Before arriving in Argentina, we had to have our Identity in the form of the US Passport and another book that says you are in Argentina on a temporary basis.
These have to be renewed, as a visitor, every 3 months a person would have to leave the country and get their passport stamped then come back.
As someone who plans to live here for some amount of time... this is not an option.
We were supposed to be here for one or two years, renewing after one year then starting the permanent status work, many visits to Immigrations, many copies of many papers, many translations of many papers and trying to understand and be understood by many overworked , short on patience Immigration office workers.
We were blessed with the good luck of meeting a young woman who speaks English and is nice and not rude. She helped us a great deal. Her name is Florencia and she really did make some of those visits tolerable... like we decided we would not throw ourselves out the windows or run away back to the US .. we would persevere.
The huge buildings that hold all the files and all the people and all the workers, were changed around .. so of all people who got lost in the shuffle, guess who was missing some important paper. Yes, you win !
So every 3 months we would go back , for a year, and get a stamp, be told that it was still temporary, they could not find the paper.
Finally one day, we got the stamp on a piece of paper saying we are Permanent but no stamp in the book ..
Today was our visit , with an appointment made, to go to the new building and see if one more time would see us getting that stamp in that little DNI book ..
Everything was different from the other times. The place is huge and clean and light and everyone smiles ! It was shocking . Why are they smiling ? What is wrong ?
Things moved quickly, I went first. I answered a few questions, easy ones.. my name. My fathers name. I was glad I still remembered these things, it seems I would grow old and senile before getting this stamp ..
Then the man fingerprinted me one more time for old times sake and stamped my DNI book.
Then my husband had his turn. He had 2 men working with him and I only noticed that they were all laughing. What is up with that ??
Then he got his stamp.
We are now .... Officially .... Permanent Residents of Argentina.
I am waiting to see if I can speak Castellano any better now.
The taxi driver understood me.
One last thing ... when was the last time you had dreary paperwork to do at a government agency ( picture the drivers license bureau) that is swamped in work every day .... and walked out the door where security guards stand .. and have one of them say, Is it permanent ? And when you said yes, with a big grin, he smiles back, thumbs up and wishes you luck .. Suerte !
If I didn't love the people here already, that would have done it for me.
So here we are .. Permanent.. Pup didn't notice. I guess it takes a while to show.