There has always been a fee to visit the country of Argentina, historically this fee was paid when you exit the country and it has ranged from $8.00 to $16.00 over the last 15 years or so. The fee was called an airport departure fee, and upon departure once you received your boarding pass at the ticket gate at the front of the airport you went to a booth to the left of the ticket counter and paid your departure fee. The immigrations officer would stamp your boarding pass and this stamp allowed you to pass through immigrations and customs to ultimately board your flight to come back home.
Going on behind the scenes in the United States we have been handling Argentine citizens the same way by charging them an exit fee. In 2009 the US increased their departure fee to Argentine citizens to $120 but made it so this fee lasted 10 years. Around the beginning of 2011 the US increased this fee to $140, but again the fee lasts 10 years. Without getting into the political aspects of this situation the country of Argentina “reciprocated” and began charging US citizens to enter their country the exact fee that the United States was charging their citizens, hence the name Reciprocity fee.
In October of 2012 the process of obtaining your form and paying your fee was formalized. The fee increased to $160 and a site was launched in which you pay your fee. The site is www.provinciapagos.com.ar For a short period of time when entering Argentina there was a computer kiosk set up before the immigrations office that allowed you to pay your fee and print your form upon arrival into Argentina. Today these kiosks have been removed and you must pay the reciprocity fee and print your form before you leave the United States. If you do not have your reciprocity form you will be denied entry into the Argentina and will be sent home on next flight back to the US at your expense.
So as it stands today before you leave the US, visit www.provinciapagos.com.ar , pay your fee and print your form. Keep this form with your passport at all times while in Argentina. The form lasts 10 years and allows unlimited entry into Argentina.
With the increase of the fee to $160 over 10 years, this theoretically does not work out to be an increase over 2009, but in practice that holds true only if you visit Argentina 10 times or more over 10 years. The $160 fee is frustrating to most travelers; however keep in mind Argentina is reciprocating by charging US citizens exactly what the US is charging citizens of Argentina.