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Argentina travel guide

About Argentina

Spirited Argentina, with its clamouring capital, vast pampas, rolling wine regions and snowy peaks, is a land bursting with adventure. It’s a place where the clichés hold true: football is essentially a religion, the beef is phenomenal and there’s little point even thinking about starting a proper night out before midnight. Its natural wonders range from Andean plateaux and Patagonian glaciers to subtropical waterfalls and wildlife-rich wetlands. There’s an awful lot to love.

Buenos Aires might sit at the very edge of the country, gazing out across the Rio de la Plata, but it’s very much Argentina’s centrepiece. The city of Evita and Maradona, its tango halls, parillas (grill restaurants) and feisty porteños (BA residents) provide a gutsy introduction to the country. In the high-end neighbourhoods of Recoleta and Palermo you’ll find designer boutiques and trendy eateries, while historic San Telmo offers antique stalls, old-world cafés and an abundance of live music.

In the north, scorched mountains and otherworldly rock formations characterise the Salta region, where Spanish and Gaucho traditions combine and Argentina’s famous white wines flourish. Further west, in the Mendoza region, the grapes are red and the foothills of the Andes offer skiing, while down south, in Patagonia, you’ll find an astonishing spread of expansive lakes, jagged peaks and mile upon empty mile of open space.

Elsewhere, try walking in the glistening Lake District, whale-watching off the coast at Puerto Madryn, meeting baby penguins in Punta Tombo or exploring the Jesuit chapels and farmhouses of Córdoba. Another of the country’s majestic natural beauties is the mighty Iguazu Falls, bordering Argentina and Brazil. 

Despite living through a dark military dictatorship and a spectacularly devastating economic crisis, Argentineans still have a vivacious and infectious lust for life. And from its subtropical top to its icy tip, it remains a mesmerising country.

Key facts

Area:

2,780,400 sq km (1,073,518 sq miles).

Population:

44,022,394 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

15.6 per sq km.

Capital:

Buenos Aires.

Government:

Federal republic.

Head of state:

President Alberto Fernández since 2019.

Head of government:

President Alberto Fernández since 2019.

Travel Advice

Indirect commercial flights to return to the UK are available.
From 8 June there are no longer restrictions on the UK side on direct flights arriving in England from Argentina; they would have to arrive at dedicated terminals at Heathrow and Birmingham airports. Different requirements might apply for arrivals into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, Argentina continues to ban direct flights to and from the UK and there are none currently in operation.

Commercial flights

Due to restrictions imposed by Argentina, there are currently no direct flights between Argentina and the UK. Travellers should consult their airline or tour operator if they have booked travel.

Flights from Brazil, Chile and India into Argentina are suspended until further notice.

Direct flights to and from African continental countries are suspended until further notice.

The Argentine Ministry of Transport can increase or reduce this list, or make other changes, depending on the situation. A weekly limit of 5200 arriving passengers has been set and this limit will be increased week on week until a weekly limit of 7000 arriving passengers is reached in early August.

There are a limited number of indirect flights which can be used to connect with the UK. Check with your airline or travel company for the latest information. You should also check the travel advice for the countries you will be transiting.

Travelling to the airport

You can travel from your accommodation to the airport if you have a valid plane ticket and are not showing any symptoms of coronavirus.

You need to complete an electronic ‘sworn statement’ form within 48 hours of leaving, self-certifying that you are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and that you have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight.

Your journey home: re-entering the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements.

From 8 June, direct flights could arrive in England from Argentina, but they would have to arrive at dedicated terminals at Heathrow and Birmingham airports. Different requirements may apply for arrivals into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) also provides advice on how to stay safe as you travel by air.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

If you cannot leave Argentina

If you cannot leave Argentina at this time, see advice on staying in Argentina during coronavirus.

Help and support

If you need urgent consular assistance, you can contact the British Embassy 24/7 on +54 11 4808-2200.

The Embassy cannot provide further information or advice about departure options over the phone.

Stay up to date with this travel advice and follow the British Embassy social media accounts for any updates.

This page gives you guidance on how to stay safely in Argentina as a visitor, if you are unable to return to the UK.

