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This question is directed towards anyone who has traveled to Argentina after January 20, 2017.

Argentina recently made their immigration policy more strict. It allows them to deny entry if you have a prior conviction for certain crimes. Prior to January 2017, they didn't ask about any prior convictions (verbally or on paper). My question is, since this recent change (January 2017), do they now ask about prior convictions when entering via airline?

Here is an article discussing the recent changes to Argentina's travel policy: http://www.thebubble.com/argentina-to-introduce-advanced-passenger-information-system-for-airlines/

  • What's your nationality? Also, are you willing to lie? – JonathanReez Feb 15 '17 at 12:59
  • The title was edited, but I am specifically asking about flying into the Ezeiza airport (EZE) in Buenos Aires. Other airports may have different procedures so that's why I am only interested in EZE. Thanks – TJx Feb 15 '17 at 17:05
  • @JonathanReez Nationality is US, and I can't take the risk of lying, as that can result in being expelled from the country for 5-8 years. – TJx Feb 15 '17 at 17:06
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    My crime was one of those listed in the new immigration law that allows Argentina to deny entry (but it's not terrorism related). I don't know if the US shared details about it. The conviction is 20 years old. – TJx Feb 15 '17 at 17:57
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    For reference, here is the new Argentina immigration decree (Spanish): boletinoficial.gob.ar/#!DetalleNorma/158336/20170130 – TJx Feb 15 '17 at 18:03
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You've asked for feedback specifically from individuals entering at Ezeiza whether they've been routinely, or randomly, questioned about criminal history since the new law into effect on 30 January 2017.

As @JonathanReez has pointed out that, since no such questions were asked during a recent land crossing, it is unlikely that it would occur during processing through Customs and Immigration at the airport.

Specific to your concern, and contrary to the opinion offered about US laws, only if US Federal or State officials have triggered an INTERPOL alert would entry into Argentina be a problem. And, should that be the case, it is very likely you would be prevented from boarding a direct flight, rather than be confronted by the issue on arrival.

The article you link to, and the announcement made recently, refers to Argentina adoption of the Advanced Passenger Information (API) system, an electronic data interchange currently in use many countries, including the United States. The required information consists of full name, gender, date of birth, nationality, country of residence, travel document type (normally passport) and number (expiry date and country of issue for passport).

What else: airlines and the travel industry have a passenger name record (PNR), a database in the reservation system that includes passenger name, airline/travel agent contact details, ticket details (number or ticket time limit), itinerary, and name of the person booking, and information on payment, luggage, seating.

What will Argentina do with this information? Use it to check INTERPOL Criminal Information System databases.

Enacted on January 30, 2017, Reuters reported that

Argentina changed its immigration law to make it easier to deport foreigners who commit crimes and to prohibit individuals with criminal records from entering the country. The law, implemented by decree and not requiring congressional approval, also restricts those who are serving sentences or have criminal records in other countries from entering Argentina.

So, you travel to Argentina: can a Customs & Immigration official ask whether you've ever been convicted of a crime? Yes. Will they? Perhaps. Is it likely? This is difficult to establish less than two months on since the Presidential decree. Other countries do ask, randomly during an Immigration chat, and do use that information to equate the offense to their laws to determine whether a person is admissable.

However, your concern is valid and, although citizens of some countries do not need a visa to travel to Argentina, one way to overcome this hurdle is to apply for a visa.

The application does have many questions about entry and criminal histories, nine of them to be precise. The details asked range from sentences for trafficking (arms, human, drug), money (laundering or investment in illegal activities) or other crimes punishable by three or more years of imprisonment. The list goes on and on: genocide, war crimes, acts of terrorism or crimes against humanity, terrorist activities, prostitution, immigration offenses. They end with a broad question, whether the person has done anything that might be covered under the Argentine Act 25871.

One process employed by those whose past inhibit or prevent them from entry into a country is to request a waiver of that requirement, variously referred to as a Waiver of Inadmissibility. It allows them to demonstrate that those issues are behind them, they no longer participate in those activities, that they are rehabilitated.

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There's one data point from @Tjx where he confirms in a comment that no such questions are asked at the land border. It's likely that no such questions are also asked at the airport.

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