Argentina Consular Information
May 21, 2007
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Argentina is a medium-income
nation that suffered a major financial crisis in 2001-2002. While the
country has made a dramatic recovery, continued economic hardship has been
linked to a rise in street crime. Buenos Aires and other large cities 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, and may not be up to similar standards.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: 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 and business. 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 therefore encourages
U.S. citizens to ensure their 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 at www.mininterior.gov.ar/migraciones/.
Most dual nationals are permitted 60-day visits. Dual nationals who
stay beyond their permitted time are required to depart on an Argentine
The application process for an Argentine passport is lengthy, and the U.S.
Embassy is not able to provide assistance in obtaining Argentine passports or
other local identity documents. Children under 21 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 child abduction" link below for more
information). An airport tax is collected upon departure, payable in
dollars or Argentine pesos. See our Foreign
Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Argentina and other
countries. Visit the Embassy of Argentinaâ€™s web site at http://www.embajadaargentina-usa.org
for the most current visa information.
See Entry and Exit
Requirements for more information pertaining to dual
nationality and the prevention of international
child abduction. Please refer to our Customs
Information to learn more about customs regulations.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Traffic
accidents are the primary threat to life and limb in Argentina.
Pedestrians and drivers should exercise caution. Drivers frequently ignore
traffic laws and vehicles often travel at excessive speeds. Argentina
reported 7,500 traffic accident deaths in 2006.
Individuals and organizations with ties to extremist groups, including some
known to provide financial support to designated foreign terrorist
organizations, operate in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, in the tri-border area
between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. The governments of Argentina,
Brazil, and Paraguay are engaged in a coordinated effort, supported by the U.S.
Government, to combat illegal activity in that region. Americans crossing
from Argentina into Paraguay or Brazil may wish to consult the most recent Consular
Information Sheets for those countries. In recent years, there were
pipe bombs or incendiary attacks on bank branches, municipal or public utility
offices and fast food restaurants. These incidents usually occurred at
night and were intended to cause only property damage. There has been no
indication that these incidents were connected to international terrorism or
intended to specifically target U.S. citizens or interests.
Demonstrations are very common in metropolitan Buenos Aires and occur
frequently in other major cities, as well. Protesters block streets,
highways, and major intersections, causing traffic jams and delaying
travel. While demonstrations are usually nonviolent, hooligans in some of
the groups sometimes seek confrontation with the police and vandalize private
property. These 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. Additional information and advice may be obtained from the U.S.
Embassy at the telephone numbers or email address listed at the end of this
Domestic flights are usually dependable and safe. However, occasional
work stoppages, over-scheduling of flights and other technical problems at the
airport can sometimes result in flight delays or missed connections.
Consult local media for information about possible strikes, slow downs, or road
blockages before planning domestic travel.
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 and should also be aware that these forms of transport are sometimes
interrupted by strikes or work stoppages.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should
regularly monitor the Department Internet web
site, where the current Worldwide
Caution Public Announcement, Travel
Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.
Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by
calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or for callers outside
the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These
numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through
Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for
their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general
information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves
in an overseas environment, see the Department of State pamphlet A Safe Trip
CRIME: Most American 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. 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.
Criminals usually work in groups and travelers should assume they are armed.
Criminals employ a variety of ruses to distract and victimize unsuspecting
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.
Thieves regularly nab unattended purses, backpacks, laptops and luggage and
criminals will often distract visitors for a few seconds to steal
valuables. While most American victims are not physically injured when
robbed, criminals typically do not hesitate to use force when they encounter
resistance. Visitors are advised to immediately hand over all cash and
valuables if confronted. Thieves will target visitors wearing expensive
watches or jewelry.
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. 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 www.bcra.gov.ar .
Along with conventional muggings, so-called express kidnappings continue to
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 and visitors are
particularly advised not to let children and adolescents travel alone.
INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft
abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and
the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime
while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the
nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate
staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact
family members or friends and explain how funds can be transferred.
Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the
responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to
understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if
needed. The Argentine Federal Police have established a special Tourist
Police Unit to receive complaints and investigate crimes against tourists.
