D.N.I. stands for Documento Nacional de Identidad, i.e. National Identity Document. If you're going to be in Argentina for any length of time you'll soon realise that life is much, much easier with a D.N.I. You'll be asked for it on loads of occasions, such as:

  • applying for services (such as phone, internet, electricity, etc.)
  • purchasing anything with a credit card
  • purchasing anything requiring delivery
  • making travel arrangements within Argentina (higher prices without a DNI)
  • enrolling in courses
  • trying to open a bank account
  • and so on...

If you're eligible to receive a D.N.I., then this article at will guide you through the steps to take in order to get one. Luckily the process is generally much easier than that of Getting permanent residence.

NOTE: The following information is for people living in the Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires. If you're living elsewhere in Argentina then you should contact your local Registro Civil.

1. Gather your documents

You'll need the following documents in order to apply for a D.N.I.:

  • Original certified birth certificate which has an apostille or has been legalised by the Argentine consul in your country of birth. This must be translated into Spanish by a registered national public translator and verified by the Colegio de Traductores Públicos.
  • Your residence certificate as issued by the national immigration office (e.g. your Radicación temporaria or Radicación permanente.)
  • A document issued by your local police authority which states your current residential address (Certificado de Domicilio)
  • 2 passport photos (you can get these done at the DNI office though you may have to queue and the quality there isn't very good).

2. Make a photocopy of everything

Though photocopies may not be required when applying for a D.N.I., government offices in Argentina are notorious for requesting photocopies of just about everything, so it's better to have them ready just in case.

3. Go to the central D.N.I. office

Argentinians can request a D.N.I. from several offices throughout the city but foreigners are required to apply from the central office of the Registro Nacional de las Personas (located at 25 de mayo 155).

Be sure to go along early - initial applications are normally only accepted in the morning and as with other trámites in Argentina there can be long queues and limits on the number or applications accepted per day.

4. Join the queues

Unless things have since changed, the process at the D.N.I. office goes something like this (it took me 5 hours!):

  • Queue outside until the guard allows you to enter the building.
  • Grab a number then join a seated queue on the entrance floor and wait until your number is called.
  • Have your documents looked over and if they're ok you'll be given a different coloured number and you can proceed downstairs, else come back another day.
  • Join the first downstairs queue and wait for your number to be called.
  • Have your documents looked over again (by someone more knowledgeable?) and if they're ok you'll be given another number so you can proceed to the second downstairs queue, else go home...
  • Go and pay the application fee at the cashier ($15 pesos at the time of writing) and also get your photos done while you're waiting if you haven't brought any with you.
  • Wait for your number to be called then present your documents to the public servant who calls you over.
  • Read things, sign things, give your fingerprints, etc., then you'll be given a piece of paper stating that your D.N.I. application is in process. You'll be told to wait 3 to 4 months before coming back to collect your D.N.I.
  • Go home and feel good that your D.N.I. application is in process (on a shelf somewhere for 3+ months...)

5. Go back to the D.N.I. office

Once 3 to 4 months have passed, go back to the Registro Nacional de las Personas in the afternoon along with the piece of paper they gave you with your application number on it.

  • Present your paper to the guard outside then the public servant inside (after queuing of course) and if your D.N.I. is ready you'll be allowed to proceed downstairs.
  • Wait for your name to be called, present your paper and second passport photo, verify that your details have been written into the D.N.I. correctly then sign and fingerprint it and sit down again while another officer authenticates and authorises everything.
  • When your name is called again, you'll be able to collect your spanking new D.N.I. Congratulations!

Further information

For up-to-date information (in Spanish) visit the Ministerio del Interior website and their Instructivo de Trámites para Ciudadanos Extranjeros.

Published 20-Dec-2007

| | |



[ Click to add a comment ]
marriedtoargentine said "question" on 12-Feb-2008,
Is there any way possible to get a DNI while you are still living in the US? I have a wife and kids in Argentina and it would really help to get the DNI before I went back so I can work there.
clickArgentina said on 13-Feb-2008,
I don't think it's possible for non Argentinians to get a DNI from outside of Argentina, but you can start the residency process from abroad.
Visit this forum thread for more information
Arunkumar Ravi said "Birth Certificate" on 19-Feb-2008,
I'm moving to argentina on a work permit. i'm holding an Indian passport. My Birth Certificate doesn't have my name on it (it has other details such as DOB, parents' name). In India such a document can be suffixed with a Affidavit and the combination is legal.

