Entry & Exit Formalities
- Entering Argentina is straightforward; immigration officials at airports are generally quick and to the point, while those at border crossings may take more time scrutinizing your documents and belongings.
- Citizens from Canada have to pay a reciprocity fee before entering Argentina.
- Argentine officials are generally courteous and reasonable toward tourists. Electronic items, including laptops, cameras and cell (mobile) phones, can be brought into the country duty free, provided they are not intended for resale. If you have a lot of electronic equipment, however, it may be useful to have a typed list of the items you are carrying (including serial numbers) or a pile of purchase receipts.
- If you’re entering Argentina from a neighboring country, officials focus on different things. Travelers southbound from the central Andean countries may be searched for drugs, while those from bordering countries will have fruits and vegetables confiscated. Carrying illegal drugs will pretty much get you into trouble no matter which country you’re coming from.
- Anyone entering Argentina should have a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry, and ideally past the date the passport holder leaves the country.
- Once you’re in Argentina, police can still demand identification at any moment (but rarely do without reason), so carry at least a photocopy of your passport around at all times (when it will also come in handy for entering government buildings, getting tax-free purchases, changing money at a bank etc).
- When entering by air, you officially must have a return ticket, though this is rarely asked for by officials once you're in Argentina. However, it is commonly asked for by the airline in the country of origin. Most airlines prohibit the boarding of any passengers without proof of onward travel, regardless of whether the person was sold a one-way ticket or not. They do this because they'd be responsible for flying you back home should you be denied entry once you're in Argentina. Check with your airline for details.
- Nationals of Canada, most Western European countries, Australia and New Zealand do not need a visa to visit Argentina. Upon arrival, most visitors get a 90-day stamp in their passport. Canadians must pay a significant ‘reciprocity fee’ before arriving.
- Dependent children traveling without both parents theoretically need a notarized document certifying that both parents agree to the child’s travel. Parents may also wish to bring a copy of the custody form; however, there’s a good chance they won’t be asked for either document.
- Depending on your nationality, very short visits to neighboring countries sometimes do not require visas. For instance, you might not be asked for a Brazilian visa to cross from the Argentine town of Puerto Iguazú to Foz do Iguaçu, as long as you return the same day – but doing so is at your own risk.
- The same is true at the Bolivian border town of Villazón, near La Quiaca. Officials at Paraguayan crossings can give day stamps, however. Check current regulations for the latest situation.
Citizens from some countries have to pay a reciprocity fee (tasa de reciprocidad) before arriving in Argentina; ideally you'll be reminded of this when you buy your airplane ticket. This fee is equal to what Argentines are charged for visas to visit those countries. You'll need to pay this fee online via credit card; see www.migraciones.gov.ar/accesibleingles and click on 'Reciprocity Fee.'
Fees are US$78 for Canadians (good until a month before your passport expires). Check current regulations as rules can change quickly.
- For a 90-day extension on your tourist visa, get ready for bureaucracy and visit Buenos Aires’ immigration office Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (www.migraciones.gov.ar). The fee is currently AR$600 for non-Mercosur nationals (those from countries other than Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay). Interestingly enough, the fee for overstaying your visa is also AR$600 (but this can change).
- Another option if you’re staying more than three months is to cross into Colonia or Montevideo (both in Uruguay; Colonia can be an easy day trip) or into Chile for a day or two before your visa expires, then return with a new 90-day visa. However, this only works if you don’t need a visa to enter the other country.