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Cost of Living in Argentina

Often recognised as a desirable retirement haven, Argentina offers expats an affordable yet high-quality lifestyle. The country's economy is, however, known for spiralling inflation, which often causes soaring prices. That said, expats whose finances can withstand the unpredictable nature of Argentina's economy will enjoy life in the country.

The cost of living in Argentina's rural areas is much lower than in its metropolitan cities. The country's capital, Buenos Aires, was ranked as the world's 114th most expensive city out of 227 cities surveyed in the Mercer 2022 Cost of Living Survey. The rising cost of living has made Buenos Aires one of the most expensive cities in South America, with Santiago in Chile (130th) trailing closely behind.

Cost of food in Argentina

Supermarket prices for certain items in Argentina are slightly more affordable than in the UK. If expats have the time to shop around, particularly for fruit and vegetables, which are much cheaper from the roadside stalls, they can bring their grocery bills down.

Cost of transport in Argentina

Cars are an expensive commodity in Argentina. The country no longer has a car manufacturing industry, and vehicle import taxes are hefty. Strangely enough, though, second-hand cars hold their value quite well, and it is not unusual to buy a car, use it for several years and sell it at the same price or even more than one paid for it.

Cost of accommodation in Argentina

It is almost impossible to give average prices for either purchasing or renting property in Argentina, as it varies widely between provinces. Demand in the rental market is especially high, since many Argentinians are no longer in the position to buy property. Foreigners hoping to rent will be required to provide a guarantor, a deposit and several months of rent in advance.

Cost of living in Argentina chart

Prices may vary depending on location and service provider. The table below is based on average prices in Buenos Aires for August 2022.  

Accommodation (monthly)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

ARS 85,220

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

ARS 65,527

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

ARS 40,955

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

ARS 31,882


Milk (1 litre)

ARS 103

Dozen eggs

ARS 185

Loaf of white bread

ARS 165

Chicken breasts (1kg)

ARS 526

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

ARS 295

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

ARS 671

Coca-Cola (330ml)

ARS 140


ARS 250

Bottle of local beer 

ARS 248

Three-course meal for two people at mid-range restaurant 

ARS 3,758


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

ARS 26.84

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

ARS 3,074

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

ARS 6,367


Taxi rate per km

ARS 67

City centre public transport fare

ARS 21

Petrol (per litre)

ARS 129

Transport and Driving in Argentina

As in many countries, driving in Argentina’s large cities can be stressful, and parking is expensive and hard to come by, which means most people in Argentina’s metropolitan areas opt to use public transport almost exclusively.

Public transport in Argentina's large cities, especially in Buenos Aires, is highly effective and expats will find that getting around is no problem at all. Some areas of Argentina, such as Patagonia, are slightly more limited in terms of public transport. Although expensive, driving may be a more viable mode of transport in these cases.

Public transport in Argentina


Argentina’s primary train network is a suburban train line that connects Buenos Aires with outlying areas. This is the main form of transport for commuters who work in the capital. Resistencia, the capital of Chaco Province, also has a suburban train line. A tram system is also operational in Mendoza.

These days it’s cheaper to travel long distance in Argentina by train than by bus, but train travel in Argentina also takes more time. With that said, trains are generally more punctual than buses. Currently, the trains do not offer WiFi.

There are three kinds of tickets to choose from when taking the train to and from Buenos Aires. Primera (which is the lowest class), Pullman (standard tickets) and Camarote (a private cabin for two persons). The type of ticket and seat/cabin can be chosen when buying tickets online. Long-distance trains usually operate between Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Posadas, but there are international services that run to Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay.


Buses are the main form of public transport in Argentina and the system is excellent. Urban buses are known as colectivos and cover an extensive route around major cities. 

The reliability of buses can vary according to area and time of day. Buses are run by a number of different companies, so fares can vary. In some cities, bus fares are fixed for the entire city. Most city buses have coin machines and travellers can pay as they board. Tickets and coupons are also usually available at kiosks around the cities.

Argentina has a system of long-distance buses as well. This is the primary mode of transport used to travel across the country. Some of these buses have interiors similar to that of an airline's business-class cabin and even offer on-board dining. Similarly to trains, buses also have different seat classes one can choose from.

Underground rail

The six lines of the Buenos Aires subway (subte) can easily be navigated by checking the map which is available online. Paper tickets are no longer available, and expats will have to purchase a Subte smart card in one of the city’s tourist centres or a kiosk (street-side convenience stores).

Buenos Aires is the only city in Argentina with an underground train network, but plans are in place to build one in Córdoba.

Taxis and ride-sharing services

Expats will find that ride-sharing services such as Uber are readily available in most of Argentina's urban areas. These provide non-Spanish speakers with a hassle-free way to get around the cities without the risk of miscommunication with taxi drivers. Hailing a local taxi in Argentina is also easy, but expats would benefit from having a basic knowledge of Spanish for communicating with their driver.

Most taxis in Buenos Aires only take cash. BA Taxi, an app rolled out by the city, allows users to request a taxi and pay with a credit card.


Trams are making a slow comeback in Argentina after being phased out in the 1960s. There is now a tram line in Buenos Aires that feeds the subte system, as well as a light rail system in the northern suburbs of the city.

Trolleybuses, which are powered by overhead electric wires, operate in Córdoba, Mendoza and Rosario. 

Driving in Argentina

Argentina is an extremely large country, but thankfully its comprehensive road network makes travel easier. There are well-maintained expressways that extend from Buenos Aires to most parts of the country. Expats may find some gravel and dirt roads in Argentina but most roads are paved and in good condition. 

In order to drive in Argentina, expats must hold an international driving license in addition to a national driving license from their home country. Expats should also ensure that they have their vehicle’s registration, green card (tarjeta verde), tax and insurance documents in the car, as traffic police will request to see these if they pull anyone over. Expats should note that police roadblocks happen frequently.

