2015-05-14

Going to Buenos Aires for ICANN 53? US Gov Travel Advisory

Going to Buenos Aires for ICANN 53 (June 21-25, 2015)? Domain Mondo strongly reccommends you review and bookmark the US Department of State web pages below [travelers to ICANN 53 from other nations should also review their own national government sources and this ICANN page]:

US Department of State web pages:
Argentinahttp://www.travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/argentina.html

Travel Information | Embassy of the United States:
http://argentina.usembassy.gov/warden_messages.html

Excerpts:

TOURIST VISA not required for stays of 90 days or less. However, prior to arrival in Argentina, U.S. citizen tourist and business travelers must pay a $160 reciprocity fee. [NOTE: Citizens from countries that have to pay a Reciprocity Fee must pay it in their own country. Payment on Argentinean airports is no longer available.]

Argentine law requires that, prior to arrival in Argentina at any entry point, U.S. citizen tourist and business travelers pay a 160 USD reciprocity fee by credit card online at the Provincia Pagos website. For English instructions, check Online Payment brocuhure. Once paid, travelers must print out the receipt and present it to the Argentine immigration officer at the time of entry. The fee is valid for 10 years from the date of payment and for multiple entries. It is advisable to keep multiple copies of the receipt, as it must be presented every time you enter Argentina. The fee applies only to bearers of tourist passports. Travelers bearing diplomatic or official passports are required to get visas prior to arrival in Argentina but are not charged the reciprocity fee, nor are travelers transiting and not entering Argentina.

WOMEN TRAVELER INFORMATION ... travel tips for Women Travelers.

SAFETY and SECURITY: ... in Buenos Aires, where violent robberies have been occurring with increasing frequency. While crime can occur at all times of day, tourists who go to La Boca should limit their visits to the designated tourist street during daylight hours only... A number of scams involving yellow and black taxis have been reported at international airports and around Buenos Aires. The most frequently reported scams include a “handler” at the airport requesting hundreds of pesos (an amount that far exceeds the likely fare) from the traveler as s/he gets into the cab. The traveler assumes s/he is paying a flat rate up front. When the cab ride is finished, the driver demands the ride fare stating to have no association with the handler at the airport and that the fee paid was to get placed in the cab. Another version of the scam involves the taxi breaking down on the side of the freeway and another cab coming to retrieve the passenger. The first driver demands payment for the whole fare to the destination, as does the second driver who completes the trip. To avoid these potential issues, either pre-arrange transportation or select one of the flat rate “remise” services located inside the airport terminal. In town, radio taxis from a reliable location, such as a hotel, should be utilized whenever possible. After dark, radio taxis or private “remise” taxis should be called from a reliable location. Criminals usually work in groups, and travelers should assume criminals are armed. Criminals employ a variety of ruses to distract and victimize unsuspecting visitors. Be suspicious of anyone who approaches you on the street. A common scam is to spray mustard or another substance on the tourist from a distance. A pickpocket will then approach the tourist offering to help clean the stain, and while doing so, s/he or an accomplice robs the victim. Another scam is to entice tourists into a bar known as a “wiskeria” with a flyer for a shopping discount or free show. Once inside, the victim is not allowed to leave until s/he pays an exorbitant amount for a drink. In other scenarios, criminals use the excuse of handing out the flyers to approach victims and rob them. Thieves on foot and motorcycles, “motochorros,” regularly nab purses, backpacks, laptops, and luggage, and criminals will often distract visitors for a few seconds to steal valuables. If traveling in a car, keep windows up and valuables in the trunk or on the floor boards. Do not place handbags on the back of your chair or on the floor at a restaurant; instead, keep them in your lap. While most U.S. citizens are not physically injured when robbed, criminals may be armed and are known to use force when they encounter resistance. There have been violent and even fatal attacks on foreigners carrying valuables such as expensive cameras and equipment. Visitors are advised to immediately hand over all cash and valuables if confronted. Thieves may target visitors wearing expensive watches or jewelry, or carrying laptop computer cases. When staying in a hotel or apartment, it is a good precaution to call the front desk or security to identify uninvited individuals before giving them access. There have been a small number of reports of the use of date rape drugs in bars. Travelers should use caution entering and exiting financial institutions and when using ATM machines. Thieves have been known to target persons coming in and out of these locations. Some travelers have received counterfeit currency in Argentina. Unscrupulous vendors and taxi drivers sometimes pretend to help tourists review their pesos and then trade bad bills for good ones. Characteristics of good currency can be reviewed at the Argentine Central Bank website.

