need to be sure of your sources before you take a big jump like moving to a new country.
EDIT: I see the question as to why it's not very European has been answered. But, my take on the differences are these:

1. Personal safety: Europe is extremely safe. The dangerous places are the exception.
2. Poverty: Poverty levels in Europe are far lower than here & even the poor in Europe live in vastly better conditions.
3. Infrastructure. Europe has one, BA not so much.

Dog crap: There is lots of dog crap on the streets of Europe! :eek:
 

pdxuser

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Ok, I can deal with filth, though aren't there better parts of town that are clean? The dangerous traffic and the robberies would be my biggest problems. When you say home invasions, are you talking cat burglars? Armed robbers? I was thinking of going on Craigslist and renting a room in someone's house. Would a secured apartment be a better idea? And as for robberies in restaurants, are you talking laptop thefts? Or do crazy people just come in with guns and demand everybody's wallets?

As for moving about town, I was planning on buses and walking. Are there safer ways to travel?

Thanks for the heads-up. I read the guide from the US State Dept. on Argentina, and compared to the horrible and scary things they said about Mexico (prepare to be beaten senseless, robbed of all your possessions, kidnapped at gunpoint, and tortured by police upon reporting your ordeal), Argentina (beware of crazy drivers) sounded like Switzerland. But I don't want to be naive (or paranoid) about Buenos Aires, either.
 

pdxuser

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Ok, maybe I'm reading things wrong about prices. Here's a list of folks renting out rooms in their houses on Craigslist:

http://buenosaires.en.craigslist.org/hsw/

If it doesn't say US$, but just $, should I assume Argentine pesos, or US dollars? Because some specify US$ and some don't. It seems strange to me that the currency of a country thousands of miles and a dozen borders away would be assumed to be the operating currency, but maybe it is.

But when I read about complete restaurant lunches with appetizers and drinks being $5, that's definitely Argentine pesos, right? Are those prices too optimistic?
 

Fishface

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pdxuser, really the best thing to do is go to BsAs for a holiday and test the water - there is no point in trying to guess.
 

steveinbsas

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pdxuser said:
Ok, I can deal with filth, though aren't there better parts of town that are clean?
Yes. Recloeta (for the most part) is the "nicest" area that's central to everything and the city does a very good job of keeping the streets clean. The garbage trucks operate six nights a week, and even the litter is gone by morning. The sidewalks are in generally better repair, too, but you can still encounter mountains of doggie doo in almost every block (especially when following a professional dog walker).

pdxuser said:
The dangerous traffic and the robberies would be my biggest problems.
The greatest danger is assuming that you have the right of way in the crosswalk, even when the light is green. If you learn to yield to cars that will try to "just squeeze" past you you will greatly enhance your level of safety. Many cars don't even try to squeeze and act like THEY have the right of way. If you start into the crosswalk, hesitate, and start again, you may be in a world of hurt, literally.

pdxuser said:
When you say home invasions, are you talking cat burglars? Armed robbers? I was thinking of going on Craigslist and renting a room in someone's house. Would a secured apartment be a better idea?
ALL apartment buildings are "secure" (locked front doors), but some do have 24 hour "doormen" present. Even in Recoleta there are occasional instances when a person entering a building is pushed into an "unattended" entryway by an invader. Usually the victim is tied up while their apartment is robbed, but they are not usually hurt. Two thugs actually got into my building by telling two of my neighbors that they were there to see me. Fortunately, I was out of the country and the girls were not hurt. Once in a while a fatality does occur.

pdxuser said:
And as for robberies in restaurants, are you talking laptop thefts? Or do crazy people just come in with guns and demand everybody's wallets?
Both. The first is rather common, but the latter IS fairly rare.

pdxuser said:
As for moving about town, I was planning on buses and walking. Are there safer ways to travel?
Find David Blaine or Chris Angel and learn levitation.

pdxuser said:
Thanks for the heads-up. I read the guide from the US State Dept. on Argentina, and compared to the horrible and scary things they said about Mexico (prepare to be beaten senseless, robbed of all your possessions, kidnapped at gunpoint, and tortured by police upon reporting your ordeal), Argentina (beware of crazy drivers) sounded like Switzerland. But I don't want to be naive (or paranoid) about Buenos Aires, either.
Ironically, I moved form Mexico to BA in May of 2006. While still in Mexico I read the State Dept guide on Argentina and I was very apprehensive about coming here. THEN I read their guide on Mexico. I got the helloutof Mexico as fast as I could. I have not regretted that decision, but I am very, very careful here. (Find the "Avoid being a victim of crime" thread in the forum.)
 

criswkh

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A majority of rents are quoted in US dollars. I have not come across a housing transation in Argentina pesos. The cost of food can be cheap depending on where you eat, but food prices have been going up. Inflation is high and don't trust the October rate of 0.4%. Most people seem to stay in Recloeta or Palermo. I would come come here for a couple of months look around before buying a place. I live in the North Zone outside of BA and crime has been increasing. I have also notice more houses are getting bigger/better security fences. You just have to be cautious.
 

steveinbsas

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criswkh said:
A majority of rents are quoted in US dollars. I have not come across a housing transation in Argentina pesos.
"Temporary" rentals are almost always quoted in dollars and "long term" rentals are almost always quoted in pesos, even in the real estate offices in Recoleta. As the latter "require" residency it is assumed the vast majority of renters know the local lingo and will pay in pesos. A tourist here on a 90 day visa cannot legally enter into a two year rental contract. I believe that six months is the "legal limit" for short term (temporary) rentals by non residents (sin DNI). Real estate for sale prices are almost always quoted in dollars, but I've seen a few websites in Spanish that show the prices in pesos.

I found my first apartment in Palermo on Craigslist and it worked out great. I rented for two months at a time and stayed for six. The owner was from NYC and it was easy to deal with him via email prior to my arrival and with his Argentine representative once I was here. Other expats I've met in BA have had less satisfactory results, primarily due to nighttime and early morning noise issues.
 
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