Argentina

General Information Banking
Business Etiquette Tips Embassy Locations and Registration
Employment-Legal Requirements Entry and Exit Requirements
Intellectual Property Legal and Registration of a Business Entity
Safety and Crime Taxes

General Information

ArgentinaFrom the mountain ranges of the Andes to the sophisticated metropolitan city of Buenos Aires, travelers to Argentina will find scenic landscapes, beautiful beaches, some of the world's finest shopping, cultural activities, and numerous opportunities to explore historical sites and pre-Incan ruins. Once considered one of the world's 10 wealthiest countries (1880-1930), Argentina has experienced high levels of fluctuation throughout its financial sector and political conflict during the last few decades. Argentina is currently in the process of slowly recovering from a severely crippled economy.  As the second-largest country in South America, the country has many constructive factors to aid in its recovery: rich natural resources, a highly educated population, a globally competitive agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. These have had a positive influence on its reemergence from an economic downturn.   

There may be political unrest and/or targeted crime against visitors to the country.  Travelers should check with the U.S. State Department Web site for current travel safety information.

Major Cities
Capital:  Buenos Aires
Major cities:  Cordoba, Mar del Plata, and Riachuelo
Official Currency
Argentine peso (ARS).
Time Zone
UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, D.C. during Standard Time). Daylight Saving Time: +1 hour, begins first Sunday in October, ends third Saturday in March.
Language
Spanish (official), Italian, English, German, French.

  
Legal System and Government


Type of Legal System

The Argentine legal system is a mixture of U.S. and West European legal systems. It has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction. 

Form of Government

Republic, representative and federal

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Banking

Nearly all establishments accept U.S. dollars and major credit cards, though it may be difficult to exchange travelers' checks in some of the smaller towns.

Available Banking Services

ATMs
Credit Cards
Online banking
Banking in English
Insurance and investments
International banking
Loans and mortgages 
Overdraft protection

Bank Holidays

New Year's Day 
Civil Servant's Holiday
National Day of the Memory by The Truth and Justice
Malvinas Day
Civil Servant's Day 
Good Friday   
Labor Day 
May Day Revolution
National Flag Day 
Independence Day     
St. Martin's Day   
Immaculate Conception  
Bank Holiday (half day)   
Christmas Day  
Bank Holiday (half day)  

U.S. and Other Major Banks in Country

(Note: Addresses and contact information subject to change.)

Citibank Argentina
Bartolome Mitre 502/530
Buenos Aires, C1036AAJ
Argentina
Phone: +54 (11) 4329-1729
Web:   http://www.citigroup.com/citi/about/countrypresence/argentina.html

Standard Chartered Bank
Av. Leandro N. Alem
855 Piso 18
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Phone: +54 (11) 4875-0500
Fax:    +54 (11) 4875-0520
Web:   http://www.standardchartered.com/ar/en/

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Business Etiquette Tips

Business Attire

Business dress for men and women tends toward conservative and well dressed.

Business Negotiations

Argentines like to do business with people they know. It is advantageous to spend a fair amount of time developing a business relationship, though the pace of business can be somewhat slow and bureaucratic. All major points should be confirmed to ensure that both parties have the same understanding since your Argentine counterpart may not publicly disagree with you in a meeting setting. It is important to realize that business meetings are used primarily to discuss business points and exchange ideas. Final decisions are made at a later time.

Proper Greetings

A handshake is an acceptable form of greeting upon being introduced to someone.

Scheduling Appointments

Appointments are required, and they should be scheduled two weeks in advance. Punctuality on your part is essential even though your counterpart may keep you waiting.

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Embassy Locations and Registration

Americans living or traveling in Argentina are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the State Department's travel registration Web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Argentina.  Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the embassy or consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

(Note: Addresses and contact information subject to change.)

U.S. Embassy in Argentina
Av. Colombia 4300
Buenos Aires, Argentina C1425GMN
Phone: (54 11) 5777-4533
Fax:    (54 11) 5777-4240
Web:   http://argentina.usembassy.gov/index.html

Embassy of Argentina in Washington, D.C.
1600 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20009-2512
Phone: (202) 238-6401 Emergency: (202) 294-2029
Fax:    (202) 332-3171
Web: http://embassyofargentina.us/embassyofargentina.us/en/home.htm

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Employment-Legal Requirements

Average working hours in Argentina are 45 hours a week spread over a five-and-a-half day work week (with differentials for night or hazardous working conditions) up to a maximum of 48 hours per week. Overtime is paid at a rate of one-and-a-half times the regular salary for all hours worked beyond 45 in a week. It cannot exceed a maximum of 30 hours in any one month. Any work performed after 1 p.m. on Saturdays, on Sundays, or on holidays is paid at double a worker's regular salary.

