Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.
U.S. businesspeople should take the time to develop a close relationship with their agent, representative, distributor, or other business partner. Argentine business customs are generally more formal than those in the United States.
Courtesy is very important, and efforts to rush a business deal are unlikely to meet with success. No encounter starts with a business discussion. To establish trust, some time spent discussing family members, sports, and social activities are fundamental to the development of a solid business relationship. COVID-19 health protocols have put a temporary halt on many practices, but it is otherwise customary in Argentina to shake hands with everyone in the room upon arriving and leaving. It is customary for men to kiss women they meet for the first time on the right cheek.
Contacts and introductions are important. Therefore, it is advisable to use the services of the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, as well as other organizations such as the American Chamber of Commerce, industry associations, and other intermediaries, for introductions to potential business partners and customers. The U.S. Commercial Service in Argentina offers services such as the “Gold Key” to meet with potential business partners.
It is recommended to be prompt to business meetings with a pre-arranged appointment, even if your Argentine contact may be slightly late. Be sure to have an ample supply of business cards. Although not essential, it is beneficial to have cards printed in Spanish as well as English.
One cultural note is that it is better form to identify yourself as being from the United States (Estadounidense) and avoid saying you are from “America.” In Latin America, the term “America” denotes both North and South America, not just the United States.
Please consult the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web site for information on travel to Argentina.
Business Travel Information:
City of Buenos Aires Under Secretariat of Tourism: http://www.bue.gob.ar/?m=home/index.php&lang=en
Department of State Travel Advisory: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
Visas are not required for U.S. citizens traveling to Argentina for up to 90 days of tourism or business, except holders of U.S. Diplomatic and Official passports. U.S. citizens, Australians, and Canadians do not pay the reciprocal visa fee.
U.S. travelers should visit this site to find the latest requirements for entry into Argentina during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/interior/migraciones/ddjj-migraciones
Argentine citizens traveling to the United States for any purpose require a U.S. visa. For more information on U.S. visa application procedures, visit https://www.state.gov/visas/.
Work and Other Extended Visas
Although it is theoretically possible to arrange a work permit following arrival in Argentina, the process is much more complicated and time-consuming than applying for the work visa abroad, and one may not legally begin remunerated employment until permission has been granted. Therefore, it is important to begin the work visa process as early as possible by applying at an Argentine consular office in the United States or abroad. This process can still be quite lengthy and require many civil documents (e.g., birth and marriage certificates) and police certificates. U.S. civil documents submitted to Argentine consular offices do not require Argentine consular certification. The government of Argentina requires a Hague Convention apostille certificate from the Secretary of State of the U.S. state where the document was issued or from the U.S. Department of State for U.S. federal government-issued documents.
There are special immigration provisions for some foreign professional, scientific, or technical research personnel hired abroad to render services in Argentina for a maximum of two years. They must not be a resident in Argentina and must be covered for contingencies such as old age, disability, or death by the law of their own country.
The Argentine currency is the peso and is signified by the same symbol ($) as the U.S. dollar. ATM machines are widely available in Buenos Aires, allowing travelers with a variety of credit or debit cards to withdraw funds in local currency. Traveler’s checks are often refused by business establishments and can be difficult or expensive to change at banks.
Telephone service, both international and local, is adequate, with several providers such as Telecom, Telefónica, Claro, and Movistar, among others, offering service. There is also a wide range of cable television channels available, including CNN International, CNN en Español, FOX, WB, Sony, MTV, and channels from Brazil, Chile, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, and elsewhere.
The electric current in Argentina is AC 220 volts, 50 cycles in the case of one phase; AC 380 volts, 50 cycles for three phase. Electric plug configurations are usually the Australia/China standard (type one) or the two-pin European standard (type C) .
Measures to combat COVID-19 have altered regular commercial flights. During normal times, U.S. carriers flying to Argentina include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. The primary gateways are Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami, and New York. The Argentine carrier, Aerolineas Argentinas, also flies between the United States and Argentina. In-country travel and travel between Argentina and other South American countries is widely available. In addition to Aerolineas Argentinas, “low-cost carriers” FlyBondi and JetSmart entered the market in recent years. Buenos Aires airports include Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, which is located near downtown serving mostly domestic flights, and Ezeiza International Airport, which is a 45 to 90 minute drive from Buenos Aires, serving all other international flights, including those from the United States.
Taxis, Uber, and Cabify are plentiful in greater Buenos Aires and fares are reasonable. A widely available private car service, called “remise,” is also available and is the recommended method of travel from Ezeiza International Airport into Buenos Aires. Remise services have counters at the airport. For security reasons, the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires recommends that travelers do not hail taxis on the street.
Travel in Argentina can be accomplished by train, bus, or car, although air travel is recommended for many trips to key cities in the provinces due to large distances.
