You’ve been in Argentina on a tourist visa and your 90 days is swiftly reaching an end. What are you going to do?
There are a few options.
1. You can just let your visa expire, pay a fee at the airport or at a land borderwhen you leave and hope you don’t run into further trouble. Many long term expats I know have lived in Argentina for years and swear by this. I have done it myself once and had no troubles leaving or getting back in the country. It is a risk, though. Just because it’s easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you won’t run into trouble down the line.
As of January 2013, the fee for overstaying your visa is 300 pesos. This is the same fee that you pay to renew a tourist visa at immigration. It doesn’t really make sense.
2. Leave the country for a few days. Argentina borders Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil, so you have lots of options. If you’re in Buenos Aires or Mendoza, it’s easy to just hop on a bus or boat and head across the border. In many cases, a restful weekend drinking wine in Santiago or visiting the market in Montevideo will cost less than the fee to renew.
2. Renew your visa for another 90 days at the local immigration office. There’s a 300 peso fee for this service.
It’s a bit more complicated to just leave the country when in Salta, though, because travel between here and just about any other country is likely to be more expensive than the renewal fee.
It took a lot of running around and mucking about to figure out the renewal process, but once you know the details, it’s easy.
Migraciones at Maipu 35, just off Caseros.
What To Bring: Your passport and copies of each page of your passport. There’s a kiosco at the corner of Maipu and Caseros where you can make copies for .15 centavos a page.
The people in the Migraciones office are absolutely lovely, very nice and helpful but be prepared for this process to take at least a couple of hours. Bring a book, music and some patience, and you make the the whole thing much easier for yourself.
TIP: Arrive as early as possible. If you get there 8 am or earlier, you’re likely to have a shorter wait.
As soon as you arrive at this small, white painted office, take a number from the front desk. When finally called, you will be interviewed, asked about your profession, where you live, do you have a university education.
Immigration will then give you a voucher which you will take to the bank Banco Nacional de Argentina, corner of Belgrano and Mitre, where you will deposit the 300 peso/person fee directly into a specified account.
You’ll return to Maipu 35 with the voucher, copies and other information. There will be forms to sign, and you’ll probably wait longer while your paperwork is passed from the one person to the next and finally to the person who will ultimately give stamp your passport with a fresh visa.
There are no extensions to a tourist visa after this, though. Then you must revert to options 1 or 2.