Do you really want to overstay in Argentina? I know, I know, Argentina is a very bad place to be right now (economic-wise) for the locals but hey, how about the expats? For the expats, provided they arrive with USD, Argentina is the cheapest place on Earth to be due to the fluctuations of the price of the US dollar in the black market.
However, it might surprise you to know that the majority of expats living in Buenos Aires DO NOT have a work visa nor temporal/permanent residence. How is that possible? Well, blame the highly incompetent Migration Office in Argentina, for starters. I ended up wasting hours of my life at the Migration Office trying to get a temporal resident status for my six-month internship! No wonder many of them decide to overstay in Argentina!
Long-story short? The Migration Officers told me that an internship doesn’t qualify for a work visa nor a student visa so I had to spend time and money to apply for the opportunity of getting a special category visa, which is given mostly to political refugees, so even If I did everything by the book, there was a chance that I wouldn’t get the visa at all! My only choice? Legally overstay in Argentina.
Suffice to say, I had to end up going the same route as thousands of expats who gave up trying to obtain a resident status and decided to search for alternative and 100% legal ways to overstay in Argentina using an 90-day tourist visa.
Overstay in Argentina Option #01: Do a visa run every 90 days!
Yes, it might come as a shocker! Unlike the strict rules of the U.S. and Europe (Schengen area), the rules of the 90-days in Argentina is extremely lax. You can exit the country for a few hours and upon re-entering you get another 90 days. In theory you can overstay in Argentina for years with the same tourist visa! Years! From Buenos Aires, the easiest way is to get a ferry to Colonia de Sacramento, Uruguay and return on the same day. From Mendoza, you have the border with Chile and from Iguazu the one with Brazil.
The problem comes when you constantly do it systematically every 90 days. Why? Because it shows a trend and the migration officer might give you a hard time upon re-entering since he might be aware of your plan to overstay in Argentina. I’ve heard of one power-hungry officer giving a 30-days visa to one “permatourist” and telling her that she needs to leave Argentina during those days or face deportation!
Of course, Argentina doesn’t have the resources or the initiative for actively deporting someone but they can ban you from re-entering when you leave the country. You better think twice before trying to overstay in Argentina!
Overstay in Argentina Option #02: Just worry about it later!
Here’s a fun fact about Argentinian immigration: You can stay as long as you want without any hassle at all…until you try to leave the country. If you forgot or simply didn’t bother about doing a visa-run and now are trying to exit the country after your 90-days expired, you have to pay a fee of $300 AR pesos before being allowed to leave Argentina. After the paying the fee and leaving, you’re free to return at any time to get another 90-days. You can overstay in Argentina forever using this loophole!
However, bear in mind that this fee can only be paid at the Ezeiza airport the day of your departure or at the Banco de la Nación during working hours. That means that if you plan on leaving Argentina via land (or via any other airport) you have to pay the fee beforehand. I have been told cases of people being stranded in Mendoza trying to cross into Chile because they did it on a bank holiday and were unable to pay the fee!
The problem with this method to overstay in Argentina is that you can only do it twice or thrice before catching the attention of the migration officers. Can you imagine the horror of leaving your Buenos Aires apartment for a vacation in Brazil and being told upon paying the fee for the fifth time that you’re now banned from re-entering Argentina? Who will pick up your stuff? Who will feed your dog? Who will drink your mate?
Overstay in Argentina Option #03: Marry an Argentinian national!
Alright, I admit it, this is a very sleazy and desperate way to overstay in Argentina but hey, every year, thousands of Latin Americans marry U.S. Citizens in order to obtain a resident status so why not do the same? If you’re really keen about living in Argentina and have no other legal option, finding someone to fake-marry you might be the only way for you.
Just remember to drink lots of mate before sealing the deal, and of course, get a prenup just in case! Remember that you want things to go as smoothly as possible! With an Argentinian passport you can even enter to Russia without the need for a visa, how awesome is that? You can also avoid paying the reciprocity fees of Chile and other South American countries and have the right of working in any of the countries of the Mercosur. What are you waiting for? Find an Argentinian bride right now!
All joking aside, I recommend you to stick to the first two options to overstay in Argentina and only do this one if you’re truly in love. Otherwise, shame on you, shame on you!
Should you overstay in Argentina?
Ethics aside, gaming the system into allowing you to overstay in any country, legally or not, might bring unwanted implications to your passport’s history. For example, if you want to apply for an U.S. visa in the future, you will have a though time explaining all the Argentinian entry stamps to the U.S. migration officer. Sure, you did nothing illegal but hey, it might create a bad precedent for your image and there’s a big chance that your visa will be denied under those grounds. Why? Because it shows that you’re a very smart individual capable of fooling the system, something that no First-World country wants at all!
Besides, there has been some isolated cases of “permatourists” being deported upon trying to re-enter the country. As I told you before, Argentina’s laws are hardly consistent in terms of enforcement so you might be as well playing a game of Russian roulette after your third or fourth visa-run. Do you still want to overstay in Argentina?
Be careful, keep your wits and most importantly, think twice about the consequences.
PS. Enjoy more colorful photos of Buenos Aires here: Photos of Wonders, Slice of Life at Buenos Aires.