How to apply for asylum in Argentina?

flag argentina

Throughout its history, Argentina has been characterized for having a high percentage of immigrants among its people. United Nations (UN) statistics indicate that 5% of the people residing in the territory are foreigners, which is equivalent to 2.3 million registrations. Such movement is attributed to the ease of obtaining an identification document to work, move, and apply for undergraduate and graduate scholarships.

Part of the aforementioned figures also include refugees in the country; thus, by the end of 2020, a total of 185,000 people had received international protection. The advantage of this procedure is that the response time is usually shorter and there are no associated fees, as is the case when applying for a foreigner’s ID card; however, it is important to take into account all the aspects involved in initiating the asylum process in Argentina.

The countries of origin that lead the list of foreigners in Argentina are some of those bordering its borders: Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile. Although Venezuelan migrants are increasingly increasing in applications for both DNI and refugee status. Read on and find out how to apply for asylum in Argentina.

First considerations to request protection in Argentina

To begin with, it is essential to know that the entity that processes any type of protection in Argentina is called the National Commission for Refugees (CONARE). Here operate officials from different public institutions such as: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Social Development.

Therefore, it is CONARE that you should rely on at all times, because this will be the agency that will:

  • Evaluate the case for international protection
  • Define whether the process is approved or not.
  • Will watch over the rights of the applicants during the whole process.
  • Will be responsible for guaranteeing the integration of those who declare to have been victims of violence in their country.

It should be noted that, in order to request protection in Argentina, it is mandatory to be at its borders or within the country. For no reason, the consulates, which are located in other nations, will process this procedure.

Finally, you have to consider that the applicant must appear in person at all asylum application appointments, not being allowed the use of intermediaries or agents. In this way, any type of non-legal payment is avoided, since it is a totally free process.

Who is eligible for the shelter?

argentina inmigrant

It seems to us that it is necessary to understand that, for Argentina, the economic risks of other countries are not a reason to seek refuge. In this sense, if you only wish to have better job opportunities and professional growth in this territory, do not do it through this procedure because the answer will not be satisfactory; that is to say, the request will be denied.

For CONARE, a person who requires refugee status is someone who has been assaulted in their country of origin; either by racial, religious, stereotypical or sexual discrimination, which generates great fear. Violence, persecution and political conflicts are other valid reasons for seeking asylum in Argentina.

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Procedure for processing a request for asylum in Argentina

The first step to start the process of international protection in Argentina is to go to the authorized delegations. Indeed, the CONARE office located in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA) is the main one; but, if you are in other parts of the country you can visit:

  • Office or delegation belonging to the National Direction of Migration (DNM), which only applies outside the capital.
  • Nearby municipal or provincial authority.

To know exactly the addresses of all offices available in the interior of the country, click here. And if you still have doubts about where to go to start the asylum procedurethen contact the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) through this link.

conare argentina

For those who are at the border and wish to initiate the application, the authorized access points for such procedure are:

  • Ezeiza International Airport
  • Jorge Newbery Airport
  • San Fernando Airport
  • Buquebus Port Terminal

A curious fact regarding the request for protection in Argentina is that there is no established time limit to go to such offices; although, of course, we recommend that you do so as close as possible to the time of arrival in the country. Likewise, CONARE does not have an estimated time limit to respond to the case.

However, before going to any of the offices, you must first request an appointment for asylum. In the case of cities in the interior of the country, consult directly with the delegations mentioned above. For those who are in CABA, should proceed through the following email:

Once you have obtained the date, in the office or delegation that you must attend, the steps to follow are as follows:

Step 1. Appointment day.

During the appointment, the activities to be carried out are:

  • Fill out the form provided, where you will indicate your personal data and the reasons that led you to emigrate from your country.
  • Submit identity documents, either a valid passport or identity card.
  • Be interviewed by a CONARE official. You should not be afraid, since the information provided is handled with strict confidentiality. Mentioning details and showing evidence are fundamental aspects of the session.
  • Present proof of current address, which may differ from the legal address. The idea is that all subsequent notifications or appointments are sent to where you are.

