Argentina Increases Rentista Visa Income Requirements

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.

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  • Guest Pelado

    Thanks for the writeup. Would you happen to know what the requirements are to be considered a student?

    Full time? (3 courses or more working towards a degree?)

    Part-time? (Perhaps a Spanish course, an art course, 1 class at a time?)

    Is there a difference? I'm thinking that the lawyer would know.

    • Sorry, I do not know what the requirements for a student visa are. I've never met anyone who has gone through that process.

  • Percy

    This is an interesting article.

    One thing I noted was that proof of rental income was given by showing the tenant 's contract and title deeds of the property. Nothing is needed about the amount of mortgage paid. Many people have quite afew buy to let properties with a large rental income, far more than 8000 pesos a month. However if mortgage payments are taken into account actual net income could be anything, even negative. In the UK it makes sense to have a mortgage on a let property as you can get tax relief.
    Due to this I see the so called proof of income as a farce.

    • That is a good point, although I was told using rental property to qualify for the rentista visa was a bit more of an involved process than having a pension, trust, etc. I believe the lease as well as the mortgage paperwork does need to be translated to Spanish and apostiled, which adds to the cost of the process. Still, it can work…

      • Jerry

        Since when have people in Buenos Aires been buying apartments with mortgages? That's so "First World" . The entire price of the apartment is paid for in cash; U.S. dollars.

        • DaVe

          Percy is referring to having rental property in the States, UK, etc. and then using that passive income stream to qualify for the rentista visa. Those properties tend to have "first world" mortgages. 🙂 Property that you own in Buenos Aires would not help qualify for the rentista visa.

  • Good info! I can't believe they raised the income level so high!

  • Hi DaVe and thx for the post,
    I'm not sure to understand what is a "rentista visa" ?
    For September, we've got (my family and me) a long-term visa and we will ask for the DNI (all papers are already ok)
    With an "official long-term visa" are we concerned by this monthly tax ?

    • Each visa has a specific type: student, rentista, investor, etc. The rentista is one of the more common ones. You will need to see what type you have.

      Also, this is not a tax. It is a requirement that you bring that amount of money into Argentina each month for your personal use. There are some discussions on this being considered income and therefore taxable in Argentina. This would be new as most expats on visas do not pay income tax to Argentina even though they may be required to.

      • AGV

        Can someone tell me what the benefits are, if any, of having a permanent pensione visa and DNI If the government starts taxing foreigners on the income they claim to be bringing in? I live here part time and don't expect to be here more than 3 months at a time.

  • ok, i read too fast… 😀
    I've got a visa named something like "representative of foreign company" (sorry but i've only got the French term)
    My wife and my kids have got a "family gathering visa" (difficult to find the good translation too)

  • deint

    In Cordoba they ask not only for an income of 8000 but for the proof 8000 has come into Argentina !!!!
    It is 8000 per head, or 8000 for a married couple.. They don't recognise people living together if not married, so a not married couple needs to prove 16000 pesos income !!!
    I heard some foreigners are making a courtcase against this law
    Anybody is aware ??? Because, it can be next year 12.000 or more ?? In this case, better to plan, and pack and go…

    • michelemolinari

      Very interesting article and comments.
      Regarding deint experience in Cordoba, does anybody know if there's a specific Articulo in the law mentioning to proof the 8000, or equivalent in currency, enter Argentina?

  • deint


    Can anybody tell exactly when you get permanent residency with a visa rentista ??
    1st visa and enter in Argentina september 2008, renewed in september 2009 and now in september 2010.. Can I go for permanent residency when I apply in september 2011 (4 years in Argentina) or is it only in 2012 ??

    • DaVe

      From everything I have heard, after 3 years of residencia precaria, you can apply for permanent residency, so September 2011 should be the date.

      • deint

        Thanks a lot

  • Jim

    Are you talking peso or US dollars? Does AR have a retirement or pension visa. If so what are the requirements.

    • Laura

      $ 8000 Pesos. About US$2000

  • deint

    It seems the retirement visa is gone up to 3500 pesos also .. anybody aware of that ??

  • deint

    Went to immigration yesterday.. No change for the moment for retirement visa.. but will go soon up to 6000

  • Julia

    I can always read that the thing with leaving the country, coming back and getting a new 90 days tourist visa works a couple of times. What exactly means that? How often is a couple of times? I am living in Argentina for one year and there is no way now to get a DNI as I am a freelancer (writer). I earn my money by working for clients in Europe and that is not enough for getting a DNI ( and I am not rich enough to get it by investment). So for me it is not an easy situation, as I am planning to rent an empty apartment and by furniture etc. that seems to be a risk under a tourist visa. So is there a limitation or can I renew my tourist by leaving the country as often as I want to? I am happy for any help. Thanks!

