COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Argentina's tourism and business opportunities attract several hundred thousand U.S. citizen visitors each year. Buenos Aires, other large cities, as well as some rural destinations, have well-developed tourist facilities and services, including many four- and five-star hotels. The quality of tourist facilities in smaller towns outside the capital varies. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Argentina for additional information on U.S.-Argentina relations.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Argentina, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your trip. If you sign up, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. We can also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Here’s the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
U.S. Embassy Buenos Aires, Argentina
Avenida Colombia 4300, Palermo
Telephone: (54) (11) 5777-4533
Emergency after-hours telephone: (54) (11) 5777-4873
Facsimile: (54) (11) 5777-4240
The Consular Section is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on U.S./Argentine holidays or administrative processing days. We are always available for emergencies. Additional information on Embassy services is available on the Internet at U.S. Embassy Buenos Aires, Argentina or by e-mail at American Citizen Services.
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: A valid passport is required for U.S. citizens to enter Argentina. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days for tourism or business. As a result of a recent change in Argentine law, prior to arrival in Argentina at any entry point, U.S. citizen tourist and business travelers must pay a $160 reciprocity fee by credit card online at the Provincia Pagos website . Once paid, you must print out the receipt and present it to the Argentine immigration officer at the time of entry.The fee is valid for ten years from the date of payment and multiple entries. Until June 30, 2013, passengers on cruise lines entering the country are exempt from paying the fee. The fee applies only to bearers of tourist passports. Travelers bearing diplomatic or official passports are required to get visas prior to arrival in Argentina but are not charged the reciprocity fee, nor are travelers transiting and not entering Argentina.
U.S. citizens who arrive in Argentina with expired or damaged passports may be refused entry and returned to the United States at their own expense. The U.S. Embassy cannot provide guarantees on behalf of travelers in such situations, and we encourage you to ensure that your travel documents are valid and in good condition prior to departure from the United States. Different rules apply to U.S. citizens who also have Argentine nationality, depending on their dates of U.S. naturalization. For more information, check the Argentine Ministry of the Interior website. Argentine-born naturalized U.S. citizens who enter Argentina as temporary visitors may depart using their U.S. passports as long as they remain no longer than the period granted by the Argentine immigration officer at the time of entry (typically 60-180 days). Travelers in this category who overstay will be required to obtain an Argentine passport to depart.
Children under 18 years of age who reside in Argentina, regardless of nationality, are required to present a notarized document that certifies both parents' permission for the child's departure from Argentina when the child is traveling alone, with only one parent, or in someone else's custody (click on the "international parental child abduction" link below for more information).
U.S. citizens wishing to enter Brazil or Paraguay from Argentina are required to obtain a visa in advance from the Brazilian and/or Paraguayan embassy or consulate nearest to the traveler's place of residence. Please note that this requirement applies to the popular cross-border day trips many travelers take when visiting Iguazu Falls. Travelers transiting between Brazil or Paraguay and Argentina should always make sure to present their passports to Argentine immigration officials to have their entry and exit from Argentina recorded. The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires cannot assist travelers with obtaining Brazilian or Paraguayan visas. For more information, see the Country Specific Information for Brazil and Paraguay.
Visit the Embassy of Argentina’s website for the most current visa information.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Argentina.
Information about dual nationality and the prevention of international parental child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Pedestrians and drivers should exercise caution, as drivers frequently ignore traffic laws and vehicles often travel at excessive speeds. The rate and toll of traffic accidents has been a topic of much local media attention.
The U.S. government is supportive of coordinated efforts by Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay to combat illegal activity in the tri-border region, where there is a long-standing pattern of trafficking of illicit goods. U.S. citizens crossing from Argentina into Paraguay or Brazil may wish to consult the most recent Country Specific Information for Brazil and Paraguay.
