Voting as a foreigner in Argentina: what you need to know

How to carry out your civic duty as a permanent resident or citizen born abroad

You’ve probably seen the campaign ads on the streets, on TV and on YouTube. Primary elections for national authorities are on Sunday August 13. You may be entitled to vote if you’re a foreign national who lives in Argentina — but the details depend on your papers. 

So if you’re wondering whether you can vote this weekend, here’s what you need to know.

Argentines over the age of 18 will vote for presidential and vice-presidential candidates, as well as national deputy and senator candidates for every coalition. Voting between the ages of 16 and 18 is optional. The winning candidates will compete in the October 22 general elections.

Catamarca, Entre Ríos, Santa Cruz and Buenos Aires provinces will also hold primaries for governor, provincial legislators and other local authorities, while Buenos Aires city will hold primaries for mayor and city legislators. General elections in these places for these positions are on October 22.

Polling stations are in schools and sports clubs, and will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Argentine citizens born abroad

People born abroad who have become Argentine citizens can vote for president and national legislators, according to Argentina’s National Electoral Code. Citizenship can be obtained only if they have Argentine parents (argentino por opción, by choice), or have been living in the country for at least two consecutive years (argentino naturalizado, naturalized). 

Argentine citizens, whether naturalized or by choice, vote in the same polling stations as other Argentines. They can check where they’re voting here. They need a DNI (national identity document) and can only vote in the polling station they were assigned.

Argentines by choice over 16 years old can vote, while naturalized Argentines must be 18.

Permanent residence is not the same as citizenship: to learn the rules for permanent residents, read on.

Foreign residents

Foreigners can only vote in Argentina if they have permanent residence. You won’t be able to vote if you have transitory or temporary residence, or haven’t completed your paperwork yet. Voting is mandatory for all foreign residents in Argentina, but they are not fined if they don’t, unlike Argentine citizens.

However, permanent residents can’t vote for national candidates — only provincial and local authorities, like governor, mayor and provincial and city legislators. Formosa is the only province that doesn’t let foreigners vote at all.

This means that if you’re a permanent Argentine resident, over 18, and the address on your DNI is in Catamarca, Entre Ríos, Santa Cruz, Buenos Aires province or Buenos Aires city, you can vote in the Sunday primaries and the October 22 general elections.

Local elections in other provinces are on different dates than the national elections. If you live in a province not mentioned above — except Formosa — you’re allowed to vote in their provincial elections. You can check the dates here, but bear in mind most of them have passed.

Having a DNI does not necessarily mean you are a permanent resident: if you’re unsure what category of residence you have, check the back of your DNI.

You may also be interested in: Veda electoral: do’s and don’ts for the primaries this weekend

Buenos Aires city

Since 2021, Buenos Aires city has automatically registered foreign residents to vote — you don’t have to sign up manually. Once your permanent residence paperwork is done, you will be included in the register.

“There are over 487,000 foreign residents on the register,” Leandro Querido, head of the city’s Electoral Management Institute, told the Herald

There will be 1,444 polling desks exclusively for foreign voters, attended by special electoral authorities. You can check out where you’re voting in the city’s electoral registry for foreign residents.

Since they can’t take part in national elections, foreign residents in BA city will be voting for mayor, city legislators and local council members, first in the August 13 primaries, and then in the October 22 general elections.

Buenos Aires city decided to split national and local voting, which means Argentine voters will have to use two booths to vote. National votes will use a paper ballot, while city authorities will be chosen through an electronic voting machine. Foreign residents will only use the latter, called the Boleta Única Electrónica (Single Electronic Ballot).

The electronic vote consists of a paper ballot you insert into a machine, where you can choose your preferred candidates. The machine will then print the name of the coalition you chose, and you put the ballot in the ballot box. There’s a tutorial here.

You may also be interested in: Your guide to Argentina’s coalitions

Buenos Aires province

In Buenos Aires province, foreign residents vote for governor, vice governor, provincial deputies and senators, mayor, city councillors, and school councillors.

You can check where you’re voting here. Don’t forget to bring your DNI!

When you go into the classroom where you’re voting, you’ll find a paper ballot for each coalition. Pick one, put it in the envelope, go outside and put it in the ballot box. You will be asked to sign a tally, showing you’ve voted.

In Buenos Aires province, 950,000 foreign residents are currently registered to vote.

Other provinces

Santa Cruz, Catamarca and Entre Ríos don’t provide online information on the electoral registry for foreign citizens, but you can contact the provincial judiciary to find out where you vote:

  • Santa Cruz judiciary: call (02966) 422261 / 420824 / 420291 or (02966) 420491/422430
  • Entre Ríos Electoral Court: call +54 (0343) 421 1539 / 420 6258 or e-mail [email protected]
  • Catamarca judiciary: send a WhatsApp message to 0383-154291880 or e-mail [email protected]


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald