Argentina visa for Filipinos: online vs physical application processes
Thanks for dropping by the blog! I have experienced applying Argentina visa for Filipinos in different ways and in many parts of the world so, in this post, I am going to share my experiences with you! You don’t need to speak Spanish during the in-person interview. You will have the option to do that in English.
I do not have another nationality. I only hold a Philippine passport but in the process of the Argentine visa is not really that difficult. Should you have more questions that weren’t answered in this post, let me know by sending me a message on Instagram.
I traveled and lived in Argentina for a year in 2015 and it is one of the countries I continuously visit up until today. Though I always need to apply for a visa, it’s really easy that I became more confident every time I apply. Now, there are two ways on how to apply for a visa to Argentina: online and in-person application. In this post, I will show you how to do both (as I have experience in both) but please read the post in full and don’t miss a step.
I also do visa guides for Filipinos on Youtube so if you are more of a watcher than a reader, feel free to subscribe!
Is Argentina open for tourism?
The Argentine borders are currently closed to foreign travelers in an exemption for Argentine nationals or Argentine residency card holders. I just called the Embassy in Mexico and they said they do not have news when Argentina will open its doors to tourism.
If you are not an Argentine citizen nor a resident but can prove that you have a blood family in Argentina, then they will allow you to enter. However, this process is quite tedious because you really need to prove your family ties. If you are qualified to enter Argentina, you need to present a negative PCR test valid within 72 hours before travel. Children below age six do not require the tests. You also need to have medical insurance that covers COVID. As a long-term travelers, I use a digital nomad travel and medical insurance which is also discussed in the FAQs section of this post.
Argentina uses the app CuidAR so you need to download that as well. Upon arrival in Argentina, you need to complete a health declaration form online, 48 hours before your trip. Everyone who enters Argentina is required to self-isolate for 7 days.
Applying an Argentine visa through the AVE program: are you qualified?
In 2019, Argentina launched a new program for Philippine passport holders called the Argentina Electronic Travel Authorization (AVE). Meaning, you can apply for a visa online without having to go to the Embassy. However, the AVE is only applicable for those who have:
- a valid USA/Schengen visa
- Philippine nationals who are residents of Latin American countries
If you don’t have a valid USA/Schengen visa, I will also show you how to apply at any Argentine Embassy in the world. My first application was successfully processed in Montevideo, Uruguay. Since I have a legal residency in Mexico, I can also travel to Argentina just with my residency card but I still need to apply for a tourist visa (online through AVE).
Lots of blog posts about applying for an Argentine visa as a Philippine passport failed to mention the US/Schengen visa-exempt policy for Argentina. If you check this list for countries qualified for Argentina’s AVE program, the Philippines is not on the list because we need to present a US/Schengen visa.
If you are qualified for the AVE, follow the steps below
Step 1: Pay for the visa
The migraciones website is where you need to pay for the AVE to Argentina. The visa cost is $50 USD. In there, you will see lots of options like border crossings, residency status (I also did this), authorization for leaving (for COVID), etc. Click AVE. Once you are in, you will be asked to create your login credentials for the website. Fill out all the necessary information and do not leave anything blank.
Once this is done, you will receive an e-mail with the tasa de emission, a document that proves that you have paid for your application. It’s a PDF voucher that you have to print but it’s not your entry permit to Argentina.
Step 2: Upload your documents online
When uploading your documents, make sure they are not larger than 500 KB. There are lots of websites out there where you can compress your files. I always put mine just to 100 – 150 KB, otherwise, you will receive an error message that your file was not uploaded. The documents that you need to upload are the following:
- Valid passport: completely scanned (all of it, even the blank and unused pages). This was also the same requirement I needed when I applied in person but the only difference was I had to print them and actually bring them to the embassy. The AVE application is digital so no need to print, unless instructed to do so (which is very unlikely).
- Valid USA/Schengen visa: if your US/Schengen visa is still valid but is stamped to an expired passport, you need to submit all pages of your expired passport as well.
- In my case, they asked me to upload my Mexican residency card.
If your documents failed to upload, the DNM will send you an e-mail address on where to send your files separately. I used WeTransfer instead of attaching it to traditional e-mail because it was just a lot of files! They did receive it anyway. The e-mail address is ave[at]migraciones[dot]gov[dot]ar.
Step 3: Complete your application process
After reviewing your documents, the DNM will send you a notification to complete your application process. You have to go to this website and click INGRESE AQUI PARA COMPLETAR LA SOLITUD (in English, it means “click here to complete your application”). If you don’t speak Spanish and are having a hard time navigating the website, get in touch with me and I can translate for you. Fill out all the necessary information required and do not leave anything blank.
Step 4: Wait for your visa/entry permit via e-mail
You will receive your AVE Argentine visa via e-mail within 10 days from the date of application, with instructions on what to bring during your entry to Argentina. One of the requirements is to bring your US/Schengen visa so if it is in an expired passport, you need to bring that when you are entering Argentina. The DNM will send you two pdf documents that you have to print. With me, they allowed it digitally since I am a resident of a Latin American country but please print yours just in case. It will be hard to find a printing machine when you are already in line at the immigration in Argentina!
Applying for an Argentine visa if you are not qualified for the AVE
The good news is, this is not a hard process at all and you can do it even if you are not in the Philippines. I applied for my Argentine visa in the Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay in September 2014, my first trip to Argentina. You don’t need to be a resident of the country you are – I may have the Mexican residency card at present but when I applied in Uruguay in 2014, I was only on a Uruguyan tourist visa.
I also shared some stories when I applied for an Argentine visa in Manila in 2018. Please note that while you are eligible to apply for your visa in any country in the world, the requirements for each embassy are all different! You will see what I mean below when you read the requirements I submitted in Uruguay vs in Manila. (TL;DR – the Manila list was longer!)
Step 1: Call the Argentine embassy in the country you are in
I am not sure if this is a Filipino thing but I get visa questions a lot: “Dear Trisha, how did you apply for an Argentine visa?” That’s only the beginning but it will be followed by a series of questions that I do not (and will not) understand.
My reply? “Please contact the consulate in your country.” Always.
I think Filipinos are the only ones who never call the Embassy/Consulate because we always think it’s not ‘legal’ or we will be judged and belittled so we tend to get information from people who actually did it. In the end, the Embassy will ask for more documents because we didn’t do it right.
Consulates and embassies may have the same requirement but take note that we are different individuals with different history so the additional documents will always vary. Please, do not be scared to call the Embassy to discuss your case. It is their job to help you. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
I processed my Argentine visa in Montevideo, Uruguay so in this case, I really need to call the Embassy. I don’t think there’s an actual Filipino who did it at the same place as I was then so the best thing to do is to ask.
After my unsuccessful application of Argentine visa in Brasil, I decided to do it in Uruguay. I figured it would be easier to apply for a visa in small cities like Montevideo and there would be a higher chance of getting approved. While waiting for my Uruguayan visa in Brasil, I sent this e-mail to the Consulate of Argentina in Montevideo:
In my email, I asked if it’s possible to obtain a visa for Argentina in Montevideo and they said yes. When I asked for the requirements, they said there’s no particular file(s) needed but they have to assess the documents that I have such as bank transactions, birth certificate, passport, etc. I love reaching out to Embassies because I believe they are the only ones who have the answers to my questions. I am not asking you to stop reading blogs but as a fellow Filipino, I highly encourage you to step up and call the Embassy you need to call. All you have to do is ask nicely. They won’t bite.
It will take them a while to respond via e-mail so calling is always better.