Automobile rental is available throughout the country, although it is quite expensive compared to U.S. rental costs, and automatic transmissions are frequently unavailable. Travelers should be aware that Argentina has a high rate of auto accidents, and driving is not recommended for short visits.
Spanish is the national language of Argentina, although many businesspeople speak English, as well as other European languages. Do not assume, however, that your contacts will speak English. For U.S. businesspeople that already speak Spanish, note that Argentina has distinct differences in pronunciation, cadence, and vocabulary.
Almost all business in Argentina is transacted in Spanish, and all documents and records must be in that language to constitute valid evidence. Business documents in a foreign language to be presented for legal purposes to Argentine authorities should be translated by a certified public translator. A list of certified public translators is available upon request from the U.S. Commercial Service in Argentina (Office.BuenosAires@trade.gov).
Sanitary conditions in Buenos Aires are good. Tap water is safe. Many competent doctors, dentists, and specialists are available in Buenos Aires. Outside of Buenos Aires or other major cities, basic precautions, such as drinking bottled water, are recommended.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Argentina along with most of the world. Current COVID-19 updates are posted daily at: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/salud/coronavirus-COVID-19
During the 2020 summer months (January-March), mosquito-borne dengue re-emerged as a public health problem. For more information: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/salud/glosario/dengue
Prior to traveling to Argentina, it is advisable to consult with your medical professional and review the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web site for general travel information: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html
Local Time, Business Hours and Holidays
Argentina is three hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (UTC). Argentina is one hour ahead of U.S. Eastern Daylight Time, and two hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. The 24-hour system is used rather than the 12-hour a.m./p.m. system. There is only one time zone in Argentina. Click here for the current time.
Typical business office hours are Monday through Friday from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. (two hours earlier for factories) with a one-hour lunch break. Work luncheons are frequent for businesspeople and they generally extend from 1.00 to 3.00 p.m. Business dinners, and dinners in general, begin at 9.00 p.m. Most retail stores are open from 9.00/10.00 a.m. to between 6.00 and 9.00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Banks are open to the public from Monday through Friday from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.
Since Argentina is in the Southern Hemisphere, its seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere. School summer vacations take place from approximately Christmas to March, and there is a two-week winter school vacation in July. It is often difficult to conduct business in Argentina in January and February, since most businesses are either closed or working on a limited schedule. Ask your business contacts when it is best to come, and plan travel times and clothing accordingly. Summer – December through March – is fairly hot and humid in Buenos Aires. The coldest months are July and August (winter), with temperatures generally in the 40s and 50s.
Argentine National Holidays for 2021
New Year’s Day Friday, January 1
Carnival Monday, February 15 and Tuesday, February 16
National Memorial Wednesday, March 24
Malvinas’ Veteran and Memorial Day Friday, April 2
Good Friday Friday, April 2
Labor Day Saturday, May 1
Revolution Day Tuesday, May 25
Death of Martín Guemes Monday, June 14
Flag Day Sunday, June 20
Independence Day Friday, July 9
Death of San Martín Monday, August 16
Cultural Diversity Day Monday, October 11
National Sovereignty Day Monday, November 22
Immaculate Conception Wednesday, December 8
Christmas Day Saturday, December 25
Argentine National Holidays for 2022*
New Year’s Day Saturday, January 1
Carnival Monday, February 28 and Tuesday. March 1
National Memorial Thursday, March 24
Malvinas’ Veteran and Memorial Day Saturday, April 2
Good Friday Friday, April 14
Labor Day Sunday, May 1
Revolution Day Wednesday, May 25
Death of Martín Guemes Friday, June 17
Flag Day Monday, June 20
Independence Day Saturday, July 9
Death of San Martín Monday, August 17
Cultural Diversity Day Monday, October 10
National Sovereignty Day Sunday, November 22
Immaculate Conception Thursday, December 8
Christmas Day Sunday, December 25
*2022 holidays are not yet confirmed by the Argentine Government.
Government offices, banks, insurance companies, and courts are closed on a number of “non-workdays” in addition to the holidays listed above, but closing is optional for business and commerce.
The U.S. Embassy closes on all U.S. federal holidays, in addition to Argentine national holidays.
Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings
According to Argentine law, personal working elements such as laptop computers, cellular phones, and other tools must be registered at Customs at the time of entry and again upon departure from Argentina. Samples brought into the country by a traveling salesperson are admitted free of duty provided they have no commercial value. Otherwise, the traveler may be required to deposit a 90-day bond that is refunded when the goods leave the country.
Argentina is not a party to the A.T.A. (Temporary Admission) Carnet program of the U.S. Council for International Business to import goods, display booths, and literature for display in local trade shows for subsequent re-export. The Argentine Temporary Admission Regime (TAR) allows duty free admission of goods such as commercial samples, packaging, pallets, containers, and goods for exhibits. These items must be re-exported within the timeframe stipulated by Customs on entering the country. Many trade show organizers are able to obtain a special waiver from the Argentine government on a case-by-case basis.