Work Abroad but earn in USD

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Qualifying for the Financier / "Rentista" Visa

When I applied for the rentista visa, I was told by the folks over at ARCA that it was the easiest and quickest visa to obtain. Here's a question by a reader regarding this visa and my answer:

Reader's Question

You mention the rentista visa. Which state did you incorporate? Nevada? Do you then have the corporation wire the $1k per month to your account in an Argentine bank? Was that the basis of your obtaining a Rentista Visa? Also, am I correct in assuming the income has to be passive (like rental income, investments or simply money your US corp makes that doesn't require your actual labor)? Thanks.

About the Rentista Visa

First off, it doesn't matter what state you are incorporated in. It doesn't matter what form of business you're using either. You could have an S-corp, C-corp, LLC, partnership, whatever. The only thing you need to get a rentista visa is a letter from a CPA that simply says you have income over $1000 per month from investments.

In this case, as the shareholder of a business, your business is your investment. The income has to be dividends or distributions of profit, however. It can't be salary. For those of us that own our own business, it really doesn't matter much. You can tell your accountant how you want to be paid -- either in salary, distributions or a mix of the two.

At first you might think this precludes income that requires your labor, but that's not the case. Let's suppose you're a consultant who earns $60/hr. Instead of having your clients pay you personally, have them issue a check to your company. From your company, then pay yourself distributions of profit of over $1000 USD per month. That allows you to take income that would have been associated with labor (which doesn't qualify for the rentista visa) and turn it into business profits, which most certainly do qualify.

U.S. Tax Consequences

If you plan on applying for the expatriate tax exemption, make sure you only take the minimum amount of profit this way. Business profits don't qualify for expatriate tax relief -- only salary does. Talk to your accountant, but the best setup is probably to take a little bit of your income as profits to keep your rentista status and take the rest as salary so that you can get it exempted under the expatriate tax rules.

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Blogger Chris said...

Thanks. You say that it doesn't matter how you're organized as long as a CPA issues a letter corroborating your monthly passive income. If you have rental properties from which you receive passive income would that be sufficient and relieve me of the need to form a business entirely? Thanks again for discussing this subject.

10/18/2005 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger JC said...

I am also interested in Chris' question about passive income. My new business is not producing positive cash flows YET but I do have rental property in the U.S. that could qualify for income minimum. Do you know if that route is acceptable for this type of visa?

I too appreciate the vast amount of topics you discuss on your blog and have found it extremely helpful a number of times.

Congratulations on your remodel.


11/27/2005 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger Mom in PA said...

any tips on a family of 7 considering a move to BA for a year or so?

1/03/2006 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The resident's visa "with buying property" door has been closed - u now require a 3 year business plan which has to be approved! - And could be turned down at any time.

Help! Need a solution. Can you still operate in Argentina if you have a "Rentista" Visa?

3/09/2006 10:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the letter from your accountant need to be apostilled?

6/07/2007 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger pope6666 said...

my lawyer has told me the immigration has told him, this type of visa has now stopped. is this right?

8/21/2007 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Illinoisjoe said...

Does anybody know the answer to pope6666's question? Also, is the amount still 2,500 pesos? Lastly, I am worried about the "salary" part of the equation. I am a graduate student but I am on a fellowship where all I need to do is write and collect my paltry but United States-ian quarterly living stipend. It is more than 2,500 pesos a month, but maybe doesn't count because it is salary? help!

11/16/2010 01:42:00 PM  

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