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