    • DaVe

      You can do everything you want under a tourist visa. If you plan to stay in the country for the whole year without leaving, your best bet may be to pay the $300 peso fine for overstaying the visa when you leave. If you want to "remain legal," you can extend the tourist visa for another 180 days by going to the Migraciones office. You can also go to Colonia, Uruguay for the day and when you come back you will have another 90 days. Since you're only staying for a year, you should not have any issues.

      • Julia

        Thank you very much! Missunderstanding! I live in argentina for one year now! And I am not planing to go back to Europe the next years. I know about all the processes at migraciones, I already did it and the thing with colonia as well. My question was if I could renew the tourist visa (by leaving country or by migraciones) as often as I want or if threre are any limits? The last time I renewed it at migraciones and there is written in the stamp by hand: ultimate prorroga. That made me a little bit nervous:-) But I guess they write it because it is only possible to renew the visa at migraciones once, then one has to leave the country. Am I right? Or do I have to expect that they will not let me in next time in Colonia?
        best regards!

        • michelemolinari

          Hello Julia,
          I've been living in Argentina for the last few years on a tourist visa, my passport is full of stamps. I travel quite often to other countries in SA and never had problems on the way back.
          Some thing you cannot do on a tourist visa: you cannot have a cuenta corriente in a bank, but only a caja de ahorro, which doesn't entitle you to a credit card, only a debit one. You can buy a car but not write the insurance under your name, which makes the all thing kind of tricky.

          • Julia

            Hi michel! Thank you very much! That is like I thought it was. It´s tricky, I know 😉 But what you write about the banks is a good hint for me. The information I got was that there is no way to get any account at all. Una caja de ahorro could be an interesting option. May you know which bank offers that to foreigners on tourist visa?(

          • michelemolinari

            Hola Julia, You need to have an account in an bank with branches in the Us and Argentina, than ask your Us' branch to authorize you down south.

          • Julia

            Thanks Michel! I am not from the US but from Europe. But anyway, should be the same. I will try it! Hasta luego!

          • Sarah

            Hi Michael,
            My husband and I will be moving to Argentina in a couple months. We plan to use the tourist visa and border hop every 3 months to continue to renew it. However, we would like to by a car once we arrive. Do you have any more info re: restrictions and requirements for buying a car and securing insurance if we only have a tourist visa?? Thanks!

  • Julia

    Hi DaVe. Thank you very much! Missunderstanding! I live in argentina for one year now! And I am not planing to go back to Europe the next years. I know about all the processes at migraciones, I already did it and the thing with colonia as well. My question was if I could renew the tourist visa (by leaving country or by migraciones) as often as I want or if threre are any limits? The last time I renewed it at migraciones and there is written in the stamp by hand: ultimate prorroga. That made me a little bit nervous:-) But I guess they write it because it is only possible to renew the visa at migraciones once, then one has to leave the country. Am I right? Or do I have to expect that they will not let me in next time in Colonia?
    best regards!

    • DaVe

      There is some conflicting information on this right now. A lot of people have been doing this with no problem, but some people with a lot of stamps have recently reported being stopped at the border and told that they are being listed in the system for abusing the tourist visa. No one has been denied entry as of yet, but everyone is waiting to see what happens. Hope that helps.

  • Syd

    Hi. I'm a widow and receive social security for myself and two children. It does meet the 8k argentine peso requirement. So would I be eligible for the rentista status, even though this amount goes down when my children turn 18? That would be in 6 years. If I do, after 3 years I can get permanent residency, is the 8k requirement still there for permanent residency?

    • DaVe

      This should qualify you. After 3 years, you get permanent residency and the income requirement is no longer in effect.

  • Syd

    Also, if I have rental income property from the US that shows the required amount, yet have a mortgage on them, would that be enough for rentista status? Or do i have to show a deed of trust, mortgages, etc.

    • DaVe

      That works too, but is a bit more difficult. They would require all documents to be translated to Spanish and apostiled. It is possible, but the other way sounds much easier.

  • Pedro

    What would be the reason for increasing the income and investment requirements? The average Argentine income is far below this requirement. Is this to stop the influx of young North- Americans and Europeans? Or an attempt to attract higher income earners? What is the requirement for citizens from Mercosur countries? Probably much more favourable. South Americans in Westerners out. Investments wont come because of the uncertain political climate, increasing authoritarianism, attack on the free press and a non-effective opposition. Why does it seem that unlawfull entry is allowed but legal entry is made more difficult? Argentina is of course not the only country that allow illegal immigration and prevent middleclass legal immigration. It is like that the world over.This very difficult to understand

    • DaVe


      The Argentine government wants to collect taxes on this income. Before, the amounts were too low to have to file income taxes, now that they're higher, people are required to file and pay income tax.

