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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Argentina

Argentina - Consular Information Sheet
September 7, 2001

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Argentina is a medium income nation with a developing economy. Although Buenos Aires has many four and five star hotels, the quality of tourist facilities in many towns outside the capital is not up to the same standards.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days for tourism and business.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

The age of majority in Argentina is 21 years. Minors who are permanent or temporary residents of Argentina who are traveling alone, with one parent, or in someone else's custody, are required to present at departure from Argentina a notarized document which certifies both parents' permission for the child's travel. A parent with sole custody should carry a copy of the judicial custody decree. Although Argentine regulations do not require that minors who enter Argentina as tourists carry certified parental permission, immigration officials infrequently do request such a certification upon arrival in Argentina. Either document should be notarized before an Argentine consular officer or, if in Argentina, a local notary (escribano). For current information concerning entry and customs requirements for Argentina, travelers can contact the Argentine Embassy at 1600 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20009, tel. (202) 939-6400. Internet: http://athea.ar/cwash/homepage. Travelers may also contact the nearest Argentine consulate in Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, or Houston.

DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all Argentine laws affecting US citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Argentine citizens. U.S. citizens who also have Argentine nationality who remain in Argentina more than 60 days are required to depart Argentina on Argentine passports. The application process for the Argentine passport can be lengthy. However, the Embassy is not able to assist U.S. citizens in obtaining Argentine passports or other identity documents. In some instances, dual nationality may hamper US Government efforts to provide protection abroad. For additional information, see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality Flyer.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Although in recent years there have been occasional instances of small explosive devices placed outside businesses identified with the US or other foreign countries, there is no evidence of terrorist organizations or violent groups in Argentina which specifically target U.S. visitors. However, given the presence of members of and support for foreign extremist terrorist groups in the tri-border region of Argentina (Misiones Province), visitors to Argentina cannot discount the possibility of terrorist activity to include random acts of anti-American violence.

Both planned and spontaneous demonstrations and protests sometimes inconvenience or delay travelers throughout Argentina. These may include blocking streets and highways, which cause sporadic travel delays, including getting to and from airports. Although demonstrations are usually nonviolent, 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 several 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 below.

CRIME: Petty crime in the larger cities, especially in the greater Buenos Aires area continues to be a problem for residents and visitors alike. Visitors to Buenos Aires and popular tourist destinations should be especially alert to pickpockets and purse snatching on the streets and on buses and trains. Thieves often work in pairs and employ a variety of ruses to victimize the unsuspecting visitor. In recent years, most crime affecting U.S. visitors has been non-violent. Nevertheless, aggravated robberies and shootings have become more frequent, especially in the suburbs of the capital and in Buenos Aires Province. Incidents of armed invasions of restaurants, shops, and residences in the more fashionable suburbs are also occurring with greater frequency. As a result, it is recommended that due caution be exercised when traveling about the city.

Additionally, there are frequent instances of false taxicabs in which passengers have been robbed. Armed thieves, usually in collusion with the taxi driver, will quickly enter the taxi when the vehicle stops at a stoplight. This location is usually within a couple of blocks from where the victim hailed the taxi, but sometimes it can be at the victim's destination point. Assailants will either rob the victim immediately or more likely take the victim to the nearest cash machine for cash withdrawal. Much of this type of crime is perpetrated in the city center, especially in the banking district.

The loss or theft abroad of a US passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402; via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su docs; or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care in Buenos Aires is generally good but varies in quality outside the capital. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the US can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the US unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

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.

Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good/Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good/Good
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Good

Driving throughout Argentina is more dangerous than driving in the United States. Drivers in Argentina are very aggressive, especially in the capital city of Buenos Aires and frequently ignore traffic regulations. Road conditions are favorable throughout Argentina, which is well connected by main highways. 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 above in paragraph 2.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Argentina's Civil Aviation Authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Argentina's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet Web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the Pentagon at 1-618-256-4801.

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 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.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_ issues.html, or telephone (202) 736-7000.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans living in or visiting Argentina are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires and obtain updated information on travel and security within Argentina. The U.S. Embassy is located at 4300 Avenida Colombia, 1425 Buenos Aires, Argentina. The main Embassy switchboard telephone is (011)(54)(11) 5777-4533. Recorded consular information, including instructions on whom to contact in case of an American citizen emergency, is available at (54)(11) 4514-1830. The main embassy fax is (54)(11) 5777-4240. The Consular Section fax is (011)(54)(11) 5777-4205. Additional information is available through the Embassy's web site at http://us---embassy.state.gov/baires embassy, which has a link to the Consular Section's email inquiry Address: BuenosAiresConsulate@state.gov.


This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated January 10, 2000 to modify sections on Country Description, Entry and Exit Requirements, Dual Nationality, Safety and Security, Crime, Medical Insurance, Medical Facilities, Medical Insurance, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, Aviation Safety Oversight, and Children's Issues.

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