Citizenship in Argentina
At the present time, Argentina seems to us to be one of the fastest and, if you qualify, easiest South American countries for obtaining that second passport. And of course, once you have status in Argentina, you can enter any MERCOSUR country on your Argentina ID. It seems to us that, even if you decide to live permanently in another MERCOSUR country, you at least already have a second passport.
There are two options for being legal in Argentina. One is legal residency and the other is citizenship. If you can qualify, citizenship is the easiest of the two. At one time you had to have permanent residency status before you could apply for citizenship. But that law changed about 30 years ago. You can move here, and after you’ve lived her for a year and a month or so later apply for citizenship. It will take about a year for the process and at the end of that year, if you have lived here for two years and fulfilled all requirements, you are eligible for citizenship.
Having said that, we want to add that things are changing all over the world. This citizenship process in Argentina is true now, but things can change. This is why we urge readers not to delay any longer than necessary. Nothing is guaranteed. We know people who obtained national status in two years. But sometimes there are glitches in the system and it takes longer. I asked one businessman here why his citizenship was so delayed and he said it was mostly because they keep losing things. Thus it is a good practice to keep copies of everything yourself. We handed our case to an Argentina attorney, which has made the process pretty painless.
If you have an Argentina spouse or child, you can apply for citizenship immediately. The two-year wait is waived.
If you apply for citizenship based on staying in Argentina for two continuous years, you will need:
a) DNI (document showing legal residence status), passport, or birth certificate;
b) Certificado de Domicilio. This is a document certifying that you live at a certain address. You can get this easily from the police. You will need to go to the police department, they fill out the form and collect ten pesos from you. The next day a police officer will deliver the certificate to you personally.
c) Evidence of your honest way of earning a living. This varies. It can be proof of retirement income, rental income from real estate in your home country, a job here in Argentina, an online business, and so on.
d) FBI report. If your case is handled by an attorney, he or she will take care of this for you. Or you can request it yourself.
e) Birth Certificate. Your birth certificate must be authenticated in your home country and both documents, certificate and authentication must be translated. If your case is handled by an attorney, most will ask you to give them power of attorney and take care of that for you. The same applies to the FBI report. Or you can do it yourself.
A woman from a country where she legally takes on the last name of her husband at marriage will need a certified copy of her marriage certificate, also authenticated and translated. This is true if your name on your passport is not identical to the name on your birth certificate.
We do have an attorney here that we recommend. We receive no fee for passing along his name to you. He is our own attorney and we also have very good reports from other clients. However, the process is not difficult and you can handle it yourself if you speak Spanish. If not, you will need help. The attorney fee can vary depending on your situation, but the basic for a simple case is currently $2,000 US, plus the peripheral expenses like fees for your birth certificate, translation and FBI report.
Prior to the granting of citizenship, you will need to show that you have some familiarity with Spanish. You do not need to be an accomplished, fluent speaker, but they will ask you to read a paragraph or so in Spanish and will expect you to be able to respond to a few simple questions. At present it is not difficult if you have some rudimentary knowledge of the language.
We offer a Spanish course that involves very little book study and if you start now and spend just thirty minutes on it every day you will be able to respond in Spanish. You can learn more about it or sign up for it HERE.
We hope this will answer your questions about the citizenship process in Argentina. If you have questions please post in comments since others may have the same questions. But we answer all emails. If you think we can help you, don’t hesitate to be in touch.
If you would like legal assistance with either residency or citizenship, which we consider a good idea, the attorney that we recommend here is Gabriel Celano, who made my own transition to Argentina citizenship, and that of other expats here, both smooth and swift. Mr. Celano was born in Argentina, graduated as a Juris Doctor from the University of Belgrano Law School and participated in exchange programs at San Francisco State University where he completed his law studies. After working at top law firms in Buenos Aires, Mr. Celano founded Celano & Associates, based in Buenos Aires that, for over a decade, has been helping immigrants and companies relocate, live and do business in Argentina. Mr. Celano speaks excellent English.
(Note: Because of the large volume of inquiries that we now receive, there is a charge of $70.00 for initial consultation with Dr. Celano or his staff by phone, email or in person. If you then engage Celano & Asociados to handle your residency/citizenship, the amount for initial consultation will be applied to the total fee.)
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