My question is will such a document combination (Birth certificate + Affidavit) be sufficient to get my work permit and hence a DNI Card?
clickArgentina said on 19-Feb-2008,
Arunkumar Ravi: I've moved your question to our forum section on immigration and permits. Please check there for further suggestions.
alejandro said on 27-Apr-2008,
i was borned in argentina but i left at 10 years old. as i remember i didnt have any dni ever but im not sure. what shall i do to check it and get a dni?
Maria P. said "applying for residency" on 16-Sep-2008,
Do u know a consultancy that can do all the papers to apply for residency?
clickArgentina said "Argentina immigration consultants" on 17-Sep-2008,
Maria, since I didn't use a company to sort out my residency papers I can't recommend any based on experience. There are some that pop up in search results so you could try contacting them for starters, but in Argentina "what you see" is not always "what you get". Sorry I couldn't be more helpful!
Bill said "DNI For Married Women" on 14-Jan-2009,
Is the DNI in the married name or the birth name of the woman?
clickArgentina said on 14-Jan-2009,
Sorry Bill, I don't know. What I do know is that it's normal for Argentine women to use their birth name on official documents - i.e. their surname doesn't normally change when they marry.
MichelleAlison said "DNI" on 29-Apr-2009,
When applying for a DNI, do they keep the original documents or can one have the original documents copied and certified here?

All my documents are already apostilled, translated and legalised, but I don't want to leave originals.


clickArgentina said on 30-Apr-2009,
Michelle, it's been a while since I did this now. I'm pretty sure they keep the police record (antecedentes) but I think they gave me the other documents back.
Katie said "DNI" on 5-Jun-2009,
HI, Thanks so much for having this blog!
I'm already living in Cordoba with my Argentine husband and our US born baby (I'm American too.) We didn't get the paper work we need to get in the states. It is possible to do it all from here, Argentina?
How do you get your birth certificate "apostille"ed? Where would one go to do that? I have my original birth certificate, but it is not apostille-ed.
How do you get your "residence certificate" if there is no proof you are living there? Same for "Certificado de Domicilio?"
Does getting married here help with the paper work?
clickArgentina said on 8-Jun-2009,
Katie, the documents need to be apostilled in the country where they were produced (i.e. USA in your case). As far as I know this can't be done by embassies abroad, but the embassy can probably still help by securely sending the documents back to the USA to be apostilled then receiving them again ready for you to pick up.

The residence certificate I was talking about was this one. I'm pretty sure you'll need some sort of residency certificate to apply for a DNI within Argentina.

The certificado de domicilio is a strange one - they basically confirm your address by posting out a registered letter that you need to sign for on receipt. It's easy to get, at least it was for me - though I did have to wait for a couple of hours.

I hope it all goes well for you! For more questions, try asking on the immigration and permits forum.
Genio said "DNI" on 23-Jun-2009,
Tengo un DNI que esta vencido(mas de 10 anios). Que debo hacer para removar?
richard said "obtaining dni" on 11-Dec-2009,
hi i have my full residencie and now am wanting my dni nut i am living in misiones not in ba and ive been waiting 10 months so far is it possible for me to goto ba and go to the main office to speed this up any information will be great because without the dni its ahrd to work or do anything here thanks rick
arash said "you are awesome" on 4-Jan-2010,
thanks dude. very precise and clear! its really for people like you that internet is somehow useful!!

thanks a lot

have a great 2010
Nate Williams said "wrong address" on 18-Jan-2010,
step number 3 has the wrong address .. I think it's presidente peron 664 but you will want to double check that

3. Go to the central D.N.I. office

Argentinians can request a D.N.I. from several offices throughout the city but foreigners are required to apply from the central office of the Registro Nacional de las Personas (located at 25 de mayo 155).

Hi Nate, the address is correct - at least that's where I had to go back in 2007.
I guess it's possible it's changed since then... (clickArgentina)
Alejandra said "studying in argentina.." on 18-Jan-2010,
hey, i want to study in argentina, but somehow i just cant understand what goes first.. umm i have my passport.. am i gonna just enter argentina then i can get my paper work done or before i enter.. i mean if im starting class in august am i gonna have to start from here and get everything done by august or once i get there i will process the DNI and the student permit or.. even though.. what exactly do i need to study 6 months photography..?