The unit has a toll-free number (0800-999-5000) for responding to tourist calls
around the clock, seven days a week. See our information for Victims
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: The
public health system in Argentina provides emergency and non-emergency services
free of charge to all, regardless of nationality or immigration status.
However, the quality of non-emergency care in public hospitals is generally
below U.S. standards. Medical care in private hospitals in Buenos Aires is
generally good, but varies in quality outside the capital. Serious medical
problems requiring hospitalization in private facilities and/or medical
evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more.
Private physicians, clinics, and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment
for health services.
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 Preventions hotline for international travelers
at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For
information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World
Health Organization (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further
health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly
urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to
traveling abroad to confirm whether their policies apply overseas and will cover
prior conditions and emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation, which
could cost tens of thousands of dollars. If not covered, visitors are
encouraged to consider purchasing travel insurance. No Medicare benefits
are available abroad. Please see our information on medical
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: Driving in
Argentina is generally more dangerous than driving in the United States.
By comparison, drivers in Argentina tend to be very aggressive, especially in
the capital city of Buenos Aires, and frequently 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. For further information, please
contact the Argentine Automobile Club, Av. Libertador 1850, 1112 Capital
Federal, telephone (011)(54)(11) 4802-6061, or contact the Embassy of Argentina
as listed in the above section on Entry Requirements.
Please refer to our Road Safety
page for more information. Visit the website of the Argentine national
tourist office at www.turismo.gov.ar.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Argentinaâ€™s Civil Aviation
Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Argentinaâ€™s air carrier
operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA Internet web
site at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.
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
Argentina is a geographically diverse country with mountains, forests,
expansive deserts, and glaciers, making it a popular destination for outdoor and
adventure sports. Despite the best efforts of local authorities, assisting
visitors lost or injured in such remote areas can be problematic. American
citizens have been killed in recent years while mountain climbing, skiing,
trekking, and hunting. Travelers visiting isolated and wilderness areas
should learn about local hazards and weather conditions and always inform park
or police authorities of their itineraries. Information about parks and
wilderness areas can be obtained from the Argentine National Parks Service at http://www.parquesnacionales.gov.ar
Current weather forecasts are available from the Argentine Meteorological
Service at http://www.meteofa.mil.ar. Reports
of missing or injured persons should be made immediately to the police so that a
search can be mounted or assistance rendered. Pleasesee
ourinformation on Customs
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a
U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes
differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the
protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for
breaking the law can also be more severe than in the United States for similar
offenses. Persons violating Argentina's laws, even unknowingly, may be
expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or
trafficking in illegal drugs in Argentina are strict, and convicted offenders
can expect lengthy jail sentences and fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with
children and using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country are
crimes prosecutable in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international
adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Childrenâ€™s
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATIONS: Americans living or
traveling in Argentina are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through
the State Department travel
registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and
security within Argentina. Americans without Internet access may register
directly with the U.S. Embassy. By registering, American citizens make it
much easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of
emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Avenida Colombia 4300 in the
Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires (near the Plaza Italia stop on the "D" line
subway). The main Embassy switchboard telephone is (54)(11)
5777-4533. Recorded consular information, including instructions on whom
to contact in case of an American citizen emergency, is available at tel.
(54)(11) 4514-1830. The main Embassy fax is (54)(11) 5777-4240. The
Consular Section fax is (54)(11) 5777-4293. The Consular Section is open
to the public from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through
Friday, except on American and Argentine holidays. Additional information on
Embassy services is available on the Internet at http://buenosaires.usembassy.gov,
or by e-mail: BuenosAires-ACS@state.gov.
* * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated November 16, 2006 to
update Sections on Country Description, Entry/Exit Requirements, Safety and
Security, Crime, Medical Facilities, Medical Insurance, Traffic Safety and Road
Conditions, Aviation Safety Oversight, Special Circumstances, Criminal
Penalties, Childrenâ€™s Issues, and Registration/Embassy Locations; and to add a
new Section on Information for Victims of Crime.
http://travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html for State Department Travel
Argentina Consular Information