Car rentals are relatively expensive in Argentina but can be worthwhile for expats wanting to explore the country. Expats can get a better rate at a locally owned agency than they would at an international one. The minimum age to rent a car in Argentina is 21. Expats living in Argentina long term may find buying a car to be more financially viable, but the bureaucracy involved with making the purchase will be frustrating.

Cycling in Argentina

Buenos Aires has been voted one of the top 20 most bike-friendly cities in the world. A recent push to prioritise cycling resulted in miles of bike lanes being created all over the city. Buenos Aires also jumped on the worldwide bike-sharing bandwagon and introduced Ecobici – a scheme where bikes can be borrowed for free 24 hours a day from more than 100 stations across the city. 

Air travel in Argentina

Argentina’s national air carrier, Aerolíneas Argentinas (Austral), operates most domestic flights, but this airline is notorious for delays and only Argentinian residents qualify for the cheapest fares. Other airlines that offer domestic flights include LanChile and Líneas Aéreas del Estado.

There are 19 major airports in Argentina, but the largest are the Ministro Pistarini International Airport (usually called Ezeiza and abbreviated EZE) and the Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (abbreviated AEP) in Buenos Aires.

Doing Business in Argentina

Expats doing business in Argentina will quickly learn that this South American country values personal relationships and respects and defers to seniority. It also identifies more with its European roots than the Latin American influence in the country.

Argentina's economy hasn't always been the most stable historically, yet it is still one of the largest economies in South America. Its primary industries are in services and manufacturing, agriculture, information and communication technology (ICT) and tourism.

Argentina is ranked 126th out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey for 2020. The country's highest scores were in the categories of protecting minority investors and enforcing contracts.

Fast facts

Business hours

Traditionally, the workday in the provinces of Argentina is from 8:30am to 8pm, with a three to four hour siesta in the middle of the day. The labour law states that people can work a maximum of eight hours a day, and 48 hours per week. 

Business language

Spanish is Argentina’s official language, but it is slightly different to that spoken in Spain. English is spoken in large cities like Buenos Aires, but less so in outlying areas. Business is conducted in Spanish and expats who do not have a good grasp of the language will need an interpreter. Business cards should be Spanish on one side and English on the other. It should be presented so the Spanish side faces the recipient.


Appearance is important to Argentinians. It is therefore important to look stylish and presentable. Argentinian dress code varies depending on the type of business meeting and industry. Business attire is usually formal and conservative. Men should wear dark business suits and women should wear suits or reserved dresses.


Gifts are not expected in a business setting until a relationship is formed. A bottle of imported spirits is a gift that is usually appreciated as tax on spirits in Argentina are high. Gifts are opened immediately when they are received.


A simple handshake with eye contact is the preferred business greeting in Argentina. The oldest or most senior associate should be greeted first. Keep in mind that Argentines usually keep close physical contact when speaking to someone.

Titles and level of education are important in Argentina. Before meeting someone, it is advisable to know something about their education. For example, if the person is a doctor, use the appropriate title when greeting.

Gender equality

Women have equal rights in Argentina, but there are generally more men in senior roles than women. The machismo culture also impacts the way women are treated in business. It is common for women to be subjected to supposedly harmless everyday sexism in the workplace; men in Argentina are known to deliver lewd comments. In many corporate cultures, efforts are being made to wipe out this behaviour, but it still happens. This is a real challenge for women in business.

Business culture in Argentina

Argentinians are generally family-orientated people, which translates into the way they conduct business. Close, personal relationships are valued, respect is given to older associates and more loyalty is shown to individual people than to companies as a whole.

It is common to hold business dinners in restaurants. Meals are for socialising and you should avoid talking business unless your Argentinian colleague brings it up. Usually, the person who sets the invitation pays the bill. 


It's extremely important for expats to network and build meaningful relationships if they want to succeed in the business world in Argentina. Interestingly, nepotism and name-dropping are not frowned upon and even though it might feel strange at first, expats should feel free to use both these tools to their advantage.

Honour is incredibly important in Argentina's culture. Argentinians disapprove of publicly criticising or correcting a business associate. Nevertheless, Argentines can be quite direct and sometimes even blunt, but yet still manage to be tactful. 


Argentines are quite expressive and emotive in their communication. They are known to ask questions that some may consider personal. It can be considered impolite if one does not ask these kinds of questions. Interrupting others while conversing is also common, and is viewed as a demonstration of interest in the conversation. Also, if there are multiple people in a conversation, Argentines may speak louder to be heard. Raised voices are the norm and do not necessarily indicate agitation. 

This expressiveness means Argentines use many gestures to bring their point across. Personal space is virtually non-existent, and touching another person’s arm or back is a common and widely accepted practice. Maintaining eye contact while talking to someone is believed to show a sense of honesty and interest in the person who is speaking.

Argentines usually aim to avoid conflict or confrontation. If people disagree over a topic, they would usually address the differences in opinion indirectly and tactfully. Argentines go to great lengths to keep situations as calm as possible. 

Business hierarchy

Argentinian society, in general, is rather status conscious and local business structures tend to be hierarchical. Decisions are made at the top level of the company. This makes business move slowly because decisions often require several layers of approval. Expats therefore need to show respect to those in positions of authority.

Argentinian companies can be described as having 'relationship-driven hierarchies'. It is therefore crucial to develop close, personal relationships before starting to do business with Argentines. Engaging in courtesy discussions and going for lunch or dinner with a business partner are great ways to socialise and build a strong relationship.

Business meetings

When arranging a business meeting in Argentina, it is necessary to make an appointment one or two weeks before the intended meeting. The meeting should be confirmed a few days before the date. Appointments should be made by email or telephone, but meetings should always be face to face, as telephonic meetings or written communication are seen as overly impersonal.

