A friend is traveling to Buenos Aires from the US, bringing both his personal notebook, and a new one for a relative.

As I understand it, he'll have to pay 50% of the value of the new one (not sure if the USD 300 exemption applies to foreign travelers).


  • Will he be able to pay the duty with his american credit card?
  • Does he have to do anything to avoid paying taxes on his own notebook, which he will bring back to the US when he leaves?
  • I doubt we can answer your second question as it would help your friend violate custom regulations. :) – JoErNanO Oct 29 '14 at 14:28
  • 2
    @JoErNanO, I'm not trying to help him do anything illegal. I want to know the legal procedure for doing that. – Diego Mijelshon Oct 29 '14 at 15:27

You can bring in merchandise up to a value of $300 by air or sea or $150 by land. Technically, bringing in merchandise with an industrial or commercial purpose is prohibited. You need to fill out form OM-2132. For the laptop you are importing you can pay by credit card (Mastercard, Cabal or Visa only) but there is a 15% surcharge. The authorities may request a copy of an invoice confirming the value of the new laptop. If you can't supply one they will arbitrarily assign a value.

If the customs guys don't speak good English you're looking for 'el formulario para derechos de importacion' (the form for import duties). My Spanish isn't that good, but that will get you the right one.

  • I think the OM-121 is for going OUT of the country and reentering with stuff you own. – Diego Mijelshon Oct 30 '14 at 12:17
  • You might be right, there. It might be the OM-2132, then. I'll edit. – Darren Oct 30 '14 at 12:25

As of Sept. 2018, you are exempted for two personal items: one laptop/tablet and a cell phone.

Sources: Resolución General 4315, La Nacion

Anecdotally, you can get away with more if you make sure to take everything out of its packaging, take off price tags, spread your devices across bags and clothing, and do what you can to make it look used. Officials have been known to ask you to turn on devices just to see that it looks used-- if you turn on your phone and they see a welcome setup wizard, they'll know it's brand new and charge you.

  • Giving advice on how to break the law is not quite within the rules here. – jcaron Feb 12 '19 at 19:07
  • I am a digital nomad. I travel with far more than $300 of electronics, not to mention the value of the rest of my gear. Not only is this >20 year-old law ridiculous, it is arbitrarily enforced. I am vacationing in Argentina soon, and was right about to buy a new phone. I would've been charged over $1000 if I didn't know that I should take it out of it's original packaging before arriving, more than my flights cost. It's not like I'm instructing people how to bring in a suitcase full of iPhones here. – crypdick Feb 12 '19 at 19:34

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