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New rules and requirements for Argentine Pensioner's Visa

Medellin, Colombia
Level Contributor
1,166 posts
67 reviews
41 helpful votes
New rules and requirements for Argentine Pensioner's Visa

Today I was seen by the consular affairs official at the Argentine consulate in Miami regarding my wish to apply for the Pensioner's Visa. He was most professional and interested in helping me. He informs me of important changes.

The application process may nolonger be initiated by the applicant from outside Argentina. One must either go there on a tourist visa and then apply OR have a resident third party in Argentina begin the application. I've scoured the migraciones.gov.ar web site and their embassy's site in D.C. but was not able to find any mention of this new policy. The change is very recent according the the consulate here and maybe they haven't had time to update the sites.

For U.S. citizens the criminal background check is now required from the FBI; not the state in which one resides. The FBI informs me that this takes three months.

I'm ready to up stakes soon so if you have any info it would be of help

San Diego...
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
4,492 posts
774 reviews
1,427 helpful votes
1. Re: New rules and requirements for Argentine Pensioner's Visa

Geoff,

I've found that the "right hand" typically doesn't have any idea what the "left hand" is doing when it comes to these governmental agencies. Many times they are giving different advice outside of Argentina than inside. And other times it just depends on the mood of the person that day.

I went through the process many years ago but even back when I did it they required an FBI report so I don't think that part is new. I'm not sure if you have to start the process here inside Argentina or not. I did hear from several people they raised the minimum amount of income you must show each month. Before it was insanely low. I mean too low. Not even high enough to support yourself in the country so I do believe they changed that aspect of it. I'm not sure of the exact amounts you must show for a pensioner visa.

Getting permanent residency a few years ago was a good feeling as it seems like they keep making it more difficult so I'm glad I'll never have to go through that process again.

Geoff, you might want to try ARCA. They aren't cheap but they know what they are doing. They got my Visa and handled all my renewals until I got permanent residency. Very honest people. I didn't have time to stand in line all those times so they typically got an appointment and I was able to cut ahead of the line and save alot of valuable time.

Good luck!

Medellin, Colombia
Level Contributor
1,166 posts
67 reviews
41 helpful votes
2. Re: New rules and requirements for Argentine Pensioner's Visa

Thanks Saint,

A few months ago I did contact the ARCA representative using a listed U.S. phone number; I think it was a Miami #. The person who picked up the phone was apallingly curt , even hostile. Maybe if I go to their offices in BA I'll have better luck.

Jacksonville...
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
18,475 posts
119 reviews
122 helpful votes
3. Re: New rules and requirements for Argentine Pensioner's Visa

We also used an FBI report.. that also had something from Interpol added to it .. seems we are really squeaky clean ...< Kinda blows that mysterious American over there in the corner of the cafe image from an old movie ...>

But it was good to know we weren't Wanted by Interpol.

I totally agree with Saint.. If Only We Had Known... use ARCA ... the time and aggravation they save is worth every penny.

Good luck ! *sometimes things that you have to work harder for, you value more * or so I tell myself when Things get frustrating...

Medellin, Colombia
Level Contributor
1,166 posts
67 reviews
41 helpful votes
4. Re: New rules and requirements for Argentine Pensioner's Visa

I went through the drill of getting a Florida Law Enforcement report only because I was given a printed list of requirements by the consulate stating that this was the case. The consular official yesterday told me the FBI report requirement was NEW two months ago and now you and Saint reveal that it has been this way for a long time... better to let the pros handle it huh?

My experience with the U.S. Social Security benefits process was even more macabre. I was given four conflicting criteria by four representatives. As usual, they sound very authoritative. In the end I garnered extra thousands because I read the rule book over and over until I'd mastered it and pointed out their errors to them.

Momma told me there'd be days like this.

San Diego...
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
4,492 posts
774 reviews
1,427 helpful votes
5. Re: New rules and requirements for Argentine Pensioner's Visa

Definitely the FBI report thingy isn't new. I started the process back in 2004 and even then I had to have an FBI report, a local report where I lived and like Scarlett mentioned something from Interpol as well. It was the same way in Uruguay when I opened up a corporation there. They check both FBI and Interpol which I thought was amazing that they had any foreigner who wanted to start a corporation go through those checks.

Back in 2004 I also had to get a detailed health test done here locally. I"m not sure if they still require that. Of course when I started the entire process I used an immigration attorney that was recommended to me and they were really horrible. They made the mistake of applying for an "investment visa" which apparently is the most difficult type of visa to apply for. You can imagine my surprise as an American, planning to invest tens of millions of dollars in Argentina and not being able to easily get a visa. It was puzzling to me.

I fired the immigration attorney, hired ARCA and had my visa within 2 months. I'm not sure who you talked to there Geoff but try asking for Lorena. She is the head honcho there and tough as nails and knows the process well.

