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Becoming an Expat in Argentina (Part 1)

A land of unparalleled beauty, and one of the most geographically diverse places on earth, Argentina is an expat’s dream. From the glaciers and grasslands of Patagonia to the cafes and bustling nightlife of Buenos Aires, there is a corner of paradise available for every taste in this South American gem. If Argentina is on your list of potential expat landing spots, it’s important to do your research to make sure that the idyllic world you’re envisioning will be there when you arrive. Fortunately, in Argentina, finding bliss is an easy task.

Cost of Living

One of the main factors in deciding which country to move to is the hope of achieving an equal or higher quality of living for a much smaller price tag. While Argentina doesn’t boast the cheapest cost-of-living ratio in the region, the country as a whole still provides some major financial incentive for those looking to find a southern getaway.

According to the cost-of-living aggregator, Numbeo, life in Argentina costs nearly 52% less than in the United States, on average. To further pique your interest, rent and accommodation prices in Argentina average around 76% less than in the United States.

To put this all in perspective, a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in Argentina costs about $21 USD, a one-bedroom apartment in a city center can be rented for about $279/month, and the price per square foot in the city center goes for about $223. All of these averages are considerably less than most relative locations in the United States and Europe.

For example, the capital city of Buenos Aires has a 64% lower cost of living than New York City. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs about $313/month, compared to $3,100/month in New York City or $2,200/month in London.

Tourism Trends in Argentina

If you think Argentina sounds like a perfect place for your next overseas excursion, you’re not alone. The number of inbound tourist arrivals in the country was 5.56 million in 2016 and 5.92 million in 2017, approaching the all-time record of 5.93 set in 2014.  

This tourism surge last year contributed about $52 billion USD to the Argentine economy – and accounted for 9.7% of total GDP and 9.6% of total employment. These tourism numbers are projected to reach nearly 12.5 million inbound visitors annually by 2027.

Becoming an Expat in ArgentinaStatistics provided by the Tourism Board of Argentina.

Lifelong expats and frequent travelers know that this tourism trend means one thing: people are catching on. As the rest of the world realizes what a remarkable country Argentina is, traveler-friendly infrastructure will exponentially develop and improve. This also means that consumer prices are likely to rise accordingly, so for those pondering the idea of purchasing property in Argentina, you may never find a more appealing market.

Residency Options

Before you can become an expat in Argentina, you first must be allowed to become an expat in Argentina. Luckily, there are a handful of residency options to choose from, making the process straightforward and risk-free.

Tourist Visa

Like many countries, Argentina offers a tourist visa that allows people to visit the country for cultural and leisure endeavors. For travelers from certain nations, like the United States, this document is received upon arrival to the country. You’ll just need a blank page in your passport for a stamp at the airport and you’re free to travel throughout Argentina for up to 90 days. People from countries outside of this list will need to contact a consulate and get a pre-approved tourist visa before arriving in Argentina.

Visa of Temporary Residency

If you intend to stay in Argentina longer than what the tourist visa allows, you may qualify for a visa of temporary residence. Work visas fall under this category with two different types: the 23 A, for those who have a salaried position for which they are relocating, and the 23 E, for those staying only a short time for specialized reasons, such as scientists who’ve come to study. For either of these visa types, you’ll first need to obtain an entry permit, which will most likely be handled by your employer, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much about that. Be aware that this will require a valid passport, three passport-style photos, your signed employment contract and credentials, and your birth certificate.

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Student Visa

Student visas are available in Argentina at approved institutions. You will need to provide details about your acceptance and the length of your study. In general, the visa will be valid for the duration of your tenure at the education institution.

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