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EZE: Passport Control and Customs

EZE: Passport Control and Customs

Old May 27, 15, 9:21 pm
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EZE: Passport Control and Customs

My 20 year old daughter is going to Buenos Aires this summer for Spanish program. We have traveled internationally from the U.S. but not to EZE. In terms of what she can expect when she lands at EZE, can anyone tell me if she will go through passport control, pick up her checked bags and then clear customs? Or if not, what is the general process? She has her reciprocity and knows to expect to show that along with her passport and completed form the airlines will give her.

She (and I) are looking for any insight that may be helpful. She will be meeting a representative from the study abroad org after getting through customs so that is helpful.

Thanks for help. I've researched and couldn't find much.
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Old May 27, 15, 10:43 pm
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You have it pretty much summed up. First there is passport control - there are 3 lines - Argentinos, Mercosur, and the rest of the world. Afterward, one goes to the baggage claim, and then through the customs line. All inbound luggage is X-rayed @ customs. There are free baggage carts near the carousels, which may be helpful - grab one before the luggage arrives.

The area just outside customs gets a bit chaotic, so you might want to ask what kind of sign the representative will be holding.

If she is carrying much of value that is not used, she might want to have the receipts to prove she's not "over limit." This is generally of concern with new electronics.
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Old May 28, 15, 10:03 am
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Actually there are four lines: Argentinos, Mercosur, rest of the world and USA/Canada/Australia, which are the three countries that have to pay the reciprocity fee. Your daughter should follow the signs for the latter.

She shouldn't worry about customs. They hardly check foreigners.
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Old May 28, 15, 1:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Marambio View Post
Actually there are four lines: Argentinos, Mercosur, rest of the world and USA/Canada/Australia, which are the three countries that have to pay the reciprocity fee. Your daughter should follow the signs for the latter.

She shouldn't worry about customs. They hardly check foreigners.
Nope. There are currently only three lines as noted by Eastbay1K.
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Old May 28, 15, 1:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Marambio View Post
Actually there are four lines: Argentinos, Mercosur, rest of the world and USA/Canada/Australia, which are the three countries that have to pay the reciprocity fee. Your daughter should follow the signs for the latter.

She shouldn't worry about customs. They hardly check foreigners.
"They" don't know if you are a foreigner or not while looking at the X-ray screen, so unless they've seen you holding your non-Argentina passport beforehand, or look at you holding it afterward, you could be from anywhere, as the customs lanes are not segregated.
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Old May 28, 15, 2:01 pm
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I usually keep my passport in hand and showing my nationality until I am through customs, almost regardless of the country where I'm arriving.

The X-ray step for everyone is rather unusual IME. At EZE, it sometimes results in long lines. Plus, it seems a bit ambiguous whether handbags and similar small items are to be sent through the X-ray machine and whether you're supposed to remove jackets and put them through the machine (like at TSA airport security). I tend to observe some people doing this but not everyone, so the rule isn't clear, if there even is a rule.

ADDED: Stress to daughter to be sure she finds her official representative. I've observed people at EZE just after customs try to ask arriving passengers who may seem a bit lost what their names are. It would be so easy for someone to then claim to be the ride for the passenger of that name. I suspect the result would be an extremely overly expensive taxi ride, but it could become much worse. Remember that the person meeting her should be the one who says her name or shows daughter the list containing her name. It doesn't hurt to be careful about safety.
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Old May 28, 15, 3:41 pm
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Sorry about the mistake. I was sure there were four lines, or at least there used to be four lines some time ago.
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Old May 28, 15, 8:34 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
...
ADDED: Stress to daughter to be sure she finds her official representative. I've observed people at EZE just after customs try to ask arriving passengers who may seem a bit lost what their names are. It would be so easy for someone to then claim to be the ride for the passenger of that name. I suspect the result would be an extremely overly expensive taxi ride, but it could become much worse. Remember that the person meeting her should be the one who says her name or shows daughter the list containing her name. It doesn't hurt to be careful about safety.
I have never observed this in my 6-7 arrivals/year at EZE in the past 13 years ... the rep from the study abroad program will either have her name, or the program name, on a sign.

A 20 yr old adult should have no problems in passing through customs and immigration into Argentina if her papers are in order and she's not bringing anything prohibited into the country.
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Old May 28, 15, 8:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Marambio View Post
Sorry about the mistake. I was sure there were four lines, or at least there used to be four lines some time ago.
That was when you could pay the "not a visa but reciprocity fee" on arrival.
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Old May 28, 15, 9:07 pm
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Is there a separate line for paying the reciprocity fee, and do they accept credit cards?

