Reading Time: 6 minutes
Has your Argentina visa expired? I am going to break down what happens, and what you need to do when and if your Argentina visa has expired
Argentina is a very unique country when it comes to immigration, in that it is not actually illegal to overstay your originally allotted 90 days upon arrival. That said, you do need to pay an overstay fee before leaving the country. In this blog post I am going to explain what your options are when it comes to immigration and your tourist status.
How do I avoid overstaying my tourist visa in Argentina though?
Leave and come back
If you feel uncomfortable with an expired Argentina visa or overstaying the 90 days don’t worry, you can easily exit and re-enter. Uruguay is just across the Rio de Plata, and you can easily make a mini trip out of it, or just go for the day via Buquebus or Colonia Express. Click here to read about going to Uruguay from Buenos Aires.
If you’re in Mendoza, take a bus to Santiago, Chile. If you’re down in Patagonia, there are several border crossings between Chile and Argentina. You can also just take a flight to any other South American country, and then come back. When I first came to Argentina earlier this year, I hopped over to Peru on my 89th day. I spent some time in Arequipa climbing volcanoes, and then to Cusco to hike to Machu Picchu, and then just came back to Argentina. No biggie.
I have heard many long term expats in Argentina mention how immigration starts to look at you funny if you cross the border every 90 days too many times, and is seen as “gaming the system.” They actually prefer that you just stay in the country, and then pay the fee before you leave. It’s also easier.
Ask for an extension
If you don’t want to leave and come back, you can also ask for an extension of another 90 days. Personally I don’t see the point to do this option since you can just easily overstay and pay when you leave. But it is in the National Constitution: Preamble, arts. 14, 15 and 20.
You can ask for an extension at the immigration center in Retiro:
Location: Av. Antártida Argentina 1355, C1104 CABA
Hours: Tuesday – Friday 8:30am – 1:30pm; Monday 8am – 2pm; closed Saturday and Sunday.
Stay and Pay
This is by far the easiest option. It’s not illegal to overstay the 90 days. You just need to pay 12,500 pesos before you do finally leave. Keep reading for more info.
Okay, I overstayed my tourist visa in Argentina! What now?
When I was in Argentina in 2005, I overstayed my visa by about 75 days. I just paid the fee (“habilitacion de salida”) at the Paraguayan border when I crossed, no big deal. It’s no longer that simple, but it’s also not that complicated. You just need to pay the fee (12,500 pesos) before you attempt the border crossing. By overstaying, you become what is known officially as an “domiciled resident.” Click here to read what the government website has to say.
Once you pay the fee, you must leave the country within 10 days.
There are a few places to pay the fee:
La Central de Migraciones (in Retiro)
Location: Av. Antártida Argentina 1355, C1104 CABA
Hours: Tuesday – Friday 8:30am – 1:30pm; Monday 8am – 2pm; closed Saturday and Sunday
Aeroparque Jorge Newberry
Location: Av. Costanera Rafael Obligado s/n, C1425 CABA
This is the smaller international airport in Buenos Aires, that is located along the Costanera Norte, just east of Palermo.
I suggest going the day before you fly to pay the fine here. Don’t wait until the day of your flight because you just never know what could happen; don’t cause yourself unnecessary stress. You just need to go to the international immigration at the airport.
At AEP, the office is located in the “arribos internacionales” section of the airport. If you’re looking at the building, it is to the very right. Once you enter, you’ll see people waiting on arrivals to your left, the bathrooms to your right, and right in the center is a small hallway with a window. There will be a little sign that says “migraciones.” Honestly, it’s very inconspicuous and easy to miss. But it’s there, I promise.
Ezeiza International Airport
Location: AU Tte. Gral. Pablo Riccheri Km 33,5, B1802 Ezeiza, Provincia de Buenos Aires
Ask a guard where ‘migraciones’ is and they can point you in the right direction.
What happens at the Immigration office?
Explain to the attendant that you have stayed longer than 90 days, and you need to pay the fee. Keep in mind that you must leave the country within ten days of paying this fee. They will ask to see your passport, enter some details, and probably give you a lecture about how you should not be overstaying.
The price is 12,500 pesos. You can pay with a credit card at the window (which I don’t recommend. If you don’t know why, read this post about the blue dollar).
If you prefer to pay with cash (you should!), then you’ll need to pay at the Banco de la Nacion. The attendant at migraciones will temporarily hold on to your passport, and give you a paper document, which you will take to the bank. When you exit the building, turn right. Walk to the next set of doors and enter. The bank is just there to your right (it’s blue). Give the document to the bank teller, along with your 12,500 pesos in cash. They will accept the money, stamp the document, and give it back to you. Now with your newly stamped document, return to the migraciones window.
The migraciones attendant will then arrange the necessary documents and receipts, and hand them to you. They will return your passport to you. When you leave the country, you’ll need to show all of these documents and receipts along with your passport, so DO NOT LOSE THEM!
Was it easy to pay the overstay fee to leave Argentina?
In short, yes! The office was easy to find inside AEP (where I went), even if it did seem hidden at first. There was only one person in front of me in line, but I only had to wait about 5-10 minutes. It was annoying to leave and go pay the fee at the bank and come back, but it wasn’t difficult, and it wasn’t far. All in all, the entire process took about 30 minutes or less.
You should always go with the strategy for dealing with immigration that makes you feel the most comfortable. Read all the posts in the Expat Hub Facebook group on the topic to help you make your decision. But regardless of the decision you make, I hope this blog post has helped to make things a bit easier for you.
One thought on “My Argentina Visa Expired, Now What?”
You must log in to post a comment.