Work Abroad but earn in USD

Friday, March 10, 2006

Getting Your Residency Visa

This reader was originally trying to get a visa as an investor. As he states, the government does not allow people to get visas anymore simply by showing a purchase of property. Instead, investors must show a plan to start a business, employ workers, etc.

Reader's Question

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

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

Getting Your Visa

When I first contacted ARCA, they told me that I would be very foolish to apply for the investor visa for exactly the reasons you just pointed out. The visa calls for someone to invest $100,000 pesos of capital in a business here in Argentina. Immediately most people think about buying an apartment and just putting it under a corporate name. Wrong! They've caught on to that. Even if you plan on buying a property as an investment, they still won't consider that a productive business and will deny your application.

Despite the fact that I was starting a real IT business here and would be employing workers, I was still recommended not to apply for this visa. Quite simply, it is an arbitrary process. The authorities can deny you for any reason. If they don't like your business for some reason, they can just say no. This is why I was recommended to apply for the rentista vias.

Unlike the investor visa, the rentista visa has very simple rules. If you can bring in $2500 pesos per month into the country by means of an investment abroad, you get the visa. The investment could be anything -- a business, a stock, a bond, real estate, it doesn't matter. If you can show you have income that's not tied to a salary, you get the visa.

The only downside is that a rentista visa is a temporary visa that has to be renewed. However, on the third renewal, you get your permanent residency. The investor visa lets you get permanent residency right away. Then again, it is a LOT more expensive to apply for. You'll have to pay two lawyers here in Argentina -- ARCA for preparing your visa, and a corporate lawyer to handle all the paperwork for your company. You'll also have to prepare your complete business plan in Spanish, make sure it conforms to the way the government wants it, blah blah blah. At the end of all this, they can still deny you. That's why its just a lot more trouble than its worth to go with this visa. Just get your rentista visa, make sure you renew it, and in three years, it'll be permanent.

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Blogger realbuenosaires said...

Very true. Getting Argentine residency is very, very difficult if you don't qualify for the rentista visa. There are ways to get a rentista visa even if you don't fulfil the requirements but you need an immigration lawyer to explain how..basically there are semi-illegal ways of doing it which i'm not going to go into. A good lawyer will tell you how to work around the system.

if there are any south americans out there reading this or anyone with dual-citizenship in a south american country then there's an amnesty opening up for you in april. Check out

Good luck.

3/10/2006 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

We are here under a type of visa that you rarely hear about but is relatively easy to get. My husband has a visa as he is here as an Representative of a Foreign Company. The premis is that he is investigating business opportunities for this company. (apparently that means a lot of fishing) This Company is a LLP (investment structure) with a charter that is in good standing and has paid it taxes in the home country. The reality is that this is a LLP my husband had with a friend, they had put little capital in the LLP and havent invested anything since we have been here. You dont have to declare what you are doing..just show that you have paid the Delaware Charter its dues, the IRS any taxes, a letter from someone else afflliated in the the home country with letterhead from this company. A immigration lawyer submits this to the Chamber of Commerce and the Consulate. It does have to be renewed every year until you have your residency. With some foresight you can set something up now, or perhaps you have a friend with a corporate entity that can help you out.

3/11/2006 12:16:00 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

I'm told that if you marry an Argentine citizen it's relatively easy to get a residency visa that's permanent. Something to consider.

3/11/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

suppose marrying an argentine citizen is great, unless you're already married.

3/12/2006 01:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a uk/french national with a 10 year ol ddaughter living in South Africa.
I am interested in applying for the rentista visa you speak of and can show the income they require of 2500 pesos per month. Does this conver for my daughter too? Also please could you tell me where I should apply? South Africa, London, or Argentina and where I can get the forms from . Thanks.

3/12/2006 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Love this blog. I am bringing my two daughters to BA in August -- we're staying for 10 months. Girls will be in school. I will be learning Spanish and doing some writing. Should we just do the ferry-boat-to-Uruguay thing every three months or should we do something more, er, formal?

3/14/2006 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger vincent said...

Elizabeth, I have a question about the type of visa your husband has. Sounds interesting (especially the fishing part). I did not see an email link on your blog. If you read this and have a moment, please email me vincenthalpin(removethispart)
Thank You.

3/17/2006 02:32:00 AM  
Blogger john said...

the rentista visa looks very intresting. but do you have to prove that you get your 2500 peso indefinitly. or can you say that you have for instance 100000 usd and you will live of that money for the next 10 years because you will invest it.

3/24/2006 06:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the 2500 peso rate under the rentista visa for an individual? Would that amount increase with each additional family member? We are a family of seven trying to move to Argentina, and are exploring our visa options.

3/25/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger jd333777 said...

