Argentine Customs

January 28th, 2009 Posted in culture, day to day

Written by Shanie

For those of us that have had something shipped to Argentina from anywhere internationally, we know what a pain it is.

They don’t make it easy.

Anything larger than an envelope has to go through the Aduanas (customs) office. In both of the towns that we have lived in (San Rafael and Bariloche), the aforementioned bureau-of-seriousness was not a pleasurable experience.

Things are a lot different than what I was used to back in the United States.

  1. The business hours are only Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9 am – 11 am. And don’t be late because the doors close promptly at 11.
  2. The officers have the right and will open up all of your packages in front of you. It doesn’t matter if it is a Christmas or birthday present, they will do the unwrapping for you.
  3. You will be charged a fee (determined on your relationship with the aduanas officer) on new goods that are not gifts. And even with gifts there is a limit to what they will allow through.

The reasoning goes something like this. They feel that this is a good way to stop people from shipping hard-to-find items here (like computers, techie gadgets, etc) and then selling them on the black market.

I guess I understand that thought process but when you have to wait in a long line to get something as small as a giant eye-hook (which happened to be my last reasoning for having to visit these power-hungry, not-so-nice, security guard wanna-bes) it gets a bit ridiculous.

It just comes down to cultural differences. Besides that, it gives the Argentine people another reason to partake in one of their favorite past times — standing in line.

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