The Argentine Immigration Department established a new system to obtain an urgent appointment to apply for a temporary or a permanent visa.

Argentine Consulates based in foreign countries are in charge of performing immigration controls and issuing visas. Within the Argentine frontiers, these duties are conducted by the Argentine Immigration Department.

Although applicants are entitled to request residence in their country of origin, most of the foreigners tend to enter as tourists and then, once in Argentine territory, they request temporary or permanent residence.

Argentine Immigration Law No. 25,871, sets forth in section 23 subsection "L", that: "Temporary residents shall be all such foreigners who may enter the country under the following sub-categories: (...) Nationality: Native citizens from countries that belong to MERCOSUR (...) with an authorization to remain in the country for two (2) years, which can be extended, and with multiple exits and entries ...".

Furthermore, Disposition No. 29,924/2004 states that the abovementioned section 23 subsection "L" of Law 25,871 shall include the countries that are members of MERCOSUR as well as the Associated countries, such as Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador.

This regulation allows such nationals to obtain a temporary residence by just showing their nationality, and without the need for being sponsored by any company during their stay. This immigration benefit significantly increased border immigration, generating a higher demand of appointments at the local Immigration Department, in order to start applications, and several delays with their schedule (up to 6 months) and the consequences of losing opportunities (related to work or studies, among others), which may arise for the foreigner while he/she is waiting for appointment to start the visa application.

On September 3, 2012, the Official Gazette published Disposition No. 2145/2012 (hereinafter the "Disposition"), issued by the Argentine Immigration Department, which established a new system to obtain an urgent appointment to apply for a temporary or a permanent visa.

Due to urgent business needs, whenever a MERCOSUR national (or from associated countries) executive may end up entering Argentina as a tourist the new Disposition will allow the applicant to obtain an urgent appointment to initiate the visa application within 36 business hours. The cost of the application is AR$ 1,500.

The Disposition now allows for the resolution of a serious inconvenience, which is the need for immediate application for a visa for officers who are MERCOSUR nationals (or associated countries), since the only possible alternative –under urgent circumstances– was to apply for the visa at the Argentine Consulates, with an estimated processing time of 30 days. Therefore, the officer will have a fast track to submit the application and to obtain an authorization of preliminary residence, which may be included within the local payroll.

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