Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bad News for Travelers to Argentina...Reciprocity Fee

Here’s a bit of bad news for people planning or who have already planned trips to Argentina. In an email from the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires this morning, a warning was issued.

This warden message is being issued to alert U.S. citizens that on December 20th, 2009, the Government of Argentina will begin charging American Citizens visiting Argentina for business or tourism an entry fee of $131 U.S. dollars.  The fee will be collected only at Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport. Once paid, the fee permits multiple entries into Argentina for ten years in accordance with United States visa reciprocity.  Americans may pay in dollars, by credit card, or with travelers checks. 

This is could be a blow for tourism, though most likely with cheaper and younger travelers, rather than older travelers who have some more money to throw around. I can’t say I’m entirely surprised by this, and would be more so by the fact that it took Argentina so long to jump on the South American-Reciprocity Fee bandwagon. They will join other countries like Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil, who charge American citizens to enter their country. Really, it’s only fair when you consider the fact that the U.S. government gives their citizens the same trouble to enter our country, and they often don’t even get the visa after the money they spend applying.

We at least get to enter the country as long as the money is there, and generally without a long wait. Just last week Argentina hosted Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela. The two countries came to some sort of deal worth millions of dollars, in part having to do with oil. They were kind of sketchy on the details of exactly what was agreed upon, but I’d use my Latin American experience and say that Mr. Chavez had something to do with this sudden announcement. Still, that’s just an idea from me, so don’t feel like you should report that as a fact. Keep this in mind if traveling to Argentina, and hopefully it won’t discourage anyone.

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