With all of these governmental agencies it's hard to know what the real answer is. It seems like you can get a different answer each day of the week depending on who answers the phone.

I've had several clients all use ARCA and so far they all got their visas. However, the process must be getting more difficult because for some it took many months.

Good luck Geoff. Hang in there.....

Edited: 10:14 am, October 15, 2010
Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
512 posts
6. Re: New rules and requirements for Argentine Pensioner's Visa

Definetly the FBI thing is either new or being enforced selectively by different consulates. The FBI report in fact may miss things which are available on a local report.

As of this morning the NYC consulate does not require it on their instructions listed on their web page.

www.congenargentinany.com/home_usa.html

I know that I did not get one. I only had to provide a local police report. As to " interpol" they do not give information unless specifically authorized and requested and it is not part of any FBI report.

Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
512 posts
7. Re: New rules and requirements for Argentine Pensioner's Visa

Geoffbob, Have you considered whether you really nead the visa and DNI. For many people the downsides far outway the positives. It is not cheap to get, there is no certainty that it will ever be permanent and each year you will be spending money and time dealing with horrible govt officials. You do NOT need ARCA .unless you want to throw away 3-4000USD. Try reading BA expat forums for better info than here.

Do you really want to be subject to Argentine tax laws. For most expats living in Argentine the 90 day tourist visa is fine and you can always do a quick trip out of the country to extend it. Some visit Iguazu for and enjoy the falls at the same time. Some go to Chile, and of course the visit to Colonia, In fact that is the only reason to visit Colonia. As a tourist destination it has very little use. You can see the entire town in a few hours.

Edited: 11:23 am, October 15, 2010
Jacksonville...
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
18,475 posts
119 reviews
122 helpful votes
8. Re: New rules and requirements for Argentine Pensioner's Visa

We were living in Portland Oregon, we went to the local police. We got back the report from the FBI & Interpol.

I guess they do things differently in various states..

We had to fly to LA where the Consulate was.. then fly back to Oregon and wait for that Visa ... that was hair raising as we had the flights booked, dog on a timetable for being able to fly into Argentina ... it was stressful but we did it , all within 5 months of deciding to do this.

Whatever hoops you have to jump through, I think you will find it was worth it. And you have a good attitude anyway :)

Also, on another note... we also feel that we want to live here openly and honestly without worrying about being caught in lies .. this is our home and we will live here like everyone else.. not having to run across the border every few months etc.

I respect your honesty in wanting to do this the Right way.

Edited: 11:56 am, October 15, 2010
Medellin, Colombia
Level Contributor
1,166 posts
67 reviews
41 helpful votes
9. Re: New rules and requirements for Argentine Pensioner's Visa

Thanks Charla,

I have given a lot of thought to the three month buquebus kabuke. The difficulty is that I imagine myself travelling and even possibly living in other cities within the country. Having once spent two months in the mountains of Cordoba I can vouch for the charms of the countryside. We caught our pejerrey fish in the morning and fried them up in butter for lunch. We could drink the pure running waters that rush down the hills without the slightest concern. And the mountain folk! They could be outside on a cold, windy, rainy day with but one match to light a fire for warmth and cooking and they nailed it every time. So anyway, needing to leave the country every three months from one of the smaller cities in the vast interior would involve considerable exertions.

Maybe negotiating a longer term rental (with more favorable terms) will be made easier by having the pensioner's visa.

I think probably I should spend a few grand on lawyers with the full understanding of your point that it would not mean the end of my peregrinations to, as Dickens would say, " the Office of Circumlocution ".

Edited: 4:06 pm, October 15, 2010
San Diego...
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
4,492 posts
774 reviews
1,427 helpful votes
10. Re: New rules and requirements for Argentine Pensioner's Visa

I agree with Scarlett about wanting to do everything above board and legal. It irks me about many Americans and other ex-pats that perpetually live in Argentina never really contributing much, not paying taxes here, etc. Like Scarlett, I agree that it's better not to try to live in Argentina longer term on just a tourist visa. (a) it's not right and (b) it's illegal!

The only point that I think BACharla's point should be really taken (and I agree with) is know all the laws and tax implications of getting permanent residency here in Argentina. Argentina taxes on WORLDWIDE ASSETS. So know the rules and laws going in and understand them well.

As an American it's not fun paying taxes both in the USA and Argentina. And it's not fun paying taxes to Argentina on money you have in bank accounts every year. :(

Definitely though I still say it's worth it. These days it's increasingly important to have dual residency or multiple passports if possible. I think that's probably one of the best gifts I gave to both my children.

Geoff, I also applaud you for wanting to live in this great country of Argentina legally and honestly. So many profess to love Argentina so much but actually contribute so little to it's improvement. Then you have some Americans that complain about illegal aliens from Mexico crossing into the USA and stealing jobs, etc. But then they do the same thing here in Argentina trying to live here on tourist visas...It's just not right.

Edited: 6:32 pm, October 15, 2010