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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Argentina. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for information on local travelling conditions.
  • The Eleventh World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference (MC11) will take place from 10 – 13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires. Protests are likely and traffic will be unpredictable with road closures around the Puerto Madero district. Plan alternative routes and avoid affected areas. See Safety and security.
  • Avoid protests and demonstrations as they may become violent. If you're in an area affected by unrest, follow the advice of local authorities. See Safety and security.
  • Yellow fever, malaria, dengue fever and other mosquito-borne viruses are risks in Argentina. See Health.
  • There is widespread transmission of Zika virus in the northern areas of Argentina. Pregnant women should discuss any travel plans with their doctor and defer non-essential travel to affected areas. See Health.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers. 

Entry and exit

Visas 

Visas are required for work permits, study and for Australian diplomatic and official passports holders and must be arranged prior to arrival in Argentina from your nearest Embassy or Consulate of Argentina.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice.

Further information: Embassy of Argentina

Other formalities

Argentina has biometric entry procedures at Ezeiza International Airport, Jorge Newbery International Airport and at the Buenos Aires ferry terminal.  At these ports, travellers' thumbprints are scanned by an inkless device and a digital photograph is 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 for advice.

Travelling to Argentina through the United States

If you're travelling to or from Argentina via the United States you must meet US entry/transit requirements. Check your visa needs well in advance of travel with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the United States.

More information: Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) and Department of Homeland Security websites.

Yellow fever

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists Argentina as a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Check the current yellow fever entry requirements for Argentina and all countries you intend to enter or transit by contacting their foreign missions in Australia. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of Argentina.

More information: World Health Organization (list of countries in which Yellow Fever is endemic)

Passport

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

By law, you must as soon as possible report a lost or stolen passport:

Money

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. Keep a photocopy of the identity page of your passport with you if you intend to use a credit card in Argentina.

In late 2015, the Argentinian Government announced the removal of restrictions on the purchase of foreign currency that were introduced in 2012. Monitor local sources of information for details on the implementation of this measure.

Safety and security

Crime

Pick-pocketing, bag snatching and slashing, and mobile phone theft (particularly smartphones) is very common, particularly on public transport and in tourist areas.

Distraction thefts (e.g. throwing sauce on people, then distracting them by offering to help clean it off) occur in public areas such as outside hotels, internet cafes, the subway system, and train and bus stations. Some criminals use force if they encounter resistance from tourists.

Robberies are common in taxis and tourist areas in Buenos Aires, particularly in La Boca, San Telmo, downtown, the Retiro bus terminal and the Buque bus ferry terminal. Armed robbery and other violent crimes are 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. There have been incidents of 'express kidnappings' involving tourists, where individuals were forced to withdraw funds from ATMs to secure their release.

Crimes against car passengers, particularly when stopped at traffic lights, are a problem.

  • In La Boca, only visit the main tourist area and avoid the area entirely after dark.
  • In Buenos Aires, be cautious in tourist areas.
  • Only use 'radio taxis' and avoid sharing taxis with strangers due to the risk of robbery.
  • Some criminals pose as taxi operators at the airport and then rob passengers. They may collude with other taxi drivers.
  • Keep a close eye on your personal possessions at all times.
  • Minimise outward displays of wealth.
  • Only use ATMs in banks and shopping centres.
  • Keep car windows closed and doors locked at all times.
  • Lock your passport and other valuables in a hotel safe and carry a photocopy of your passport for identification purposes.
  • If you're held up, don't resist.

Civil unrest and political tension

Protests and demonstrations are common in Argentina, particularly in Buenos Aires and other major cities. Organised strikes occur frequently and may disrupt transport systems such as trains and airlines. Avoid protests and demonstrations as they can turn violent. The Plaza de Mayo and Congreso areas in Buenos Aires are often the focal points for protests and demonstrations. During demonstrations, streets may be blockaded and public transport disrupted.

  • Avoid protests and demonstrations.
  • Monitor the media for developments.
  • Follow the advice of local authorities.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. 

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Hiking

If hiking or climbing in the high country or mountainous areas, register your details with park authorities. Provide your planned itinerary and emergency contact details to family or close friends before departing on your hike.

Research local natural hazards and conditions, including weather conditions. Carry appropriate emergency and first aid equipment.

Iguazu Falls

If you intend to view the Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side of the Argentine/Brazilian border, you will need a Brazilian visa. Brazilian authorities require passports to have a minimum of six months' validity. Apply for your Brazilian visa well in advance, as this process can be time consuming. Read the Brazilian Consulate in Buenos Aires' website if you plan to get a Brazilian visa in Buenos Aires. The Australian Embassy cannot intervene in this process.

