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Living in Argentina. Argentina visas, citizenship, and nationality
Living in Argentina
Argentina has had a difficult few years, both politically and economically. This disruption has meant a drop in the value of the Argentine peso against most major currencies. The devaluation has had several effects, but two impact foreigners. Firstly, any off-shore incomes and savings have a higher value in Argentina. Your money will go much further and buy you a much higher quality of life. Secondly, imported goods have become more expensive. If you don’t make many imported purchases, this won’t have a significant impact on you.
The outlook for living in Argentina
Property prices have dropped as a result of the economic issues in the last few years. There have been steps by the government, electorate, and the international community to address some of Argentina’s core issues. As a result, many are optimistic about the medium-term and long-term outlook for Argentina, politically, socially, and economically. Forbes quoted Barclay Capital as seeing Latin America, including Argentina, as a coming growth hot spot.
Argentina continues to contribute as a member in good standing of the G15 and G20 economies.
Move to Argentina for the low cost of living
The cost of living in Argentina varies, like most countries. Cities like Buenos Aires (population 13 million) have a much higher cost of living than smaller country towns. Having said that, a like-for-like comparison with an equivalent life in the United States would be from 50% to 60% lower. Rental prices can be as much as 75% lower than the equivalent in the USA. As wages are low, the cost of help, including childcare and domestic workers, is cheap compared to most other countries.
Move to Argentina, and your day-to-day-costs will use up less of your savings. Eating out, alcoholic drinks, public transport, leisure activities, and more will cost less than in most countries.
You can live a much more affluent lifestyle in Argentina for less.
And what are Expats doing in Argentina? Well, some Expats are working in large multinationals based in Buenos Aires. You will find oil and gas, banking, tourism, and agricultural companies. Others provide services including information technology (IT), marketing, teaching, and design. For those that don’t want to work in the Argentinian economy, many run location-independent businesses or have passive income sources. Having a foreign income source can be advantageous. Having access to a foreign-exchange income from offshore takes the stress out of the movements of the peso. They can also be a good inflation hedge.
Imported goods, including fashion and electrical items, are one exception to the low-cost norm. The weak peso means higher relative prices for these items.
The cost of living is excellent for all Expats, but especially for those who retire to Argentina. Retirees on a pension or investment income have an amazing quality of life.
Move to Argentina for the cuisine
Argentineans often speak English
Although Spanish is the national language, English has been a mandatory subject at school for some time. As a result, English is becoming more widely spoken. Young people and people in international business and local tourism will all speak good English. Also, many people will happily practice their English with you. Add in a large Expat population, and you’ll find someone who speaks your language. The English Proficiency Index ranked Argentina 27th in the world for English skills in 2019.
While you’ll have a much better time speaking some Spanish, it is not critical to be fluent on arrival. Even a ‘gracias’, ‘hola’, and ‘adiós’ will help. Definitely, in the longer-term, Spanish is useful for deepening your friendships and connections in Argentina.
Move to Argentina for excellent, affordable healthcare
There are both private and public parts to Argentina’s health care system. Notably, the standard, considering costs, is overall excellent. Medical tourism is a big industry taking advantage of the quality and value of care available. This infrastructure has led to the Legatum Institute ranking Argentina’s health system 46th in the world.
Many of Argentina’s health professionals (including doctors and specialists) are overseas-trained and deliver world-class service. On offer are all services that you would expect to find in the US or Europe at a fraction of US prices.
Expats in Argentina generally rely on the private system. You can buy high-quality insurance for as little as $50 to $60 a month. Getting a health plan is straightforward compared to the complexities of some other Expat destinations.
Medications and drugs are much cheaper than in the US. In Argentina, pharmacies are abundant and staffed by excellent qualified professionals. In contrast to some countries, dental care follows the same high-quality, low-cost model.
For those who retire to Argentina, the excellent value healthcare is a boost to their retirement savings. Peace of mind is priceless, and knowing the healthcare system will look after you contributes to your happiness.
As an aside, Argentina has more psychologists per capita than anywhere else in the world. This fact means mental health care is readily available and reasonably priced. We assume it leads to a perfectly well-balanced population, but you’ll have to confirm!
Move to Argentina for the variety
Once you have your visa for Argentina, you can explore this vast country. Cosmopolitan Buenos Aires is a city that wouldn’t be out of place as a European capital. Thirteen million people live and work in this beautiful city. Buenos Aires offers a wide range of activities, including concerts, theatre, cinemas, parks, fashion, and shopping. The city is home to some world-class five-star hotels, a range of boutique hotels, and guest houses.
