Reciprocity fee and permanent residents


Mar 25, 2007
I'd like to hear from any expats who have permanent resident DNIs regarding their experience entering the country since the reciprocity fee was established. Were you charged as though you were a tourist? If not, was there any confusion?
I am wondering this myself. I hope they don't charge us with DNI's.
If you have a DNI you won't be charged the fee. You are a citizen not a tourist end of story.
I was at the Airport today and asked an American woman if she had been charged the fee. And she said yes ,right before you get your passport stamped they have a cabin of some kind.
So it apears we have a stand off. At the US Embassey in Palermo the US government takes U$S131 off any Argentine planning to visit the states,and at EZE international Airport the Argentine Government takes it back again.
I work in tourism so i wish this had not come about but deep down i support it.
U$S131 is a crazy figure to charge for a five minute interview
Vamos Cristina
windy said:
If you have a DNI you won't be charged the fee. You are a citizen not a tourist end of story.

Foreign residents with DNI's do not become citizens unless they apply for it (becoming eligible to do so only after two years of "permanent" residency).
And for my 100th post on BA expats. Having a DNI should prove that you are a resident not a tourist and should there fore exempt you from this charge.
But this is Argentina so it may not be the case,i stand corrected.
windy said:
And for my 100th post on BA expats. Having a DNI should prove that you are a resident not a tourist and should there fore exempt you from this charge.
But this is Argentina so it may not be the case,i stand corrected.

I agree. You can't get a DNI without being at least a temporary resident, but even you have not yet received a DNI but have residency, you should not have to pay the fee. Just show your original "certificate" from migraciones along with your passport as you enter.
Windy, As I have stated before on this forum, Argentines lost their visa wavers when it became clear that too many were overstaying their visas with the intention of living and working illegally. The US is the world's number 1 destination for immigrants and the country just can not take in endless numbers of people. Those Argentines who can afford to travel are generally affluent - unless someone else like a relative living in the US or elsewhere in the first world is paying for the ticket. These people can afford the $131 visa fee which is often given with a ten year multiple-entry visa. Tourism by Americans is an entirely different matter. Most middle class Americans can afford to travel abroad if they want to - ordinary blue collar people often earn good salaries that allow them a lot of economic freedom. There are FAR more people with money who can travel and the tourism market is competitive as a result. That's why a $131 fee per person ($262 USD for a couple) may very well scare off potential middle class Americans who are planning a one or two week trip. Unlike the well-to-do Argentines who make mnumerous trips to the US during their lifetimes, the typical American tourist is not likely to visit Argentina more than once. The $131 investment is a more serious consideration.
Argentines lost the visa waiver when the country went bust back in 2001 and many would have gone to the States or Europe and just vanished into the black economys.
I accept that 100%.
But the States and Europe had work back then. The difference is neither the States or Europe has work now. Many Argentines are laving Spain some just leaving cars they can't sell in the airport carparks and returning to Argentina.
Europe does not force Argentines to buy a costly Visa and has not been overun by them.
Simple conditions(ie credit card place you are staying and return ticket) and simple screening can cover this without charging U$S131 to every Argentine.
If the cost were U$S40 you could say it were cost related and let it go but this is a money making scam for the US gov.
We have all seen the Lines outside the US embassey for visas.
Now if one person processed 10 visas per day for 250 working days of the year at a cost of U$S131 per person that totals that totals U$S 327,500 per year.
Its a money making scam and is not cost related,its just opportunistic robbery.
I feel sorry for Americans being hit by this reciprical robbery,but the US Embassey/Gov has known it was coming and has not acted to save the travelling American public money but has decided to keep their cash cow instead.
If Americans have a complaint they should direct it where the blame really lies.

There have been tensions between Spain and Argentina over the issue of illegal Argentines living on the black economy. Argentina has accepted a lot of Spanish immigrants over the years, so Spain is probably reluctant to require visas of Argentines however there have been attempts by the Spanish government to expel illegal Argentines. Now that the Spanish economy is in crisis many Argentines have returned. The reality is that there was never all that much opportunity in Spain, even in better times. The quality of life in Spain is not so fantastic, as a lot of Argentines who went there have discovered. I don't think there has been much illegal Argentine immigration in the rest of Europe, probably because few Argentines speak anytrhing other than a little English as a second language.

The US is the place for Argentines to go if they can't work legally, not Europe. Pay is much higher, the country is huge and there are many more ways of surviving and even advancing than in Europe. I'm sure that a lot of the people who went to Spain during the Argentine crisis would have gone to Miami if the waiver program had continued. The bottom line is that the US is the favorite place in the world for immigration. As for your assertion that the visa fee is a US State Dept. money making scam, I doubt that the visa fee is a big money maker but only the State Dept. knows. US embassy staff get paid high salaries with a LOT of benefits. The cost of running the embassy and maintaining the amazing ambassador's residence - probably the finest surviving mansion in the city- has to be very high, so I doubt that there is any 'profit' being made on visas.
I'm disappointed with the new fee as well - the fees are not good for either America or Argentina in my opinion, as they dissuade tourism for no gain.

I did quite a bit of research on this topic and you all may be interested in some of what I learned:

1) Yes Argentina did get removed from the waiver program in 2002 due to the financial crisis and concerns over visa overstays.

2) The $131 fee is not a money making scam, but rather reflects the cost of processing visas. US law required the Dept of State to recover the costs of visa processing through application fees. In fact, they proposed 2 weeks ago increasing the fee to $140 because $131 is no longer recovering the costs. HOWEVER, the fee is the same for every country, which means a low risk country like Argentina faces the same cost as a high risk country (say, Guyana). So in effect Argentine citizens are forced to subsidize the costs of applicants from places that have more scrutiny of visa applications.

3) Since the EU expanded in 2004, the list of countries on the Visa Waiver Program increased quite a bit, due to political pressure to include all EU countries.

4) In 2007 there was a proposed law, called the Secure Travel and Counterterroism Act which proposed loosening the existing requirement that countries on the waiver list have less than 3% visa rejections, to make it 10%. This law was not passed but I think the entire bill was included in a large bill called the "Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007." So now there are 32 countries, including Argentina, that are eligible for the waiver program under the new standard. However, the law only allowed for 5 countries to be added as a pilot.

In late 2008, the program added Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Republic of Korea, and the Slovak Republic to the list of countries (under various laws - either as EU countries, or the new pilot program law, etc). Looking at the tourist visa rejection rates from 2007 I see:

Malta - 2.7%
Estonia - 4.0%
Argentina - 4.4%
Republic of Korea - 4.4%
Czech Republic - 6.7%
Hungary - 10.3%
Latvia - 11.8%
Slovak Republic - 12.0%
Lithuania - 12.9%

So from this it seems to me that there's no good reason why Argentina shouldn't be part of the program. The rejection rate for visas is one of the lowest in the world if you scan through the whole list of countries. I actually wonder if adding the reciprocity fee is an effort to light a fire under the State Department to undergo/finish whatever process is necessary to add Argentina. Anyway, as an American I think I'd like to write to my congresspeople and encourage them to look at this issue. If they start asking questions of the leaders at the Department of State in private meetings or in hearings, priorities will be adjusted. Maybe it won't help, but if people don't complain they definitely won't bother to make a change.