Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Expat Report: Month 3 - Adjusting To Life In Argentina

Three months ago, I made one of the toughest decisions of my life and relocated to Argentina with my spouse. The weeks that followed have been a learning experience for both of us.

Adjusting To The Changes
We now use kilos to weigh fruit, vegetables, cold cuts, meat, and pastries, instead of pounds. We think in pesos when making purchases instead of U.S. dollars. We use Celsius instead of Fahrenheit when determining the weather. We say, “Che! Boludo!” instead of “Hey! Moron!”when someone pisses us off. We’ve had to adjust to the seasonal changes too. When we arrived in June we were in winter. Now we are only a week away from spring in Argentina.
We’ve learned to appreciate the simple things. The stress level in Argentina (at least for an expat) is minimal. Argentineans are very laid back whether they´re dealing in business or pleasure.
Keeping Busy
My spouse is trying to become an Argentinean resident. The immigration process is grueling, but we will accomplish this. In the meantime, he has been keeping busy in the kitchen doing what he loves to do the best, baking cakes, pastries and many other treats. As for myself, I’ve been keeping busy by offering private English courses to students.
Long Term Goal
My goal for the next three months is to land myself a more permanent job. Teaching English is great but it’s not what I came to do in Argentina. I would also like to get my Argentinean driver’s license. I have my New York License but it’s irrelevant here if you are an Argentinean resident or citizen (as my case happens to be). I’d also like to learn the Castillian grammar a little better before I attempt to translate my novels to Castilian. Of course my main goal is clear. I have a self-imposed deadline of June 2014 to write and publish the sequel to my Vendetta novels.
 Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How to Deal with the Immigration Nightmare in Argentina

I never expected it to be easy, but I didn't know it would be this difficult to make my spouse a legal resident in Argentina.
Apostilles
The Argentinean immigration won’t accept any document (birth certificate, marriage license, death certificate) unless it has an apostille. An apostille is a document that legalizes all forms of certificates and licenses from your home country so that they may be recognized in foreign countries.

Get everything apostilled before you come to Argentina. Getting your documents apostilled will be far more difficult and more expensive to do by mail.

Notary
Have your documents notarized as well. If you’re in the United States, the best place to get this done is at city hall. You can get your apostilles done there as well.

Background Check
You need to provide a background check from your home country. If you’re from the U.S., you can get this done with the FBI. You will need to provide them with a fingerprint card, which you can get the U.S. embassy to mail to you. You may also print out the form from the FBI website. The embassy WILL NOT perform background checks.

Why The FBI Rejects Your Background Check
A lot of expats have issues with their background check because the FBI is unable to read the fingerprints from the fingerprint card. To prevent this, make sure that you go to the federal police to get your fingerprints done. The fingerprinting process must be flawless. Any smearing will cause your background check application to get rejected. You may also want to get your fingerprints digitally printed on your fingerprint card. This process is more precise and stands a better chance of being accepted by the FBI. Once you’ve received your background check, have it notarized and apostilled.

Translate
Your next step is going to be to bring all of the apostilled and notarized documents back to Argentina and have them translated by a legit translation company or college.

Time Table
You want to make sure that all of your documents are notarized, apostilled, translated and legalized before your immigration appointment in Argentina. All required documents must be presented together or they won’t process your residency application.

Visa
You can request one additional tourist visa a week before your original visa is about to expire. Visas are called prorroga in Argentina. You will be charged 300 Argentinean pesos for the visa renewal. You can leave the country and reenter Argentina in order to get a new tourist visa. When you reenter, you will be asked a series of questions such as:

-       What is your purpose for entering Argentina?
-       Why have you been making frequent visits to Argentina?
-       What do you do for a living?
-       Where will you be staying?
-       Do you have any friends or family here?

I hope this information helps you to avoid some headaches and save you some money. Below are some links that might prove useful.

https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/fingerprints_biometrics/guidelines-for-preparation-of-fingerprint-cards-and-association-criminal-history-information

http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/accesible/

http://argentina.usembassy.gov/