There are exceptional sporting facilities, both as a participant and as a spectator. And, you can enjoy beautiful day-trips and weekend breaks within easy reach for a battery recharge.
On the other end of the scale is the rustic charms of the islands of the Tigre Delta. Alternatively, if you love open spaces, the Tierra Del Feugo province and the mountains offer an unspoiled paradise. This region has world-class hiking in summer and winter sports when the snow starts.
There are the beautiful beaches of the South-Atlantic and the temperate wine-growing region of Mendoza. Names like La Pampa, Patagonia, Santa Fe, Aconcagua, and more. A move to Argentina means you have at your disposal the 8th largest country in the world by area. Amazingly, it has a coastline of almost 5,000 km. There is a perfect home for everyone who moves to Argentina.
Move to Argentina for the education system
A move to Argentina doesn’t mean having to compromise on the standard of education for you or your children. The education system is excellent. As well as the local system, there is a wide range of world-class international schools taught in various languages, especially in English. There are excellent Universities with a strong academic tradition.
And, if you want to learn Spanish, the tango, or to make BBQ, they are all on offer. Argentina’s towns and cities have a vast range of courses, both fun and serious.
Security while living in Argentina
Security is always a concern for Expats and people planning a move. Like many countries with economic challenges, Argentina has some issues with crime. Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and other major cities can be prone to petty crime. Still, violent crimes are rare in areas popular with Expats. Research supports Expats’ view of Argentina as a safe country to live in. For example, the Global Peace Index ranks Argentina 74th in the world overall for safety. The ranking is a three-place rise from the 2019 result. This improvement is mirrored by the Legatum prosperity rankings with a steady gain over the last four years. The in-depth analysis ranks Argentina highly for personal freedoms and their health system in particular.
Immigration to Argentina comes with a warm welcome
Argentinians are, on the whole, warm and passionate people. Expat story after Expat story tells of a warm welcome for foreigners and an open, caring local population. If you love football and can speak some Spanish all the better, you’ll be practically family. Given the difficulties Argentina has faced, you may expect less of a welcome. But, this seems to have got better. It has led to locals happy to meet people who believe in the future of this beautiful country.
One area where this is not true is the local bureaucracy. Having a good lawyer in your corner to manage your immigration paperwork is essential. Getting your visa for Argentina first time will be much simpler. Getting your utilities (lights, water, internet, etc.) setup can be complicated. These tasks are much simpler with the assistance of a trusted local to help you navigate the complexities. Luckily we have partnered with one of the best law firms in Argentina. If you would like to understand the best visa for you and to get a plan together with the next steps then book an appointment with our immigration lawyers here.
Many people ask, “Do I need a visa for Argentina?” The answer is generally yes. The options for Argentina residence permits and the range of visas for Argentina reflect its welcoming nature. We will explore visas and permits for Argentina on the next tabs.
Retire in Argentina to enjoy these benefits and more
Many people are looking to retire to Argentina. For retirees looking to move to Argentina, there are some great advantages.
For those that retire in Argentina, low-cost, high-quality healthcare tops the list. Knowing that you’ll be able to pay for the best care lets you enjoy the golden years all the more.
The lifestyle and cost of living are also big plus points for retirees. The vibrant Expat community and the range of recreational and cultural activities available make Argentina an excellent choice for your retirement. Golf, eating out in beautiful restaurants, and long walks on the beach are all easily accessible.
Getting help, be it domestic help, a driver, or a nurse when needed are also affordable when you retire in Argentina. And, that frees you up to do the things you enjoy.
To explore retirement visa opportunities around the world, check out our article on Retirement Visas. To decide if this life is for you, see our blog, the Pros and Cons of Retiring Overseas.
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Argentina visa requirements
Argentina offers a wide range of visas and residency permits for foreigners. Some of those visas and residency permits lead to Argentina permanent residency and Argentina nationality.
As a member of the MERCOSUR trading organization, Argentina offers residency to other MERCOSUR countries’ nationals.
Before you commit to a long-term move to Argentina, it may be a good idea to visit to research the country. Visiting will allow you to talk to locals and Expats on the ground about the pros and cons of living in Argentina. If you are planning to work or retire to Argentina, this is worthwhile. You’ll see, hear, smell, and taste to get a real feel for life in Argentina. Many countries require a tourist visa for Argentina. We suggest using the Visahq tool below to see if you need a tourist visa for Argentina.