Joe said "DNI" on 19-Jan-2010,
Getting a DNI in Argentina, especially for a person not from South America and does not speak Spanish, is, like most Argentine documents, very difficult to get because of the extremely complicated, complex, and illogical, and just stupid way in which the government works.

You will spend hours in the immigration office with thousands of others who also want a DNI. If you go during the summer, take plenty of water and food as the building is old and has no a/c.

It is highly likely that you will be required to do this part twice as you are required to get a document from the immigration office to get another document from another office that requires a document from the immigration office. As noted above, this will take several hours, certainly 4 or 5 hours. You might need to return again if the line is too long.

They have a different work ethic than Americans meaning they need many coffee breaks, time to kiss everybody they know, work at a pace that will not tire them as they have a party that night or had a party the night before. Argentina has more holidays than any country in the world. Sometimes one agency will tell you the exact opposite of the other. They change the procedures for such things so often that the employees dont know what the rules are.

This site is very accurate as I speak from personal experience. Doing anything that requires a government form can take months.

Considering that it is not that important, the effort is far too extensive. Most get it to work legally, though many work illegally and it is not something required for many jobs like a SSN in the US. Another reason is to sponsor wives married to Americans to get a green card.

If you are lucky, you could get the DNI, after about 10 trips to the immigration building, in about 3 months. I advise you to hire an attorney. Not that expensive and makes getting a DNI much easier.
Iara said on 11-Feb-2010,
"in Argentina "what you see" is not always "what you get" "

I know my country isn't the best thing on this planet, but that statement is global, not exclusive to Argentina.

Also, a "certificado de domicilio" is something a police officer at a police station issues...and it doesn't take any longer as it takes for it to be written.
clickArgentina said on 11-Feb-2010,
Lara, don't get me wrong - I love Argentina!

Of course the statement "what you see is not always what you get" applies globally. It just applies more in Argentina.

As I mentioned above, it was easy to get a "certificado de domicilio". But, it _does_ take longer than the time it takes to be written - at least it does if you're foreign. The police didn't give me the certificate, instead they posted it out by registered mail. That's how they are able to confirm that the address is correct otherwise you could just tell them any old address and how would they know if it's correct or not?

Also, it took me a few hours to get the "certificado de domicilio" actioned. (i) I had to find out where my local police station was - it was not the one 100m from where I live as I was living on the edge of two administrative regions, (ii) I had to physically go down to the police station, (iii) I had to wait for other people to be served - you know, the ones who were actual victoms of crime, etc. That all took a few hours.

Iara said "To Joe" on 11-Feb-2010,
"They have a different work ethic than Americans meaning they need many coffee breaks, time to kiss everybody they know, work at a pace that will not tire them as they have a party that night or had a party the night before. Argentina has more holidays than any country in the world."

Again, I feel insulted. The work ethic of public servants is the same worldwide, mouthing off like that about the country you so wanted to get a residence of? What is the point of insulting the place like that? Is it really needed?

This blog is really helpful and I am very happy I found it, as it is helping me go through the different processes I need to tend to for my Canadian husband to get a residence, but a bit more respect from the commenters would be appreciated.

I've had troubles in Canada as well but I never went to mouth off like that, it's pretty hurtful.
It only brings a question to my head, if America is so much better why do you want to reside in Argentina? You're more than welcome in my country, but it is not nice to go off like that. pretty pretty disrespectful.
Iara said on 11-Feb-2010,
Yes I'm sorry if that came out wrong. I keep forgetting to take into account the fact that you did most of this alone, when my husband turn comes to get all this done, I will be there, and I'm a citizen, born and raised.

and not every police officer is as willing as the people I've known and had to deal with.

I didn't and I don't mean to offend anyone, I hope you understand. =)
clickArgentina said on 12-Feb-2010,
That's ok lara - thanks for your comments.
clickArgentina said on 12-Feb-2010,
Thanks everyone for your comments on this article.

The list of comments is getting pretty long now so I've decided to close this article to more commenting.

If you have any more questions or would like to discuss any of the information here in more detail, please add your comments in our immigration forum . (click here.)
Go to first comment