Once again, Argentina has made a major change to their policies with little advance notice. The rentista visa, which is a popular option for expats wishing to live legally in Argentina, now has an income requirement of AR $8000/month per person. This represents a 333% increase from the previous amount of AR $2400/month. This law became effective on July 29, 2010, by Disposition Nbr. 1534/2010 of the DNM (Spanish).
Most expats who live in Argentina are on tourist visas, which are only valid for 90 days. The tourist visa may be renewed at Migraciones for an additional 90 days, after which time you must leave the country. This has lead many to do the “expat shuffle” – taking the morning Buquebus ferry ride to Colonia, Uruguay and returning to Buenos Aires that evening. This technically fulfills the requirement of leaving the country and gets you another 90 day visa stamp. This practice has been “tolerated” by Argentine immigration, even though several people reported being questioned about the number of tourist stamps in their passport. Once again, one never knows when they might change their policies and disallow this.
Other expats simply overstay their tourist visa and pay the relatively small AR $300 penalty when leaving the country. There have never been any problems with doing this and re-entering the country at a later point. I personally know several people who were here for many years on an expired tourist visa.
For those who are looking to be here on a more permanent basis and would like to have a long-term legal visa and DNI (the Argentine equivalent of a social security and national ID card), there are few options: marry an Argentine, have a baby here, or get a visa. Unfortunately, the visa options are limited – you cannot simply get one because you “want to live in Argentina.” The main types of visas are student visas, work visas, rentista visas, and investment visas. (Other types also exist, but these are the most common. Consult an Argentina immigration attorney for other options.)
Student visas only apply to students, work visas require your company to provide one for you, and investment visas require a minimum investment of AR $1,500,000 plus approval of the Argentine Ministerio de Industria for your project. That pretty much left the rentista visa as one of the few viable alternatives and now it has become more limited. The new requirement to prove and bring AR $8000 per month in passive income into the country will leave many people scrambling for alternatives as it applies to both new and renewal visa applications. (Rentista visas are granted for 1 year at a time and must be renewed for 3 years before one can apply for permanent residency.)
So, does this affect you? Let us know in the comments.