Step 2: Prepare your documents
Consulate rules get really confusing every time. In Rio de Janeiro, I gave the requirements at one blow but they kept asking me to come back (almost every day) saying, “we need more of this, and that, etc.” I was like, why can’t you just tell me everything at once? They definitely wasted my time. Apart from that, I understand that Argentina is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world but isn’t it a requirement for every Embassy employee to at least speak basic English? Well, I also understand that everyone who comes to the consulate speaks a fair amount of Spanish (I am not totally complaining about this and I fully understand) but what about those who can’t? Just random thoughts as I found myself translating for Indians and I don’t find that pleasing at all.
The first time I went to the consulate of Argentina in Montevideo, they scanned my passport and asked me for the following requirements:
- 2×2 photo
- Hotel reservation in Buenos Aires
- Inbound & Outbound Ticket Reservations
- Bank certificate
- $50 USD visa payment
When I applied in Manila, below are what they asked for:
- Duly accomplished application form
- One (1) recent passport size photo (3.5cm x 4.5cm)
- Valid passport & photocopy of the information pages
- Letter of Request by the applicant stating the reason for the travel, signed by the applicant with FULL NAME including MIDDLE NAME IN BLOCK LETTERS (ALL-CAPS)
- Original and notarized Certificate of Employment indicating the following: full name, passport number, position, a brief description of work duties, monthly salary & duration of leave
- If self-employed, DTI Registration, SEC or Mayor’s Permit, or Certificate and Articles of Incorporation and general information sheet for the current year.
- Original Bank Certificate with corresponding Passbook or Bank Statement for the last three (3) months of the current year
- Detailed day to day itinerary (see sample on the next part)
- Hotel Bookings, from the hotel or online booking website (indicating the name of the applicant) or;
- If staying with a friend, a letter of invitation written in Spanish duly notarized and legalized by the College of Writers in Argentina
- Flight Bookings, a round trip ticket from the airline or website (indicating the name of the applicant)
- For minors traveling alone, Affidavit of Support from parents, DSWD Permit (must be authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs), birth certificate, and parent’s government-issued ID with picture(passport, Driver’s License and other)
- Other documents may be required as needed
Look at the difference between the list of my documents when I applied in Montevideo and when I applied for the Argentina visa in Manila. Can you see it? The list from Manila is way too long and tedious when in fact, if you are in another country, it’s so much easier!
The detailed itinerary was also not required when I applied in Uruguay but below is a sample Argentina itinerary that is accepted by the Embassy of Argentina in Manila:
Step 3: Submit your requirements
Unlike the Schengen visa application, there is no need to schedule an appointment at the Embassy of Argentina in Manila. The same goes for my application in Montevideo. I just walked in, handed them my papers, paid the visa fee of $50 USD, and was asked to return after three (3) days for a possible interview. They said they will take my passport for the interview so I should bring it. (I always have it anyway!)
In Manila, it was a different story…
They asked me to deposit the payment at BPI Tordesillas (a few blocks away from the Embassy) and man, the fee is $150 USD?! $100 USD more than what I paid for in Montevideo! After which I had to come back to the Embassy and give them the proof of payment. This is what I call a very tedious process.
I think they are purposely doing this because Filipinos will do anything for visas while other nationalities will find it a hassle to deposit visa payment outside the Embassy. The Embassy rules in the Philippines are very very strange. Like many other visa applications for Filipinos, this visa fee is non-refundable even if you are not given an Argentina visa.
You might also like: The amazing wine experience in Mendoza, Argentina
You may submit your requirements from Mondays to Fridays, between 9:00 – 12:00. Visa releasing schedules are from Mondays to Fridays, 14:00 – 16:00.
Embassy of the Argentine Republic in Manila – Consular Section
8th Floor, Liberty Center, 104 H.V. de la Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati City
Step 4: Go to your interview
I didn’t think an interview was necessary but after 3 days, I returned to the Embassy of Argentina in Montevideo even without notice because that’s what they told me – “come back after three (3) days.”
I only waited 30 minutes before I was called and everything went so fast. For the whole processing of the visa, I was communicating with them in Spanish but I didn’t know I will be interviewed in Spanish as well. This is the first time I was interviewed in another language and I was really proud of myself. At first, I warned the consul that I am only speaking Spanish for 1 year and that I might not speak perfectly but after the interview, he assured me that my Spanish was really good and that I should continue to demand my interviews to be in Spanish so I can practice more.
