Argentina

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Monday, 23 June 2014.   It has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Argentina.

Argentina overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Argentina.
  • Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • Australian tourists are charged a “reciprocity fee” of USD100. The reciprocity fee must be paid online prior to arrival in Argentina on the Argentine Migration website. Travellers who have not paid the reciprocity fee prior to arrival at an Argentine port of entry may be sent back to their port of embarkation. See under Entry and exit for more information.
  • You should avoid protests and demonstrations as they may become violent. Monitor the media for developments and if you are in an area affected by unrest, follow the advice of local authorities.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
    • organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
    • register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you in an emergency
    • subscribe to this travel advice to receive free email updates each time it's reissued.
click on image to expand

Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Argentina for the most up-to-date information.

Australian tourists are charged a “reciprocity fee” of USD100. The fee must be paid prior to arrival at all ports of entry, including airports, ports and land border crossings. The reciprocity fee is payable online on the Argentine Migration website. Travellers should print the receipt and submit it to Argentine immigration authorities at the port of entry. Travellers who have not paid the reciprocity fee prior to arrival at an Argentine port of entry may be sent back to their port of embarkation.

The fee is valid for multiple re-entries within a period of one year as of the date of first entry. If you plan to re-enter Argentina within this timeframe, keep a copy of your receipt.

Australian citizens born in Argentina are exempt from the fee and should pass through the Argentine passport control line on entry in order to be exempt from the payment. Australian citizens holding a business visa or student visa are also exempt from payment.

Argentina has biometric entry procedures at Ezeiza International Airport, Jorge Newbery International Airport and at the Buenos Aires ferry terminal. Visitors to Argentina are required to have their thumbprint scanned by an inkless device and have a digital photograph taken on arrival.

Children under 18 years of age (as defined by local law) travelling alone or with one parent may be required to provide a letter of consent from the non-travelling parent(s) to the Argentine authorities. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Argentina well in advance of departure from Australia for further advice.

If you are travelling to or from Argentina via the United States you will need to meet US entry/transit requirements. You should check your visa needs well in advance of travel with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the United States. See also our travel advice for the United States of America.

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists Argentina as a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that all travellers be vaccinated for yellow fever before travelling to all departments in Misiones Province and parts of Corrientes Province (Beron de Astrada, Capital, General Alvear, General Paz, Itati, Ituzaingo, Paso de los Libres, San Cosme, San Martin, San Miguel, Santo Tome). Iguazu Falls is located within Misiones Province.

As the quarantine requirements for yellow fever vaccination differ between countries, we recommend that you check the yellow fever entry requirements for Argentina and all countries you intend to enter or transit by contacting their foreign missions in Australia. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia and carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Argentina. Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.

Crime

Petty crime, including pick-pocketing, bag snatching and bag slitting, is common, particularly on public transport. Distraction thefts (e.g. throwing mustard or sauce on people) occur in public areas such as outside hotels, internet cafes, the subway system, and train and bus stations. Criminals have been known to use force if they encounter resistance from tourists.

In Buenos Aires, travellers should be cautious in tourist areas, particularly in La Boca, San Telmo, downtown, and in the Retiro bus terminal, where robberies are common. Travellers should stick to the main tourist area in La Boca and avoid the area after dark.

Violent crimes, such as armed robbery, continue to be a problem in major tourist areas, particularly in Buenos Aires and Mendoza. Kidnappings occur in Buenos Aires. To date, these kidnappings have tended to target locals rather than tourists.

Incidents of 'express kidnappings' involving tourists have occurred where individuals were forced to withdraw funds from ATMs to secure their release.

Criminals are known to pose as taxi operators at the airport and may operate in collusion with other taxi drivers. See Local travel for more information.

Crimes against car passengers, particularly when stopped at traffic lights, are a problem, including in major cities. You should keep windows closed and doors locked at all times.

In Buenos Aires, a 24-hour emergency services helpline (for police, fire and ambulance), with service in English, can be accessed by dialling 911. Tourists can also contact the Comisaria del Turista (Tourist Police Station), which is located at Corrientes 436, on the multi-lingual toll-free number 0800 999 5000 or by dialling direct on 4346 5748 or via email (turista@policiafederal.gov.ar). In Mendoza, tourists can seek assistance from the Tourist Police, which is located at San Martin 1143, by calling telephone 0261 4132135.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.

Civil unrest/political tension

You should avoid all protests and demonstrations as they may become violent. Monitor the media for developments and if you are in an area affected by unrest, follow the advice of local authorities.

Demonstrations are common in metropolitan Buenos Aires and can occur in other major cities. The Plaza de Mayo and Congreso areas in Buenos Aires are often the focal points for protests and demonstrations. During demonstrations, streets may be blockaded and public transport disrupted.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in Argentina.

In 2012, the Argentine Government imposed restrictions on the purchase of foreign currency in Argentina. Currency exchange restrictions are subject to regular changes. Travellers should monitor local media for updates on these restrictions.

