Currently when Americans enter Argentina they are granted a tourist visa of 90 days. Argentina grants Americans this tourist visa without any prior approval from the embassy of Argentina. After 90 days in Argentina, Americans must renew their tourist visa at the immigration office in Argentina two weeks prior to the tourist visa expiration date or travel to another country or they will be in Argentina illegally.
Another option for Americans is to remain in Argentina illegally and pay a fine at the airport before their departure. Previously the penalty for Americans overstaying their Argentina tourist visa was only 100 pesos. However, after April 21, 2009 the government of Argentina raised this fine to 300 pesos. Additionally, Argentina is considering implementing three strikes and you’re out policy. This means that if you overstay your visa three times you will be banned from entering Argentina forever.
Many American expats living in Argentina on a tourist visa simply take a trip to Uruguay to have their tourist visa renewed. Uruguay is the easiest country to reach from Buenos Aires. Americans need to be in Uruguay for at least four hours, then they can have their passport stamped and automatically their tourist visa from Argentina is renewed for another 90 days.
The best way to reach Uruguay to renew your Argentina tourist visa is by ferry boat. The ferry leaves from Buenos Aires and goes to Colonia, Uruguay. There is a slow ferry boat or a hydrofoil ferry boat which is much faster. The ferry to Uruguay, both the slow and fast, takes passengers and cars. The slow ferry is a much bigger boat and the trip takes 3 hours (three hour tour). The hydrofoil ferry only takes 50 minutes but is a little more expensive. The slow ferry to Uruguay costs approximately 200 pesos round trip and the fast ferry to Uruguay costs approximately 260 pesos.
Both ferry boats from Buenos Aires to Uruguay have amenities like food and beverage service, bathrooms, comfortable airplane like seating and first class options. The advantage to taking the slow ferry to Uruguay to renew your Argentina tourist visa is that you can go on deck and be outside in the fresh air to see the view in panorama. The advantage to taking the fast ferry to Uruguay is that it is faster. For Americans who make the trip often faster is usually better. I enjoyed taking the slow boat to Uruguay and the fast boat back to Argentina.
If you are going to Uruguay to renew your Argentina tourist visa here are the two ferry boat companies that leave Buenos Aires, Argentina to go to Colonia, Uruguay. One is Busquebus and the other is Colonia Express. You can reach their websites by clicking on the hyper link I have provided. You can make your reservations online, by phone or by going to the Buenos Aires terminal in person. Enjoy your trip!!!
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