The S.A. Reciorocity Fee

Attention South American Backpackers! Something nobody warns you about!

 If you happen to have the fortunate status of American, Australian, or Canadian, well it's time to pay your dues. The South American reciprocity fee is not a made up tax to screw tourists and it is non negotiable. Before you complain, realize this fee exists because your own government charges the same amount for inhabitants of these countries to enter yours! Hence "reciprocity". Kind of their way of giving you the middle finger in the form of a handshake. So rest assured, it's not a hoax and it is something you must incorporate into your travel budget! Once upon a time, you could avoid these fees by traveling by land, but that is no longer the cases. Amendments the the original rule make it so that no matter how you arrive in the country, you will have to pay the fine. The fine is usually an average of about $140 for Americains, and differs for other nationalities. The only good news is that the payment is valid for a 10 year period, so you will be able to reuse it! I have only gone through the process for Argentina and Brazil, both relatively simple, but for Bolivia and Chile some independent research is necessary.  

Argentina: the fee is now payable only online (link on the Argentinian embassy site) and must be done so before entering the country, or you will be out right back on the plane! For any flights to Argentina, the airline will want to see both a printed receipt of your payment, and a ticket of departure from the country and address of where you are staying. If you do not have the ticket, they will ask for a valid credit card to put in their database to cover the cost if you face deportation. Best way to avoid this is to book a cheap bus out of the country. 

Brasil: you need an actual entry visa, which can be obtained at the Argentinian/Brasil border. 

Bolivia: you need an entry visa which can be obtained at the Peru/Bolivia border. 

Chile: from what I've heard down the vine, the fee is only collected from arriving flights to Chile, thus if you travel by bus over the boarder you can avoid the expense!


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