U.S. citizens may enter Argentina without a visa and remain in the country as a tourist for a maximum of 90 days per trip. As of March 2016, U.S. citizens no longer need to pay a reciprocity fee to enter the country, though citizens from other countries may need to (including Canadians and Australians).
Some expats choose to bridge from a tourist visa to official (temporary) residency. To renew a tourist visa, you simply have to leave the country and then reenter (known as a border run). Under that arrangement many people stay for years in Argentina, just making sure to leave before their tourist visa is up and then returning. By obtaining temporary residency, you would not have to worry about having to leave within a certain time frame. The other benefits to being a resident include the ability to open up a local bank account, and discounts on national airlines.
Obtaining residency as a foreigner in Argentina undoubtedly requires some help from professionals, as the process involves a lot of specifics that often are not detailed outright online or in official documents. The fee for legal services to assist with this usually comes out to about US$2,000. That essentially is the price you would pay to obtain temporary residency, which would need to be renewed annually for the first couple years until obtaining permanent residency. Some see that price as worth it, others as not.
Argentina offers a handful of visa options for those looking to reside in the country and conduct business. There are sponsored work visas, visas for contracted personnel, journalists and correspondents, retired persons, and financiers.
Should you plan to apply for residency once in Argentina, you will want to work to obtain some documents before leaving your home country, including a background check and official birth certificate, both with apostilles. Retirees have the option of applying for either a retiree visa or a steady-income visa. For the retiree visa, you must have proof of retiree status as well as monthly pension. The steady-income visa requires you to show proof of a minimum monthly income. (The number changes but it is usually around US$2,000.) Other visas that are available include university student visas and work visas, the latter of which requires a local employer to sponsor you.
The financier (or rentista) visa is considered the most flexible of the visa options because all it requires is a guaranteed minimum of whatever type of income, and that it can be transferred to an Argentine bank.
There is a minimum residency requirement that individuals must meet in order to maintain temporary residency. Once temporary residency has been renewed twice (so someone has been temporarily residing in Argentina for three years), that individual can apply for permanent residency. After two years as a permanent resident, you are eligible to apply for citizenship. It is important to note that you must physically be in Argentina for the majority of that time.
Residency in Argentina can lead to a second passport and dual citizenship in this country.