Argentina is a beautiful country with a rich and colorful culture. Well known for the great revolutionary Che Guevara and as the birthplace of tango music, Argentina is so much more than the sum of its parts. Most expats are drawn in by the beautiful natural scenery and relaxed atmosphere, but stay for the delicious cuisine, the welcoming population, and amazing weather. If you have the opportunity to visit South America, or are considering a more permanent relocation, Argentina is the ideal destination for the young and old alike.
Country Facts and Interesting Information
- Capital: Buenos Aires
- Currency: Peso
- Languages: Spanish
- Major Religion: No official faith, Roman Catholic is given differential status
- Largest Cities: Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Rosario, Mendoza
- Officially: the Argentine Republic
- Population: 43,417,000
Process of Moving Overseas to Argentina
Argentina has become an increasingly popular destination for expats in recent years, for a variety of different reasons. No matter what your personal motivation is for relocating, the number one priority for your move should be finding a reputable international moving company. Unfortunately, there are so many in the industry that can’t be trusted, so it is in your best interest to begin your research well in advance of your move. A few key requirements you will want to seek in a moving company are as follow:
- Experience – The years a company has been in business is a good indicator of their experience, but you will also want to find someone with direct experience in Argentina. Because the import laws differ so much from country to country, it is imperative you find someone with first-hand knowledge of how your destination country handles expats.
- Cost – Unlike so many industries where the adage, “you get what you pay for” is a completely accurate sentiment, the same does not hold true for moving companies. You can actually enlist the help of a world-class company without breaking the bank, and remember that the company offering you the most expensive moving package does not always ensure the best service.
- Reputation – It is important to find a company with a stellar history of satisfied customers. Just because a company has managed to remain in business for a number of years, does not necessary imply that they have left behind happy clients. Check online review websites and verify standing with the Better Business Bureau prior to making any sort of commitment.
International Moving Companies, Inc. not only has years of helping people in similar situations relocate to Argentina, but they also offer full-service packages that fit with virtually any budget. We pride ourselves on customizing a moving package based specifically on your wants and needs, so you don’t end up with a one-size-fits-all situation or end up paying for services you don’t actually require. Fill out the form to the right, or give us a call to obtain a free, no-obligation quote. The first step is up to you, but rest assured, your move to Argentina would be in the best hands possible with International Moving Companies, Inc.
As with most countries, you can’t apply for citizenship immediately upon moving to Argentina. Unlike most countries, becoming a citizen is fairly straightforward. The following are the minimum requirements you must meet in order to become a citizen:
- Minimum age of 18
- Residing in Argentina for at least two years
- Original birth certificate verified by the Argentinian consulate in your country of origin
Argentina has the largest railway system in all of Latin America, and Buenos Aires has a phenomenal public transit system that consists of city buses (“micro” or “colectivo”), taxis, and the subway (“subte”). The city buses are by far the most efficient and inexpensive means of travel around the greater Buenos Aires area, but if you want to explore parts outside of the city, you can take a taxi, although the costs of repeated taxi rides will certainly add up quickly. Public transit may be a great fit for a tourist or someone staying centrally in the city of Buenos Aires, but many expats find it much more convenient to own a personal vehicle.
As a tourist, you are free to drive in Argentina with an International Driver’s Permit and a valid foreign driver’s license, but if you intend to reside long term, you will definitely need to get a Argentinian driver’s license. The following steps are a guide to obtaining your license in Buenos Aires. Not that there may be different requirements depending on where you live, but this is still a good reference guide:
- Schedule an appointment. You can do this online or by going in person to the nearest Oficina de Licencias do Conducir, basically the Argentina version of the DMV. At that point, you should find out exactly what documentation you must present, but the following is a list of what is currently required:
- DNI card (this is absolutely required for foreigners, so don’t plan on making an appointment until you already have this in your possession)
- Proof of blood type
- Two completed medical forms
- Municipal fee (must be paid in advance, so you can provide receipt at appointment)
- Valid foreign driver’s license and copy
- Check-in for appointment. Upon check-in, you will need to provide all the aforementioned documentation, and they will take your photo and fingerprints as well.
- Take vision test. This is fairly straightforward and exactly what you would expect.
- Take written exam. You can practice ahead of time for this test online, or if you’d prefer, you can purchase a physical copy of the practice test as well.
