A refugee is an individual who has left their native country (country of origin) as a result of realistic fears of persecution based on their religion, race, nationality, association with a specific social group or political organization or ideology. At the same time, this person should be unable, or as a result of these fears and threats, to go back to their country of origin.
In addition, refugees are individuals who have fled their native country because their freedom, safety and/or lives have been put at risk by an armed conflict, large-scale violence, mass human rights violations or specific conditions that have affected the public order in a very negative way.
On the other hand, asylum seekers are individuals that have requested to be recognized as refugees before the CONARE (National Commission for Refugees) and have a pending application.
Keep in mind that individuals who are looking for better economic perspectives or chances outside their countries, but were not forced to leave their country of origin for any of the reasons listed before are not refugees and their applications must be checked by the migration authorities.
Applying for a refugee status in Argentina
The CONARE (National Commission for Refugees) was established with the Refugee Law No. 26,165 also known as a General Law for the Recognition and Protection of Refugees. This is actually a state agency that includes representatives of a few ministries, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees also known as UNHCR as well as a non-government, non-profit organization.
Every asylum application is processed by the CONARE and this agency is responsible for protecting the rights of refugees, including proper integration of asylum seekers and refugees in Argentina.
Even though the proceedings before this agency are usually free, it’s highly recommended to use expert Argentina asylum lawyer and/or Argentina immigration attorney options like KIER JOFFE.
Applying for refugee status in Argentina: A step by step guide
- What does the law predict for refugee status applications
Every non-Argentinean citizen can submit an application in writing or verbally in the capital city of Argentina – Buenos Aires and in local designated offices throughout the country. These offices include the Executive Secretariat of the CONARE based in Buenos Aires, offices, and migration delegations of the DNM (National Migration Office), the border migratory authority after arriving in Argentina and other municipal, provincial and national authorities.
Don’t forget that:
– It’s not possible to submit an application for refugee status when you are not physically present in Argentina.
– This application must be made in Argentina or at the border.
– The legal process can be started or managed at DNM Delegation that’s closest to your native country.
– Any information you provide will be kept secret and won’t be shared with the authorities of your country.
– Unaccompanied minors (under 18) will get a tutor.
– You can get a lawyer free of charge. To get assistance like this, you will have to call the National Office of the Public Defender where you will get the necessary assistance. They will help you out with the entire procedure and explain the legal moves that can help you get the desired status.
2. An introduction to the procedure for refugee status application
When you want to start this application process, you will have to take these predetermined steps:
– Complete the form that will be given to you by the authorities.
– Provide a document that confirms your identity (passport, ID, or another similar document) or information that can confirm your personal case. In case you are unable to provide information like this or a personal document, then you will have to explain why.
– After that, you will have one or more interviews conducted by an Executive Secretariat of the CONARE officer. They will try to understand your reasons for leaving your country of origin. The interviews are conducted in your native language.
– Inform your actual place where you live and set a legal domicile. This is the place where you will get all the summons, notices and/or official communication.
– While this procedure is still on, you will have to provide updates on your domicile if there are any changes.
Keep in mind that:
– Applicants have the right to seek help from an interpreter or translator for free in case you don’t know Spanish.
– In case your showcase authentic motives, you can ask for a gender-specific officer to conduct the interview.
– As an applicant, you have to provide any information and documentation you possess to support your claims that you had to leave your country of origin.
– Every applicant has the right to free legal representation. If you want to use this opportunity, you should contact the National Office of the Public Defender. They will help you with this procedure. You can also hire an experienced Argentina immigration attorney. At KIER JOFFE, we will be glad to help you out.
– Applicants are also free to ask for orientation related to potential social welfare.
In 20 working days or less, from the moment you submit your application for refugee status to the CONARE, you will get a certificate that confirms your status as an applicant and your legal residence in Argentina.
With the help of this document, you will be able to move to Argentina without any restrictions. You will also have the right to get accommodation at boarding houses and hotels, establish a domicile, get access to education and public health organizations and services and work too. Don’t forget that the public authorities have the right to request this certificate from you at any time and you must show it. However, only the representatives of the Secretariat of the CONARE can withhold you in case you are unable to provide this certificate.