All employment contracts include an automatic probationary period of three months.  Small businesses (40 employees or less) have a set probationary period of six months, which can be extended to as many as 12 months in situations where highly skilled employees are involved. Unless otherwise stated or provided for most employment contracts are considered to be for an indefinite period of time. 

Terminating Employees 

All terminations are to be submitted in writing and include the reason for termination. If an employee terminates employment, a notice period of 15 days is required.  Employment terminated by the employer is based upon the length of time an employee has been employed as indicated below: 

If the entity is a small business the notice period is never more than one month.

Severance

Terminations made without just cause require notice and payment of severance.  If notice is not provided then payment in lieu of notice (equal to the required amount of notice) is due as well as severance equal to one month's salary for each year of employment. Group terminations or layoffs require appropriate notice to be given and payment of severance equal to half a month's salary for each year of employment.

Legally Mandated Benefits and Leave

Annual Paid Vacation
14 days (upon completion of six months of employment).
21 days if employed 5 to 10 years with the same company.
28 days if employed 10 to 20 years;
35 days if employed 20 years or more.
Funeral Leave
3 days of paid leave.
Marital Leave
10 days of paid leave.
Maternity Leave
45 days prior to birth and 45 days following birth. An employee can request a shortened pre-birth leave of 30 days and apply the rest to the time following birth. Leave is paid from social security funds. Additionally, nursing mothers are entitled to two 30-minute breaks per day to nurse their children for a minimum period of one year.
Paternity Leave
2 days of paid leave.
Sick Leave
Maximum of 3 months paid leave per year (if employed for 5 years or less). A maximum of 6 months of paid leave is granted for those employed more than 5 years per each illness.*
Special Leave
Students may be granted 2 days paid leave to take an examination given by a secondary institution or university. A maximum of 10 days is permitted per year.

                                           
*Employees with dependents are allowed an additional 6 months of leave per each situation. Employees with long-term illnesses are permitted an additional 12 months of unpaid sick leave during which time job protection is maintained.

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Entry and Exit Requirements

A basic U.S. tourist is entitled to stay in Argentina a maximum of 90 days without a visa, provided they have a valid passport. Stays of a longer duration require a visa. Travelers are also advised to obtain a yellow fever vaccination a minimum of 10 days prior to departure. Other requirements apply to individuals traveling under the age of 21.

Short-Term or Business Stay

A short-term visa is available, and it is valid for a period of 90 days. But it can be extended for an additional 90 days if renewed before the initial expiration date.  General requirements include a passport photo, return airline reservation, proof of financial resources, a personal interview, and evidence of immigration status in the United States. 

Work Visa

Typical processing time via the Argentine Consulate is 10 days to three weeks to obtain a work visa. But a minimum of one month should be allotted to complete the process in time for travel. Individuals should be prepared to submit the following items: a passport with one year of remaining validity; a completed visa application; six passport photos; an entry permit submitted by the Argentine immigration authority (this process alone can take up to four months); a contract of employment written on the employer's letterhead; a birth certificate; a police report and an international criminal records affidavit that shows no record of arrest or convictions; and appropriate fees. 

For the most current and detailed visa information visit the Embassy of Argentina's Web site.

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Intellectual Property 

Once granted, patent applications must be exploited within a period of three years in order to maintain their validity. Nonuse constitutes nonfulfillment, and the patent office may permit another to make use of the invention if desired. 

Nature of Rights and Available Protection

Patents

Patents are protected for a nonrenewable period of 20 years.  To maintain patent protection of an invention, payment of annual maintenance fees at increasing rates are due. 

Utility Patent

Utility patents are protected for a period of 10 years from the filing date.

Industrial Design Patents

Design patents are protected for an initial five-year term that can be renewed twice in two five-year increments up to a maximum of 15 years.

Copyrights

All published copyrights are protected during the lifetime of the author or creator and an additional 70 years following the author or creator's death. Cinematographic works are protected for the lifetime of the author(s) or creator(s) and an additional 50 years following the death of the last known collaborator. 

Trademarks

Trademark protection extends for an initial period of 10 years from the filing date but can be renewed every 10 years for an indefinite period of time.

Enforcement

Infringement of a patent owner's rights is considered a counterfeit offense and punishable by imprisonment of six months to three years in addition to a fine. Additionally, the patent owner may seek to be reimbursed for any damages incurred through a civil action lawsuit. If an offense is repeated by the same offender the penalty is doubled.

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Legal and Registration of a Business Entity

Foreign businesses frequently establish Argentine operations as a Sociedad Anonima (SA), limited liability companies (SRLs or Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada), sole proprietorships, partnerships, or as branches of the parent entity. It must be noted that in Argentina, if a branch is sued the parent company may be held liable.

Upon approval to establish a branch office, branches are required to maintain separate accounts and financial statements to the companies control authority. But many corporations prefer to set up as a separately incorporated subsidiary to minimize potential liability. 

Foreign and domestic entities both have equal right to establish and own business enterprises, real estate, and acquire and dispose of interests in said business enterprises. 

