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As of January 2010, Argentina has started charging a reciprocal entry fee for citizens of countries that charge Argentineans for visas. This includes U.S. citizens, who must pay $131 on entering Argentina and be carrying a passport valid for at least six months. The good news is that you only need pay the fee once every ten years and you can re-enter the country as many times as you like during that period for stays of up to 90 days—you'll receive a tourist visa stamp on your passport each time you arrive. If you need to stay longer, you can apply for a 90-day extension (prórroga) at the Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (National Directorate for Migrations). The process takes a morning and costs about 200 pesos. Alternatively, you can exit the country (by taking a boat trip to Uruguay from Buenos Aires, or crossing into Brazil near Iguazú, for example); upon reentering Argentina, your passport will be stamped allowing an additional 90 days. Overstaying your tourist visa is illegal, and incurs a fine of $50, payable upon departure at the airport. If you do overstay your visa, plan to arrive at the airport several hours in advance of your flight so that you have ample time to take care of the fine. You should carry your passport or other photo ID with you at all times.
Officially, children visiting Argentina with only one parent do not need a signed and notarized permission-to-travel letter from the other parent to visit Argentina. However, as Argentine citizens are required to have such documentation, it's worth carrying a letter just in case laws change or border officials get confused. Single Parent Travel is a useful online resource that provides advice and downloadable sample permission letters.
Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (Av. Antártida Argentina 1355, Retiro, Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, C1104ACA. 11/4317–0234. www.migraciones.gov.ar.)
Embassy of Argentina (www.embassyofargentina.us.)
Single Parent Travel (www.singleparenttravel.net.)
U.S. Department of State (877/487–2778. www.travel.state.gov.)