Be aware, when living in Argentina, the bureaucracy and immigration system can be complicated to navigate. Accordingly, access to a qualified and professional lawyer can be critical to a successful Argentina visa, Argentina permanent residency, or Argentina citizenship application.
Short Term Tourist Visa
Many countries can visit Argentina for up to 90 days without needing a visa. This includes the US, and there is no requirement for an Argentina visa for US citizens staying less than 90 days. There are no restrictions on how many visits you can have in any period. You can leave and return (across the river to Uruguay in an afternoon if you want) indefinitely in theory. Be aware; if you overuse this pathway, it can raise a flag with Argentina immigration officials.
Here’s a list of countries that must apply for a tourist visa. The Argentina 90-day tourist visa is issued to foreigners coming to the country for recreation and tourism. If you are a passport holder that requires a tourist visa, there is another option.
Argentina now allows many countries to get an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA or AVE in Spanish) rather than a paper visa. To be eligible for an ETA, you must have a valid USA B2 visa or a SCHENGEN visa valid for at least three more months. Here is the detailed ETA application procedure and visa fee information. The ETA for Argentina will also allow you to stay in the country for up to 90 days.
If you’re traveling on an Emergency Travel Document, rather than a passport, you’ll also need a visa (not an ETA). This requirement is regardless of your citizenship.
You can also apply for an extension to your Argentina tourist visa by visiting the Buenos Aires immigration office.
We have partnered with VisaHQ to help you understand and apply for your tourist visa. Please use the VisaHQ tool to the right to understand your requirements for an Argentina tourist visa.
Marriage Visa or Family Visa
Argentina offers a family reunification visa. If you are a spouse, parent, or child of an Argentinian national, you are eligible for Argentinian residency. This status means you can move to Argentina as a resident.
Passive Income Visa (for retirees, religious or persons of independent means)
Argentina has an attractive passive income visa (referred to as a non-lucrative visa) program. A range of people can access these visas. They are popular with people looking to retire in Argentina, Digital Nomads, and others with an income stream.
There are two visas with similar requirements, the pensioner (pensionado) and financier (rentista) visas. These visas give you full Argentina residency rights, excluding working in Argentina. You need to be able to show a minimum income of between 25,000 and 30,000 Argentine pesos per month. There is an interview required for the visa. You’ll need to pay two sets of fees. The first is an application fee of USD $250 that everyone must pay. The second is an immigration fee that differs depending on your country of origin. If you are from a MERCOSUR country, you pay USD $300, and non-MERCOSUR countries pay USD $600.
There is extensive documentation required to prove your income/pension. We recommend that you get the help of a quality immigration lawyer to process the visa. We have done our research and have partnered with one of the best immigration firms in Argentina. Click here to book in a consultation with them to discuss your situation and make the whole process much smoother and easier
After two years, you may be eligible for Argentina permanent residency and on track for Argentina nationality and passport.
Many countries offer a Passive Income Visa. See our article for more details.
If you are interested in Retirement Abroad, please see our article Retirement Visas and our blog Retirement abroad pros and cons.
Freelancers and Digital nomads
Digital Nomads and location independent businesses can take advantage of the 70+ co-working spaces available in Buenos Aires. Excellent infrastructure, high-speed internet, and good coffee, low costs are the key for Digital Nomads, and Argentina delivers on all fronts.
Freelancers and Digital Nomads can take advantage of the Passive Income Visa. Some visit on a tourist visa, although this is not strictly legal.
Please see our article for a round-up of Freelance and Digital Nomad visa options around the world.
Argentina Work Permit
You can apply for a Working Visa or Work Permit to work and live in Argentina. First, you must have an existing contract from an Argentinian company. You will have to pay some fees depending on the conditions of the visa. This payment is in addition to a USD$250 application fee.
See here for the official government page for this visa.
Argentina Professional Visa Requirements
Argentina has a range of options for professional visits. Your requirements will vary depending on several factors. These include your qualifications, if the company you work for is registered in Argentina, and your work’s nature and duration. Many countries require no visa for a business visit of fewer than 90 days. This permit includes any stay for regular business, investment, or market research. Please see this list to confirm if your country is part of the waiver.