- Pick up license. If you pass the written test (no driving test is required if you have a valid foreign driver’s license) and you submit all the required paperwork, your license can be available for pick-up as soon as a week from your appointment. As soon as you have it in hand, you can legally drive anywhere in Argentina!
If you have weighed out the options, and decided that it is in your best interest to ship your personal vehicle into Argentina, you will want to begin by contacting your local Argentinian Consulate. This will get the ball in motion and help you figure out what specific documentation you need in order to make this a successful shipping process. There are generally two different options you can choose from when deciding to bring your personal vehicle along with you:
- Temporary Entry Permit – This works best if you don’t intend to stay in Argentina permanently, for example, a tourist may choose to take this route. It is granted for the same length as your visa, but can be renewed if your visa is extended. Of course, the vehicle is required to leave the country when you do.
- Importation – This option is more permanent, but according to Argentinian law, is only available for certain individuals, including the following:
- Foreigners with permanent residency in Argentina
- Returning Argentinian citizens
- Foreigners with a temporary visa
- Diplomats and military personnel
Your next step will be to find a reputable auto transport company to help you through the process. A great company will have the following characteristics:
- Expert knowledge of Argentinian import laws and customs procedures
- Actual experience with transport overseas to Argentina
- A stellar reputation (must be able to provide references)
- Transparency of logistics throughout the shipping process, so you have peace of mind knowing where your vehicle is at any one moment
- Insurance and protection of your vehicle sufficient to cover the entire value in the case of unforeseeable obstacles
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration certified (FMCSA)
- Affordable full-service car shipping packages
Many overseas moving companies offer auto transport, but not all excel in it. You will need a top-rated, trusted, and reputable company to ensure success. The import process is complex, and without a professional by your side, it can seem downright impossible to succeed.
Professional Tips and Information
Remember the following:
- Any individual may import one USED vehicle or motorcycle (no more than two vehicles imported per family)
- Vehicle owner must be at least 21 years old
- Vehicle must have been registered to owner for a minimum of three months prior to arrival
- Vehicle must not be sold with two years of being imported
- Expect to pay 80%-100% of the vehicle’s value in import taxes/fees, depending on make and model
Argentina has very specific rules regarding the import of new vehicles, and since these stringent requirements are constantly updating, it is in your best interest to contact the Argentinian Consulate directly prior to scheduling transport.
Finally, the following is a list of the required documents you must provide when arranging for the import of your vehicle into Argentina.
- Identification – either passport with visa or DNI (national identity document)
- Certification issued by Direccion Nacional de Migraciones
- Commercial/Purchase Invoice for vehicle
- Driver’s License
- Current Vehicle Registration
- Bill of Lading
- Certificate of Residence
- Returning citizens must provide proof they have lived abroad for 2 years minimum
- Foreigners must provide proof they have lived in their country for at least one year
- Pre-Shipment Inspection Certificate
*Regulations change often, so make sure you confer with your trusted car shipping company of all requirements before scheduling transport.
Much of Argentinian culture has been influenced Italian and Spanish, but it also includes elements from other European countries and Africa as well. Unlike many of its neighboring countries, Argentina tends to be slightly more forward thinking, and actually became the first country in Latin America to legalize same sex marriage. One of Argentina’s most noteworthy contributions is tango, which consists of not just the dance, but the music and words as well. It is a symbol of social reform, created after the influx of European immigrants and acts as symbolism of the joining of so many different cultures. Football (soccer) is a very popular sport, with much of the country celebrating and supporting the team in competition. Finally, food is huge cultural symbol for Argentina, with dulce de leche and gaucho asado (barbecue) being two very popular parts of Argentinian cuisine.
Employment for expats tends to me a tough market, so unless you are moving to Argentina because of a job offer, make sure you have plenty of money saved to tide you over until you are able to secure a job. Manufacturing accounts for a large portion of the Gross Domestic Product, so you may have luck finding work in that industry, especially if you choose to relocate to the hub of it all which is Cordoba. The Argentinian government actually provides a network of offices specifically for people looking for employment. The Ministereo de Trabajo helps those who are legally employable find jobs that fit with their skill set. Most often, these jobs do require you to have already obtained your DNI, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to utilize the resources anyway. There are a number of job-seeking websites that can help you find work as well. The following are a few of the most popular suggestions:
Communication and Technology
Phone and Internet
All things considered, Argentina is very much advanced in terms of communication and technology compared to its Latin America counterparts. As of 2011, over 65% of the population had internet, with a whopping 137% of the population having mobile phone subscriptions. These numbers are on par with the United States, Canada, and Europe, and far surpass the rates of the surrounding countries.
