Americans! URGENT! Get your visa to come to Argentina *before* you go to the airport! There are tons of people who are being sent back to the US from Argentine immigration because they did not bring the proof of payment of their visa. Please do not try to use logic to understand the wherefore’s and what-have-you’s of this situation. It is completely ridiculous (not the reciprocity fee, the how it is enacted). The reciprocity fee to enter Argentina is, just this, reciprocal to what Argentines have to pay to go to the USA. However, since Argentina is only interested in collecting the money (fine by me!) and not in the immigration aspect of whether or not Americans are staying in Argentina illegally, one would think that you could simply pay the fee upon arrival. This was the case up until about 6 months ago. Now, however, you must go to Provincia Pagos, part of the Argentina Immigration (Migraciones) website, which allows you to pay the fee and get the crucial and required proof of payment with barcode (barcode needed!!) in order to enter Argentina.
Here are the gory details, WHICH YOU SHOULD READ, since in Argentina it always comes down to the gory details that will prevent you from some major ordeal.
1. The proof of payment will only be emailed to you ONCE. It will NEVER EVER be emailed to you again. Not ever. Not if you log into your account that you create via the Provincia Pagos website.
2. When you pay the reciprocity fee / visa to enter Argentina you have to create an account to do so that asks you for some basic info. This account is then WORTHLESS afterward because it does not in any way corroborate the proof of payment of your visa. If you happen to accidentally delete the email with the proof of payment, send it to the wrong email address or otherwise mess it up, look forward to a long, arduous, tortuous process of calling Migraciones en Argentina in order to try to get another one, which they will undoubtedly NOT do (I just went through this with my mother who was visiting!!). Instead they will simply look up whether you paid the fee on their system and say “don’t worry just come on through.”
So why, you ask, am I ranting about this? Well…
3. The airlines have been misinformed by Migraciones (Argentine Immigration)!!! They have been informed that they should ONLY ever let people on the plane who have the receipt of payment with barcode. They detained my mother in Atlanta because of this and she had come TWICE before in this year (2013). Why? They were only doing what they were told by Migraciones. So it will be the airline who will likely detain you since they feel you have adequate paperwork. Why?
Well it turns out that the Argentine government is fining the airlines $10,000 usd for every single person who has to be sent back from immigration upon arrival, so the airlines have a big incentive to be strict about this.
Can you say quilombo?