Being Refused Entry to Argentina & Brazil (what do you mean I need a Visa!?)

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From time to time I slip up on my travel plans. After travelling non stop for almost 8 months, it’s inevitable that I would slip up somewhere and it just so happens that my first visit to Latin America would kick off with a spanner in the works.

I was beginning a very ridiculously long travel day when I left the French Caribbean to make my way toward Buenos Aires for my first visit to the region. Having now travelled extensively throughout each region of the world, I was buzzing with excitement to arrive to South America for the first time.

But I wasn’t prepared. And yes, I was refused entry to Argentina and Brazil…


I boarded a 10 minute flight from St Barthelemy to St Maarten, followed by a flight to Puerto Rico, then followed by a flight to New York. After one night in New York (I can’t refuse a chance to visit my favourite city!!). The following day I returned to the airport, ready for another long journey from New York to Toronto, followed by a stop in Santiago and finally arriving in Buenos Aires.

It was at the check-in counter for my flight with Air Canada (which was a terrible experience by the way) that I was informed I was unable to board without a receipt of my “reciprocity fee” to enter Argentina. Having had no prior understanding of said fee, I was a little puzzled to say the least. Earlier on in the year when I knew I would be travelling to the country I had done a quick google search to find that there was no visa requirement for Australians… but I didn’t look carefully enough.

As it turns out, while not needing a visa per se, an Australian visiting Argentina would need to pay a “reciprocity fee” prior to arrival into the country, or you will be refused boarding.

What is a reciprocity fee?

This was indeed my next question.

Citizens of Australia, Canada and the United States will need to ‘register’ their travel to Argentina prior to arrival and pay a fee online. This fee is charged to these citizens because our countries charge Agrentinians to enter our country – so according to them, this is only fair.

The fee will cost Australians $100; Canadians $93 and Americans $160.

As it turns out, I was able to board my first flight to Toronto and fill in the forms online during my one hour layover there. Whilst not ideal and slightly stressful, this was good news considering I was starting a Contiki tour on the day of my arrival in Buenos Aires.

But Wait, There’s More…

After Buenos Aires, my next stop would be Iguassu Falls, which are both accessible in Argentina and Brazil. Having no knowledge of a Brazil Visa requirement prior to my day of arrival into BA, I was in for a pretty bad surprise. I arrived in BA on a Saturday – embassy closed. Sunday – embassy closed. Monday just so happened to be a public holiday – embassy closed. On Tuesday I was due to arrive in Brazil.

So I remained optimistic, read a few blogs that stated you can get a visa at the border in Iguassu Falls, and hopped on my flight nonetheless.

The visa at the border takes a minimum of 24 hours, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. You will however need to be at the Embassy between the hours of 8-10am in order to recieve your visa early the following day (available for collection at 11.00am).

Please consider that this was a very painless visa encounter, and often this is not the case in Latin America – aka you could be waiting longer or have a more difficult time, depending on many variables.

But alas, access granted. Hola Brazil!

Lesson Learned!

While normally things are smooth sailing, in this case I was lucky to find a quick solution to both my Argentina and Brazil debacles. As a full time travel blogger I will be the first to admit that I should have been better prepared when visiting South America – however I’m a firm believer in ‘things will always work out’ so I was probably a little too relaxed but there was nothing to stress over in the end solution!

But for my next stop, Chile, I did my research. So it’s time for my next adventure!

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    January 21, 2016 at 3:43 am

    KC, I’m sorry you had such a nasty experience. I’m from Argentina and let me tell you, immigration enjoys holding power over pretty much anyone, including Argentineans. I’m not trying to justify, but to enter the US we have to pay for the visa and go to two appointments at the embassy, wait for hours, get questioned and hope to get it, cause if you don’t get the visa they don’t give you the money back. And even if you get the visa, you might be denied entry upon arrival.
    Anyway, don’t hold it against a whole country because of a few douchebags, I hope you can visit sometime, there’s good people too.

    December 31, 2015 at 3:25 am

    You’re lucky. I seriously doubt if Australia would accept a brazilian or argentinian without visa.