Demonstrations are common in metropolitan Buenos Aires and occur in other major cities as well. Protesters on occasion block streets, highways, and major intersections, causing traffic jams and delaying travel. While demonstrations are usually nonviolent, some individuals break from larger groups and sometimes seek confrontation with the police and vandalize private property. Groups occasionally protest in front of the U.S. Embassy and U.S.-affiliated businesses. U.S. citizens should take common-sense precautions and avoid gatherings or any other event where crowds have congregated to protest. Information about the location of possible demonstrations is available from a variety of sources, including the local media.
Domestic flight schedules can be unreliable. Occasional work stoppages, over-scheduling of flights and technical problems can result in flight delays, cancellations, or missed connections. Consult local media or the airline company for information about possible strikes or slow-downs before planning travel within Argentina.
Public transportation is generally reliable and safe. The preferred option for travel within Buenos Aires and other major cities is by radio taxi or "remise" (private car with driver). The best way to obtain safe taxis and remises is to call for one or go to an established stand, rather than hailing one on the street. Hotels, restaurants, and other businesses can order remises or radio taxis, or provide phone numbers for such services, upon request. Passengers on buses, trains, and the subway should be alert for pickpockets, especially during rush hours. Passengers should also be aware that these forms of transport are sometimes interrupted by strikes or work stoppages. Inter-urban passenger train service has been significantly replaced by bus and plane service as a feasible and reliable option for most travelers.
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CRIME: Most U.S. citizens visit Argentina without incident. Nevertheless, street crime in the larger cities, especially greater Buenos Aires and Mendoza, is a problem for residents and visitors alike. As in any big city, visitors to Buenos Aires and popular tourist destinations should be alert to muggers, pickpockets, scam artists, and purse-snatchers on the street, in hotel lobbies, at bus and train stations, and in cruise ship ports. Be careful in San Telmo, an older traditional neighborhood specializing in antique stores, and La Boca neighborhood (home to the famous “Caminito” street and “Boca Juniors” soccer stadium) in Buenos Aires, where violent robberies have been occurring with increasing frequency. Tourists who go to La Boca should limit their visit to the designated tourist areas during daylight hours.
Criminals usually work in groups, and travelers should assume they are armed. Criminals employ a variety of ruses to distract and victimize unsuspecting visitors. Be suspicious of anyone who approaches you on the street. A common scam is to spray mustard or a similar substance on the tourist from a distance. A pickpocket will then approach the tourist offering to help clean the stain, and while doing so, he or an accomplice robs the victim. Another scam is to entice tourists into a bar known as a “wiskeria” with a flyer for a shopping discount or free show. Once inside, the victim is not allowed to leave until he or she pays an exorbitant amount for a drink. Thieves regularly nab unattended purses, backpacks, laptops, and luggage, and criminals will often distract visitors for a few seconds to steal valuables. While most U.S. citizens are not physically injured when robbed, criminals are known to use force when they encounter resistance, and there have been some violent and even fatal attacks on foreigners carrying valuables such as expensive cameras and equipment. Visitors are advised to immediately hand over all cash and valuables if confronted. Thieves may target visitors wearing expensive watches or jewelry, or carrying laptop computer cases. When staying in a hotel or apartment, it is a good precaution to call the front desk or security to identify uninvited individuals before giving them access.
Some travelers have received counterfeit currency in Argentina. Unscrupulous vendors and taxi drivers sometimes pretend to help tourists review their pesos, then trade bad bills for good ones. Characteristics of good currency can be reviewed at the Argentine Central Bank website.
Along with conventional muggings, "express kidnappings" occur. Victims are grabbed off the street based on their appearance and vulnerability. They are made to withdraw as much money as possible from ATM machines, and then their family or co-workers are contacted and told to deliver all the cash that they have on hand or can gather in a couple of hours. Once the ransom is paid, the victim is usually quickly released unharmed. There have been some foreign victims. Visitors are particularly advised not to let children and adolescents travel alone.
