Getting a student visa in Argentina is a very simple process. The required documentation by the Argentine migration office is quite straightforward and doesn’t require too much effort from you.
In most cases, getting the required documentation is so easy that you don’t need a lawyer to help you. However, if you do end up in a special situation outside the normal procedures, it is recommended to seek legal assistance from a specialized migration lawyer.
There are two different types of student visas in Argentina:
- A student visa for exchange students
- A student visa for regular full-time students
I have lived in Argentina on my student visa for 3 years, which then allowed me to extend into a permanent residency. Before that, I had a short-term student visa as an exchange student.
Over the years, I have done all my paperwork on my own and without any involvement of a lawyer. Read more about my experience studying for a degree in Argentina.
Let’s dive into the differences and what you need to apply for each of them.
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The Complete Guide to Student Visas in Argentina
Visa for Exchange Students in Argentina
An exchange student is somebody who does a semester or two in Argentina. While away, you will still be enrolled at your home university. In most cases, the home university has an agreement with the university, where you are taking your courses in Argentina.
As an exchange student, your host university in Argentina will provide most of the paperwork that you need for the migration office.
Normally, this documentation includes the agreements signed between your home university and your host university. And it might also include specific documentation about you going on exchange to Argentina and for how long.
When you arrive at your host university, they should have all the paperwork ready for you.
What Do You Need for an Exchange Student Visa?
The only thing you need to do yourself is to get your Argentine antecedentes penales (or criminal records).
The criminal records for Argentina are done through the migration office’s online system, Radex when you upload your documentation.
Through Radex, you will also be appointed a time to go to the migration office. Here you have to bring the documentation, your passport, and your criminal records from Argentina.
Ask your international office at the host university’s campus if in doubt about anything.
Visa for Regular Full-time Student in Argentina
You will be considered a regular or full-time student by the Argentine migration office if you study for an entire university degree at a university in Argentina.
Here you are left a bit more on your own with the paperwork than as an exchange student. But the paperwork required for a regular student visa is really easy too!
In Argentina, the legal system differentiates between whether you come from a Mercosur country (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) or not when applying for a visa. Nevertheless, the requirements for a student visa are the same. The difference is primarily about when to get permanent residency:
- Mercosur citizens can apply for permanent residency after staying 2 years legally in Argentina.
- Non-Mercosur citizens have to stay 3 years legally to be granted permanent residency.
Requirements for a Student Visa in Argentina
For a student visa in Argentina you will need:
- Your passport including the entry stamp to Argentina
- Your electronic enrollment from the Argentine university (Constancia de inscripción electrónica)
- Your Argentine criminal records (Certificado de Antecedentes Penales Argentinos)
- Your criminal records from your home country or any country where you have lived longer than 1 year.
- A certificate of your address in Argentina or an invoice from a utility in your name (Certificado de domicilio o una factura de algún servicio público a su nombre (ABL, luz, agua o gas)).
1. Electronic enrollment from the university
The electronic enrollment from the Argentine university is a piece of paper you get from the university.
It’s proof that the school authorities have registered you in the migration office’s system as a student in their institution. In my case, I got this paper from the secretary of the postgraduate programs.
Ask around and insist on getting this piece of paper shortly after you enroll at the university. This piece of paper is crucial for you to be able to start your migration process.
2. Argentine criminal records
Your Argentine criminal records are included in the migration office’s online system, Radex (radicación a distancia).
Previously, you did have to go to a separate office to get your criminal records. But this changed around 2018 with the implementation of Radex.
3. Home country criminal records
You also need to present your criminal record from your home country or any country where you have lived longer than one year.
The criminal record needs to be in Spanish.
If you are from a non-Spanish-speaking country you need a translation to Spanish. This is done by a public translator in Argentina, who is certified by the Argentine translators’ association. You can check out the translator’s association website to find a translator in your language.
4. Certificate for your address in Argentina
Finally, you need to show the migration office where you are planning to live while in Argentina. When you have rented an apartment or a room in a student flat, you need an address certificate.
The certificate of your address in Argentina can be done at your local police station. Go and ask them for a certificado de domicilio para immigrations. They might charge you a couple of hundred pesos.
In a couple of days, a police officer will drop by your home. They will ring your doorbell to confirm that you effectively live, where you said you live.
Another option is to present a utility bill in your name for the address where you are living. A utility bill can be electricity, water, or gas.
However, keep in mind that if you are renting an apartment, the owners might not be willing to change the name on the utilities. In Argentina, it normally requires a lot of bureaucratic back and forths to change the name on a utility bill.
