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Travel Security Advice for Argentina

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COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

Last year Argentina's charm, natural beauty, and diversity attracted nearly 400,000 American citizen visitors.  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. The country suffered a major financial crisis in 2001-2002, and while it has made a dramatic recovery, continued economic hardship has been linked to a rise in street crime.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Argentina for additional information.

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 or 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 that 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 passport. 

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. 

American citizens wishing to enter Brazil from Argentina are required to obtain a visa in advance from the Brazilian Embassy or consulate nearest to the traveler's place of residence.  The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires cannot assist travelers with obtaining Brazilian visas.  For more information, see the Country Specific Information for Brazil

Visit the Embassy of Argentina’s website at http://www.embassyofargentina.us/ for the most current visa information.
Information about
dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.


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. The rate and toll of traffic accidents has been a topic of much media attention over the past year. The Institute of Road Safety and Education, a private Buenos Aires organization dedicated to transportation safety issues, reports that Argentina has the highest traffic mortality rate in South America per 100,000 inhabitants.

Care should be exercised when traveling in Brazil and Paraguay, near the Argentine border, where criminal entities are known to operate. These organizations are involved in the trafficking of illicit goods, and some individuals in the area have been designated by the U.S. Treasury Department for financially supporting terrorist organizations.

The U.S. government is supportive of coordinated efforts by Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay to combat illegal activity in that region. Americans crossing from Argentina into Paraguay or Brazil may wish to consult the most recent Country Specific Information for those countries.

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, hooligans in some of the groups 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. 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 document.

Domestic flight schedules can be unreliable. Occasional work stoppages, over-scheduling of flights, and other technical problems can result in flight delays, cancellations, or missed connections. Consult local media 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 and should also be aware that these forms of transport are sometimes interrupted by strikes or work stoppages.

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. American 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 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 guidebook billing as affordable and requiring no climbing skills attracts hundreds of Americans every year.  However, inexperienced mountaineers should bear in mind that Aconcagua’s 22,840-foot-altitude, bitter cold and savage storms make it one of the world’s most difficult climbs.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs' web site a
t http://travel.state.gov/, where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, as well as the Worldwide Caution, 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 pamphle
t A Safe Trip Abroad.

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. 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. Criminals usually work in groups and travelers should assume they are armed. Criminals employ a variety of ruses to distract and victimize unsuspecting visitors.
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 American victims are not physically injured when robbed, criminals are known 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. The U.S. Embassy has observed an increase in reports of stolen passports in the past year. 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 web site at http://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. 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.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. More information on this serious problem is available at
http://www.cybercrime.gov/18usc2320.htm.

 

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 are 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.  See our information for Victims of Crime.

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 015-6444-324.

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.

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 Penalties.

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. Please see our information on Customs Regulations.

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.

Many Americans come to Argentina for elective surgery procedures advertised through the Internet.  Prospective patients should carefully review each surgeon’s credentials and ensure that the procedures will be conducted in a hospital or clinic that provides emergency care.  Medical experts also advise patients to provide their surgeons a complete health history before traveling and to allow adequate time in Argentina for follow-up care.

HIV/AIDS Restrictions:  The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Argentina.

For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) web site 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 insurance overseas.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.  The information below concerning Argentina is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

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 websites of Argentina's national tourist office and national roadways office at http://www.turismo.gov.ar/ and http://www.vialidad.gov.ar/.

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.  For more information, travelers may visit the FAA website at http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/iasa.

Domestic flight schedules can be unreliable.  Occasional work stoppages, over-scheduling of flights, and other technical problems can result in flight delays, cancellations, or missed connections.  Consult local media for information about possible strikes or slow-downs before planning travel within Argentina.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

For information see our Office of Children's Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION:

Americans living or traveling in Argentina are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department’s travel registration website in order 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 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://argentina.usembassy.gov/ or by e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

This replaces the Country Specific Information of December 5, 2008, to update sections on Country Description, Safety and Security, Crime, Information for Victims of Crime, and Medical Facilities and Health Information.

 


 

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office has information relating to Argentina HERE....

You can check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Malaria Map HERE....

Need to find an Embassy?, You can check out our World Wide Embassies Section HERE (For US Citizens) and HERE (For UK Citizens)..........

Regards

The SW Team....

 

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