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. It is customary in Argentina to shake hands with everyone in the room upon arriving and leaving. It is also customary for men to kiss women 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 much of Latin America, the term “America” denotes both North and South America, not just the United States.
Business Travel Information:
Argentina Ministry of Tourism (Spanish)
Department of State Travel Advisory (English)
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.
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 this site.
U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s): State Department Visa Website.
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 requires 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. Travelers will note that there are multiple exchange rates, including the government-set official rate, a “tourist” rate available to non-resident foreigners via banks, and a variety of other implicit rates determined by bond market transactions. Many business travelers bring some U.S. dollars to exchange when they arrive or send themselves local currency via services such as Western Union or MoneyGram. As of 2023, U.S. credit card transactions in Argentina receive the tourist exchange rate, making it less necessary for the business traveler to carry a lot of cash.
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 and streaming services available.
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).
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 and a variety of app-based transportation services are plentiful in greater Buenos Aires and fares are reasonable. Some app-based services also operate in other provinces of the country. 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.
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.
During the 2023 summer months, mosquito-borne dengue and chikungunya re-emerged as a public health problem. For more information, please visit this site.
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 website for general travel information.
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. View at https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/argentina/buenos-aires 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 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 2023
New Year’s Day Sunday, January 1
Carnival Monday, February 20 & Tuesday, February 21
National Memorial Friday, March 24
Malvinas’ Veterans and Memorial Day Sunday, April 2
Good Friday Friday, April 7
Labor Day Monday, May 1
Revolution Day Thursday, May 25
Death of Martín Guemes Saturday, June 17
Flag Day Tuesday, June 20
Independence Day Sunday, July 9
Death of San Martin Monday, August 21
Cultural Diversity Day Monday, October 9
National Sovereignty Day Monday, November 20
Immaculate Conception Friday, December 8
Christmas Day Monday, December 25
Argentine National Holidays for 2024*
New Year’s Day Monday, January 1
Carnival Monday, February 12, and Tuesday February 13
National Memorial Sunday, March 24
Good Friday Friday, March 29
Malvinas’ Veterans and Memorial Day Tuesday, April 2
Labor Day Wednesday, May 1
Revolution Day Saturday, May 25
Death of Martín Guemes Monday, June 17
Flag Day Thursday, June 20
Independence Day Tuesday, July 9
Death of San Martín Day Monday, August 19
Cultural Diversity Day Monday, October 14
National Sovereignty Day Sunday, November 18
Immaculate Conception Sunday, December 8
Christmas Day Sunday, December 25
*2024 holidays are not yet confirmed by the Argentine Government.
Government offices, banks, insurance companies, and courts are closed on several “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, 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.
More information Chapter 3 of CCG: ‘Customs, Regulations & Standards / Temporary Entry’.