Before she leaves the States, the OPs daughter should have her smartphone unlocked, install Skype (or equal) and WhatsApp, possibly a universal SIM card like OneSimCard for use until she can get a local SIM, take an ATM card, etc.

Since Argentina has a weird currency situation, perhaps she should take a lot of crisp $20 US bills for exchange at one of the unofficial exchange sites?
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Old May 28, 15, 9:21 pm
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Cool

Originally Posted by Middle_Seat View Post
Is there a separate line for paying the reciprocity fee, and do they accept credit cards?

Before she leaves the States, the OPs daughter should have her smartphone unlocked, install Skype (or equal) and WhatsApp, possibly a universal SIM card like OneSimCard for use until she can get a local SIM, take an ATM card, etc.

Since Argentina has a weird currency situation, perhaps she should take a lot of crisp $20 US bills for exchange at one of the unofficial exchange sites?
You have to pay your "reciprocity" tax online before you leave home and print out the receipt to take with you. You won't be allowed to board without it.

She can get a SIM card once she gets there.
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Old May 28, 15, 9:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Middle_Seat View Post
Is there a separate line for paying the reciprocity fee, and do they accept credit cards?

Before she leaves the States, the OPs daughter should have her smartphone unlocked, install Skype (or equal) and WhatsApp, possibly a universal SIM card like OneSimCard for use until she can get a local SIM, take an ATM card, etc.

Since Argentina has a weird currency situation, perhaps she should take a lot of crisp $20 US bills for exchange at one of the unofficial exchange sites?
The reciprocity fee MUST be paid in advance before she leaves the US. The airline will NOT allow her to board without proof of payment if she's travelling on a US, Canadian, or Australian passport.

A local SIM card is easily obtained once in Argentina - most probably the study abroad program will give advice about things like that before she leaves the US. However prepaid cell phone charges are outrageous in Argentina, so if she's used to using lots of data, continuous texting etc., she'll have to only do that when she's on WiFi.

The currency situation is such that using an ATM card or credit card is downright foolish given the exchange rate. Obviously there might be problems with her having significant amounts of currency in her probably shared accomodation, it will give the best rate on the blue market.

NOTE, only bring down US $100 dollar bills in good condition (no stains, tears, or defacement). The other option is to send money via Xoom from the US (with pickup in pesos), which will yield a lower exchange rate than on the blue market, but will allow her not worry about storing large amounts of cash.
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Old May 28, 15, 9:35 pm
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Thanks to all for the input and feedback.
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Old May 28, 15, 9:48 pm
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Originally Posted by liztexas View Post
Thanks to all for the input and feedback.
Feel free to ask any other question you/she might have about living in Buenos Aires.

The other other we didn't mention is that Argentina uses biometrics upon arrival and departure. Passengers have their picture taken and their right thumbprint recorded.
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Old May 28, 15, 10:08 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I usually keep my passport in hand and showing my nationality until I am through customs, almost regardless of the country where I'm arriving.

The X-ray step for everyone is rather unusual IME. At EZE, it sometimes results in long lines. Plus, it seems a bit ambiguous whether handbags and similar small items are to be sent through the X-ray machine and whether you're supposed to remove jackets and put them through the machine (like at TSA airport security). I tend to observe some people doing this but not everyone, so the rule isn't clear, if there even is a rule.

ADDED: Stress to daughter to be sure she finds her official representative. I've observed people at EZE just after customs try to ask arriving passengers who may seem a bit lost what their names are. It would be so easy for someone to then claim to be the ride for the passenger of that name. I suspect the result would be an extremely overly expensive taxi ride, but it could become much worse. Remember that the person meeting her should be the one who says her name or shows daughter the list containing her name. It doesn't hurt to be careful about safety.
(1) It is helpful that she not speak nor understand any español at the X-ray point. As far as "confusion" goes, if the agent wants a jacket or a purse that one happens not to put through the machine, the agent will say so.

(2) As for your observation, although I only have averaged 3 to 4 trips a year since 2008, fewer than another poster, any "confusion" post-customs has to do with the sheer number of people leaving customs, and the sheer number of people waiting. There is a difference between a healthy dose of paranoia when traveling, and paranoia which makes one afraid to travel.

I have yet to hear a story of a gypsy taxi improperly picking up a young gringa inside the terminal, taking her on an overpriced taxi ride to a place where she probably doesn't even know where she's going.

IIRC, there is an information booth if she has any concerns, and this booth isn't trying to convert anyone to another (or any) religion.
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