Argentine nationality law
Any person born in Argentine territory acquires Argentine citizenship at birth, excepting children of persons in the service of a foreign government (e.g. foreign diplomats). This can be also applied to people born in the Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands), a British Overseas Territory claimed by Argentina.1
Argentina has a dual system accepting jus soli. Jus soli means being Argentinian because of being born in Argentina.
The current laws governing citizenship (Ley 346, Ley 23.059, and Decreto 3.213/84) set forth very simple requirements:
- be 18 years old or older;
- have been living in Argentina for 2 years; and
- apply for citizenship before a federal judge.
Citizenship can be denied if applicants:
- have been in jail for more than 3 years in the last 5 years;
- are under criminal prosecution;
- have an illegitimate source of income, such as working without a legal permit.
As the citizenship law has existed unchanged since 1869, there are many precedents based on which the Supreme Court is able to resolve almost any immigration related problem. Citizenship has been granted to immigrants who lacked legal residency or entered the country illegally and, in exceptional cases even to immigrants with criminal records.
Recently, the Federal Chamber of Parana established that nobody can be considered an illegal alien in Argentina since the concept of legality applies only to actions violating criminal laws. The violation of the immigration law is a simple administrative issue that can be remedied by applying for residency or citizenship.
The continuous 2 year residency requirement means that applicants need to make Argentina their home. However, applicants may leave the country. Since applicants enjoy the same civil rights as Argentinians, including the right to travel, they may leave the country.
For historic reasons, federal courts are still reluctant to recognize the rights of "irregular" immigrants. They usually request the following requirements related to the abolished law 21.795:
- Legal residency
- Legal work
- Spanish-language ability
- Renunciation of native citizenship
- DNI with permanent residency
- Birth certificate apostilled and translated by public notary
- Certificate of a clean criminal record from home country
- Certificate of a clean criminal record in Argentina
- CUIT or CUIL number
Dual citizenship is accepted by Argentina. However, dual nationals are only recognised as Argentine citizens within Argentine territory, and must enter Argentina using an Argentine passport.
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