January 16, 2013

Paying Argentine Reciprocity Fee

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                                               Argentine New Reciprocity Fee


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.

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. 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.

NEW RECIPROCITY FEE FOR U.S. TOURIST OR BUSINESS VISITORS

Effective from: October 31, 2012 (Aeroparque) and December 28, 2012 (Ezeiza).

The National Immigration Agency (Dirección Nacional de Migraciones) has added a new form of payment of the reciprocity rate (visitor visa – rate for Americans of USD$160), through the Provincia Payment System. Until now, this fee was paid upon arrival at the airport (either Aeroparque or Ezeiza). Effective October 31, 2012 for arrivals to Aeroparque and effective December 28, 2012 for arrivals to Ezeiza International airport, all U.S. tourist or business visitors must pay the reciprocity rates (USD$160 for Americans) with their credit card through the on-line system.

After these dates, cash payments will NOT be accepted at the airports.

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.

How to pay the reciprocity fee on-line:

1) Enter the web site 
www.migraciones.gov.ar or www.provinciapagos.com.ar of Provincia Pagos and register to start the process.
2) Complete the form with the corresponding personal and credit card information.
3) Print the payment receipt.
4) On arrival in Argentina, this printed receipt must be presented at Immigration Control. The receipt will be scanned by the Immigration officials, the information will be checked, and the traveler's entry to the country registered.

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.

Important Information and FAQ:

  1. You will have to pay Argentina's $160 reciprocity fee in advance, on line, by credit card. You won't be able to do it on arrival.
  2. Credit cards that are accepted: Visa, Master Card or American Express.
  3. The fee is only collected at EZE and AEP for international arriving flights, not on land crossings such as Iguazu or Bariloche. Any departure fees from EZE are already added into your international ticket. There are departure fees that must be paid at Calafate and Trelew airports (possibly others), but they are minimal.
  4. The Chilean fee is good for the life of the passport, not yours! Once the passport expires, so does the coverage of the fee. For Argentina the fee is good for 10 years even in an expired passport. Note this is for a USA passport as terms vary by nationality.
  5. Note that the Argentine website says only prepaying for BA airports, but from the 7th of January 2012 you must prepay online for any entry point into Argentina; any land border or other airport. The exception is cruise ship passengers who will pay starting mid-year.
  6. Bear in mind that if you visit Colonia del Sacramento you will need to print your receipt and bring it with you to Buquebus Ferry Port. Colonia del Sacramento is located in Uruguay. You will go through migratioons to reach Colonia and once you return to Argentina you will be requested your receipt so that you can enter Argentina Again. In case you don’t have the receipt with you, you will be asked to use the computer, go on line and pay the fee again.
If you need further information or if you have doubts, do not hesitate to contact us and ask your questions regarding your forthcoming trip to Argentina.