While most major hotels in Buenos Aires exchange US currency, travellers' cheques may not be accepted. Photo identification may be required when using a credit card. You should keep a photocopy of the identity page of your passport with you if you intend to use a credit card while in Argentina.

Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Australian Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

Travellers have been robbed when using taxis in Buenos Aires. We recommend you use taxis that are clearly marked as ‘radio taxi’ with the taxi’s company name and telephone number visible. Radio taxis and 'remises' (chauffeured cars) can be booked by telephone or at the airport arrivals hall.

You will need a Brazilian visa if you intend to view the Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side of the Argentine/Brazilian border. The Brazilian authorities require passports to have a minimum of six months validity. You should apply for your visa well in advance, as this process can be time consuming. You should consult the Brazilian Consulate in Buenos Aires’ webpage (www.brasil.org.ar) if you plan to obtain a Brazilian visa in Buenos Aires. The Australian Embassy cannot intervene in this process.

Driving in Argentina can be dangerous due to widespread aggressive driving practices and excessive speed. Pedestrian rights are commonly disregarded. For further advice, see our road travel page.

Australians intending to travel from Argentina to Uruguay by road should monitor the local media as land crossings are subject to blockades.

If hiking in the high country or mountainous areas, you should register your details with park authorities. Climbers and hikers should fully acquaint themselves with local natural hazards and conditions, including weather conditions.

Domestic flights can be overbooked and technical problems at the airport can result in significant delays and missed connections. You should monitor local media reports for information.

Airline safety

Please refer to our air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Argentina, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that might appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Penalties for drug offences, even possession of small amounts, are severe and include lengthy prison sentences.

Offences committed against national symbols carry a penalty of imprisonment between six months and four years. This penalty is increased if the act is committed in conjunction with another offence.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Dual nationals

Australian/Argentine dual nationals staying in Argentina for more than 180 days are required to depart Argentina on an Argentine passport. The application process for an Argentine passport is often time-consuming and requires presentation of documents proving your identity. If you are an Australian resident, proof of your address in Australia may be required. The Australian Embassy cannot assist in the application process for an Argentine passport or other identity documents.

Children born in Argentina to Australian parents are considered Argentine nationals by local authorities and are required to depart on an Argentine passport. Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Medical facilities in Argentina are generally of a reasonable standard. Private medical clinics often require cash payment prior to providing service, including for emergency care. Foreign-brand medications may not be readily available. Some locally produced medications do not meet Australian standards and may have adverse effects.

A decompression chamber is located in Puerto Madryn.

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists Argentina as a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that you are vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to all departments in the Misiones Province and parts of Corrientes Province (Beron de Astrada, Capital, General Alvear, General Paz, Itati, Ituzaingo, Paso de los Libres, San Cosme, San Martin, San Miguel, Santo Tome). Iguazu Falls is located within Misiones Province. See the Entry and Exit section for important information about vaccination certificate requirements. For more information about yellow fever, see the Department of Health website.

Malaria is a risk in rural areas along the northern borders with Bolivia and Paraguay. Outbreaks of other insect-borne diseases (including dengue fever) are also a risk to travellers, particularly during the wet seasons (May to August and November to January). You should consult your doctor or travel clinic about prophylaxis against malaria and take measures to avoid mosquito and other insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof. For further information on dengue fever see the World Health Organization's factsheet.

Outbreaks of water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, hepatitis, typhoid and rabies) occur from time to time. In rural areas, we recommend that you boil all drinking water or that you drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes. You should also avoid raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

The high levels of air pollution in Buenos Aires may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions.

Travellers who ascend to altitudes greater than 2500m, particularly if the ascent is rapid, or who at higher altitudes make further rapid ascents are at risk of developing altitude sickness. Altitude sickness can be life threatening and can affect anyone, even the very physically fit. Those more at risk include people who have had altitude sickness before, who exercise or drink alcohol before adjusting (acclimatising) to the altitude, or who have health problems that affect breathing. If you plan to travel to high altitude areas, you should see your doctor prior to travel and get advice specific to you and your situation.

Where to get help

In Argentina, you can obtain consular assistance from the:

Australian Embassy, Buenos Aires

Villanueva 1400,
(C1426BMJ)
Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
Telephone: (54 11) 4779 3500
Facsimile: (54 11) 4779 3581
Website: www.argentina.embassy.gov.au

If you are travelling to Argentina, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

A number of volcanoes are located on the border of Argentina and Chile. Seismic activity could occur at any time. Australians are advised to remain alert to local media and familiarise themselves with evacuation procedures. Earthquakes can also occur.

Flooding, particularly in the northern provinces of Argentina, is seasonal and may disrupt local transport and the provision of essential services. Heavy rains may cause occasional flash floods in other areas, such as the province of Buenos Aires. Monitor local media and follow any instructions given by the local authorities.

Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

For Parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.