Additionally, there are no restrictions on foreign employment in Argentina as long as employees possess the necessary legal documentation to reside within the country and employment contracts conform to current labor laws. 

Registration Formalities (Including Timing)

To establish an SRL company in Argentina, the World Bank lists 14 individual steps to be completed over a time frame of approximately one month.

Many of the steps are included here, however a more detailed listing is included on the World Bank's Web site:

  1. The name of the company is verified by the Office of Corporations (Inspección General de Justicia) (IGJ).
  2. Certify signatures of partners by a notary public.
  3. Deposit initial capital in National Bank (Banco de la Nación Argentina) and obtain proof of payment.
  4.  Publish the new company's notice in the official paper (Boletín Oficial).
  5. Payment of the incorporation fee.
  6. Registration with the IGJ, entity operating the Public Registry of Commerce in the City of Buenos Aires.
  7. Buy special books.
  8. Get a form from the Public Notaries College and have a notary public submit the company books for rubrication by IGJ.
  9. Corporate manager needs to obtain a Fiscal Code (Clave Fiscal).
  10. Obtain a tax identification number (CUIT) from the National Tax Office (Administración Federal de Ingresos Públicos, AFIP) and register for social security.
  11. Register turnover tax at local level at the Dirección General de Rentas (DGR) in the City of Buenos Aires.
  12. Register with the Register with the Sistema Unico de Seguridad Social (SUSS).  .
  13. Contract an insurance for employees with a risk labor company (ART, Aseguradora de Riesgos del Trabajo).
  14. Rubricate books of wages in the Ministerio de Trabajo (Ministry of Labor)

(Source:  The World Bank, Doing Business - Argentina)

Below are additional resources to assist in establishing an office or hiring employees.

Administración Federal de Ingresos Públicos
 http://www.afip.gov.ar/english/
Federal Administration of Public Revenues (English)
Argentine Portal
http://www.argentina.ar/index_en.php (English)
Argentine Government Portal
http://www.argentina.gov.ar/argentina/portal/paginas.dhtml?pagina=356(Primarily in Spanish, some content in English)
Invest in Argentina
http://www.inversiones.gov.ar/home.php?lang=en (English)
Ministry of Economy
http://www.mecon.gov.ar/ (Spanish)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
http://www.mrecic.gov.ar/ (Spanish)

 

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Safety and Crime

Argentina has the highest traffic mortality rate in South America, with traffic accidents ranking as the number one risk for injury and/or death. Extra care is also advised when traveling near the Brazil or Paraguay borders. Otherwise, American travelers are advised to take the same precautions against becoming crime victims as they would in any large American city. Criminals are known to work in groups and utilize a variety of scams to distract unsuspecting victims.

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Taxes

All companies and individuals are responsible for payment of tax regardless of residency status. All employment income is taxable including employee benefits. Residents are taxed on all income regardless of its source, whereas nonresidents are taxed only on Argentine-sourced income. Argentina does not have a double-taxation agreement with the United States, though a foreign tax credit may be applicable toward foreign taxes paid up to the Argentine tax liability computed in relation to the foreign-sourced income. The tax year runs concurrent to the calendar year for individuals, and it is based on a fiscal year for companies. 

Individual and Employee Taxation

Determining Tax Residence

An individual is deemed a resident if present in Argentina for any 12-month period, including short absences abroad. If a permanent residence is established that individual will also be treated as a resident for tax purposes.

Employees in Argentina whose income does not exceed a set amount and whose only income is derived from their employment are not required to file income tax returns provided tax was withheld from their pay by their employer. Residents pay varying tax rates though a number of personal deductions are permitted. Those earning over the same set amount are required to make five bimonthly payments beginning in June of each year in addition to a final annual filing due the following April.

Nontax Resident Employees

An individual visiting or working in Argentina for less than six months (183 days) is not considered a resident for tax purposes. Nonresidents with employment contracts up to five years in length are taxed at a flat rate. In addition, nonresidents of high net worth may be taxed an additional percentage upon any personal owned property. Nonresidents are not permitted to take the standard deductions afforded residents. 

Social Security

All individuals are responsible for making social security contributions that depend on whether or not an individual is affiliated with a semiprivate retirement plan or a public one.

Corporate and Employer Tax Obligations

Determining Tax Residency for a Business

Resident companies are subject to tax on their worldwide taxable income. Nonresident companies are taxed only on Argentine-sourced income. Companies that are incorporated in Argentina, including branch offices, are considered resident for tax purposes. A foreign tax credit may be applicable, but this must be determined by a tax professional.

Social Security

Employers are required to make payments from the overall salary into the social security and health care systems. 

Value-Added Tax (VAT)

The standard VAT rate can change depending on the transaction. 

More information regarding specific taxation rates can be found through the Argentine Ministry of Economics.

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Online Resources Used for This Template

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