So, the home address certificate from the police tends to be the easiest option.
How to Apply for a Student Visa in Argentina
The process of visas in Argentina is mostly digitalized and goes through the online system, Radex. However, you still have to present the original documents at the migration office.
Here is what you need to do to apply for a student visa in Argentina:
- Start the application with the migration office’s online system, Radex – choose: tramites de radicaciones generales
- Upload all the required documents and information (see the above information)
- The Radex system will ask you to pay the migration fee. Check out this link for the current migration fees.
You can either pay it in cash or with a credit card. It’s recommended to pay in cash. If you pay with your foreign credit, the current double exchange rate in Argentina will make you pay unnecessarily more. Alternatively, if you know anybody that is willing to lend you their Argentine credit cards, that’s also an option.
- Sit back and wait to receive an email from the migration office. They will ask you to attend an appointment at the migration office closest to your home. For your appointment, you should bring all the original documentation that you uploaded. You might also be asked to bring or upload additional documents.
- Go to the migration office on the appointed date and time. Show your appointment email and follow the instructions at the place to present your papers.
- Go home and wait. After a while, you will receive information about your immigration status – most likely approved.
- After a couple of months, you will receive your new Argentina ID card, called DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad)
Remember to always double-check the requirements on the migration office’s website (they might update quicker than my post):
How to Extend Your Student Visa in Argentina
A student visa in Argentina is normally only valid for one year. Even if your study program is for 2 or more years, you will need to extend your student visa each year.
Luckily, the extension process is even more simple than applying for a student visa the first time.
Requirements for Extending a Student Visa in Argentina
Here is what you need to extend your student visa in Argentina for an additional year:
- A valid passport and your Argentine ID card (DNI)
- A certificate from your Argentine university stating you are a regular student and legalized by the Argentine Ministry of Education (Certificado de alumno regular, legalizado por el Ministerio de Educación).
- A grade transcript of classes you have passed, also legalized by the Argentine Ministry of Education (Certificado analítico con materias aprobadas, legalizado por el Ministerio de Educación).
- If you are studying a postgraduate (Master’s Degree or PhD) you also need to present a letter from your university, also legalized by the Argentine Ministry of Education (En caso de tratarse de un Postgrado o una Maestría deberá acompañar nota de la institución, legalizada por el Ministerio de Educación).
- Your Argentine criminal record (Certificado de antecedentes penales argentinos)
1. Regular Student Certificate
A regular student certificate states that you are enrolled at the university and attend your classes. In Argentina, this document is called Certificado de alumno regular.
At some universities in Argentina, you can request your regular student certificate through your university’s online portal. At other universities, you will properly have to request it at the student helpdesk on campus.
Your student certificate must be legalized by the Argentine Ministry of Education before it is valid for your migration case. This guarantees that the certificate that you present is from your university.
So, remember to point out when you ask for the certificate that the university needs to send it to be legalized by the Ministry. Sometimes the universities will charge you a small fee for this service.
As far as I know, it is only the university that can send the certificate to the Ministry of Education. So, you won’t have to go yourself.
2. Grade Transcript of passed classes
You also need to present a grade transcript from your Argentine university of all the classes you have passed. It needs to show the grades you have obtained in each class.
You can normally also request this in the university’s online systems. In Argentina, a grade transcript is called Certificado Analítico.
This should also be legalized by the Argentina National Ministry of Education. Here the same as mentioned above holds; it’s the university that has to send the transcript to legalize.
3. Letter from your university (in case of postgraduate studies)
If you are studying for a postgraduate degree (a Master’s Degree or a Ph.D.), the migration office also asks you to present a letter from your university.
It’s a bit tricky because it doesn’t say with the letter should be about. And this letter also needs to be legalized by the Argentina National Ministry of Education.
4. Argentine criminal record
The updated criminal record is done directly through the migration office’s online system.
Always double-check the visa extension requirements: Student visa extension (it’s the same for Mercosur and non-Mercosur citizens)
How to Apply for an Extension of a Student Visa in Argentina
The process of applying for an extension of a student visa is more or less the same as applying the first time:
- Start your application online with the migration office’s system, Radex.
- Upload the required information and requested information (check the list above) to the Radex system.
- Pay the migration fee.
- You will receive an email about your appointment at your local migration office.
- Bring all the original versions of all your documentation to the migration office on the appointed date.
- Wait in line at the migration office. Get in. Present your documents. Head home and wait for the approval of the extension.
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Are you looking to study in Argentina? Or have you already started your studies in Argentina? How did your visa process go? Please feel free to share any tips or thoughts in the comments below!
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