Argentines are generally punctual when it comes to business engagements, and expats should always be on time for meetings. Punctuality shows respect for the other person’s time. It's common for meetings to begin with some small talk to break the ice, and it's not uncommon for first meetings to focus solely on getting acquainted. Jumping right into discussing business may seem impolite. Meetings may not end on time, and displaying a sense of urgency may be viewed with mistrust or rudeness. It's also  a good idea to have any documents available in both English and Spanish.

Dos and don’ts of doing business in Argentina

  • Don’t use one finger to point, but rather use the whole hand

  • Do make an effort to learn Spanish; it will go a long way with Argentine co-workers

  • Do arrive on time for meetings

  • Do use Señor or Señora to address colleagues if their exact title is not known

  • Don’t be afraid to socialise with colleagues; it is common for business associates to be friends outside of the workplace

  • Do show respect to those in positions of authority

  • Don’t raise topics relating to Argentina’s past and present political issues

  • Do inquire into the well-being of a colleague’s family, spouse or children 

Articles about Argentina

Embassy Contacts for Argentina

Argentine Embassies

  • Embassy of Argentina, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 238 6400

  • Embassy of Argentina, London, United Kingdom: +44 207 318 1300

  • Embassy of Argentina, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 236 2351

  • Embassy of Argentina, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6273 9111

  • Embassy of Argentina, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 430 3524/7

  • Embassy of Argentina, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 269 1546

  • Embassy of Argentina, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 472 8330

Foreign Embassies in Argentina

  • United States Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 5777 4533

  • British Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4808 2200

  • Canadian Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4808 1000

  • Australian Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4779 3500

  • South African Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4317 2900

  • Irish Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 4808 5700

  • New Zealand Embassy, Buenos Aires: +54 (0)11 5070 0700

Moving to Argentina

Expats moving to Argentina will discover a beautiful, largely unspoilt country that can, at times, appear virtually untouched by the human hand. The vast grassland plains, or pampas, of the eastern coastal regions give way to dry and unforgiving land where the country butts up against the gargantuan Andes Mountain range on its western border with Chile. 

With an area 11 times the size of the UK and a population of just over 45 million people, the extent of the space and bounds of the natural beauty are only truly appreciated by those expats who decide to take the plunge and relocate on a more permanent basis.

Living in Argentina as an expat

Argentina consists of 23 different provinces as well as an autonomous city, Buenos Aires. An influx of Spanish, Italian and other European immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries has contributed towards a cosmopolitan and culturally rich capital city. Outside of the main urban areas, however, expats will find a sparsity of foreigners and English speakers. 

Despite having one of the highest Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) in the region, corruption and mismanagement have meant that political and economic stability are still largely absent, which has not been helped by the outbreak of Covid-19. On the upside, the relative economic instability has opened the way for a buoyant real-estate market and the purchase, by foreigners, of large tracts of land. 

Outside of being assigned by a large multinational corporation and getting transferred to Argentina, or relocating to Argentina with a specialised and in-demand skillset, employment opportunities are rather limited for expats. That said, more and more expats are moving to Argentina to teach English as the demand for it has grown considerably.

We recommend that expats considering a move to Argentina acquire a good working knowledge of Spanish, particularly those expats who move there without a job offer in hand and who plan to look for work while there.

Cost of living in Argentina

Argentina as a whole is affordable and offers a good-quality of life, with the cost of living in the country's rural areas being particularly low. That said, salaries in Argentina tend to be low too, and expats should therefore look to find a job with an international company where they are not earning in Argentinian pesos. Due to the country's economic instability, inflation is extremely high at times and prices can soar, which is all the more reason to earn an offshore income. 

Expat families and children

For expats moving to Argentina with their families, there are plenty of schooling options available, both Spanish and English, though fees can vary depending on whether the school is funded by the state or privately. Houses with large gardens, or close to a park, can also be found in the large cities. Thanks to the efficient and extensive transport system in the country, expats and their children will also be able to move around the cities easily, and it is therefore not necessary to own a car. 

Climate in Argentina

The expansive country has a diverse climate that ranges from a sub-tropical zone in the north to an Arctic climate in the south. The country has four distinct seasons, with summer ending off the year and winter taking up the middle months. Buenos Aires, Argentina's most popular destination, has humid, hot summers and mild winters, with majority of the rainfall taking place in the summer months. 

Argentina is a destination that continues to pique the interests of expats the world over. Among other things, it offers a good quality of life, beautiful areas to explore, delicious food and friendly locals. Expats who make an effort to learn the language and assimilate into the country's culture will have no problem calling Argentina home. 

Fast Fact

Full name: Argentine Republic (República Argentina)

Population: Around 45 million

Capital city: Buenos Aires

Other major cities: Córdoba, Rosario, Mendoza

Neighbouring countries: Argentina is bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Chile to the west and the Drake Passage to the south.

Geography: Argentina is the second largest country in South America by geographic size. It has a varied landscape ranging from its extended coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, the rain forests in the north, the flat Chaco plain, the grasslands of the Pampas and wastelands of Patagonia, to the Andes Mountains in the west. Aconcagua is the highest point in Argentina, which is also the highest point in the southern and western hemispheres.

Political system: Presidential democratic republic

Main languages: The official language of Argentina is Spanish. English is spoken widely in large cities and tourist centres.

Major religions: The most common religion in Argentina is Roman Catholicism (more than 65 percent), but religious freedom is guaranteed by the country’s constitution and expats will be able to practice their religion in peace.

Time: GMT -3

Electricity: 220 volts, 50Hz. Old buildings use two-pin, round-pronged plugs, whereas newer buildings use three-pin, flat-pronged plugs.

International calling code: +54

Internet domain: .ar

Money: The official currency is the Argentine peso (ARS), which is divided into 100 cents. Foreigners are permitted to open a bank account in Argentina, as long as the appropriate paperwork is in order. It is possible to open an account in pesos as well as in dollars. There are many ATMs in and around Argentina’s larger cities.