It is important to note that, during the interview, the applicant has the right to an interpreter in case his/her native language is different from Spanish. Similarly, a professional can be called upon to provide legal assistance to clarify any terms of the process.

On the other hand, it is important to clarify that until a few months ago there was the option of filling out the appointment form online, for those who were in CABA. But nowadays, this modality is no longer available; the only one in force is the face-to-face application.

Step 2. Wait for provisional certificate.

After the appointment, the applicant must wait a maximum of 20 working days to receive the so-called provisional certificate at the address indicated in the previous step. This certificate certifies that the person is processing his/her immigration status as a refugee in Argentina, and grants a series of benefits, such as:

  • Right to transit throughout the national territory and continue the asylum process in the nearest delegation, if there is a change of address.
  • To leave the country, but previously communicating to CONARE the reasons for the trip. Although this temporary document is not valid to enter another nation; that is to say, the applicant must have a valid passport or identity card to go abroad.
  • Right to work legally and to have social security contributions, by being able to process with the certificate the Labor Identification Code (CUIL) granted by the National Administration of Social Security (ANSES).
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The provisional certificate has a specific expiration date, depending on the case; it is the applicant’s responsibility to extend it as many times as necessary until a response is obtained. CONARE and DNM are the places where the renewal is done.

Step 3. Procedure response

There are only two options for CONARE’s resolution: recognition of refugee status or denial, remembering that there is no established time frame for issuing such responses. Let’s see what to do in both situations:

  • Recognition of refuge. A certificate is issued with the approval of temporary residence as a refugee, with which the temporary foreigner’s ID card can be processed at no cost. One year later, you can apply for the permanent document or return to the country of origin if the risk conditions were eradicated. This is a personal decision, but not mandatory.
  • Refusal of refugee status. If you wish to continue with the petition, you have 10 working days after the decision of non-recognition of protection, to appeal the case. You do this by writing an explicit statement of why you do not agree with the response. If there is no change in the verdict afterwards, the next option is a judicial review. At this point, you would have to seek the assistance of a lawyer.

street argentina

As we have already mentioned, many refugee requests are denied in Argentina because people are only looking for an economic improvement. Sometimes, those who request them do not fall within the concept of refugees as defined by CONARE. For example, people who do not have the money to apply for a foreigner’s ID card, start with this process, which is free and allows them to work legally with the provisional certificate.

Then, once they have the money, they abandon the asylum and apply for an immigration regularization before the DNM. However, as they are two different and independent concepts, it is not mandatory to give up one process in order to proceed with the other.

Rights and duties as an asylum seeker

The National Commission for Refugees together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees work hard to integrate, efficientlyto the foreigners seeking protection in Argentina. Therefore, its mission is based on the Rightsbut in turn obligations of those who require help from the State:

Free transit throughout the country, showing the respective authorities the provisional certificate if necessary. The same cannot be retained.Respect all the laws of the country: national, municipal and provincial.
No expulsion from the territory of any applicant or refugee.Keep the provisional certificate renewed.
Public education at all levels, and option to participate in university scholarships.Go to all notifications, during the international protection application process.
Legal work with a dependency relationship in any company in Argentina, with access to all the benefits of the law.Update change of address information to CONARE.
Public health care in hospitals.Announce to CONARE any trip abroad and provide the necessary data.
Defense of integrity in case of discrimination through complaints. Therefore, gender, ideological, racial violence, etc., is prohibited.

In general terms, to make a legal immigration procedure in Argentina is simple and those who obtain it live happily; since this is a country where people respect in an impressive way the different religions, sexual preferences, skin color, etc. The State considers it an honor to receive foreign refugees and asylum seekers who deserve it.

Maya Martinez

Legal advisor for immigration processes. In addition to providing support in the legal procedures, I offer integral and informative support in relation to the obligations that are acquired when arriving to a new country.

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