April Fools’ Post-Mortem

Argentina Amnesty Program JokeYesterday I posted an April Fools’ blog post announcing an “Argentina Expat Amnesty Program,” and even with quite a few giveaways in the post, it seems that I managed to trick a good number of people.

It turned out to be one of the more read posts we’ve have in awhile, so I thought a quick post-mortem of the post was in order. (Plus, if you were fooled, you can see that you were not alone!)

Number of views: 927

Number of Facebook likes: 94

Number of Facebook shares: 188

Number of clicks to the Argentine immigration site from the link at the bottom: 114

Number of clicks to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” after I changed the immigration link realizing that too many people were going to the immigration site and searching for ‘amnesty': 32

Number of email messages asking if it was real: 4

Number of angry comments: 1.5
(one angry one, one telling me it was not funny)

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Money Transfer Services to Require a CUIL

Let me start by saying, this is not an April Fool’s joke unfortunately…

Argentina Money Transfer Services Require CUILAs of April 1, 2015, any foreign national residing in Argentina for more than 90 days will be required to present a CUIL or CUIT in order to pick up money from any of the money transfer services (Xoom, Azimo, Ria, etc.). This does not apply if your last date of entry into Argentina is less than 90 days ago.

As many expats live here illegally by overstaying their tourist visa and simply pay the $600 peso overstay fee when they leave, this will have an immediate effect on their ability to get money into the country through these services. That 90 day trip to Colonia for a new visa stamp might make a lot more sense now, even if it does expose you to additional scrutiny at the border.

To get a CUIL (Código Único de Identificación Laboral) or CUIT (Clave Única de Identificación Tributaria), you have to have a DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad). And, to get a DNI, you have to be a legal resident.

UPDATE: Some people are reporting that as of April 20, 2015, Xoom is not asking anyone to provide a CUIL.

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Argentina Announces Expat Amnesty Program

Argentina has just announced a new amnesty program that should benefit a lot of expats living in the country.

Argentina Amnesty ProgramRecognizing that lax immigration policies and a low cost of living have attracted a large number of non-Mercosur foreign citizens to come to Buenos Aires and overstay their 90-day tourist visa, the government has finally decided to take action. Luckily, this does not mean a crackdown on those who stay illegally or make the questionable ferry crossing to Colonia, but rather an amnesty program that will provide a DNI and full-time residency along with a path to citizenship if so desired.

“We understand that many non-Mercosur foreigners come here and overstay their tourist visa,” said Hector Timerman, foreign minister. “We want to provide options to these people rather than just a $600 peso fine or taking day trips to Colonia. We want to make their lives easier.”

Of course, the government is not doing this purely out of the kindness of their hearts, but rather with the goal of collecting additional tax revenue. Everyone who applies for amnesty will have the joy of paying taxes both in Argentina and their home country.

Details of the plan are as follows:

  • You may apply for the amnesty program only after paying at least one overstay fine, visa extension or showing at least two passport stamps from Colonia, Uruguay.
  • You must be a non-Mercosur resident to apply. Citizens of the United Kingdom are not eligible for the amnesty program because, you know, the Malvinas (and Jeremy Clarkson).
  • Once you apply, you may not leave the country until your application is fully processed. Estimated wait times are from 14 – 365 days.
  • The application fee is $10,000 pesos, but you may pay that in 12 payments. Each payment will include an inflation adjustment of 5%.
  • You must submit apostilled and translated copies of your foreign passport, birth certificate, marriage license, divorce decree, high school and college transcripts, bank statements and tax returns for the past 5 years, FBI criminal check and letters of reference explaining why you should be allowed to become a resident of Argentina.
  • The initial application may be completed online, but you will still be expected to head to the immigration office, take a number and wait in line to be processed.

Applications will be available from April 1, 2015 (April Fools’ Day) – December 28, 2015 (Dia de los Inocentes). You may apply online at the Argentina Migraciones web site. Just search for amnesty and follow the instructions.

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Dim Sum in Buenos Aires

Dim Sum in Buenos AiresDim sum used to be one of my favorite weekend activities in New York. Heading to the Golden Unicorn in Chinatown was always a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning while trying to shake a hangover.

Now, before I get your hopes up, unfortunately, Buenos Aires does not have a true dim sum experience, but we (re)discovered the closest thing – Hong Kong Style.

This restaurant at Montañeses 2149 in Barrio Chino makes some amazing dumplings, siu mai, spring rolls and other food. While the choices are not extensive, and many of the menu items were not actually available, we went last week and had an assortment of their specialities:

  • shrimp with bamboo dumplings
  • pork with green onion and ginger dumplings
  • pork dumplings
  • pork spring rolls

We actually didn’t even order any of their main dishes, preferring to just stick to the appetizers and dumplings.

Not quite dim sum, but we take what we can get.

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