I am planning on moving to Argentina. I own a small business, and need to use a cell phone a lot for the business. Does anyone know a good option for me? I'm looking for the best priced solution that will allow me to have cell phone access in the US and Argentina. Do i get 2 cell phones? Verizon was telling me about a $3.99 per day plan at $2.49 per minute. This seems really expensive.

5/05/2006 08:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Alexa Herrington said...

Hola, I am thinking about moving to either Mendoza or Cordoba. (Buenos Aires is too hot for this Florida refugee). I have lived in San Miguel de Allende for two years. There are far too many U.S. folks here (as if I'm not one!) and far too many retirees (as if I'm not one!). I speak, read and write Spanish and French fluently, but do not plan to work.
Could I live (until the next galloping inflation strikes) on about $1,200/month? Any information will be greatly appreciated.

5/26/2006 02:36:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

$ 1,200 dollars a month should provide an extremely comfortable living style for you, particularly 'en el interior'.

That amount exchanges to about 3,564 pesos at current exchange rates.

Here are some comparisons:
-Cops make around 900 to 1100 pesos monthly.
-Teachers earn in the 600 to 800 peso range.
- The average office worker earns in the 600 to 1200 peso range.
-1,500 pesos is considered 'un muy buen sueldo'
- With 2,000 pesos "sos Gardel"

6/01/2006 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger said...

As usual, El Expatriado is spot on target. My best advice is to use a competent immigration attorney. I can speak from experience on this issue. I started out with AFN Visas because they were cheaper than ARCA. I had met Lorena at ARCA many years ago and was very impressed with how she carried herself but I ended up going with AFN Visas because they were much cheaper (or so I thought...)

Let me tell you that sometimes you get what you pay for. I had a DISASTER situation with AFN Visas. What I thought was a cheaper fee turned out to be a waste of 1 year of them making several mistakes, applying for the wrong type of visa, poor communication, wasted time and what I feel was just plain bad service.

I paid several hundred dollars as a retainer to start and I learned that they made several mistakes. They also gave me inaccurate information throughout the course of over 1 year. Finally I got tired of waiting and fired them. I requested all of my paperwork back and they refused to return it until I paid the full fee that they charged! I couldn't believe it.

I immediately retained ARCA and in less than 1.5 months they were able to get my visa for me. I can't say enough good things about ARCA and Lorena and the immigration attorney they use. They all are amazing with communication, they know what they are doing and more importantly they will guarantee the visa or they will return your money.

Yes, they are more money but you will spin your wheels with other immigration attorneys that either don't know what they are doing or just plain out to cheat you. I know MANY foreigners that used other immigration attorneys with similar stories to mine.

Save yourself the hassles and agrevation and just use ARCA. I wish I did from the beginning. I can't recommend them enough.

PS - Real Buenos Aires mentioned some semi-illegal methods are possible. I know the government is cracking down on these kind of methods used by foreigners and most likely they will have problems at renewal. They are getting more and more strict.

Also, EE is spot on target with what he mentioned for the investment visa. It doesn't really matter how great your business plan is or how much you invest in the country. It's just about impossible to get an investment visa so don't even bother trying.

Regarding the u$s 1,200 per month. I would take any advice you hear with a grain of salt. It's not really accurate to compare what locals make to how you can live. From my experience, most foreigners are accustomed to a certain quality of life and it would be VERY difficult to live like the average cop, teacher or office worker. Many of them have VERY low rents which many foreigners can't get due to no guarantor or other more inflated prices.

You are not comparing apples to apples IMHO. Maybe in the interior u$s 1,200 would be enough but when you think about it, it's actually not so much. When you add in the cost of decent housing, medical insurance, food, dining out, transportation, cost of living, etc....u$s 1,200 isn't that much.

In a city like Buenos Aires I would say definitely don't come here trying to live on a meager budget of u$s 1,200 per month. Things add up. If you can truly live like a local it might be fine but I have yet to meet one foreigner that truly lives like a local.

Teachers, cops, and the average worker don't eat out in restaurants too often (if at all), don't go out to any discos or nightclubs like many foreigners and live far in the provincia and not the Capital. You would be hardpressed to have a good quality of life with that much money, IMHO.

Good luck all.

6/14/2006 09:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was a child living in BA as an expat, I acquired Permanent Resident status. I am no interested in using this status. How would I go about about verifying my status and updating my documents??

1/25/2007 09:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can anyone tell me what are the current real-estate prices in Palermo/Recoleta? I have received offers from many real-estate companies with prices ALL over the place. Also, for those with long term experience in BA (we only visited for 2 weeks) any advice about raising children there ???

1/27/2007 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous said...