Remember that the certificate will let you work legally and all the labor laws in the country will apply to you too (all the rights and obligations). It is possible for the holders of this certificate to request and get a unique labor identification code (in the Spanish language: CUIT/CUIL). For free. This code is issued by the Argentine State via National Social Security Administration or ANSES.
Another thing that you should not forget is that in order to keep this temporary certificate, you will have to renew it every 90 days. So, in case you want to keep the certificate valid and you want to avoid problems with your migration status, you have to renew it in person prior to the expiry date. You have to do this continuously until you get a final decision about your status. Holders can renew the temporary certificate in two ways. First of all, they can use the Executive Secretariat of the CONARE in the capital city of Buenos Aires. Second, they can use any DNM migration office or delegation close to your residence.
Finally, it’s important to remember that this temporary certificate and any other temporary documentation for asylum seekers is not a travel document that allows you to leave Argentina. In case you want to leave Argentina for a short period of time once you’ve submitted the documentation, you must provide valid travel documentation. When you want to come back, you may have to provide a consular visa issued by your native country.
In any case, if you want to travel out of Argentina while your application is being processed, you must contact the Executive Secretariat of the CONARE. You must provide an explanation why you want to leave and when will you go outside and come back.
4. Asylum application grating or rejection
In case the refugee status is granted you will get a certificate that you must use to process the temporary residence that you have in Argentina before the DNM. When you get the temporary residence, you may trigger the legal procedure for getting the DNI (National Identity Document) for foreigners. These legal proceedings are completely free.
In case the refugee status is denied, you can appeal the decision. To be more precise you can request a review and submit it to the Minister of Interior in the form of a written petition that you will have to file before the CONARE. You have to do this in less than ten working days of the decision.
This request for review has to be justified. This means that you should explain the reasons why you believe that the decision made by the CONARE is not right and why you should get another chance. In case the Minister of the Interior rejects the appeal, you will have a chance to get a judicial review of the resolution if requested. In this case, you will have to hire an Argentina asylum lawyer. KIER JOFFE will be more than glad to help you out in situations like this.
If the negative decision is final, you will have to wait for the migratory authorities to reveal your legal status and residence in Argentina.
Don’t forget that:
– Applying for a refugee status in Argentina does not interfere with your right to apply for residence before the DNM (National Migration Office). Of course, you can do this only if you have met the rest of the requirements.
– The CONARE doesn’t have a specific period of time in which they should make a decision on your case. They are trying to solve any case within a reasonable period of time. Of course, the timing is closely related to the documentation and information you’ll provide.
Analyzing the rights and obligations of asylum seekers and refugees
– The refugees and asylum seekers have the right to stay and move freely in Argentina as they please.
– They can’t be extradited, expelled or refouled to their country of origin or in any country where their integrity, life, safety and/or freedom may be put at risk.
– They have the right to access education and public health organizations and use their services. They can also work legally in Argentina.
– The refugees and asylum seekers have the right to reunite with their family in case they get refugee status too.
– They can’t be discriminated against for any reason including nationality, gender, sexual orientation, skin color, political opinions, religious affiliation, social status etc.
– They have the right to practice their faith/religion without any restrictions.
– Refugees and asylum seekers must respect the municipal, provincial and national laws in Argentina.
– They must respect the private and public organizations, entities and people.
– They must keep their addresses updated and renew their temporary certificate.
– They must always tell the truth to the authorities and present the facts that make their application reasonable.
– Refugees and asylum seekers must inform the Executive Secretariat of the CONARE of their plans to travel abroad, provide travel dates and good reasons.
Refugees and asylum seekers in Argentina can go through this process (most of it) without any professional help. However, if you want to speed up things and make sure that you will maximize your chances of getting the status that you want in Argentina, our advice is to use professional Argentina immigration attorney. KIER JOFFE is a law office focused on immigration, asylum, and refugee cases. We have the necessary experience, knowledge, and resources to help you out. Don’t hesitate to call us at any time!