Correo Argentina is the national postal service and tends to be very reliable. The postal network and method of addressing mail has been honed over the years to increase accuracy. Even the postal code system has been revamped to ensure all mail arrives in a timely fashion. Although most people rely mostly on e-mail for communication, it is still great to know that the Argentinian postal service is reliable when needed.
There are different options for types of visas you can apply for before moving to Argentina. It is much easier to apply for a visa while still in your origin country, versus attempting to apply once you are already in the country. It is also good to know that if your stay is shorter than 90 days, there are over 70 countries, including the United States, that do not require any visa as long as your stay is for either tourism, business, or market research. If you plan to stay longer than 90 days, the following are the most common types of visas needed in Argentina:
- Business Visa
- Tourist Visa
- Student Visa
- Resident Visa- Family Reunion
- Work Visa
It is important to determine exactly what type of visa you will need based on your motivation for relocation into Argentina. The best resource for this is to contact the Argentinian Embassy directly. You can also confer with your international moving company as to the best course of action.
Regardless of the type of visa you require, the documentation needed is very similar across the board. Prepare to present the following:
- Copy of valid passport with at least 6 months validity
- Two completed application forms
- A minimum of two recent passport sized photos
- Evidence of immigration status in the U.S. (if not U.S. citizen), one of the following will suffice:
- Alien registration card
- Employment authorization ID
- Valid visa
- Itinerary Information, including (but not limited to):
- Round trip flight ticket
- Hotel reservation (guaranteed by a credit card), must match anticipated dates of stay
Of course, there are some additional forms and information required that are specific to the type of visa you want. For example, a visa for business purposes requires your employer’s authorization, and one for tourism requires proof of funds to finance your trip.
After all initial documentation has been submitted, you will need to participate in an interview with the consulate, and then pay required visa fees. If everything is approved (note that the consulate has the right to deny your request), then your visa will be issued at this point.
Cost of Living
Argentina is very similar to Europe in many ways, with a much lower cost of living. It is for this reason (and many others), so many expats are drawn here. On average, the cost of living is approximately 30% lower than the U.S. (rent excluded), and the cost of housing/rentals alone is upwards of 65% lower than the U.S. Because it tends to be difficult to secure employment, it is important to come with at least 6 months worth of living expenses, so you can survive until you find a job. If you have to option to work remote at your current job, the American dollar will go much farther in Argentina, allowing you to live quite comfortably. It is important to note that ATM limits tend to be very low and since many landlords only accept Argentinian currency as a form of payment for rent, it can be difficult and time-consuming to accrue the funds, often requiring multiple trips to different banks.
Voter rights are only available for citizens of Argentina, so as a new expat, do not expect to be able participate in elections. Interestingly enough, citizens (over 18) are required by law to vote, with only certain exceptions. This is something to keep in mind if you do plan on applying for citizenship at some point in the future.
Fun fact- It is illegal to sell alcohol in Argentina for two full days starting at 8pm on the Friday night before a Sunday election.
Healthcare in Buenos Aires is generally good quality, although the equipment may not be completely up to date. Most health practitioners are well trained and the majority have actually studied at prestigious institutes of higher learning abroad. Medical care outside the capital is not as reliable, but is usually decent throughout the country. The healthcare system in Argentina is separated into three distinctive categories consisting of the public sector, the private sector, and mutuals or social plans. The public sector makes up the vast majority of the country, and offers free medical care to over 50% of the population. The private sector only covers about 5% of the population and consists solely of individuals paying the total cost for all of their healthcare out of pocket. The mutals or social plans are provided by trade unions, and funded partially by the employer and partially by the employee. These used to account for a large portion of the population, but numbers have been drastically reduced since unemployment has gone up and more people are relying on the public sector. Expats tend to prefer the private sector, mostly due to the quality of care and the speed at which you can be seen. If you are more flexible and don’t require much in terms of healthcare, then the public sector would be the most inexpensive option and more than adequate to suffice.