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Argentina

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Argentina. Be alert to street crime in Buenos Aires, Rosario and Mendoza. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the media and other sources for information on local travelling conditions. 
  • 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
  • Organised strikes occur frequently and may disrupt transport systems such as trains and airlines. See Safety and security
  • Yellow fever, 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

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

Visas 

Visas are only required for work permits, study, or Australian diplomatic and official passports holders. They're not available on arrival. Arrange your visa, before you leave, through 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. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Argentina for up-to-date information.

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 travelling alone or with one parent may need to provide a letter of consent from the non-travelling parent(s) to the Argentine authorities. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Argentina before you leave 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:

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: WHO (list of countries in which Yellow Fever is endemic)

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.

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.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

While most major hotels in Buenos Aires exchange US currency, travellers cheques may not be accepted. Photo identification is usually 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.

Safety and security

Crime

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

Distraction thefts (for example, throwing sauce on people, then distracting them by offering to help clean it off) are common and occur in public areas such as trains and bus stations, outside hotels, internet cafes and the subway system. There are frequent robberies in the Buenos Aires Retiro bus station and the bus station in Mendoza. Some criminals use force if they encounter resistance from tourists.

Robberies involving motorcycles are common in larger cities. Thieves usually work in pairs: one to jump off and take a pedestrian's belongings such as bags, backpacks, watches etc and the other to operate the bike. They also snatch valuables from inside vehicles.

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, Rosario and Mendoza.

Express kidnappings occur in Buenos Aires, some have involved tourists. The victim is forced to withdraw funds from an ATM to secure their release. Kidnappings have tended to target locals where families or co-workers are contacted for a ransom and once the ransom is paid, the victim is usually unharmed.

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.
  • Be alert to drink spiking.
  • Stay with people you trust in bars and nightclubs.
  • 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 local authorities' advice.
  • Contact your travel or tour operator for information on transport.

Terrorism

On 14 November 2018, two people were injured in bomb attacks in Buenos Aries. The government has security measures in place, including at major events and tourist sites.

Be alert. Follow the instructions of local authorities. Monitor the news and other sources for the latest information.

Terroris​m is a threat throughout the world, including Argentina. Major events are potential targets. 

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 plan to visit the Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side of the border you need to meet Brazil's entry and exit conditions. Check the Brazil travel advice. 

More information:

Road travel

Driving in Argentina can be dangerous due to widespread aggressive driving practices and speeding. Pedestrian rights and traffic lights are commonly ignored. According to the WHO, you're more than twice as likely to be in a killed in a motor vehicle accident in Argentina than in Australia.

Due to state of emergency in Chile, the land border crossing from Chile to Mendoza, Argentina at Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, also known as the paso Cristo Redentor tunnel may close at short notice. More information: twitter @UPFronterizos or @CFLosLibertador 

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

You can use your Australian driver’s licence for the period of your visa. Further ID may be required. Drivers must be over 23 to rent a car. Residents must get 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 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. 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 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Argentina.

More information: Air travel

Cruise travel

Buenos Aires and Ushuaia are popular destinations with a number of international cruise lines. If you plan to travel on a cruise ship:

  • check the on-board medical facilities are adequate for you
  • understand the costs of medical treatment on-board
  • take out travel and medical insurance appropriate to your circumstances, including coverage for all your pre-existing medical conditions and for medical evacuation. See Health
More information: Cruises

Accessibility

People with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different than in Australia.  While Argentine law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities,  many provinces do not practice this.

More information: Travelling with a disability

Laws

You're subject to 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 from six months to four years.

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 for more than 180 days are required to leave 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, you may need proof of your address in Australia. 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 must leave on an Argentine passport.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you leave 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 leave see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up. 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 illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Take enough prescription medicine. Always carry 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 medication doesn't meet Australian standards and may have adverse effects.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in Argentina.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Mosquito-borne illnesses

You could be exposed to diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, including yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika virus (regional). These are serious and potentially fatal diseases.  Outbreaks are more likely during the wet seasons, from May to August and November to January. In May 2019, the WHO recognised Argentina as malaria free.

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.

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. If you're pregnant, discuss any travel plans with a 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
  • consider taking anti-malaria medication if you plan to travel to affected areas
  • avoid travel to Zika-affected areas if you're pregnant.

More information:

Hantavirus

Hantavirus is widespread in four regions in Argentina: North (Salta, Jujuy), Central (Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, and Entre Rios), Northeast (Misiones) and South (Neuquen, Rio Negro and Chubut). In January 2019 there was an outbreak in Chubut and Jujuy provinces, causing some deaths. You can get hantavirus if you come in contact with infected rodents.

Protect yourself against hantavirus:

  • avoid contact with live or dead rodents 
  • don't disturb rodents, burrows, or nests
  • avoid being around places where dust is raised, such as from sweeping and vacuuming their droppings.

When participating in outdoor activities:

  • choose a campsite that's open and dry
  • don't rest in tall grasses or haystacks
  • remove food sources that may attract rodents.

More information: Hantavirus (CDC)

Altitude sickness

If you go 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 to the altitude, or who have health problems that affect breathing.

If you're going 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.

Natural disasters

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

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.

Land border crossings can close due to earthquakes or severe weather conditions.

More information:

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.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Firefighting and rescue services: 100
  • Medical emergencies: 107
  • Police, fire, ambulance (Buenos Aires only): 911 (English language service)

Tourist police stations (Comisaria del Turista) are in:

  • Buenos Aires, Corrientes 436, dial direct on 4+54 9 11 5050 9260/ +54 9 11 5050 3293
  • Mendoza, San Martin 1143, dial direct +54 261 4132135

Always get 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
Phone: (+54 11) 4779 3500
Fax: (+54 11) 4779 3581
Website: argentina.embassy.gov.au
Facebook: Australia en Argentina, Uruguay y Paraguay
Twitter: @EmbAustraliaBA

Check the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

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 from overseas, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information