Beginning Your Move to Argentina
Even though I've covered these topics before in this blog, I still get many questions about what to do when you decide to move to Argentina at the very beginning. Hint: Read some of my very old posts from a year ago, they're very helpful in this regard. However, since I just received a few e-mails with questions about this, I'll go ahead and do a "summary" post to cover as much as I can in a short amount of space.
We are hoping sometime in the next 3-4 yrs to move to Buenos Aires, still being shy of minimum retirement by 3 yrs, but financially able to do so.
Could you advise what would be the proper first steps to put in place our plan to move and live there permanently, but still being citizens of the US?
I know this is a broad question, but I can't get responses from the Argentine consulate here in the US to answer the phone or e-mail. I'm sure they don't have any motivations to allow more norteamericanos to move there, but we are serious, my wife has family there and we have visited 3 times in the past 5 yrs.
Thanks for any little info you can afford me, and who to contact for moving a car and furniture in a container from the US to Buenos Aires....prohibitive monetarily or possibly reasonable?
Step 1: Get Your Visa Early
You are smart to try and start-up with your visa right away. However, speaking with the consulate is like talking to a wall. The people working in the overseas consulates are totally uncaring and usually only work on visa matters maybe 2-3 hours a day for a few days each week. Don't expect them to help you because they have no interest in doing so. They are paper pushers and it seems like a big chore for them to talk to Americans on the phone and try to help you with your visa.
The better option is to bypass the consulate entirely. Give a call to the nice folks at ARCA and ask them to do your visa for you. Unlike the consulate, ARCA is a private law firm that you hire to represent you before the Department of Migrations. They will file a visa petition for you directly with the Buenos Aires office of the Dept. of Migrations.
They prepare all your paperwork and complete all the filings on your behalf and can obtain your visa very rapidly. They will send you a permit that you take with you to the consulate that shows you have been pre-approved for a visa by the authorities in Buenos Aires. The consulate cannot deny your visa after you have this permit. You simply give them the permit and they put the visa in your passport and the process is finished -- without you having to waste time and energy dealing with these lazy workers at the consulate.
Step 2: Sell Everything You Own
My recommendation is not to bring your car and certainly not to bring any furniture. The fact is, you can furnish an entire apartment here in Buenos Aires (if you need a recommendation for an architect / interior designer, let me know) for what it might cost to remodel a 1-2 rooms in the United States. Don't even think about bringing your stuff here. For the cost of shipping alone, you can furnish half your house here with new things from the best furniture designers.
Step 3: Rent a Furnished Apartment Here
After you arrive in Buenos Aires, I suggest you rent a furnished apartment here for a month or two while you figure out what section of the city you want to live in. Then you can go ahead and look for a place to buy. There are plenty of furnished apartments in the city that you can rent for a month or two. I recommend using ApartmentsBA.com, but if you're on a limited budget there are others that are cheaper. I have a few posts about these issues.
Step 4: Buy Your Place Here
The next step is to find and buy an apartment here. I can give you a referral if you need someone to help you find a place. Keep in mind you won't be able to get a mortgage, so you'll need to come up with 100% of the cash required.
Step 5: Enjoy Argentina
And that's it! You're done! Give yourself a big pat on the back for choosing such a great place to live. Your retirement money will certainly go a lot further here in Argentina than it would have in the United States.