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American, Australian, and Canadian travelers to Buenos Aires: Keep your cash in your pocket, and take out your credit card instead.

A NEW WRINKLE in the reciprocity fees charged to tourists and business travelers visiting Argentina has surfaced. Now, instead of folding your hard-earned $160 (for Americans) into your passport (which, quite honestly, feels a little like a bribe) upon entering the country, you’ve got to arrange the whole shebang online, before you even get in the air.

I was pretty disgruntled to learn that Argentina had instituted a reciprocity fee in late 2009, charging passport holders from the US, Canada, and Australia a fee to enter Argentina through either of Buenos Aires’ airports. For someone like me, who lives in Santiago, carries an American passport, and likes to travel, that meant a sure-thing lightening of my wallet the next time I visited.

Requirements affecting US, Canadian, and Australian citizens

But at least my payment gets me unlimited entries to Argentina for ten years for a sum of $160 (raised in April, as predicted). Canadians, on the other hand, pay $75 per visit (unless they’re coming and going from bordering countries, in which case it covers multiple entries), and Australians pay $100 for unlimited visits for one year.

The newest innovation — an online payment system — eradicates the old pay-cash-at-the-airport regine, and means if you don’t pony up online, you’re not getting into Argentina. The system goes into effect as of October 31st, 2012 for flights to Aeroparque, and December 28th, 2012 for flights to Ezeiza.

How to pay the fee

To pay, go to the website, register, make your payment, print the receipt. and bring it with you to the airport in Buenos Aires, where it will be scanned and you can enter the country. Since the system is not yet in effect, it’s too early to say whether or not it works smoothly.

Benefits

One thing the online payment system should do is speed up the immigration process for the non-MERCOSUR lines at the airport. Ezeiza’s continued expansion, including the opening of terminal C in December 2011, have stressed the already overwhelmed facilities, often leading to long lines to enter the country. When I paid the fee in early March of 2010, it took me an hour and fifteen minutes to clear immigration…though part of that was my failed argument that as a permanent resident of a MERCOSUR country, I shouldn’t have to pay the fee.

Workarounds

Workarounds to paying the reciprocity fee include taking international flights into other points in Argentina, such as Mendoza, Córdoba, Rosario, or Salta, or coming in overland from a bordering country (Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, or Uruguay). One popular option is to fly into Montevideo and take the Buquebus ferry (or a bus and ferry combo) into Argentina’s capital.

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About The Author

Eileen Smith

Eileen Smith is the editor of Matador Abroad. She's an ex-Brooklynite who's made a life in Santiago, Chile. She's a fluent Spanish speaker who can be found biking, hiking, writing, photographing and/or seeking good coffee and nibbles at most hours of the day. She blogs here.

  • Anonymous

    Hello,
    I have been trying to pay the Reciprocity Fee online but it continues to tell me that my transaction can not be processed at this time. Is anyone else have these difficulties?
    Thanks

  • Kristina Trafford-Jones

    Hi -yes I have been trying for 2 weeks to accesss the ‘unavailable web page also tried to phone them and sent emails to no avail
    .The access form to fill in asks for passwords and user names !! Yes has any one any ideas?

    • Linda Lambeth

      I too have been trying for 2 weeks to pay the reciprocity fee online. It lets me fill in all the forms then when I hit pay a large blank square appears on the upper left hand side of my computer. I have sent emails and contacted the Argentine embassy to no avail.

  • Eileen Smith

    Sorry to say, I was expecting some technical difficulties with Argentina’s system. I do know of one person whose travel agent paid it for him so I know it has been possible in the past. I would suggest trying a different internet browser, and also calling your local Argentine embassy to see if they can lend a hand.

  • Anthony Maggio

    The website is very difficult to use. Take a look at – http://www.argentinafees.com – it details a step-by-step process for paying the fee.

  • Anthony Maggio

    The website is very difficult to use. Take a look at – http://www.argentinafees.com – it details a step-by-step process for paying the fee.

  • Anthony Maggio

    The website is very difficult to use. Take a look at – http://www.argentinafees.com – it details a step-by-step process for paying the fee.

  • Niger Sanchez

    well I guess IM NOT FLYING TO ARGENTINA any more, who ever come up whit that idea of a fee to enter this country is just #$%^&*(#@ spain….. here I go.

    • John Boehme

      that’d be the USA boss

    • Juan David Hernandez

      VISTES EL ATENTADO EN BOSTON LO QUE NO ME ALEGRO ES QUE NO HAYAN MAS MUERTOS LAS RATAS GRINGAS MERECEN ESO Y MAS…..

    • Juan David Hernandez

      VISTES EL ATENTADO EN BOSTON LO QUE NO ME ALEGRO ES QUE NO HAYAN MAS MUERTOS LAS RATAS GRINGAS MERECEN ESO Y MAS…..

    • Niger Sanchez

      VISTES COMO LA PUTA MADRE Q TE PARIO SI TE DEJO CAER POR ESE CULO POR LO MIERDA Q ERES…. Y SI ERES TAN HOBRE PQ NO TE AMARRAS C4 EN ESE CULO VIEJO Y TE VIENES POR AKI A EMPEZAR TU GUERRA ROLO E GUEBON… DALE Q MIERDAS COMO TU AKI LAS SABEMOS COMO TRATAR BURRO CHAVEZTIA DE CORDILLERA

  • Melinda C. Bullen

    Does anyone know if the fee can be avoided by entering B.A. with our Chilean Carnet vs. our U.S. passport? I would love any imput! Thanks!

  • Day Serrano-Tengi

    Tip: if u were born in Argentina even if carrying a passport from one of these countries u don’t have to pay the fee. My husband paid even after verifying with the Argentinean government agency that controls all of this and when he got there the customs agent told him that it was unconstitutional to have an Argentinean pay this even if his passport was expired. Now he has to go through more government burocracy to get the money back.

  • Tin55

    so the US demands a VISA to most nationalities to enter the country and you cry for having to pay a reciprocity fee? And you dont even have to bother to go to an embassy. You make me laugh.

    • Lu

      Been an Argentine citizen who has had the F**king USA Visa denied TWICE, and lost so much money trying to just go visit their country I find it WONDERFUL that they have to pay a fee. It always felt ridiculous that we had to go through sos much trouble and they didn’t.

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