Work Abroad but earn in USD

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Get Your Residency Visa Early

Today I received an e-mail from a reader asking for information about getting a residency visa for a move she was planning on making in May. This would give her just two months to get the visa. Needless to say, I recommended that she start her visa process the very next day. Everyone needs to realize that Argentina is not the United States. If you think bureaucracy is slow in the USA, just wait until you start to deal with Argentina.

Dealing With The Consulate

After I already had been approved by the Department of Migrations in Buenos Aires, it took 2 weeks just for me to get an appointment at Argentina's consulate in the USA. Why? Because they had just one lady who handled visas for the entire Southwest United States. In fact, she only took phone calls two days a week for a 3 hour period. Thank God I had a good Argentine lawyer who could deal with these people.

When I actually did go to the consulate in person, she was very polite and kind, but it was clear that processing visas in a timely manner is not a priority for the Argentina Consulate. I was also lucky to have started my visa application well before I intended to move to Argentina permanently. My visa was approved nearly a year ago and I'm still not living in Argentina on a full-time basis.

The Importance of Good Contacts

Having good contacts is the key... a good lawyer can save you months and months of hassle. Before I started using my lawyer, trying to get anyone to help me with the visa was impossible. There was no motivation on the part of the people at the consulate to answer any of my questions. Once my lawyer started the process, though, everything went quickly. It isn't about threatening people with lawsuits either. Its about personal relationships.

People are willing to deal fairly with someone they know and are used to working with. When I finally arrived at Migrations in Buenos Aires, I met my lawyer in person for the first time and watched as he went and informed the government officials in the waiting room that I had arrived. I was quickly moved ahead of the 70+ other people waiting for their papers to be processed in Migrations.

I found out later that most arrived at 5:00 AM in the morning to queue up so that their names could be added to the list. People arriving after 6:30 AM will find that the line is so long already that they will have no chance of being seen during the day. People literally arrive at 5:00 AM in the morning and say until the close of business, waiting for their name to be called.

Because of my lawyer's personal relationship with the people here at migrations, I not only got my visa processed quickly, I was spared this ordeal of waiting all day long. I was able to arrive at 9:00 AM and be done and out of there by 10:30 AM and still have a productive day.

My Visa Lawyer's Contact

Since so many people have asked, I'm just going to post the contact info here on the blog:

Argentina Residency & Citizenship Advisors
USA Phone: +1 (888) 748-3435

To the couple starting their visa process tomorrow -- good luck! I certainly hope you can get it done in time. To everyone else reading, start your visa today. It doesn't matter if you won't move there for another 6, 9, 12 months. Start early, be prepared! There's no downside to taking care of things ahead of time.



Blogger cintra said...

thanks for the post!
i must admit, i'm tempted to try the process on my own without a $3,500 lawyer -- but then again, those lines and that beaurocracy is daunting... $3,500 is much more than our manhattan real estate lawyer is charging...

3/10/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This isn't about relationships, it is about corruption. It is about payments and kickbacks, and class structure, and people not being treated equally. Lucky for you that you could afford to hire someone to parade you to the front of the line, ahead of all those other poor, unconnected souls. Thanks for the information, it is incredibly valuable, but your interpretation of the what and why of how it works is naive.

6/08/2007 06:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While bureaucracy is slow in Argentina, like everywhere else in the world, I am not quite sure there are THAT many people interested in moving to this country. This is not the US, as you said, and our Immigration Service is certainly not as busy as yours.

About having an attorney that took you to the front of the line, I believe you should be ashamed. Ashamed because, if that indeed happened, you KNOW you've been taken there because there was MONEY involved. And what you were doing was actually SUPPORTING corruption. I believe that EVERYONE should be treated equally, whether they have money or not.

And last, but not least, I am not sure if this story is true or not, and, as you give out the lawyer information, it makes me think this is actually just advertising.

3/11/2008 08:03:00 PM  

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