Life can be tricky in Argentina without a DNI. I've said it over and over again on many different posts. When you're here without a DNI, people just assume there's something wrong with you. Everything becomes a hassle and an explanation. Everyone wants to know why you don't have a DNI. The fact is, if you don't have a DNI, Argentines assume you don't have the right to be here. Now, one particular reader has tried to contradict me on this issue, so I want to share that comment as well as another comment I just got today.
First Reader's Comment
I know Expatriado is a big fan of the DNI, however,we did rent a house, buy a car, open a bank account and get health insurance without a DNI. We did get them as we intended to stay here awhile, but the only real tangible advantage is the discount for travel in Argentina.
Second Reader's Comment
I've been here almost 2 years now, and EVERYTHING YOU HAVE SAID ABOUT LIVING HERE WITHOUT A DNI IS TRUE TO THE LETTER. The problem is, I found this out the hard way (actually living it and now trying to go through the process of obtaining one after the fact, so to speak).
I'm here legally now for 2 years. When I started the [residency] process, I assumed it also involved my getting DNI, but when I finished, and asked about the DNI, I was informed that that was a TOTALLY DIFFERENT PROCESS THAT I HAD TO GO THROUGH WHICH WOULD NOT BE MADE ANY EASIER JUST BECAUSE I HAVE MY TEMPORARY RESIDENCY NOW.
What You Can Do
Your best bet is to contact ARCA and ask them to intervene on your behalf. They can check on your status with Migrations and then request the DNI for you if your visa is valid. However, if you have a temporary residency permit, check that it isn't expired. You never mentioned whether you made sure to renew it each year. The expiration date is printed there in your visa page on your passport. The temporary residencies are for one year and need to be renewed every year until you file a petition for permanent residency.
If you haven't renewed your residency, you may be overstaying your visa and might not have legal status. This is something you should look into right away. Countries don't like it when people overstay their visas and they can use that as a reason to deny you a renewal. So, you should check on your DNI and visa situation right away.
You are right about the DNI situation -- it is totally different than your residency. I recommend ARCA a lot on this blog and some readers give me a hard time about it since they charge more than other visa lawyers out there. But the fact is -- if the other lawyers don't get your DNI, don't get your CUIL, and don't renew your visa for you each year, you're not getting good service.
Every year, a month or two before my visa is up, I get a friendly phone call from ARCA asking me to stop by their office and drop off my passport. A week later they have my new visa for me. It's like clockwork. I'm convinced that the one thing every long-term expat needs is a good visa / immigration attorney to keep you legal and keep you on the government's good side. Remember, we are all guests in Argentina and they can ask us to leave at any time. So, it is important that we make sure to have our immigration situation squared away.