Argentina – Regulatory Framework That Regulates International Migration

The Argentine National Constitution establishes the rights and guarantees that encompass all inhabitants, including non-citizens. It specifies the equality of all before the law, including access to employment, non-discriminatory taxes and public office.

Similarly, foreigners have the right to exercise their commercial, industrial, and professional activities; to own, buy and dispose of the goods; to navigate the rivers and coasts; exercise freedom of worship, and marry in accordance with the law, without the obligation to admit citizenship, or to pay extraordinary forced contributions.

The current regulation of international migration in Argentina is based on the Argentine Immigration Law (Law 25,871/2004). The law establishes the rights and obligations of foreigners, specifies the conditions of admission and permanence in the country, and also incorporates provisions on nationals abroad. The instructions and regulations for the execution of the law were published in Decree 616/2010.

The Migration Law reaffirms the equal access of migrants to social services, public goods, health, education, justice, work, employment and social security; establishes the right to be informed about rights and obligations; provides for the possibility of participating or being consulted in decisions related to the life and management of the communities in which they reside; establishes the right to family reunification; It guarantees access to education and health, even in an irregular migratory situation, regardless of the migratory condition in which the foreigner finds himself.

Regulation of entry and stay of migrants

The law establishes three categories for the admission of foreigners in the country: a) permanent residents, b) temporary residents, and c) transitory residents. With exceptions, the authority may grant a “precarious residence” authorization, which may be revocable by the authority, if the reasons taken into account for its granting are no longer valid.

The entry into the country of foreigners who do not meet the requirements established in the law and its regulations may be authorized, when there are exceptional reasons: including those of a humanitarian nature, public interest or fulfillment of commitments acquired by Argentina.

Types of residence
Permanent residence

A permanent resident is considered to be any foreigner who, with the purpose of establishing himself permanently in Argentina, obtains such admission from the National Directorate of Migration (DNM). Likewise, immigrant relatives (spouse, children and parents) of Argentine citizens, natives or by choice, will be considered permanent residents. The children of native Argentines or by choice who were born abroad are recognized as permanent residents.

temporary residence

Temporary residents are considered to be all those foreigners who have entered Argentine territory under one of the following subcategories:

a) Migrant worker: who enters to engage in the exercise of some lawful, paid activity, with authorization to stay in the country for a maximum of three (3) years, extendable, with multiple entries and exits and with permission to work. under dependency relationship.

b) Rentier: who pays for their stay in Argentina with their own resources brought from abroad from the income they produce or from any other lawful income from external sources. A residence term of up to three (3) years may be granted, extendable, with multiple entries and exits.

c) Pensioner: who receives from a government or international organizations or private companies for services rendered abroad, a pension whose amount allows a regular and permanent income in Argentina. A residence term of up to three (3) years may be granted, extendable, with multiple entries and exits;

d) Investor: who contributes their own assets to carry out activities of interest to the country. A residence term of up to three (3) years may be granted, extendable, with multiple entries and exits;

e) Scientists and specialized personnel: those who are dedicated to scientific, research, technical, or advisory activities, hired by public or private entities to carry out work in their specialty. A residence term of up to three (3) years may be granted, extendable, with multiple entries and exits;

f) Athletes and artists: hired by reason of their specialty by individuals or legal entities that carry out activities in Argentina. A residence term of up to three (3) years may be granted, extendable, with multiple entries and exits;

g) Religious of officially recognized cults: with legal status issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship, who enter Argentine territory to exclusively develop activities of their cult. A residence term of up to three (3) years may be granted, extendable, with multiple entries and exits.

h) Patients undergoing medical treatment: to attend to health problems in public or private health establishments, with authorization to stay in Argentina for one year, extendable, with multiple entries and exits. In the case of minors, disabled or sick people who, due to the importance of their pathology, should remain with companions, this authorization will be extended to direct relatives, legal representative or curator.

i) Academics: for those who enter Argentina by virtue of academic agreements entered into between higher education institutions in specialized areas, under the responsibility of the contracting higher education institution. Its validity will be for a term of up to one (1) year, extendable for the same period each, with authorization of multiple entries and exits.

j) Students: those who enter the country to pursue recognized secondary, tertiary, university or specialized studies, as regular students in officially recognized public or private educational establishments, with authorization to stay in the country for two (2) years, extendable, with multiple inputs and outputs. The interested party must demonstrate enrollment in the educational institution where they will study and, for successive renewals, certification of their status as a regular student.

