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Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Hallelujah! After over a year of waiting, the Argentine government FINALLY decided to send me a little present, in the form of my DNI (Documento National de Identidad).  This little booklet has been a thorn in my side since last January, and we were crossing our fingers that we would get it before our little peanut is born.  Hooray for me!  Now, what is it?

So far as I can tell, a DNI is similar to a social security number in the US, but it is currently utilized much more (although with the recent changes to hiring and employment requirements, the use of SS#s has started to increase).  Virtually every financial or legal transaction will bring about the need to have your "numero de documento" which, until now, has been using our passport numbers and throwing everyone off.  Funny though, I could count the number of times that I used my passport number on one hand until I started living in Argentina, and now they ask for it even though I have no reason to believe that it's not tied to my other personal information here. The DNI changes all of that. 

Every time you use a credit card, book a flight, sign a contract (cell phone, housing, employment, etc) you are asked to provide your DNI number.  There are different (lower) airfares reserved for "nationals" that can provide this number, discounts into natural parks such as Iguazu Falls and Puerto Madryn, and without it you will have a very difficult time getting a cell phone plan, buying a house or making any large purchase that is not in full in cash.  Your DNI number is connected to your bank account, passport, voting history (voting is mandatory in Argentina and the DNI booklet records each time that you have punched a ballot), it's on your marriage license, and is needed to acquire an Argentine passport. 

(Just as an aside, can you imagine the uproar in the US if there were different entry costs for national parks or different airfare options for those that had a Social Security number?  Or if a Social Security number was requested when you used a credit card?  That's not to say that you are unable to enter or purchase a ticket, it just means that your fare is more.  Here it's understood, if you're not a national, your a tourist, and therefore capable of paying.  One of the many differences when living abroad...but I digress...)

This is not to say that we have been here illegally or anything, we have our temporary visas that are good for a year at a time.  Honestly, the biggest relief in obtaining our DNIs is that we're hoping it will make registering our newest little Argentine a little easier when the time comes.  That process seems to be complicated enough, with her needing both US and Argentine passports, birth certificates and other related documentation before we can take her out of the country, maybe this will now offer us a little relief/less hassle.  I'll post updates with our experiences in obtaining all of these other documents for our baby - I've heard some horror stories and some have said the process is a piece of cake.  You'll read all about how the process goes for us...that is, once we actually have a baby. 

Four more weeks!

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