If this program doesn’t cover you, you can get a short stay Work Visa for Argentina. This Argentina visa covers you if you are visiting to “perform paid or unpaid activities in science, technology, religion, art, or sport.” The initial period for this visa is 30 days, and the visa is renewable. You’ll need a letter from your company or employer to show the reason for your visit. You must also show you have accommodation and a round trip reservation as proof you intend to leave Argentina. The visa fee is USD$200.
See here for the official government page for this visa.
Argentina Student Visa or Study Visa Requirements
If you want to move to Argentina to study, there are two options. The first program is for a study program of less than a year, the second for more than a year.
You can get a 12-month renewable student visa with documentation from an educational institution or apply for a Cultural Exchange/Internship Visa. Again, you’ll need documentation from the institution or organization with which you registered to study.
See here for the official government page for these Argentina visas for study.
Argentina Working Holiday Visa
Young people from the ages of 18 – 35 can apply for a Working Holiday Visa for Argentina. The visa is available to certain nationalities. You must be from Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, or Sweden.
There are quotas for some of these countries.
The working holiday visa is valid for twelve months, and you cannot renew the visa. You can work while on an Argentina working holiday visa, but not in a permanent job.
See our article on Working Holiday Visas worldwide, and our blog Working Holiday pros and cons.
Argentina Medical Visa
Argentina is pushing its high-quality, low-cost health system to medical tourists. To help facilitate these visits, Argentina offers a 12-month medical residency visa program. Holding this Argentina visa means you can move to Argentina for the duration of any treatments for up to twelve months. You can come and go from Argentina during the visa period. Argentina has a world-class healthcare industry and people from around the world are taking advantage of low-cost care.
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Argentina nationality or Argentina citizenship, and getting an Argentinan passport has so much value. For starters, as an Argentinian citizen, you can live and work in any of the MERCOSUR countries.
Argentina grants nationality on the principles of ‘Jus Sanguin’ and ‘Jus Soli’. This rule means you can pass on citizenship to your children. Also, any children born in Argentina will automatically be Argentina nationals.
Argentina allows dual and multiple citizenships.
An interesting fact about Argentina nationality is that you cannot renounce it. This rule means you’ll have to get a waiver if you take on another citizenship that requires renouncing previous citizenship.
If you are born in Islas Malvinas (known as the Falkland Islands in the UK), you can claim Argentina nationality. The territory is disputed, and if you are born there, you could also claim British citizenship.
Argentina’s powerful passport
Argentina’s passport offers visa-free access to 170 countries and territories. These exceptions include a visa waiver for the European Union (EU). The waiver means you can travel to any of the EU 26 member states without a visa. From 2022 the EU will roll out the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) visa waiver for Europe. This will allow Argentina passport holders to travel to the EU without a visa for up to 90 days. This visa waiver covers both tourism and business travel.
Undoubtedly this makes the passport one of the world’s best. Indeed, it was ranked the 19th most powerful passport in a 2020 survey.
Argentina Citizenship by Birth
If you were born in Argentina, you are most likely a citizen of Argentina and eligible for Argentina nationality.
Argentina Citizenship by Descent
Were one or both of your parents Argentina citizens when you were born? If so, you are probably also an Argentina citizen and eligible for Argentina nationality.
Argentina Citizenship through Marriage
If your spouse is a citizen, you can apply for Argentina nationality after living together for two years.
Argentina Citizenship by Naturalization
You can apply to become an Argentina citizen if you are over 18 years old and have lived in Argentina for two years. To apply, you must prove income or proof of employment and evidence of continuous residence in Argentina. You’ll need to prove you have no serious criminal record and that you have been legally living in Argentina. Finally, you’ll need to provide documentation, including your DNI (residency card) and passport.
If you would like to work out how you could become a citizen of Argentina, speak to our immigration law partners in Buenos Aires. Click here to book your consultation.
Argentina Residency by Investment
Argentina offers an attractive Residency by Investment (RBI) program. While the requirements of the program are simple, navigating the process can be challenging. We recommend using a trusted local immigration partner to ensure your success. The residency by investment program is a pathway to Argentina citizenship and passport.
To apply for Argentina Residency by Investment, you must invest more than 1.5 million Argentine Pesos. Your investment must be into a lawful activity linked to productive business, trade, or service. The application needs to be translated into Spanish and presented to several government bodies. The assessment of the RBI program application can take several months.
After two years, you will be eligible for Argentina citizenship and an Argentina passport.
Click the link to request a consultation with a Where Can I Live Trusted Partner to find out about the RBI program requirements.
If you are an Expat in Argentina and would like to share your story of immigration to Argentina, please contact us!
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