Emergency numbers: 101 (police), 107 (ambulance), 100 (fire). 911 can also be used in Buenos Aires.

Transport and driving: Argentina has an extensive road network that spans the entire country. Most areas of Argentina are covered by a comprehensive public transport system, particularly in and around the country’s large cities. Vehicles in Argentina drive on the right side of the road.

Education: Argentina provides free public education for all of its residents, including expats, though this is almost exclusively provided in Spanish. There are numerous private and international schools in Argentina, most notably in Buenos Aires.

Accommodation in Argentina

Expats will find it relatively easy to both buy and rent accommodation in Argentina. The country’s economic instability, combined with effects of Covid-19, has translated into a drop in property prices, making it a good time for expats to invest in Argentina. There is a wide range of options to choose from, and expats should have little difficulty finding a place to suit their budget and tastes.

Types of accommodation in Argentina

There is an incredibly wide range of accommodation available in Argentina, but the quality and style of housing depends on expats' location in the country and their budget.

While accommodation in Buenos Aires and other major cities is mainly in the form of high-rise apartments, the suburbs are populated by large stand-alone houses. Gated communities are also popular among wealthier Argentinians and corporate expat employees.

Properties in Argentina range from comfortable family villas in hilly La Cumbre, to Swiss-style chalets in Bariloche, and even a rustic home on a 40-acre vineyards in Mendoza. 

Finding accommodation in Argentina

Finding accommodation in Argentina is not difficult but it is definitely a trickier process if expats do not speak any Spanish.

There are property rental websites that publish listings in English, as well as local Spanish websites that will be useful for expats who speak the language. Spanish speaking expats can also take a look at local newspapers. 

Alternatively, expats can enlist the services of an English speaking real-estate agent. These professionals will have a good idea of what's available to rent or buy, as well as being able to speak the language and therefore negotiate deposits and leases with the landlord. Expats should keep in mind, though, that real-estate agents will charge a hefty fee as well as agent commission for their services. 

Renting accommodation in Argentina

Renting accommodation in Argentina is not difficult anywhere in the country.


Expats can rent property on either a long-term or short-term basis. The most common duration for a lease agreement is two years but can be up to 10 years. If signing a two year lease, expats will have to occupy the accommodation for at least six months before terminating the lease agreement. 

Leases of a shorter duration than two years are rare, but expats are more likely to find short-term accommodation in the major cities. Accommodation can also be rented out furnished or unfurnished, but furnished accommodation is more likely to be for a short-term lease. 


When signing a lease, landlords will generally require tenants to pay one month's rent and a security deposit. The law in Argentina stipulates that the deposit may not exceed one month's rent per year on the lease.

Expats will also most likely need a guarantor if signing a long-term lease. This is someone who owns property in Argentina and can take financial responsibility for any damage incurred by the tenant. Expats who don’t know of a feasible candidate need not worry. There are many apartment brokers in Argentina who cater exclusively to foreigners looking to rent.


Utilities are generally not included in rental prices and expats will therefore have to budget for their water, electricity, gas, telephone and internet usage. 

Buying property in Argentina

Foreigners have the right to purchase both property and land in Argentina. Expats should note that the finer details can differ from province to province. In Patagonia, for example, there are restrictions on foreigners buying real estate. This applies particularly to property located close to the Chilean border.

It is not necessary in most areas to have a residence visa in order to purchase land or property. That said, expats wishing to move permanently to Argentina with household effects will need to pay a Customs Bond and a yearly ‘guarantee’ on the goods until they have a permanent residence visa.

Before purchasing a property, one needs to obtain a Clave de Identificación (tax ID). It is also necessary that non-residents appoint an Argentinian representative to pay the property tax for them. Once the purchase price of the property has been agreed on, the buyer is expected to pay a boleto or a deposit, which is generally around 30 percent of the purchase price. The property purchase process generally lasts between one and two months.

Visas for Argentina

Applying for a visa from within Argentina tends to be a complicated process. Although applications can be made in any city, expats may be required to visit the central Immigration Department in Buenos Aires for an interview regarding their application. The process can be made simpler by applying for the correct visa before entering the country.

There are a wide range of visas that expats can apply for depending on the reason they are going to Argentina. Each family member, including dependent children, need to apply for a separate visa.

Visitor visas for Argentina

Nationals on a list of countries with a visa-waiver programme with Argentina do not need to apply for a tourist visa. They get a 90-day tourist visa stamped into their passport upon arrival. These include nationals of Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa. Expats should ensure that they have at least six months before their passport expires and at least one clear page where the visa can be stamped.

All other foreign nationals are required to apply for a tourist visa from their Argentinian consulate or embassy before travelling to the country. It is advisable to allow 30 days for this process.

Tourist visas in Argentina are valid for 90 days. It is possible to apply for an extension for a further 90 days in-country. To continue to stay in Argentina legally, expats will then need to exit the country before the extension lapses and return to obtain a new 90-day tourist visa. 

Work visas for Argentina

All foreigners travelling to Argentina to work will need a visa. This visa is issued by the National Directorate of Migration (Dirección Nacional de Migraciones) in Argentina. The fee for visa application varies from country to country. Once employees arrive in Argentina, they need to apply for a Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI), which is a National Identity Document. At the same time, employees need to get a Código Único de Identificación Laboral (CUIL) number which is a unique code for work identification.

The Contracted Personnel Visa is one option available to expats wishing to live in Argentina, which is for people working for an Argentinian company. The company needs to be registered with the immigration ministry and authorised to employ foreign workers. Expats can apply for this visa either before or after their arrival in the country. This visa is usually valid for one full year, and the renewal process is straightforward. Family members are also entitled to apply for a visa as dependents. 

Generally, employees of large corporations will have their visas dealt with by their employers. Expats should speak with the company employing them or an official from their local Argentinian consulate to determine which visa is right for their situation.