    December 25, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Well my story ended differently. I flew 18 hours from LA to Miami to Buenos Aires. I did fill out the reciprocity fee months ahead of time and it was checked at LAX and Miami yet I was not allowed to enter Buenos Aires. I was held for 3 hours. The Buenos Aires Immigration team was quite unfriendly and did little to help. I just waited. Finally I was told I had to leave and go back to LA. I was furious as I had filled out the form, yet it was another form that my airline mistakenly told me to fill out. Anyway, 18 hours back to LA I went. I will NEVER visit Argentina again. I honestly hope Argentinians get the same shitty treatment I got when they travel to the States. For a country like Argentina that is an economic disaster, keeping visitors out of the country who like to spend is very short sighted. In the end I was told Buenos Aires Immigration enjoys holding power over Americans. Well good for them and their sad economy. #BOYCOTTARGENTINA is my new motto!!!

    September 25, 2015 at 3:38 am

    Hi there. Just seeing if anyone has recently acquired their Brazilian visa at either BA or Igauazu Falls? I am thinking of getting ours at either but am keen to find out some recent experiences

    August 9, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Funny , I’m I don’t need a visa for either country as I’m South African! and we don’t ask visa’s for Brazil or Argentina either , so it’s really really easy for me to Travel S America , I even live in Brazil now……however everywhere else like Australia requires an expensive visa….fair is fair

    July 27, 2015 at 2:30 am

    Jorge Ricaldoni,
    You’re correct it isn’t fair but don’t think that all Canadians/Australians/Americans support said fee, I’d wager that a majority don’t even know that it exists. I don’t think you should have to pay it the same that I don’t think we should have to pay it, but that fee isn’t a big deal to most congressman so it’s not going to be up for discussion. For now it is what it is.

    Jorge Ricaldoni
    July 19, 2015 at 6:37 am

    I’m sorry but the same happen to us, the Argentineans and Brazilians when we are going to spend our time and money in the US, Canada and Australia. We have to maje phone calls for visit the Embassies, pay very high fees and we are refused very often. So it is very good that you taste the same experience as we do. Argentina has vis reciprocity with more countries in the world than France or UK. We need visa just for the US, Canada, Australia, Cuba, Russia, China and a bunch of the Arabian Countries. Visa is a stupid way to stop the mutual understanding and the US, Canada and Australia still insist on it. I strongly support the reciprocity. Sorry for you. Ask you congressmen to think twice before signing some bills.

    June 10, 2015 at 8:59 am

    That’s another advantage in travelling on a New Zealand passport! We don’t need to pay for too many Visa’s.

    February 5, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    I agree about it and very interested.

    Gilles Barbier
    November 16, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Hi Brooke,
    sorry to read about your problems.
    But yes, many countries in South America have informed “Reciprocity”, especially to USA citizens (Bolivia, Venezuela, & I think Equador as well).
    I actually did not know for Australian citizens (well, I am French so that doesn’t concern me).
    Glad to read that you made it in anyway.
    And yes, even experienced travelers make mistakes at times 😉

    September 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    It’s nice to know that even the most experienced traveller comes across these issues as well haha x

    September 2, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Oh no! I’m sorry you had this horrible experience. I just had a bad experience where I was stuck in the Vegas airport for three days and two nights trying to get on a flight to Chicago. It’s easy to let a bad experience ruin an otherwise awesome trip (I know I did!), so it’s great to see you were able to remain positive and use this experience as a lesson!

    Maria Dalva
    September 2, 2014 at 3:28 am

    I’m brazilian and to request a VISA to USA is not simple! I wouldn’t even plan a trip without a USA visa in my hands… it’s not easy to be granted with one and it’s very very very expensive!

    To Canada and Australia, however, I’ve never tried, so I don’t know how much it costs.

    And even with a VISA, you may not be accepted when you arrive in USA…

    To Europe (London, for example) we don’t need VISA but you may pay for your trip and discover at arrival that they won’t let you in. Thank God that didn’t happen to me! 🙂

    Glad that you managed everything! Your photos are beautiful! I’m following you at Instagram.