Everyone should comply with the measures put in place in Argentina to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Moving around in Argentina

In Argentina, measures to control the spread of COVID-19 are ongoing. The entire country is in a phase of mandatory social distancing. Additional restrictions may vary between jurisdictions.

In all parts of Argentina you must cover your nose and mouth with a face mask or other garment whenever you go out in public.

Free movement is allowed within each jurisdiction as long as social distancing rules are adhered to. A night-time curfew from midnight to 6am has been introduced in all jurisdictions deemed high risk by the authorities. You should make sure you understand and comply with the measures in place in the province/jurisdiction you are in. The use of public transport within jurisdictions remains restricted to essential workers and those in need of medical treatment.

Movement between jurisdictions is permitted, provided you meet the requirements of the specific jurisdiction/province you plan to visit. Requirements might include taking a COVID-19 PCR test and applying for a permit to circulate (Certificado Único de Circulación) or a permit for tourism purposes (Certificado Turismo).

You should check what measures apply in your location and any other location you might qualify to travel to or transit through on the Ministry of Health website (in Spanish). You could be subject to a financial penalty if you do not abide by local regulations.

All arrivals into the City of Buenos Aires must take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arriving. Online booking is required. Children under the age of 12 are exempt. Full details on this requirement including information on where you can take the test and how to book are available on the City of Buenos Aires website(in Spanish).

Visas

The 90-day permission to visit Argentina for those who entered the country before 17 March 2020 and whose original 90 days expired after 17 March 2020, is no longer being automatically extended. If you have any questions about your immigration status, you should contact the Argentine Migrations Office (Migraciones).

Health

For contact details for English speaking doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Argentina.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Argentina

We will update this page when the Government of Argentina announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Argentinian national vaccination programme started in December 2020 and is using the AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinopharm and Sputnik V vaccines (please delete or amend as applicable). British nationals resident in Argentina are eligible for vaccination if they choose to join the programme.

Vaccination is occurring in priority phases and is voluntary and free of charge. You must hold a DNI (national ID) to qualify for a vaccine. Each province/jurisdiction is responsible for the distribution of the vaccines in their area. Further information on Argentina’s national vaccination programme, including priority lists, the status of the rollout in each province and enrolment details are available on the Argentine Ministry of Health website (in Spanish).

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in Argentina, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Help and support

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Further information

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can find more information about cases in Argentina on the TravelHealthPro website.

Crime

Be alert to street crime, especially thieves (often women) using distraction techniques. The most common form of distraction theft reported in Buenos Aires is the “mustard scam”. Thieves have been known to rob tourists while an accomplice pretends to help remove ketchup or mustard that has been ‘accidentally’ sprayed on them. If you find yourself in this situation, politely but firmly refuse assistance and walk away.

Keep a close eye on your personal possessions at all times. Thieves normally work in teams of two or more and tend to target small bags and pockets. Don’t carry all your valuables in one place. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing jewellery. You might be asked for a photo ID when paying with a credit card so carry one with you but keep it secured. A money belt under your clothes is the safest option. Keep a photocopy or scanned copy of your passport somewhere safe. Avoid isolated or poorly lit areas at night.

Thieves posing as hotel guests are known to snatch bags while tourists are checking into hotels or hostels. Keep your belongings close to you in restaurants and bars. Don’t hang bags on the back of your chair but keep them on your lap instead.

Thieves and pickpockets operate on public transport, bus and train terminals. Handbags can be cut open in crowded places. Mobile phones are snatched while being used on the street. Thieves on motorbikes are known to snatch bags from pedestrians. Thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire cars are common. Keep your valuables out of sight. Avoid using ATMs at night and remain aware of your surroundings when withdrawing money.

In Buenos Aires, remain alert at all times but particularly in the areas of San Telmo, La Boca, Retiro, Florida Street, 9 de Julio, Avenida de Mayo and Rivadavia Avenues near the obelisk area. Distraction thefts at the Retiro Bus terminal are very common.