The Consul was super relaxed and my interview went very well. I wasn’t asked so many technical questions. It didn’t even last 5 minutes!
In Manila, I was interviewed in Spanish because I demanded it. I was already friends with the consul anyway. I insisted on speaking to the consul because the Filipino staff at the Embassy are not that friendly. I kept wondering why you have to be a b*t(h to your fellow when I am doing everything you asked me to do.
There were many formal questions asked in the Embassy of Argentina in Manila but they are not meant to intimidate you. They are just for the purpose of a background check. Most of them are very very technical – nothing personal. Now do not be scared because I am sure you can answer the purpose of your travel, how you generate income, what’s your current job and all that shenanigan. Do not lie because these are things you shouldn’t lie about. I don’t even know why I am asking you not to lie when in fact it should be a default.
After the interview, the Consul will tell you if you got the visa or not. If you got it, they will ask you to leave your passport and get your claim stub. At times, they will tell you when the passport will be ready for pick-up. In Uruguay, it was given to me right after the interview. The lady handed me my passport together with my visa stamp valid for 70 days. I was like, “that’s it?!”
She looked at me and said, “yes, what else do you want?”
I hurried to the exit before she changes her mind and take my passport back. That was way too easy compared to the waiting game in Rio de Janeiro!
In Manila, they asked me to come back the next day but I insisted on getting the visa the same day. I don’t have “the next day” because I live in Subic. I have nowhere to stay in Manila and I can’t spend another day there. It’s such a waste of time and money.
They understood my case and asked me to come back in the afternoon to get my visa. You see, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Argentina is known to be a notorious country when it comes to visas and here are some lessons that I learned from applying:
- The rules are always different, depending on your nationality. As sad as it sounds, border crossing is made this way.
- When you are in another country and the Consulate says, “you have to apply for your visa in your home country,” please insist at least three times. Til you try you’ll never know! I’ve been told in Rio that foreigners or non-residents of Brazil cannot apply for a visa in their department but still, a lot of citizens have successfully obtained one without being in their home country.
- Do not let them bully you. Know your rights but be patient. Try to understand their side as well.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long will the visa application process take?
In my experience, as stated above, it was approximately 7-10 days. It all depends if they will ask you for additional requirements.
Do you need travel insurance to enter Argentina?
For COVID, totally! And even if it’s not asked, you should always have a travel insurance! I use a digital nomad travel and medical insurance that only costs me $40 USD per month. I also don’t need to renew it monthly since there is an option to do a recurring payment, which is automatically billed in your credit card every month.
When is the best time to visit Argentina?
Argentina is a big country so weather conditions vary per region.
- Low Season (Jun–Aug). Many camping/trekking spots are closed because of snow. This is Argentina’s winter season. If you are coming in this month, the North (Mendoza, Salta, Jujuy) are the best places to visit.
- Shoulder Season (Sep–Nov & Mar-May). The best time to visit Buenos Aires!
- High Season (Nov–Feb & Jul). All activities in the South are open including cruises to Antarctica but prices can be higher than usual. Argentina’s summer season, like Australia, is from December to March.
How long is the validity of Argentina visa for Filipinos?
When I applied in Montevideo, I was given 70 days while in Manila, 90 days.
How much money should I have in my bank account?
In both my applications, they were not particular on this but let me be honest with you: when I applied for an Argentina visa in Montevideo, I only had $200 USD in my bank account. In Manila, I think the safest would be $1000 USD. It depends on the number of days you are staying. The minimum requirement is $100 USD per day. So if you are staying for a week, you should have at least $700 USD in your account.
Are there any reasons why I will be denied a visa to Argentina?
Like most visa application process for Filipinos, there are no concrete reasons for our visa being denied. I guess we just have to complete our requirements and follow the process/system. Til then, let’s hope for the best.