k) Asylees and refugees: those who are recognized as refugees or asylees will be granted authorization to reside in Argentina for a term of two (2) years, extendable as many times as the application authority in matters of asylum and refuge deems necessary. , taking into account the circumstances determined by current legislation on the matter.

l) Nationality: native citizens of MERCOSUR member states, Chile and Bolivia1, with authorization to stay in the country for two (2) years, extendable with multiple entries and exits.

m) Humanitarian reasons: foreigners who invoke humanitarian reasons that justify, in the opinion of the National Directorate of Migration, special treatment.

n) Special: those who enter the country for reasons not contemplated in the preceding paragraphs and who are considered of interest by the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship.

temporary residence

Foreigners enter under this category as 1) tourists, 2) transit passengers, 3) neighboring border transit passengers, 4) international transport crew members, 5) seasonal migrant workers, 6) academics, 7) patients receiving treatment doctor and 8) those who invoke reasons that justify, in the opinion of the National Directorate of Migration, a special treatment.

Acquisition of nationality

The norms that regulate the acquisition of nationality are the Argentine National Constitution, Law 346 Citizenship and Naturalization (with the modifications introduced by Laws: 16,801, 20,835, 24,533 and 24,951) and Decree 1601/2004 Argentine Citizenship.
The following are the means by which Argentine nationality can be acquired, and the persons or situations included in each method of acquisition:


n All Argentines born or to be born in the territory of the republic.

n The children of native Argentines who, having been born in a foreign country, opt for citizenship of origin.

n Those born in the legations and warships of the republic.

n Those born in the republics that were part of the united provinces of the Río de la Plata before their emancipation and who have resided in the territory of the nation expressing their desire to be Argentine.


n Foreigners over eighteen years of age who reside in the Republic for two continuous years and express their desire to be so before the federal judges of the section.

n Foreigners who prove to said judges that they have provided, whatever the time of residence, some of the following services:

• Have honestly performed jobs of the Nation, or of the provinces inside or outside the republic.

• Have served in the army, in the navy, or have attended a war function in defense of the Nation.

• Having established a new industry in the country or introduced a useful invention.

• Be a businessman or railway builder in any of the provinces.
• Be found forming part of the colonies established or to be established in the future.

• Inhabit or populate national territories in the current border lines or outside them.

• Have a native Argentine spouse or child in any of the provinces.

• Exercise in them the teaching staff in any of the branches of education or industry.

by option

The children of native Argentines who, having been born in a foreign country, opted for the citizenship of origin of one or both parents. The representatives must not have any criminal records.

Immigration regularization

One of the biggest changes enshrined in the new Migration Law is the possibility of regularizing immigrants in an irregular situation. The new law introduced the MERCOSUR nationality criterion (Article 23 Inc. L Law 25871, 2004) for the admission of foreigners who are nationals of any MERCOSUR Member State or Associated State (Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela). In this spirit, the new current law includes a series of regulations with the aim of regularizing the status of persons of MERCOSUR nationality who reside in Argentina irregularly.

Following the same line, the program for the regularization of the migratory situation of native citizens of countries outside the orbit of MERCOSUR and its Associated States was designed for people who resided in the Argentine national territory on June 30, 2004. This measure favored to a large number of requests for migratory regularization from Asian citizens (MILEX, 2011). During this period, Argentina suspended the expulsion measures for foreigners eligible for regularization.

The migratory regularization of native foreigners of the Member States of MERCOSUR and its Associated States was known as the “Patria Grande – MERCOSUR program.” Under this program, the applicant obtained a certificate of precarious residence with the sole presentation of the identity document from his country of origin and a sworn statement with which he could work legally (in addition to studying, entering and leaving the country whenever he wants, etc. ). In a second stage, proving the lack of a criminal record, temporary residence was processed for two years with the possibility of later becoming permanent. The Patria Grande Program has a vocation for continuity, as it is reflected in the new migration law,


In November 2006, Argentina adopted the first Refugee Law, Law No. 26,165, entitled General Law of Recognition and Protection of Refugees.

This new law incorporates the highest principles and standards in terms of international protection recognized by the international community, in accordance with the principles of non-refoulement, including the prohibition of rejection at the border, non-discrimination, non-penalty for illegal entry, family unity, confidentiality, treatment and interpretation more favorable to the human person or pro homine principle. Recognition of refugee status applies to both the recognized refugee and the applicant for such recognition.

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