Argentina grants visitors a 90-day tourist visa. If you want to “legally” stay beyond that time, you may go to the immigration office and pay $300 pesos for a one-time 90 day extension. If you overstay the 90-day period, you have to pay a $300 peso fine upon departure.
As you can guess, most people just overstay their visa and pay the fine when they depart rather than dealing with the hassle of getting an extension. In fact, since Argentina’s enforcement of the 90-day rule is so lax, there are a lot of people I know who have overstayed that 90-day extension by years. Yes, years. And yes, they just have to pay the same $300 pesos fine.
You used to be able to just pay the fine wherever you left the country – airport, ferry terminal, bus, etc. However, as of August 1, 2013, Disposición 899/2013 came into effect and states that the fine may only be paid on departure at the Ezeiza airport. Anyone else needing to pay the fine must do so in advance at Banco de la Nación Argentina or online. In typical Argentine fashion, the online payment system is not currently working.
One of our readers wrote to tell us that they were denied boarding on a Saturday bus in Mendoza and had to wait until Tuesday (Monday was a holiday) to pay in person at the bank. There was no other option available to pay, though we hope at some point the online system starts working. When it does, here are the instructions on how to pay the overstay fee (Spanish).
Keep this in mind when planning your traveling in Argentina and hopefully you don’t get stuck as well.