I applied for a visa to visit Argentina in January 2015. Since I have a residence permit for Chile, I applied for my visa in Santiago. You need to take an appointment with the consulate first to visit them. This is usually done over email. I did not have any trouble setting up the appointment in Santiago but I have heard that it is a little difficult in the US or in India so please try and arrange your appointment well in advance.
The list of requirements is pretty extensive and the Argentinians seem to check everything.
The consulate in Santiago asked me to submit:
- A cover letter explaining my itinerary
- Confirmed tickets (bus or air) in and out of Argentina
- Hotel bookings for the entire stay
- Bank statements
- My residence permit in Chile
- Even my work contact in Chile
After submitting all these documents, I was also asked to submit a letter from my company stating that my work contact would be renewed for 2015-2016. So I emailed them a copy of a letter from my company.
The visa is free for Indians and I was told it would take 5 days. I had specifically asked for a multiple entry visa since we were planning to do a road trip crisscrossing between Chile and Argentina.
Sure enough, five days later I returned to the embassy and the multiple entry visa had been stamped in my passport.
I had booked 70 days worth of hotel stays and received a visa that allowed me to stay an exact 70 days in Argentina. Note that a tourist visa to Argentina is extendible. You may extend it for the same duration as the first granted at the directorate of migrations in any city inside Argentina. I haven’t gone through this process but it is possible.
I have read several stories written by Indians of rudeness by border authorities in Argentina. I even expected something bad given how many documents are asked for the visa. I must say that my experience was totally different!
We’ve done several border crossings over the last 2 months and in every single one of them the authorities have been friendly and courteous. There is however something that may be perceived as rude by Indian visitors.
Upon arrival at an immigration post, most Argentinian immigration officers sitting at the desk have absolutely no clue on how to ‘process’ an entry based on a visa. 99% of arrivals are people who get an entry stamp on arrival. Border agents usually manning the desks are often junior personnel.
Every time we entered Argentina, they looked at Zara’s passport and they knew they had to just stamp it. They looked at mine and were immediately confused. This led to the agent looking at the visa, then muttering to themselves (in Spanish), ‘ugh.. I don’t know how to do this…‘, then usually without a word to us, run to the back and ask a senior how to process an entry based on a visa. An Indian person watching this might be annoyed with thoughts like ‘Hey, they just ran away with my passport!‘.
All this delay while other people are just getting stamped through might appear to be rude, especially if you don’t understand Spanish and don’t know what’s going on. But soon enough they would come back and stamp the passport. Average clearance time for Zara was under 10 seconds and for me was about 5-7 minutes depending on how quickly they could find someone with the right know-how to process my visa. It’s important to say though that the agents were always friendly and the delay is not malicious.
For what it’s worth, I had the same issue on arrival in Cartagena, Colombia. The girl had no idea on how to process a visa entry. Apparently it’s not just an Argentinean problem.
Overall, the visa document list for Argentina is pretty long but you will get the visa as long as you provide everything. The visa processes at border posts tend to be simpler, say, at Iguazu in Brazil or Punta Arenas in Chile.
If you have any specific questions, please ask in the comments!