Temporary resident visa for Argentina

Applying for temporary residence in Argentina requires expats to show that they have a fixed minimum income. This income can be from investments in foreign banks or companies, or income issued by banks in Argentina. This visa is valid for one year and renewable up to three years. After that, the resident may apply for permanent residency.

Retiree visa for Argentina

This visa is aimed specifically at expats who are pensioners. They would have to prove that they are retired, and will need to show receipts of a pension. To qualify for this visa, applicants would have to prove a minimum monthly income. This visa is also valid for one year. After two renewals expats would be eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Permanent residence visa for Argentina

In order to apply for permanent residency, the person applying must have been a temporary resident in Argentina for at least two years. Expats need to provide documentation, certified by the National Immigration Office, to prove this. 

These documents are necessary no matter the reason for applying for permanent residency in Argentina. Other documents may be required depending on individual circumstances. After two years of permanent residency, expats are entitled to apply for citizenship.

*Visa regulations and requirements for work permits are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.

Culture Shock in Argentina

Despite its reputation as the most ‘European’ of South American countries, Argentina is still Latin by nature – lively, emotional and family-oriented. The country is huge and the degree of culture shock expats will experience varies considerably from province to province.

Expats interested in living outside the big cities will probably experience more culture shock, while in the capital, Buenos Aires, any culture shock expats feel will likely be mild. In fact, expats would be forgiven for thinking they’re in Paris, London or Rome. Buenos Aires is a melting pot of nationalities, and its European heritage is prominent. 

Political protests in Argentina

Political life in Argentina is characterised by a particularly active culture of social protest. These kinds of demonstrations occur regularly, especially in Buenos Aires. There has been an increase in violent repression during demonstrations and expats are advised to avoid these protests as far as possible. If caught up in a demonstration, it would be best to try and blend in with the crowd – it may even end up being a great cultural experience in the end.

Women in Argentina

Latin America in general is known for machismo, which is essentially an exaggerated sense of masculinity. Unfortunately, this is also something that is prevalent in Argentina. Though, more overt acts of hyper-masculinity, such as frequent catcalling and groping, have decreased slightly with the recent rise of feminism in the country, expats may notice that gender inequality is a bigger problem in Argentina than it is in the West.

An interesting byproduct of machismo, however, is the culture of chivalry. Men tend to let women off elevators first, hold doors open, and are without fail handed the bill at restaurants. Some bus drivers may even go so far as to make men feel bad for not paying their female companion's bus fare.

In recent years, the Argentinian government has been working on taking issues related to gender inequality into the national budget. As a result of this, they hope to see more equality in the work place and better access to public services for women in Argentina, among other things.

Local customs in Argentina

One thing foreigners never really get used to is the siesta, which involves a four-to-five hour shutdown in the middle of the day − traditionally after a big family midday meal − when everyone sleeps. Towns become ghost-like with shops closing before midday and rarely opening again before early evening.

This siesta culture also means that people eat late. In fact, everything in Argentina is done later. Restaurants do not open for dinner until 9pm at the earliest, and most people go out to eat at around 10.30pm. Clubs only start filling up after 1am. On any given day of the week, streets are still bustling with people at midnight or even the early hours of the morning. Even children are still up and energetic at these hours.

Local greetings are another custom expats seem to struggle with initially. Kisses on the cheek when greeting hello and goodbye is part of Argentinian culture. When Argentines enter a room, every single person − stranger or family − receives one kiss on the right cheek.

Language barrier in Argentina

One of the biggest struggles for expats moving to Argentina is not being able to speak the native language, as not being able to communicate thoughts and feelings often leads to feelings of isolation. English is not widely spoken outside of the big cities.

This language barrier can make things such as banking and renting an apartment extremely difficult. It would therefore be quite helpful for new arrivals to learn some Spanish. Even having a basic grasp of the language will help with simple tasks like ordering at a restaurant or getting directions.

To complicate this matter further, Argentines are known for having a very specific dialect. This is markedly different to the kind of Spanish spoken in Europe.

Shopping and food in Argentina

Buying food in Argentina differs a lot from what Westerners may be accustomed to. Instead of going to larger supermarkets which sell everything under one roof, Argentines prefer shopping at more specialist shops – which often lowers the price of groceries significantly. This means instead of running into one store to get the weekly shopping, Argentines would go to the bakery for bread, the butcher for meat, and the grocer for fresh vegetables and fruit.

Argentina is any meat-lover's dream. Some of the most popular dishes, such as locro, asado and parrillas, and empanadas, often centre on carne (beef). Argentines largely still view vegetarian food as anything that isn't red meat – yes, that includes chicken. That said, larger cities are seeing a boom in vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Today, Buenos Aires has more than 60 vegetarian and vegan restaurants, plus many more that offer plant-based options.

Expats often find assimilating into Argentinian culture to be more difficult than they initially expected. That said, there are lots of benefits to life in Argentina, including a more leisurely pace of life, plenty of good wine and steak, and the fact that dollars and euros can go incredibly far.

Working in Argentina

Finding work in Argentina as an expat is probably the biggest hurdle facing those relocating to the country, because it has strict employment laws and high rates of unemployment. Expats should consider transferring to the Argentinian branch of a multinational company from their home country or applying to jobs in industries that tend to hire foreign workers. In these cases, expats have a higher chance of employment. The company should also then sort out all the required visas and work permits.

Nowadays, there seems to be an increase in expats doing casual or online work rather than having a full-time job.

Job market in Argentina

Expats planning to look for work after entering Argentina may run into difficulties. Job opportunities for expats are limited and local wages can be considerably lower than those some foreigners may be accustomed to. Most of the opportunities for expats are in the big cities, specifically in the banking, IT and oil sectors. Jobs in tourism and teaching also often hire expats, and these are industries where speaking English is necessary. Foreigners who speak Spanish and are willing to work for Argentinian wages, however, are more likely to find a job in other industries.

