On my trip last week to Chile I had some time in the airport to think about what kind of money I might have been saving by going through the whole citizenship/DNI process in Argentina. The argument for me has always been that the headaches and struggles with these government offices is a benefit in the end and will eventually make life easier. Though I might not reap any benefits while I live here, it looks like unless I’ve done my math incorrectly (always a possibility) it actually has worked out to save me some money. Let’s see how.
Most foreigners who live here without a visa or residency jump across to Uruguay every three months. This can be an annoyance and costly fee. The last time I went to Uruguay as October, 2009 on a work trip, but if I were to have gone to Uruguay every three months to renew the tourist stamp since that date, I would have had to cross over 6 times. I’m putting the average cost of that trip at $300 ARS, including the ferry and a lunch in Colonia, Uruguay. This is a more modest figure, because I would imagine that at some point I’d go to Montevideo or another place where I’d spend more money.
6 trips to Colonia at an average cost of $300 = $1,800 ARS
$1,800 divided by 4 (the rough equivalent of pesos to U$ Dollars) = U$450
*Another thing to point out is that some people choose to overstay their tourist visa and simply pay the $300 ARS fine once they leave. This fine is the same if you stay 91 days or 10 years, so if you’re going to do so, it really only serves you to go long term. I avoid having to pay this fine because of my paperwork which shows that I have the citizenship, etc. Though I’ve had to explain myself a couple of times at the airport, I have gotten away without paying twice. Here I put it in the equation in the event that a situation were to come up when I couldn’t leave the country before 90 days and had to pay the fine in addition to the other expenses.
$300 ARS divided by 4 = U$75
I had assumed that I wouldn’t get stuck with the U.S. Visa Reciprocity Fee, but alas, I was proven wrong when I returned on Sunday night. I was forced to pay U$140, or $568 ARS for having a U.S. passport. If my DNI had only been delivered to me by now, it would have taken that off as well. Instead, we have to figure it into the expenses I pay. So in the end:
450 + 75 = U$525 saved, or $2,100 ARS
That’s some pretty nice saving when you get down to it, regardless of what a mess it has caused.