    September 1, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Wow! Lucky it all worked out. On my first trip to Australia (back in 2011), I didn’t need a visa when I booked my flight. But they changed that requirement just a month before I was traveling. I wasn’t as calm as you and started freaking out, but Australia’s Visa online applications are super fast and simple. I had it within 10 minutes after checking in to my first flight and was ready to go! I learned my lesson, I always double check things before I go, but I’m also more paranoid when traveling now.

    August 31, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Yikes! I would have been way to stressed! I need some of your seemingly calm things-will-work-out-in-the-end approach to life. So glad it work out in the end! 🙂

    August 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Everytime I spot the word Argentina in a blogpost or article y close my eyes and wish for the best. I love my country and I know most of the time things don’t work as smoothly and in other places but unfortunately visas and entry permissions are a problem everywhere. (I once saw an 65 year old grandma being refused a visa to go see her daughter and grandchildren in the US)

    I hope you enjoyed the trip nonetheless and get to see more of Argentina, specially the south or the far north.

    August 29, 2014 at 2:38 am

    New reader here! 😀 (I knew about your blog through the Bloglovin Awards… btw I voted for you xD) Anyway, just wanted to say I love the whole concept of WoW AND also, now that I know that you are visiting Latin America for the first time, I want to suggest to you to visit my country: Guatemala, in Central America. Believe me, there are A LOT of beautiful places and landscapes here. You will love it! 😀

    Hannah Wasielewski
    August 27, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Remember, other South American countries have visas too, especially for Americans. Lucky everything worked out for you! Also, remember not to lose that stupid little piece of paper they give you, or they won’t let you leave the county.

    August 27, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Argentina is a beautiful country, my country, but when we have to do some documents, like the passport etc, we have a lot of problems and delays. I love your blog.

    August 27, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Wow, what a scary experience! I would have been freaking out about this, but maybe that’s because I’m a huge over planner when it comes to travel. It sends me into panic spirals if I think I’ve left something out of “the plan”! Haha! Glad you got it all straightened out :).

    Maria Hermansson
    August 27, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    And I love your blog by the way 🙂

    Maria Hermansson
    August 27, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Well, with some planning ahead you easily get into basically all countries in Latin America whereas most Latin Americans have no chance whatsoever to get into yours. Be humble and have a wonderful time in América Latina. Bienvenida!

    Maggie A
    August 27, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Hi, I’m a new reader. I was just wondering what you do that allows you to travel so frequently?

    Maggie A

    Best holiday destinations
    August 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    nice city. thanks for posting nice views.

    Clipping Path Outsource
    August 27, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Great learning! That sounds like a great plan.

    August 27, 2014 at 5:58 am

    Oh my gosh, Argentina is amazing and wonderful. I spent a month there and definitely fell in love. How did you like the falls? Because I’m familiar with them from the Argentina side so I didn’t recognize the spelling. Argentina spells it Iguazu. And they are gorgeous.

    August 27, 2014 at 4:41 am

    This sounds like a nightmare.
    I’m glad everything worked out in the end.
    You can be happy to have that Australian passport of yours, it really makes life easier when traveling around 🙂

    xx Cheyenne

    August 27, 2014 at 4:09 am

    Hey! Its great your coming to Chile! Hopefully you’ll be here for september 18th, it’s the national day and things become crazy around here!
    I hope you enjoy my beautifull country!
    Sorry my english

    Madeline Fedmont
    August 27, 2014 at 4:03 am

    Can you even image how much stress does a person, let’s say from China, or eastern Europe who always been a visa to travel pretty much everywhere, goes through? I flew with Air Canada for two times and didn’t have any problems, but everyone has different experiences.

    August 27, 2014 at 4:00 am

    Super useful information–next time I’ll know to check whether or not I need a visa before traveling to another country! Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂


    August 27, 2014 at 3:35 am

    I can’t imagine how stressful this must be! A good lesson learned I suppose 🙂 Loving your photos of the Contiki tour on instagram by the way <3 xx

    Bethany Dickey
    August 27, 2014 at 3:20 am

    I’m so glad you managed to get past all these obstacles!! Also I’m so sorry you had to fly Air Canada haha…I live in Canada and it’s the worst airline we have. Always go for Westjet if you have a choice!!

    August 27, 2014 at 3:07 am

    Oh wow, I’m glad I haven’t had an experience like this (yet)! 🙂