Robberies involving physical violence and the use of weapons are known to occur in the streets immediately outside of the Caminito tourist area in La Boca. Make sure to stay within the designated tourist area where there are high visibility police patrols. If being robbed, hand over your cash and valuables without resistance. For English assistance contact the Tourist Police at Av Corrientes 436 or on +54 911 5050 9260/3293 if ringing from a mobile or 155 5050 9260/3293 from a local landline (available 24 hours).

On 14 December 2019 a British tourist was fatally shot and another seriously injured having been targeted by a gang on arrival at Ezeiza International Airport who followed them to their hotel in Puerto Madero.

In Mendoza, remain alert at all times particularly at the bus terminal and at the General San Martín Park. Distraction thefts at the bus terminal are the second most common problem reported to the British Embassy. For English assistance contact the Tourist Police at San Martin 1143 or on +54 (0)261 413 2135 (available 24 hours).

If possible, book taxis in advance. If you hail a taxi in the street, only use a ‘radio taxi’. These have a clearly visible company logo on the rear passenger doors. Some popular ride hailing apps are not regulated by the government of Argentina. The City of Buenos Aires’ government site holds a downloadable list of registered taxi companies with their contact details. For transport to and from airports, the Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 site lists the options available at each airport in the country (select Our Airports).

Though not common, kidnappings and so called ‘express kidnappings’ occur in Argentina. Victims are held and forced to empty their bank accounts in different ATMs after which they are normally quickly released.

If you’re a victim of crime, you should inform the local police and get a police report from the nearest police station.

Extreme and adventure sports

If you take part in extreme or adventure sports (including paragliding, climbing, off-road driving and hot air ballooning), make sure adequate safety precautions are in place. Only use reputable operators and insist on training. Make sure your travel insurance covers all the activities you want to undertake and includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation. Mount Aconcagua and other locations will charge you for a helicopter rescue.

Political situation

Political demonstrations and picketing are more common in Argentina than in the UK. Some demonstrations attract large numbers of people and there have been cases of demonstrations turning violent.

In October 2018, a protest against the 2019 budget in front of the Congressional Palace in Buenos Aires was dispersed by riot police using tear gas. Nine police were injured and at least 27 protestors were arrested.

Further large gatherings, protests, demonstrations or and marches are planned in the near future. You should exercise normal caution at any large gathering, and be aware of your surroundings. You should avoid all protests, demonstrations and marches and follow the advice of local authorities.

There have also been occasional Falklands-related protests including outside the British Embassy and British affiliated businesses in Argentina.

Local travel

Groups of demonstrators (piqueteros) sometimes block major roads into and out of Buenos Aires during times of social unrest. This can cause significant delays.

Air travel

The departure of flights from airports in Argentina can be unreliable and susceptible to delays and cancellations. Check the status of your flight with your airline or travel company before travelling to the airport.

The FCDO is unable to offer advice on the safety of individual airlines, but the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.

A list of recent incidents and accidents can be found on the Aviation Safety Network website.

Road travel

You will need an International Driving Permit to drive in Argentina.

Driving and road safety standards vary. Respect for speed limits and traffic signals is patchy, and other road users can make unexpected manoeuvres.  Crime against car users, particularly when stationary at traffic lights, is a problem. Keep windows closed and doors locked at all times in major cities.

Take care when driving in the Province of Misiones close to the borders with Paraguay and Brazil; the area is used to smuggle goods. Seek local advice if you intend to drive in this area.

Sea travel

There have been cases of disruption by activist groups and unions against British flagged shipping, and shipping involved in hydrocarbons or fishing activity in the Falkland Islands . If you are in charge of a vessel, make contact with your agent or the local authorities before travelling. Most cruise ships and visiting tourists should not be affected.

Terrorist attacks in Argentina can’t be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Since 2004 there have been a number of small explosions in Buenos Aires and the surrounding provinces which are believed to have been the work of local anti-globalisation groups. The targets have mostly been banks.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Don’t become involved with illegal drugs of any kind. Possession of even very small quantities can lead to a lengthy prison sentence.

Argentine society is open and diverse. Same-sex marriage is legal; rights are protected by the Constitution and by legislation tackling all kinds of discrimination. Argentina is signatory to international and regional agreements protecting LGBT rights. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

The government of Argentina has stated that it intends to pursue legal action against oil and gas companies engaged in hydrocarbons exploration in the Falkland Islands. If you’re travelling to Argentina and think you may be affected by this type of legal action, you should seek independent legal advice.

