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Do Canadians need a visa to travel to a conference in Argentina? Do Germans need a visa to travel to a conference in Argentina?

I recently traveled to Buenos Aires for a conference. I have Canadian and German nationality. I wanted to know if I need a visa or not.

I am posting the below information in case it is useful to somebody, but obviously without any guarantee.

Information available online

Unfortunately, the information one can find online from official sources is very sparse, and for the most part misleading. For example:

What I actually found in Argentina

I went through Argentinan immigration and customs at Buenos Aires Ezeiza Airport on September 2, 2012. The first thing I noticed when entering the immigration hall was a big sign stating, among other things, "Citizens of the United States, Canada, and Australia do not need a visa for entering Argentina for Tourism or Business purposes for up to 90 days" (emphasis mine).

One may wonder why this information is not publicly available ahead of time, and why it actually contradicts what is stated on the websites of various Argentinian consulates. Perhaps they hope to raise revenue by selling business visas to people who don't need them? Or perhaps it is a new policy that the consulates do not yet know about.

I also tested whether I need such a visa as a German citizen. Note that the citizens of the United States, Canada, and Australia must pay a so-called "reciprocal fee", which varies from $75 (for Canadians) to $160 (U.S.). So I decided to enter as a German instead. I found:

In general, I got the impression that the Argentinian border officers are much more worried about smuggling than about the difference between tourists, conference speakers, and business people. For example, all luggage (including carry-ons) was x-rayed by customs. It is also worth noting that all visitors (regardless of country of origin) have their fingerprints and picture taken at the border.

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Peter Selinger / Department of Mathematics and Statistics / Dalhousie University
selinger@mathstat.dal.ca / PGP key