- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Argentina.
- Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- Australian tourists are charged a “reciprocity fee” of USD100. The reciprocity fee must be paid 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 all protests and demonstrations as they may become violent.
- The Puyehue volcano near Osorno in Chile still erupts intermittently. Associated ash falls can cause extensive delays to air travel into and around Argentina and neighbouring countries.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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 is valid for multiple re-entries within a period of one year as of the date of first entry. The fee must be paid prior to arrival at all ports of entry, including airports, ports and land border crossings. Passengers arriving on cruise ships are exempt until 30 June 2013. Passengers arriving on cruise ships from 1 July 2013 will have to pay the reciprocity fee online before their arrival into the Argentine port.
The reciprocity fee is payable 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.
Australian citizens whose passport shows they were 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 are also exempt from payment.
Argentina has introduced 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 and recommends travellers 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) are vaccinated against yellow fever. Iguazu Falls is located within Misiones Province.
Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. If in doubt, check with your airline.
Australian Customs officials will ask you to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate on entry into Australia if you are aged one year or above and have stayed overnight or longer in Misiones Province in the six days prior to your date of return to Australia.
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
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
The Plaza de Mayo and Congreso areas in Buenos Aires are often the focal points for protests and demonstrations. You should avoid all protests and demonstrations as they may become violent. During demonstrations, streets may be blockaded and public transport disrupted.
Australians intending to travel from Argentina to Uruguay by road should monitor the local media as land crossings are subject to blockades.
We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Argentina. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
Petty crime, including pick-pocketing, bag snatching and bag slitting, is common, particularly on public transport. Distraction thefts (e.g. throwing mustard on people) occur in public areas such as 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. You should keep windows closed and doors locked in major cities.
In Buenos Aires, a 24-hour emergency services helpline (for police, fire and ambulance), with service in English, can be accessed by dialing 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 dialing direct on 4346 5748 or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). In Mendoza, tourists can seek assistance from the Tourist Police, which is located at San Martin 113, by calling telephone 0261 4132135.
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 mid-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 news 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 Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
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 six months validity. You should not leave your visa application until the last minute 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.
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.
Please refer to our air travel page for information on air travel.
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 imprisonment in local jails.
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, for example, defiling a national flag which has been stolen.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, 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.
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 Travel Information for Dual Nationals brochure provides further information for dual nationals.
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.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations (including booster doses of childhood vaccinations) and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our 'Travelling Well' brochure also provides useful tips for travelling with medicines and staying healthy while overseas.
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, and recommends travellers 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) are vaccinated against yellow fever. Iguazu Falls is located within Misiones Province. It is recommended travellers to Argentina consult their doctor for the most up-to-date information on yellow fever. See the Entry and Exit Requirements section of this travel advice for further information on yellow fever. Information on yellow fever is also available on the Department of Health and Ageing 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 and yellow 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. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before travelling. 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 altitude, you should see your doctor prior to travel and get advice specific to you and your situation.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website. For more information see our travel bulletin on avian influenza.
Where to get help
In Argentina, you can obtain consular assistance from the:
Australian Embassy, Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
Telephone: (54 11) 4779 3500
Facsimile: (54 11) 4779 3581
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.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
On 5 June 2011, the Puyehue volcano near Osorno in Chile erupted. Associated ash falls caused extensive delays to air travel into and around Argentina and neighbouring countries, as well as the closure of some border crossings with Chile. The volcano still erupts intermittently. Consequently, some international and domestic flights could be affected. We recommend you consult your airline for the latest information.
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.
Earthquakes can also occur.
Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
Australians are advised to respect wildlife laws and to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including marine animals and birds. You should only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling With Children brochure.
If you are planning on placing your children in schools or childcare facilities overseas we encourage you to research the standards of security, care and staff training within those establishments. You should exercise the same precautions you would take before placing children into schools or childcare facilities in Australia.
Ideas on how to select childcare providers are available from the smartraveller Children's Issues page, Child Wise and the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority.