Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.
Last Published: 1/27/2020
Permission to Import
Argentina subjects imports to automatic or non-automatic licenses that are managed through the Comprehensive Import Monitoring System (SIMI) established in December 2015 by the National Tax Agency (AFIP).  The SIMI system requires importers to submit electronically detailed information about goods to be imported into Argentina.  Once the information is submitted, relevant Argentine government agencies review the application through a “Single Window System for Foreign Trade” (Ventanilla Unica de Comercio Exterior).  The automatic import licensing requirements apply to approximately 87 percent of Argentina’s tariff schedule.  Licenses are required for each import transaction and reviewed by AFIP.  AFIP certifies that the importer is in good standing in regard to taxes and ability to pay for the goods. AFIP also approves the request to purchase foreign currency. Ultimately the Central Bank (Banco Central de la Republica Argentina) must release the funds and has final say when the goods will be paid.
Processing time is officially 15 days.  An Argentine firm or individual who wishes to import must utilize the services of an Argentine customs broker to file the SIMI through the online customs system, if they do not possess a customs brokerage license to handle their own imports. The requested merchandise must arrive in Argentina within 180 days of the SIMI being marked “Salida” by AFIP, signifying approval to import. 

Documentation Requirements and Restrictions
In 1997, the Argentine government increased the requirement for certificate of origin and consularization for imports generally covering (but not limited to) consumer goods, textiles, apparel and footwear, printing machines, and machine tools. Consularization – authentication by a consular office – is required for every country from which an integrated component is sourced.  To receive the MFN tariff rate, a product’s certificate of origin must be certified by an Argentine embassy or consulate, or carry a “U.S. Chamber of Commerce” seal.  On October 18, 2018, through Resolution 60/2018, the Ministry of Production and Labor eliminated the requirement for a certificate of origin for goods subject to antidumping or safeguard measures, instead requiring an online sworn declaration of non-preferential origin.  The resolution also simplifies the process required to obtain a certificate of origin for most categories of products, with the exception of textiles and footwear.
It is strongly advised that all exporters confer with a Freight Forwarder with an established relationship with an Argentine Customs Broker or directly with an Argentine Customs Broker prior to shipping goods to Argentina. In addition, it is recommended that exporters consult the U.S. Commercial Service in Argentina’s website for information on any new export and customs requirements.

Import/Export Documentation
Maritime Shipments
The following documents are required for all maritime shipments, regardless of value:
  • Commercial invoice (original and three copies)
  • Bill of lading (minimum of one copy for customs purposes)
  • Packing list (not generally required for bulk commodities or for articles that are identical in kind, characteristics, composition, weight, etc.)
  • Insurance certificate (if insurance coverage is purchased by the exporter)
Air Cargo Shipments
These documents are always required for air cargo shipments, regardless of value:
  • Commercial invoice (original and three copies)
  • Air waybill (number of copies depends on requirements of the importer and of the airline used)
  • Packing list
Freight forwarding and/or agents' fees cannot be shown on airway bills, the fees must be prepaid.  Argentina does not have a centralized platform for, and does not allow the use of, electronically produced air waybills, which would accelerate customs processing and the growth of electronic commerce transactions.
Commercial Invoices

Commercial invoices must be presented in Spanish (one original and three copies) with the caption "Original Invoice." Carbon copies, printed copies, or photocopied invoices will not be accepted in place of the original. In addition, a properly authorized member of the firm must provide an original signature in ink on each copy of the invoice presented (i.e., the original and three copies). The invoice should contain:
  • Invoice number
  • Place and date of execution
  • Full name and address of the exporter
  • Full name and address of consignee
  • Full name and address of the agent/freight forwarder, (if any)
  • Quantity, indicating measuring units invoiced
  • Name and description of goods (in Spanish)
  • Unit price and total
  • Currency used in transaction
  • Terms of payment and delivery, using INCOTERMS
  • Origin and place/port of export of the merchandise
  • Means of transport (specifying via ocean, air, or parcel post)
  • Port or place of entry into Argentina
If the invoice is in English, the common practice is to show the Spanish translation just below the English text. The invoice must contain the following declaration in Spanish:

(Unofficial Translation: "I swear under oath that the prices on this commercial invoice are those really paid or to be paid, and that no agreement exists that permits their modification, and that all data pertaining to quality, quantity, value, prices, etc., and description of the merchandise agree in all their parts with what was declared in the corresponding Shipper's Export Declaration.")

A fax of the commercial invoice may be used as a working copy for customs, but the original must be presented in order to complete entry. Commercial invoice must include payment terms and the date on the commercial invoice must be prior to the bill of lading date.
Electronic documents with electronic signatures are acceptable if the certifying company has obtained eligibility by completing the licensing procedure. Electronic invoices are required  for domestic sales or for Argentine exporters. Regarding importers, they  need to present the commercial invoice that is issued by the overseas supplier. If the invoice is submitted via electronic methods (or fax) it should also be signed as an affidavit by the importer and customs broker. The invoice can be in English. A translation could be required by Customs authorities. Annex I of General Resolution 2793 describes the supplementary documents required for import transactions.

Bill of Lading
The bill of lading should be issued (at minimum) in one negotiable copy; additional negotiable copies may be required by the importer, bank, steamship line, or other interested party (follow instructions from the importer or those given in the letter of credit or other contractual arrangement). Bills of lading must indicate the weight and volume of each package, as well as the total weight and volume of the shipment. All bills of lading must also show the amount of freight and a statement "Freight Paid," or "Freight Payable at Destination" as appropriate.
The bill of lading must show the following:
  • Name of the ship
  • Name of the ship's captain
  • Port of registry and registered tonnage (weight and volume)
  • Name of the charter or the shipper
  • Name of the consignee (unless it is "to the bearer" or "to order")
  • Number of packages, and specific description of the contents, the quantity, quality, and marks of the goods
  • Port of loading and unloading, with a declaration of the port of call, if any
  • Freight amount
  • Place, method, and date of payment
  • Date of preparation of the document and signature of the captain and of the shipper (signature of the shipping company and shipper should be signed manually, facsimile signatures are not acceptable)
  • Container and seal number, and terms of shipment
  • Invoice number suggested
Packing Lists
Packing lists are necessary for customs clearance in Argentina and must describe the contents of each package. Where the contents of a parcel are the same as those in other parcels of the same lot, one description on the packing list covering the lot will be sufficient. The packing list preferably should be in Spanish. No packing list is necessary for goods imported in bulk, such as coal, petroleum, sand, etc., or for articles identical in kind, characteristics, composition, weight, etc. It is suggested that the packing list be included in every air shipment.
Consular authentication of the packing list may be required in certain instances. Check with the importer for exact requirements.

At least three (3) copies of the packing list should be included as part of the shipping documents sent to the consignee or the agent thereof. The exact contents of each package should be clearly identified. This should include each item's gross weight and net weight and each package's marks and numbers. The required information must be consistent with all information shown on the commercial invoice.

Insurance Certificate
The U.S. exporter must request this document when purchasing insurance and should proceed according to the details provided by the importer.  Marine insurance can be obtained from any insurance company.

Certificate of Origin
The certificate of origin is a document that may be required by Argentine Customs for consumer goods, textiles, footwear, apparel, printing machines and machine tools, organic chemicals, tires, bicycle parts, flat-rolled iron and steel, certain iron and steel tubes, air conditioning equipment, wood fiberboard, fabrics, toys, games, brooms, and brushes. This requirement by Argentine Customs falls under various circumstances:
Control of Preferential Origin

To claim preferential import duties when the country of origin has signed a trade agreement endorsing these preferences, as is the case of imports from member countries of MERCOSUR or ALADI (the Latin American Integration Association). The Argentine Customs authorities will require this document to grant preferential treatment at the importer’s request.

Control of Non-Preferential Origin
The Government of Argentina also requires a certificate of origin for certain products, such as textiles and footwear, regardless of their country of origin (Resolution MEOSP 39/96). This measure is in place to address import issues such as:
  • Anti-dumping Duties
  • Countervailing Measures
  • Safeguard Measures
  • Import Quotas
  • Trade Statistics
The certificate of origin requires the authorized signature of the local Chamber of Commerce Secretary in the United States, the seal of that organization, and the seal of legalization by the Argentine Consulate in the United States (located in Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; New York, New York; Washington DC).  Note that if the product to be shipped contains component parts manufactured in another country, the U.S. company must obtain signatures of the relevant chambers in those countries and have the document legalized by the Argentine Consulates in those countries. For terminology, check out Terms of Trade and  International Trade Glossary
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