Travelers worldwide are advised to avoid packing valuables in their checked baggage. In Argentina, officials have publicly acknowledged the systematic theft of valuables and money from checked baggage at Buenos Aires airports. Authorities are working to resolve the problem and have made a number of arrests, but travelers should exercise continued care and caution.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
Your passport is a valuable document and should be guarded. Passports and other valuables should be locked in a hotel safe, and a photocopy of your passport should be carried for identification purposes. The U.S. Embassy has observed an increase in reports of stolen passports.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates ). We can:
The Argentine Federal Police have established a special Tourist Police Unit to receive complaints and investigate crimes against tourists. The unit, located at Corrientes 436 in Buenos Aires, responds to calls around the clock at 4346-5748 or toll-free 0800-999-5000 from anywhere in the country. The Mendoza Tourist Police Unit, open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, is located at San Martin 1143, telephone 0261-413-2135. After hours, the Mendoza unit may be reached by cell phone at 0261-15-6444-324.
The local equivalent to the "911" emergency line in the city of Buenos Aires or in the surrounding Province of Buenos Aires is 911 for police assistance. In the city of Buenos Aires, dial 100 in case of fire and 107 for an ambulance. In the Province of Buenos Aires, fire and ambulance numbers vary by location.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Argentina, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. There are also some things that might be legal in Argentina, but still illegal in the United States. For example, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Argentina, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not wherever you go.
Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Argentina, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: In addition to being subject to all Argentine laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Argentine citizens. In some instances, dual nationality may hamper U.S. government efforts to provide protection abroad.
Currency Exchange: Foreign citizens may encounter difficulties attempting to exchange Argentine pesos for dollars and other foreign currencies. In complying with Argentine foreign currency exchange regulations, banks and exchange houses in Argentina reportedly have been refusing to sell dollars and other foreign currencies to foreign citizens in exchange for pesos unless the foreign traveler is able to present original receipt(s) showing the purchase of pesos. Even with the original receipt(s), tourists reportedly have only been able to buy currencies worth the same or less than the original peso purchase(s). Therefore, tourists who might want to exchange pesos for foreign currency upon leaving the country should retain all receipts related to the purchase of pesos during visits to Argentina. The purchase of Argentine pesos does not appear to have been affected, whether in exchange facilities or via ATMs using U.S. debit cards. Commodity exchange is not one of the services provided by United States embassies for U.S. citizens abroad. Travelers should exercise caution when approached with offers of illegal exchange at rates more favorable than the official rate; there have been some incidents of scams in which travelers were robbed, some of them at gun point.
Hunting and Fishing: If you plan to hunt or fish, be sure to follow all relevant gun and game laws. More information is available (in Spanish) from the provincial offices listed on the Argentine Department of Wildlife website.
Adventure Travel: Argentina’s mountains, forests, deserts, and glaciers make it a popular destination for outdoor and adventure sports enthusiasts. Despite the best efforts of local authorities, assisting visitors lost or injured in such remote areas can be difficult. U.S. citizens have died in recent years while mountain climbing, skiing, trekking, and hunting in Argentina. Travelers visiting isolated and wilderness areas should learn about local hazards and weather conditions and always should inform park or police authorities of their itineraries. Reports of missing or injured persons should be made immediately to the police so that a search can be mounted or assistance rendered. Argentina boasts the highest peak outside of the Himalayas, Mount Aconcagua. Its billing in some guidebooks as affordable and "requiring no climbing skills" attracts hundreds of U.S. citizens every year. With its 22,840-foot altitude, bitter cold, and savage storms, however, even experienced climbers should bear in mind that it is one of the world’s most difficult and potentially hazardous climbs.
Accessibility: While in Argentina, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. It is important to note that a specific law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities; however, while the federal government has protective laws, many provinces have not adopted the laws and have no mechanisms to ensure enforcement.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) or via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctor and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Argentina, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.
Driving in Argentina is generally more dangerous than driving in the United States. By comparison, drivers in Argentina tend to be aggressive, especially in Buenos Aires, and often ignore traffic regulations. U.S. driver's licenses are valid in the capital and the province of Buenos Aires, but Argentine or international licenses are required to drive in the rest of the country.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the websites of Argentina's national tourist office and national roadways office (available only in Spanish).
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Argentina’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Argentina’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Argentina dated January 7, 2013 to update the country description and the sections on entry/exit requirements, threats to safety and security, crime, and special circumstances.