Hi I am a recent graduate of a US University, and have studied in Argentina and am seriously thinking about moving down to Argentina to stay with a friend. I am confused as to the best way to be able to extend my stay longer than 3 months. I plan on taking classes or possibly even working if this is even possible. I have heard ideas such as leaving the country and coming back in order to renew my visa(not sure if this works), I could go the student visa route I guess if I do enroll in classes, again I do not know if this is an easy process. The poster above, Elizabeth, talks of a visa for representatives of foreign companies... I am a finance/International business major, If i was to be sent to argentina by a personal friend of mine who is CEO of a tech company in the US (with good standing) would this be a valid way to obtain visa? If anyone gets this send me an email at thanks!

1/31/2007 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

I was quoted $3500 for a "Temporary Financier Visa" by ARCA can anyone confirm that this is not too much to pay? I am six months away from my move and want to get started early. The fee excludes the usual cost associated like the consulate fees etc. Thanks for any help.

3/05/2007 08:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard the same amount for ARCA. They are very good about responding to e-mails. But they could only help if you began the process in the U.S.. My family and I arrive in B.A. in January and that is not enough time for them to help.

Can you apply for and get a "Temporary Financier Visa" if you apply when you are already in Argentina with a Tourist Visa?

Thanks for any help or info.

11/08/2007 09:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi everyone
finally found a blog with answer to most of my questions
I'm moving to Argentina in May- getting married quite soon after that.
I'm hoping there are lots of english speaking people around to assist as i'm a South African looking for some friendly folks for advice

3/11/2008 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Capuccino said...

Hi, not so difficult to get the residency sorted if you have someone doing all the paper work for you who knows how to get over the hurdles - there are various ways of obtaining it which MOST people are eligible for, sometimes will take some workings round depending on your circumstances!
This site - organizes it as well as sorting out various other paperwork within Argentina like obtaining driving license etc which i did here..

10/01/2008 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Dudu said...

Hi i have a question, how much should i pay roughly to get an argentinean dni, if i can prove that i'm earning the monthly threshold amount from my own country?

10/01/2008 08:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Barry said...

Hi EL EXPATRIADO, I am considering applying for residency status through the rentista visa. I was wondering if buying a home is absolutely necessary for this process. Because I would assume that the authorities will want to ensure that you have a fixed address in Argentina. To qualify for this Visa one would also need a Argentine bank account and show that one wires funds regularly to Argentina. To open a bank account in Argentina I would assume that one also needs a fixed address in Argentina. The thing is I want to apply for permanent residency but think that it is too early for me to commit to buying property in Argentina (etc in case they don't renew my visa after one year for example). Could you please advise me on this matter?

3/08/2009 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger E said...


many thanks...

4/24/2009 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive just done my second renewel for the rentista visa.
Its hard work queues caos and paperwork...think hard about it. Im not sure a lawyer helps either.
I dont think you need to buy a property here, just show you have the cash coming in. That is a rental contract title deeds all apostille stamped and translated here in BA and afew other things thrown in.
In Argentina prices have double at least in four years and work is badly paid. ok in other ways its great and it depends where your at and where your coming from.

6/22/2009 12:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am canadian considering retiring in Mendoza. How do I go about getting a retirement visa? Thanks much.

11/25/2009 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

Hello,my husband is israeli and I am uruguayan, living currently in uruguay and planning to relocate in Buenos Aires. I was told by uruguayan friends in Buenos Aires that me and the kids (uruguayan too) can move to Buenos Aires and obtain a residence visa relatively easy while there, but for my husband is a different story. He may apply for a representative of a foreign company since we own a british company, and I may apply to the rentista visa since I rent properties that I own in Uruguay. Any advice of how we can do this while in Argentina?

6/16/2010 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous visasnap said...

The comments related to Argentine Visa and difficulty getting the permanent resident are one side as it cannot be said that if something is difficult it is not a worth pursue. A procedure has to be followed to bring an order and in this case all applications for permanent resident visas have to be made at the Argentinian consulate. Thereafter, when the process is complete the person can stay and work in Argentina.

2/22/2011 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger gilgal said...

I am a French citizen and wish to buy a property in Argentina. I eventually wish to immigrate to the country.

I have been told that to buy a property I will need to open a bank account to transfer funds but to open an account I will need DNI. How do I get this card?

Is it possible to come to Argentina on a tourist visa buy property and apply for a change of status?

I can show sufficient income from abroad and bring in some investment as well

Will appreciate any help, thanks.

11/27/2011 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger gilgal said...

I am a French citizen and wish to immigrate to Argentina.
I can show legal income per month , I wish to buy property in Argentina and invest some amount in business as well.
My question is , can I come on tourist visa and buy property, invest in business, and apply for change in status while on that visa?
Many thanks for any help

11/27/2011 08:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am Italian (can speak Spanish) living in Vancouver Canada and planning to move to Mar del Plata Argentina. After I read this blog I plan to use ARCA for the application process and go for the rentista visa. Anyone who has suggestions and/or comments is most welcome to contact me at: or Skype ivan.galileos
Your help is much appreciated, hasta la vista! Ivan

1/06/2012 03:28:00 AM  

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