16 January 2009

On moving to Argentina, Part 1

While I was giving thought to moving here I did my research. It is no easy matter moving from one country to another. I had decided that the move would be permanent and, therefore, I proceeded on 2 fronts ... the move and the residency requirements.

The Move ... I contacted people at work for ideas on moving companies who handled international moves and settled on Mayflower. They sent a specialist and we went over my things and what would be advisable to take and what would not. Cars ... I decided not to bring a car for two reasons, one was the cost of shipping and the second was my misunderstanding of Argentine law. I believed that if I brought my car I would only be able to keep it for 18 months when, in fact, I could keep it forever but not sell it for 18 months. My spanish was obviusly much worse at that time. Electronics ... Argentina uses 220 volts where the US uses 110. I decided to bring my laptop and stereo. As electronics are VERY expensive in Argentina I also shopped for a TV that would accept both NTSC (US) and PAL (Arg.) signals. This was not that difficult to find. Furniture .. one easy chair, nothing else. I figured it was better to buy local and furniture is heavy so the cost of the move would go up. Kitchen ... nothing to speak of, I would buy local. Books, music and movies ... All indispensible to me so I brought almost all my cd's and dvd's. I did have to pare down my books from 3 or 4 bookcases full to maybe 1/2 of 1 book case, a tragedy!

The movers gave me an acceptable price and we set a date, approximately 1 month before my actual move since it takes at least 6 weeks for the stuff to arrive. At the same time they contacted Transpack Argentina (
http://www.transpack.com.ar/) who were incredibly helpful, thus giving me a false sense of security about the rest of what was to come. I highly recommend them. Naturally my stuff was a little late and then held up in customs for several weeks. In Rosario I talked with local people at work about storage companies as I would need my stuff stored until I got an apartment. The gave the name of an old well known company (Botta) and I contracted with them to hold my stuff indefinitely. Excelent marks to them as well, again giving me a false sense of security about the future.

All in all the actual moving of furniture went very well with a slight delay at Customs in BA but nothing horendous. All of my stuff arrived in Rosario with nothing missing nor broken.

One thing to note, any used personal item is allowed into the country without exception. As I mentioned I bought a TV in the US to bring but I never opened the box so it would be easier to ship. The movers said this was a no no. They opened the box and reclosed it thereby making it "used". This saved me several hundred dollars in import fees because it would have been considered new.

Another note, besides paying Mayflower and Transpack I also had to purchase an insurance policy that stated I would not sell any of my things. I paid Transpack a small sum for three years, as required by the Customs office, until I became a permanent resident of Argentina. I have paid the insurance policy for 4 yrs, and I am refusing to pay it anymore.


  1. Hi,

    I am Gabriela, I am from Buenos Aires but left Argentina 9 years ago, I lived in many countries in Europe, I am currently living in Brussels, working as a press officer in an European organisation and processing mymove back to Buenos Aires or Santiago for personal reasons and I am finding it is a very complicated decision. The reasons to leave are many and important but I am quite "rooted" in this continent as well, so I am trying to make up my mind about it.

    I read your comments on how you are trying to adapt to Argentina again and from distance, I can fully understand that there is an element of frustration when it comes to sharing throughts and opinions with your relatives, etc... I got that when I visited Bs As for a month last year.

    I would like your advice on the job situation, I have only contacted Korn Ferry Consultants and checked some websites for job seekers. How do you consider the job situation in Buenos Aires or Santiago ? Can you give me some ideas of how to start my jobhunting? I feel a little lost because Im still trying to process the decision and I will be quite demanding about the conditions of my move. I find it is going to be hard for me to readapt to Buenos Aires and people's mindset there. I will get the warmth and the lively way of relating with others that porteños have but I will have to leave a lot behind too. Thank you for taking the time to answer...


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