Road travel

Driving in Argentina can be dangerous due to widespread aggressive driving practices and excessive speed. Pedestrian rights are commonly disregarded. According to the World Health Organization, you're twice as likely to be in a killed in a motor vehicle accident in Argentina than in Australia.

Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers should exercise caution. Many drivers ignore traffic lights and speed limits.

If you intend to travel from Argentina to Uruguay by road, monitor the local media as land crossings can be blockaded.

More information: Road safety and driving

Driver's Licence

An Australian driver’s licence can be used when driving in Argentina for the period your visa is current. Further ID may be required. Drivers must be over 23 years of age to rent a car. Residents must obtain an Argentine driver’s licence.

Rail Travel

Pick-pocketing, bag snatching and bag-slashing are common in trains and railway stations. On occasion, railway strikes cause major disruptions to public transportation.

Taxis

Only 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. Try to book taxis in advance rather than hailing from the street, and avoid sharing with strangers.

Air travel

Domestic flights can be overbooked and technical problems at the airport can result in significant delays and missed connections. Monitor local media reports for information.

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Argentina.

More information: Air travel 

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences, even possession of small amounts, are severe and include lengthy prison sentences.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws

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.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you can be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

Dual nationals

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're 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.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

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 won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy
  • that you're covered for the whole time you'll be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Take sufficient prescription medicine so you remain in good health. Always carry on your person a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you take and that it's for personal use only.

Foreign-brand medications may not be readily available in Argentina. Some locally produced medications don't meet Australian standards and may have adverse effects.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Mosquito-borne illnesses

You could be exposed to diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, including yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, malaria (regional) and Zika virus (regional). These are serious and potentially fatal diseases.  Outbreaks are more likely during the wet seasons (May to August and November to January).

Yellow fever is a particular risk in Misiones Province (home to Iguazu Falls) and parts of Corrientes Province, particularly Beron de Astrada, Capital, General Alvear, General Paz, Itati, Ituzaingo, Paso de los Libres, San Cosme, San Martin, San Miguel, and Santo Tome. Yellow fever is preventable by vaccination.

Malaria is a risk in rural areas along the northern borders with Bolivia and Paraguay. Malaria risk can be minimised by taking anti-malarial medications (prophylaxis). 

Zika virus is a risk in the northern areas of Argentina, including Tucuman Province. Zika poses particular risks to pregnant women and their unborn babies. Pregnant women should discuss any travel plans with their doctor and defer non-essential travel to affected areas.

Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including always using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
  • get vaccinated against yellow fever
  • take prophylaxis for malaria if you plan to travel to affected areas
  • avoid travel to Zika-affected areas if you're pregnant.

More information:

Altitude sickness

If you ascend to altitudes greater than 2,500m, you're at risk of developing altitude sickness, particularly if you ascend rapidly. 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 high altitude areas, see your doctor prior to travel and get advice specific to you and your situation. Ensure your travel insurance covers mountain rescue if you intend to visit these areas.

Other diseases and health issues

The high levels of air pollution in Buenos Aires may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions.

Outbreaks of water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including hepatitis, tuberculosis, typhoid and rabies) occur from time to time.

  • In rural areas, boil drinking water or drink bottled water.  Avoid ice cubes.
  • Avoid uncooked and undercooked food.

Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning, if you have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities are generally of a reasonable standard. A decompression chamber is located in Puerto Madryn.

Private medical clinics often require cash payment prior to providing service, including for emergency care.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider.

Emergencies

  • Firefighting and rescue services: 100
  • Medical emergencies: 107
  • Tourist Police (multi-lingual): 0800 999 5000
  • Police, fire, ambulance (Buenos Aires only): 911 (English language service)

Tourist police stations (Comisaria del Turista) are in:

  • Buenos Aires (at Corrientes 436, dial direct on 4346 5748)
  • Mendoza (at San Martin 1143, dial direct 0261 4132135)

Always obtain a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

For consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Buenos Aires.

Australian Embassy, Buenos Aires

Villanueva 1400,
(C1426BMJ)
Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
Telephone: (54 11) 4779 3500
Facsimile: (54 11) 4779 3581

More information on opening hours and temporary closures: argentina.embassy.gov.au

If you're unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

A number of volcanoes are located on the border of Argentina and Chile. Seismic activity could occur at any time. Earthquakes can also occur.

In April 2015, the eruption of the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile caused the temporary closure of some border crossing points to Argentina. Volcanic ash reached Buenos Aires, causing temporary disruption to air travel.

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.

Familiarise yourself with evacuation procedures in each location. Monitor local media. Follow the advice of local authorities.

More information:

Additional Resources