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Restrictions in response to coronavirus

Borders and travel

Argentina’s borders are closed to non-resident foreign nationals. Some exceptions apply to this rule. Exemptions based on humanitarian grounds may be granted by the Argentine Migrations Office. If you believe you might fall into this category, you must contact the Argentine Migrations Office (Migraciones) to seek approval for you trip.

All travellers who are authorised to enter Argentina must comply with the requirements set out below.

All travellers to Argentina (including those in transit to another country) must fill in an electronic ‘sworn statement’ form within 48 hours of travelling.

All travellers to Argentina (children under 6 are exempted) must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of travelling, unless you are: a crew member, transiting the country through an international airport for less than 24 hours; or have had coronavirus confirmed by a lab test within 90 days of your trip. If you have had coronavirus confirmed by a lab test within 90 days of your trip you don’t need to take a COVID-19 PCR test again. Instead, you will need to show evidence of your diagnosis and a medical certificate issued at least 10 days after being diagnosed, confirming that you have a clean bill of health.

All travellers to Argentina must take a COVID-19 test on arrival. If the test is positive, you will have to take a second test to determine the strain you’re carrying. Regardless of whether the first test is positive or negative you must self-isolate for 7 days. The local authority will determine whether you must isolate at the place you are staying or at a designated quarantine hotel. You will have to take a further test on the 7th day to end your quarantine. You must pay for all tests and costs related to your managed quarantine.

All non-resident foreign nationals with authorisation from the Argentine Migrations Office to enter the country must have medical insurance with comprehensive cover for coronavirus, including hospitalisation and the costs of self-isolation if required.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

You don’t need a visa to enter Argentina as a tourist unless you’re travelling on an Emergency Travel Document. On presentation of a valid British passport you will normally be given an entry stamp permitting you to stay in the country for a period of up to 90 days.

If you wish to extend your stay for another 90-day period, seek advice from the Argentine Migrations Office.

If you’re travelling to Argentina for any purpose other than tourism, contact the Embassy of the Argentine Republic in London.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

Proof of onward travel

You may need to provide proof of onward or return travel. You should make all flight reservations before departing for Argentina. Airlines have sometimes refused to board passengers travelling to Argentina without proof of onward travel.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Argentina. However, holders of an ETD must apply for the appropriate Argentine visa to enter the country.

For entry into Argentina, your ETD should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Coronavirus

For information on coronavirus (COVID-19), see Staying during coronavirus

Other health risks

Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for travel to some parts of the country. Check the TravelHealthPro website for more information.

UK health authorities have classified Argentina as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

An outbreak of hantavirus has been reported in Epuyén, Province of Chubut in southern Argentina. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Dengue fever can occur throughout the year. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Asthma, sinus and bronchial problems can be aggravated by the polluted atmosphere in the major cities.

Local medical care

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 107 or 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Medical facilities are good, but can be expensive. Public hospitals tend to be crowded. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition and you regularly take prescribed medication, carry enough medication to cover the duration of your stay and a letter from your doctor describing the medical condition. You can find most medication in pharmacies in large cities, but medicine for complex treatment may be unavailable in smaller towns. You will need a prescription from a local doctor to get prescribed medication. All medication in pharmacies, whether prescribed or not, is stored behind the counter and must be requested.

Many northern provinces suffer from seasonal flooding. This can lead to disruption to transport and delivery of foodstuffs. Flash floods can occur during heavy rains in other areas, such as the province of Buenos Aires. Monitor local media and follow any instructions given by the local authorities.

The Copahue Volcano on the Argentina/Chile border erupts every so often, causing local residents to be evacuated. If you’re travelling to this area, monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.

The currency of Argentina is the peso.

ATMs are widely available. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels and major shops and restaurants. Photo ID may be required. Travellers’ cheques aren’t always accepted.

The government of Argentina has imposed restrictions on the purchase of foreign currency in Argentina. You should monitor the media for updates on these restrictions as they’re subject to regular change.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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