Work Abroad but earn in USD

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Getting a Work Visa

Today's question comes from an Irish reader who moved to Argentina on a work contract and is now in the process of getting his DNI and CUIL. He seemed very confused, so I thought I'd shed some light on his situation.

Reader's Question

I moved here 3 months ago with a company (permanent contract) and they got me a 12 month visa and are applying for my DNI (and CUIL I think) right now. It was all done through lawyers (and broken Spanish and English but thats what I gather). I have asked a few times can I apply for residency when I have my DNI, but I never get a straight answer. Do I need to renew this visa after 12 months? Is it tied to my current position? When I have the DNI, am I home free?

If You Have a Work Visa, You Have Residency

You already have residency. If you have a visa, you have residency. What you have is called "temporary residency". In fact, we both have the same visas -- temporary residency visas. The difference is that your visa is sponsored by a firm and mine is based on the "rentista" concept of an individual who can support himself within the country.

Once you get your DNI, nothing will change. The DNI is just an identity document that allows you to show people that you are a legal resident of the country. In fact, after you get your DNI, you'll note that it will have an expiration date -- it will expire on the same day your visa expires. The simple fact of obtaining a DNI does not give you carte blanche to stay in the country as long as you wish. You'll need to continue to renew your visa each year or you won't have legal status.

Restrictions with Your Working Visa

I didn't know whether or not the work visa was tied to a company, so I asked the people over at ARCA to clarify this. The answer is, yes, the visa is tied to your company. In fact, the permit is actually given to the company, giving them permission to bring a worker in from outside the country. If you leave your job or are fired, you're obligated to leave the country. If you want to change jobs, you'll need to leave the country and your new company will need to start the process all over again.

When you get a work visa, the company is actually taking on the responsibility that you will not become an indigent person and become a burden for the government. That's why the working visa is a petition submitted by the company you're working for. Even though you already had your working visa approved, the problem is that it will expire in 9 months. At this point, you will need to renew your visa. Your firm should do this for you if they want to keep you on as a worker.

Getting a Permanent Visa

There is one glimmer of hope, however. When you go to make the third renewal, your visa lawyer can petition for a permanent visa to be granted instead of a working visa and then you'll avoid the whole visa rigamarole from then on out. Its the equivalent of a "green card" that gives you the right to come and go as you please and live in the country indefinitely. I'm in the middle of doing my second renewal this month and I'll be doing my third renewal around this time next year, so I'll let everyone know how the process works a year from now.

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Blogger margaux said...


I am seeking assistance in finding the proper way to go about trying to get permanent residency, or work authorization here in Argentina. My story is a bit complicated, but I will try my best to explain...

-I have US and Uruguayan dual citizenship, with permanent residency status currently in the US.

-In October 2004 I arrived in Córdoba, Argentina with a tourist visa (Uruguayan cedula presented for entry). I travelled to Uruguay twice, renewing my tourist visa with no issues (simply using cedula).

-In March 2005 I obtained a 5-year renewable student visa for Argentina (I have the visa in my Uruguayan passport and am recognized as a Uruguayan citizen here). I am a registered student at the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba (Masters degree). In March 2006, I renewed the visa for another year (must be renewed again in March 2007).

Having layed out the basic facts, I now get to some important issues I need to take care of. When I got my student visa at the Argentine Consulate in Montevideo, they told me that I CAN work legally while I have the student visa, after I get my DNI (and then request a CUIL number). Well, I applied for the DNI at the Registro Civil in Córdoba in April 2005, and they told me it would be ready to pick up in 6-7 months. Well, it has been just over a year and still no DNI (they keep telling me to stop by "next week"). I've been told that without the DNI, I cannot get the CUIL, and without that, I simply cannot work legally here.

To make matters even more complicated, I HAVE obtained a job doing internet marketing for an Italian firm. The money will be deposited into my US bank account. They say I will need monotribustista status in Argentina, which again, I cannot obtain without the CUIL. Nonetheless, we have worked things out for payment in the meantime, provided that I will get monotribustista status within the next few months.

Problem is.... I have recently decided that I do not want to continue with my Masters program. BUT, I understand that if I do that, I won't be able to renew my student visa, thus cancelling my legal work status and temporary residency status here in Argentina.

Is the ANY way I can stay and work here legally under some other kind of visa? Doesn't that fact that I have citizenship from a fellow MERCOSUR country make it easier to live and work here? I have also been told that after 2 years of temporary residency here, I can apply for permanent residency - is this true?

Thank you. Also, just want to let you know that I also contacted ARCA regarding this matter and am waiting for their response.

5/04/2006 02:51:00 PM  
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.

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.

6/14/2006 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger larryr said...

I also I'm seeking assistance in the area of visas and permenant residency. Upon my arrival to Argentina I will be issued a 3 month tourist visa and after experation I will be there illegally.

The question follows in that my I have an opportunity to gain work under a tourist visa or must I obtain a student visa here in the U.S. to help my cause for employement their in Argentina while going to school. The second part to the question follows under the rules and regulations of trying to gain a work visa while I'm in Argentina.

7/25/2006 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger niceguypaddy said...


I was issued my DNI Extranjero with a years work contract on the 23rd March 2006.

Renewed it in 2007 for another year, then unfortunately lost the DNI 9mths ago and have been waiting for a replacement ever since, the backlog is incredible but I have had some assistance from work so am trying to sort it out right now.

The Work Visa renewal in 2008 was no issue, all they needed for that is my passport so even without the DNI that was no problem.

I am hoping to get the permanent visa this year if possible. Are you counting the original visa issue as a renewal or is my third renewal actually going to be 2009?

How did you get on with the third renewal?

Thanks, love the blog some really useful information on it.


5/27/2008 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger hannie said...


I am very confused by the posts on here (not because they are written badly or contain confusing information, simply because they are not specific to my situation!) If anyone is able to help me, it would be fantastic.

I am on a tourist visa here in Argentina, but I have the opportunity to work for an established company here. I am confused as to whether I am able to obtain the working visa here in Argentina, or whether I will have to return to my country of residence (UK) in order to do this. For monetary reasons, I only have until Arpil to complete the application. I am not sure what the processes are (I have asked at the Embassy but unfortunately they directed me to a web page which only confused me more).

Could somebody please advise me as to how to go about obtaining a working visa, and whether or not I will have enough time to complete this before April?

Many thanks.

12/21/2008 07:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Hannie,
if you want to get a work visa the company where you are going to work has to contact Migraciones (Migration office). They will tell them what you have to bring to them to get the work visa. Normally its the contract and your documents from the Uk (Birth certificate etc.) You do not have to leave the country for this. This is the shortest way.
Hope i coul help you..

12/29/2008 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff Brandt said...

Does anyone know if you can extend your tourist visa by leaving the country and returning. like a fast trip to Uruguay?



3/20/2009 01:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Erika said...

Please help

I am traveling on a tourist visa in October and I do not want to obtain a visa quite yet as I am unsure if I will stay more then the 90 days allowed. Is it possible to obtain a visa (non work) while I am still in the country?


8/28/2009 05:10:00 PM  

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