Alternatively, in recent years there has been a rise in casual jobs for those expats not wanting to stay for the long term. Generally these jobs are more suitable for singles travelling for a limited time or for students. These jobs tend not to pay well and can often end up being on the dodgy side with employers trying to avoid visas and legal routes of employment. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is popular, as well as working in journalism, call centres and bars or restaurants.

Finding work in Argentina

Getting a job in Argentina is not an easy task. There is no law prioritising locals over foreigners for jobs, but the country is still recovering from multiple economic crises, which means job opportunities for foreigners are rather sparse. It is also necessary to speak a high level of Spanish in order to qualify for most jobs. 

The easiest route to employment would be to find a job before relocating. Ideally, expats should try to find employment in an international company, an Argentinian company in need of highly skilled individuals or English speakers, or by transferring branches with their current employer.

Work culture in Argentina

Employment law (Ley de Contrato de Trabajo) in Argentina is extremely strict. It regulates all aspects of working life, from employee rights and conditions to wage protection and employee/employer obligations. By law, residents in Argentina must be 18 years of age before they can start working.

Generally speaking, the work day in Argentina is eight hours long. Outside of Buenos Aires, the siesta has to be taken into account. Working hours here are typically 8.30am to 12.30pm and then 4pm to 8pm. By law, employees should not work more than 48 hours a week. People are not expected to work on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, although most shops are open all day Saturday.

Employees are paid 13 months' salary per year. This is a built-in bonus system that is mandatory according to Argentinian labour law. Half the bonus is paid in June and the other half in December. Workers in Argentina are entitled to 14 days annual leave, after being employed for one year. This then increases according to years of service.

Argentinians are generally family-orientated people, which translates into the way they conduct business. Close, personal relationships are valued, respect is given to older associates and more loyalty is shown to individual people than to companies as a whole. It's extremely important for expats to network and build meaningful relationships if they want to succeed in the business world in Argentina.

Banking, Money and Taxes in Argentina

Today, the Argentinian banking sector is well established, and expats will find that they can open up a bank account in pesos or dollars, as long as they can present the required identification documents.

There are expats who choose to leave their money in bank accounts in their home country, which may make a few aspects of living in Argentina slightly more complicated. Hefty taxes also apply when transferring money from an offshore account to a local account, so expats are advised to think carefully before doing this.

With a little bit of patience, it is completely possible for an expat to open a bank account in Argentina.

Money in Argentina

The official currency in Argentina is the Argentinian peso (ARS), commonly referred to simply as the peso. The peso is divided into 100 centavos. 

  • Notes: ARS 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100

  • Coins: ARS 1 and 2 and 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos

Banking in Argentina

Even though Argentina’s economy is notoriously unstable, the banks are doing well. This may be because banks are used to the instability and have begun shifting their models of operation to those of more orthodox countries (revenues based on lending and selling other financial products).

The largest local bank in Argentina is Banco de La Nación Argentina, although there are many others, including Grupo Financiero Galicia, Banco Patagonia, Banco Privincia, Banco CrediCoop. Citibank, HSBC and Santander are the biggest foreign banks operating in Argentina.

Banks are usually open for business from 10am till 3pm (depending on cities and seasons) and are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Most ATMs are open round the clock every day of the week. Expats should be prepared to queue whenever they enter a bank’s premises, and will most likely not find an English speaker working at the bank.

Opening a bank account

To open the equivalent of a checking account (cuenta correinte) in Argentina, expats will need a variety of documents, including a DNI (Documento Naciónal de Identidad), their passport, proof of residence, a CUIT number (business tax code), CUIL number (personal tax code) and AFIP (social security number), as well as money to put down as a deposit. These requirements vary from bank to bank, so expats are advised to consult individual branches for specific details. To open a savings account, the individual must be a permanent resident in Argentina.

Using an offshore bank account

Paying money into an Argentinian account from an offshore source can become incredibly frustrating. Both the banks and the government charge a tax, the exchange rates are generally poor and it can take weeks for the money to actually arrive.

Withdrawing funds from a foreign account using an ATM in Argentina will incur heavy fees. Periodically, the amounts foreigners can withdraw are restricted, sometimes to as little as 3000 ARS (50 USD) per day. Expats can usually leave their card in the machine and withdraw the limited amount up to four times; however, four separate transactions will be charged.

Many expats in Argentina prefer using Western Union to transfer money. This is efficient, but there usually are restrictions on the amounts that can be sent and received.


Almost anything in Argentina can be paid for in cuotas – usually comprising six payments. This includes supermarket food shopping.

Expats can pay in cuotas using credit and debit cards, unless they present a foreign registered card, in which case the payment has to be done immediately and in full. Expats using foreign cards need to produce identification, with a passport usually sufficing.

Argentinians have to present their DNI for all transactions paid for with cards. Very few people have standing orders or direct debits set up on their bank accounts. Most bills are paid in cash, so at certain times of the month, when payments are due, queues at banks, finance houses and Pago Facil (easy payment) outlets are long.


ATMs are plentiful in the larger cities in Argentina, they can be found in shopping malls and the like. This is not the case in the smaller towns, where they are normally only on the bank premises in the centre of town.

ATMs are available 24 hours a day, but on certain days of the week, such as a Thursday or the day preceding a national holiday, expats may find long queues of people and there’s a chance the machine may run out of money. 

ATMs also have a limit as to how much you can withdraw, that will depend on your debit/credit card, your bank and the country you are from (if using a foreign bank card). It can go from as low as 1,000 ARS to as much as 4,000 ARS. It is advisable to talk to the bank about withdrawal limits that may apply.

Taxes in Argentina

Expats will find that taxes in Argentina are an extensive and complex affair.

