UPDATE: There is an important update below regarding how visitors will have to pay there reciprocity fees. The changes are highlighted in bold below.
They finally did it. The Argentine government now charges a “reciprocity fee” of $160 USD to any US citizen entering Argentine territory. The reason for this fee is because the United States charges Argentine citizens $160 USD (roughly 733 Argentine pesos) to obtain a visa in order to enter the United States.
When I traveled to Buenos Aires in 2007, the fee did not exist. All I needed was a valid US passport and I was able to stay in the country for 90 days without trouble. However, I needed to stay for more then 90 days so I took a one hour ferry over to Colonia, Uruguay. When I returned to Buenos Aires a few hours later, my passport was stamped and my time renewed for another 90 days, since, technically, I left to another country and re-entered Argentina. The only fee I had to pay when I left Argentina was a departure tax of around 30 USD. But I digress— back to this “reciprocity fee.”
I always knew that Argentines were unhappy about US citizens being able to stroll into their country for free when Argemtines had to pay 560 pesos for a visa in order to enter the United States. I found out about this unhappiness on a bus ride to Iguazu falls. My friend and I were settling into our seats and having a conversation when a middle aged Argentine man popped his head over my seat. He asked where we were from and when he was told I was from the United States, he directed his questions towards me.
“How much did you have to pay to enter the country?” He asked in Spanish.
“Nothing,” I replied. My friend translated my answer to him.
“You didn’t need a visa to enter Argentina?” He asked in shock.
I shook my head and my friend explained the 90 day deal to him in Spanish. He shot an annoyed glance between me and my friend before his head disappeared below my seat. He complained to his wife for the next five minutes about how unfair it was that United States citizens can enter Argentina for free but Argentine citizens have to pay so much to enter the United States.
Well, I’m sure he’s happy with the new fees now. And to be honest, it’s only fair that Argentina charges US citizens a fee to enter their country if we are charging their citizens to enter ours. 733 pesos is a lot of money for an Argentine and a lot of Argentines don’t travel to the US because of the high Visa fee.
There has been changes to how you can pay the reciprocity fee. The fee can no longer be paid upon arrival at the airport. It must be paid online at: www.migraciones.gov.ar or www.provinciapagos.com.ar and these are the steps you must take as quoted from http://www.argentinaindependent.com/currentaffairs/changes-to-payment-method-for-reciprocity-fee-visa/:
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 traveller’s entry to the country registered.
The changes will go into effect October 31st 2012 for flights to Aeroparque and December 28th 2012 for Ezeiza International Airport. The fee is good for 10 years. To find out more information visit the U.S. Department of State travel information website or the Embassy of Argentina’s website.
NOTE: Photo found via. I do not own any rights.