Along with conventional muggings, "express kidnappings" occur. Victims are grabbed off of the street or stopped in mobile vehicle road blocks based on their appearance and vulnerability. In some scenarios, they are forced to withdraw as much money as possible from ATM machines, and then their family or co-workers are contacted and told to deliver all the cash that they have on hand or can gather in a couple of hours. Once the ransom is paid, the victim is usually quickly released unharmed. There have been some foreign victims of express kidnappings. Visitors are particularly advised not to let children and adolescents travel alone. Virtual kidnappings (fake telephone kidnappings) are common. Criminals use stolen phones or otherwise obtained personal data to contact family members and co-workers claiming to have kidnapped the owner of the phone. This has happened while the alleged kidnapping victim is in the movie theater, on an international flight, or when a cell phone has just been stolen. Memorizing important phone numbers and if robbed immediately finding a phone and letting family members know you are alright are critical to interrupting this cycle.

Travelers worldwide are advised to avoid packing valuables in their checked baggage. In Argentina, officials have publicly acknowledged the systematic theft of valuables and money from checked baggage at Buenos Aires airports. Travelers should exercise continued care and caution....

Your passport is a valuable document and should be guarded. Passports and other valuables should be locked in a hotel safe, and a photocopy of your passport should be carried for identification purposes. The U.S. Embassy has observed an increase in reports of stolen passports.

VICTIMS OF CRIME: Countrywide - To report emergencies, contact the police, an ambulance, or the fire department by dialing 911 from any phone except in Cordoba, Mendoza, Iguazu, Tucuman, and Tierra del Fuego provinces, in which you need to dial 101 for emergency services.

If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate [see below]....

The Argentine Federal Police have established a Tourist Police Unit to receive complaints and investigate crimes against tourists. The unit, located at Corrientes 436 in Buenos Aires, responds to calls around the clock at 4346-5748 or toll-free 0800-999-5000 from anywhere in the country....

... Demonstrations are common in metropolitan Buenos Aires ... Protesters on occasion block streets, highways, and major intersections, causing traffic jams and delaying travel. While demonstrations are usually nonviolent, some individuals break from larger groups and sometimes seek confrontation with the police and vandalize private property. Groups occasionally protest in front of the U.S. Embassy and U.S.-affiliated businesses. U.S. citizens should take common-sense precautions and avoid gatherings or any other event where crowds congregate to protest.... 

Currency: ... banks and exchange houses in Argentina reportedly have been refusing to sell dollars and other foreign currencies to foreign citizens in exchange for pesos unless the foreign traveler is able to present original receipt(s) showing the purchase of pesos. ...

Health: ...Most travelers to Argentina need to have only their routine U.S. recommended immunizations updated. The one additional recommended vaccine for all travelers is Hepatitis A...

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Argentina, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Driving in Argentina is generally more dangerous than driving in the United States. By comparison, drivers in Argentina tend to be aggressive, especially in Buenos Aires, and often ignore traffic regulations. An Argentine or international driving permit is required to drive in Argentina, but please verify with local authorities for the most current information...

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Argentina, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some areas, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail....

U.S. Embassy Buenos Aires
Av. Colombia 4300
(C1425GMN) Buenos Aires
Argentina

Telephone: +(54)(11) 5777-4533
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(54)(11) 5777-4873 and during working hours +(54)(11) 5777-4354

Fax: +(54)(11) 5777-4240
BuenosAires-ACS@state.gov


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