This South American country has no inheritance or gift tax, but there are high rates attached to everything else – income tax, personal asset taxes, transfer taxes and an exceptionally high VAT (Value Added Tax).

Expats planning on earning money in Argentina are advised to seek the guidance of an accountant with professional experience in the country.

Income tax in Argentina

Employers are responsible for dealing with the relevant paperwork regarding tax for their employees and usually make a single payment at the end of the year.

Self-employed individuals pay their taxes to the local tax office every month. There are various allowances and deductions that can be taken into account; such as those for dependents, life insurances and funeral expenses.

Many people in Argentina 'work in the black', meaning illegally, in order to avoid paying their taxes. Employment taxes imposed on an employer are crippling, and expats may be surprised to find that it is common for even businessmen to go the ‘black’ route.

A non-resident's income may be subject to a withholding tax of 35 percent, calculated on presumed revenues. Expats should be aware that money paid into an Argentinian bank account from an offshore source may result in this deduction, so it is important to check on this before transferring large sums of foreign currency into the country.

Education and Schools in Argentina

Argentina has a large number of schools to choose from, but there are many factors to consider when choosing a school, such as language proficiency, neighbourhoods, commute time, tuition expenses, size of the classes and availability. 

Most schools in Argentina are based on the southern hemisphere calendar, with classes typically starting in late February and ending mid-December. Some international schools follow the northern hemisphere school calendar, with classes running from September until June. 

Generally, the schooling system in Argentina is divided into three levels:

  • Kindergartens are separate and available for 2–5-year-olds
  • Primary school is 1st–6th grade
  • Secondary is 7th–12th grade

Schooling is compulsory in Argentina from the last year of kindergarten to the end of secondary school. Schools can be divided into public, private and international schools.

Public schools in Argentina

Public school in Argentina is free and, as one of the first countries in the Americas to provide free public schooling, the Argentines have a long and proud history of education.

Despite Argentina having a 98 percent literacy rate and one of the highest enrolment rates in tertiary education in South America, the quality of the countries education system has decreased. The many economic crises and a lack of government spending on education has taken its toll on the infrastructure of the schools in the country. 

Normally classes are only offered for a half day, and public schools don't offer bilingual programmes or English classes. Additionally, there are generally very few options for electives such as music or art.  

Considering that most expats would be looking for schools with the highest quality education possible, the public school system may not be the best option for expat children.

Private schools in Argentina

There are many good options for private schools in all major cities in Argentina. Private schools still follow the Argentinian curriculum, although they have more flexibility. The curricula and fees vary greatly, but the choices are vast. It’s possible to find smaller neighbourhood schools with a more Argentinian feel, or a larger school with a more international feel. No matter what, most private schools, especially in the Buenos Aires area, are used to accepting expat families. 

Most private schools have some type of bilingual programme, although the level of English can vary greatly. After-school sports are provided by many schools, but children can also join a sports club.  

As Argentina is officially a Catholic country, there are many private schools that are funded by the Catholic church. These schools aren’t necessarily religious, however, and students don’t have to be Catholic to attend.

It’s also good to note that a school’s name doesn’t always indicate whether it’s religious or secular. Expat parents shouldn’t assume a school is exclusively Catholic just because its name sounds religious. It’s always best to contact a school directly about this.

International schools in Argentina

There are also several international schools in Argentina, particularly in larger cities such as Cordoba and Buenos Aires. These schools are sometimes called colleges, they’re generally private and require tuition, which can be rather expensive. 

These schools generally offer a sports programme, as well as the arts. 

While young children can adapt to Spanish teaching rather quickly, older children might struggle and an international school may therefore be the best option. These students can learn Spanish in school, while being taught the rest of the curriculum in English. 

Most schools have some type of international curricula, such as the IB (International Baccalaureate) or the IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education). These programmes provide curricular guidance and international evaluations at the end of each year. There also are international schools that follow German, Italian, French and Japanese curricula.

Homeschooling in Argentina

Although homeschooling is not illegal in Argentina, it is also not specified by law. Expats who choose to homeschool fall into a grey area, but since they aren’t Argentine citizens they may be permitted to homeschool under their home country’s legal system. Alternatively, expats can apply for official certification in public schools as 'free students', where they will be required to take an exam once or twice a year. These exams are free and are determined by the official state curriculum. 

Special-needs education in Argentina

By Federal law, all schools must accept children with disabilities. There’s a new push for inclusion programmes in many schools, trying to incorporate children with all different types of abilities. Unfortunately, there are still many public schools unreceptive to children with special needs.

Expat parents of children with special needs should consider international or private schools over public. It is advisable to contact individual schools to find out what options are available and how enrolment would work.

Tutoring in Argentina

Expats can find private home or online tutors for their children through registered online tutor companies. Apprentus and TeacherOn are two such companies. These tutors can help children adjust to the new curriculum or to learning in Spanish. Tutors can also offer school support for students struggling in any of their classes. 

Tertiary education in Argentina

Tertiary education in Argentina is free for those attending state universities. The University of Buenos Aires is free, well known and highly respected. Private universities charge tuition fees that vary depending on the institution. Argentinian universities have a high percentage of part-time students, as many students need to work to sustain themselves. Foreign students can apply to Argentine universities but will have to pay higher international fees and obtain a student visa.

Public Holidays in Argentina




New Year's Day

1 January

1 January


20–21 February

12–13 February

Truth and Justice Day

24 March

24 March

Malvinas Day

2 April

2 April

Maundy Thursday

6 April

28 March

Good Friday

7 April

29 March

Labour Day

1 May 

1 May

National Day

25 May

25 May

Martín Miguel de Güemes Day

17 June

17 June

National Flag Day

20 June

20 June

Independence Day

9 July

9 July

San Martín Day

21 August

19 August

Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity

9 October

14 October

Day of National Sovereignty

20 November

18 November

Immaculate Conception Day

8 December

8 December

Christmas Day

25 December

25 December

Healthcare in Argentina

Healthcare in Argentina is generally considered to be of the highest standard of all the countries in Latin America, and expats will find its reputation is warranted. 