      • Pedro

        Respectfully Dave,

        As I understand the tax law, no tax is paid in Argentina by foreighners on their externally sourced income, Only on income earned inside Argentina.Of course you pay property taxes and sales tax but no personal tax under the proviso above. Is this also changing?

        • DaVe

          I believe Argentina taxes your worldwide income. This would apply to anyone with residency.

  • Idor

    Hi, My husband and I are planning to move to Argentina next year. All the comments above are very helpful but, is there a webstite/s where we can obtain comprehensive information not only about tramites for peple with a Rentista Visa but about exacft income requirements (per individual, couples, family), internal and external taxation, if taxes are to be paid on the required money brought to Argentian, medical coverage and costs?

    • DaVe

      Try There are a lot of great resources on that site.

  • Idor

    Thank you in advance por your help. Idor

  • Donald

    Dave,One of your replies to a comment states: "After 3 years, you get permanent residency and the income requirement is no longer in effect." I thought that permanent residency was no longer available to foreigners who weren't married or a parent of an Argentine-born child and that only those expats who had been living in Argentina for 5 years or more with "proof of income" were "grandfathered in" under the new law. In other words, even if one were in Argentina on a rentista visa, this would no longer convert over time to permamnent residency. Ever. Am I mistaken? Did you mean that someone still can obtain permanent residency once one has lived in Argentina for 3 years?

    • DaVe

      When I posted this last year, the law allowed for 3 years before permanent residency could be applied for. I am not sure if this has changed or not. A number of expats are petitioning a judge for citizenship after 2 years here as recommended by an attorney on the forum. You may want to check there for more info.

  • Saffie

    Terrible news regarding the Rentista Visa. I wanted to buy an apartment in Buenos Aires because I love the city. And I could easily make the previous requirement of Arg$2400 independent income per month. But 8000!!?? This means even if I sell all my properties and invest the capital in an interest bearing account (at the terrible rates these days) I will never come even close. And I am talking of investing the equivalent of around Arg$1,6 million! God – impossible for most people. And I know for a fact Argentina is not THAT expensive as I have been there many many time before. What terrible terrible news. I was just planning on finding property.

  • john

    I am retired. My wife will retire next year. If what I am reading in this commentary section is an accurate portrayal of Argentinia's new retirement residency policy–and it appears that it is– then it seems that North Americans and Europeans are not as welcome as in the past. Not being one to impose myself where I am not wanted, I am eliminating Argentina as a location for my second retirement home.

  • Guest

    Francesco, thank you for giving valuable info about Mercosur-visas for non-mercosur citizens.

    Do you, or anyone else know if rentista-visa from a Mercosur country are a smart loophole that makes it possible ro reside in Brazil, like passing borders without being registred, no stamp i pasport?

    They got an age limitation for rentista visas, I am to young, 38 years old, medicaly retired ex-military. My goverment guarantees me 1300 eur after tax / month + 300-400 eur / monthly deposits in bonds, mutualfunds for age-retirement.. (from age 65), updated yearly to compensate for inflation, consumerprice index et.c.

  • Carl Sperr

    I thought that if one was 65 or over and received a government or private pension they would let you live in Argentina permanently.

  • Leandro

    You are missing out a lot here. You can actually apply for a renewable residence permit as soon as you enter the country, therefore get your DNI and your CUIT number at the Ministerio de Trabajo (employment ministry) (the CUIT number is the number everybody in Argentina need to work legally). Getting the Argentinian residence permit is not hard, and I’m talking from some people’s experience. How reliable are your sources?
    You should go to the Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (National Direction of Migrations) in order to start your application for a temporary residence, if you’re in Buenos Aires you have to get a turn online: you can get it in that website, if you’re living somewhere else you should look for the migration office in your city, province, etc.

  • Pablo

    Getting a rentist visa is a hard work, but is possible if you know how to handle. Also about work permit, student visa, pensioner visa, investor, etc. If someone need advice, please do not hesitate to contact me directly to [email protected] , we could support you or give you our opinion about any special situation. We have been dealing with immigration law for the last 15 years and assisted more than 10,000 people. We’ll be glad to help you. Good luck!

  • EasyB3

    I’m moving to Buenos Aires does any know of a reasonable storage company to store house hold items