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Customs uses a random inspection system that requires you to push a button at the inspection bay—if a green light comes on, you walk through; if a red light appears, your bags are X-rayed (and very occasionally opened). In practice, many officials wave foreigners through. Officially, you can bring up to 2 liters of alcohol, 400 cigarettes, and 50 cigars into the country duty-free. That said, Argentina's international airports have duty-free shops after you land, and officials never take alcohol and tobacco purchased there into account. Personal clothing and effects are admitted duty-free, provided they have been used, as are personal jewelry and professional equipment. Fishing gear and skis present no problems.
If you enter the country by bus from Bolivia, Brazil, or Paraguay, you, your bags, and the vehicle may be subject to lengthy searches by officials looking for drugs and smuggled goods.
Argentina has strict regulations designed to prevent the illicit trafficking of antiques, fossils, and other items of cultural and historical importance. For more information, contact the Dirección Nacional de Patrimonio y Museos (National Heritage and Museums Board).
Dirección Nacional de Patrimonio y Museos (11/4381–6656. www.cultura.gov.ar.)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (www.cbp.gov.)