In Buenos Aires and other sizeable towns and cities, such as Córdoba or Mendoza, the clinics are excellent and the medical staff are well trained. That said, elsewhere in the country, healthcare standards vary greatly.

Public healthcare in Argentina

Public healthcare in Argentina is used by around half the population and provides free care for all in-patients and out-patients. Argentina generally provides free or highly subsidised hospital, medical, dental, and palliative care as well as free rehab, medical transport, and prosthetics. Everyday prescriptions and chronic conditions, however, may require payment.

The medical staff are generally well trained, but nursing and aftercare services can be severely lacking. Emergency attention is free for all (including tourists), as are doctor call-outs. In-patient care is variable, as public hospitals are frequently underfunded and staff overworked.

There is no universal GP system in Argentina and general doctors are usually found in the public hospitals. Otherwise, patients need to make appointments with specialists in the private clinics. Charges vary from place to place, with rural areas generally cheaper than urban centres.

Private healthcare in Argentina

Most expats in Argentina use private services because it is assumed private healthcare means an individual will be getting better attention and the waiting time for treatment is less. While the former may not necessarily be true, there's a fair argument for the latter.

Private clinics and hospitals in Argentina are well resourced and expats can expect an excellent level of care and facilities in the major cities. That said, the standard of care may vary in smaller towns and rural areas. 

Many Argentine doctors were trained overseas, and expats therefore may not struggle to find an English-speaking physician in private hospitals. Around 70 percent of the hospitals in the country are private. 

Dental care in Argentina

The standard of dental health in Argentina is extremely high, even in small towns. That said, expats are unlikely to find English-speaking dentists outside the main cities. Dental costs in Argentina are considerably cheaper than in the USA and most European countries.

Orthodontic care in Argentina is also of an extremely high standard and is a fraction of the cost of similar treatment in many other Western countries.

Pharmacies in Argentina

Pharmacies are easy to find in Argentinian cities, with many open 24/7.

It is possible to buy many types of medicine over the counter at pharmacies in Argentina without a prescription. The pharmacist can also advise on medication for a number of standard conditions, such as stomach bugs and flu. Female contraceptives (the pill) are also available without a prescription, but they are not free.

Health insurance in Argentina

Private healthcare in Argentina is generally financed by voluntary insurance schemes. As in other countries, costs vary from provider to provider. Expats can receive medical coverage through a number of international health insurers, otherwise many small, private clinics also have their own schemes.

Expats should note that the cost of monthly premiums merely gives a discount off the price of care when it is needed. Private health insurance cover is also highly localised, so if expats leave town, their policy will often no longer be valid.

Expats can also pay premiums directly to a private clinic and bypass health insurance. Expats doing this must simply present their passport when visiting the clinic; no residency visa is needed. An obvious downside to this policy is that expats are limited as to where they can receive treatment.

Social Security or Obras Sociales are obligatory insurance schemes run by the trade unions and are only applicable to Argentinians and permanent residents who are legally employed. Both employer and employee pay contributions towards in-patient and out-patient care. Medication is also covered; although, if contributions are not sufficient to cover the cost of treatment, the employer or employee will have to pay the difference.

Health hazards in Argentina

Argentina is considered a low-risk area for both cholera and malaria, but dengue fever is a slight concern during the summer months. The most effective way to guard against dengue fever is to avoid mosquito bites, particularly during the day. Using mosquito repellents and wearing long pants and sleeves are some simple methods expats can use to avoid being bitten. 

Tap water in Argentina is drinkable in the major towns and cities, but expats travelling or relocating beyond these areas should stick to bottled or treated water.

Pre-travel vaccinations for Argentina

The following vaccinations are recommended for expats travelling to Argentina: 

  • Yellow fever - particularly if they plan on travelling within the region and to some of the more remote provinces. The vaccination must be given at least 10 days before leaving for Argentina.

  • Hepatitis A

  • Typhoid

  • Routine vaccinations – if not up to date (measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, etc.)

The above list is merely a guide. Expats should ensure that all their routine vaccinations are up to date and should consult with a medical professional prior to departure for further information on vaccinations for Argentina.

Emergency services in Argentina

The ambulance service is fairly efficient in most places – some are publicly funded and others are run by the private clinics.

The medical emergency number in Argentina is 107 and can be dialled from any phone, although 911 is also applicable.

Weather in Argentina

Weather in Argentina is extremely varied and is best sub-divided into four broad climate regions: east central Argentina (also known as the Pampas), western Argentina, the northeastern interior, and southern Argentina, which includes both the climate-specific Andes as well as Patagonia. It's quite exceptional that expats living in Argentina can experience both the freezing gale force winds of Patagonia and the extreme heat of the north in one season.

Argentina has four distinct seasons. Summer typically starts in December, moving into autumn in March, transitioning into winter in June and finally changing into spring in September. While the south is characterised by cold temperatures and howling wind, the north is sub-tropical and receives heavy rainfall.

The weather in Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital and most popular expat destination, is relatively temperate with distinct seasonal changes. High temperatures and high humidity are a normal part of the city's sultry summers. Spring and autumn are pleasant, whereas winter is cooler, but mild. Snow is a rarity in Buenos Aires, though there may be an occasional day where the temperatures plunge toward freezing. Rainfall is heaviest during summer months, but precipitation is present throughout the year.

Expats living in Argentina will find the varied climate makes certain parts of the country more attractive during different times of the year. The Lake District, Mendoza and Córdoba are fantastic in autumn when the leaves begin to change and the crowds begin to thin. Alternatively, Buenos Aires is something special in spring with the jacarandas in bloom and the gloom of winter fading away.

Patagonia and the south are best in summer, whereas the north is most bearable in winter.