Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.
Last Published: 4/17/2016
Permission to Import
Since February 1, 2012, Argentina has required all importers to request and receive approval from the Secretariat of Commerce and the Argentine Tax and Customs Authority (AFIP) prior to importing products from abroad. This sworn affidavit of intention to import (referred to as the DJAI) is required for each import transaction and is reviewed by AFIP.  In practice, AFIP does not make the decision, which is in fact made by the Secretariat of Internal Commerce, but AFIP does certify that the importer is in good standing with regard to taxes and ability to pay for the goods and approves the request to purchase the currency. However, ultimately the Central Bank (BCRA) must release the funds and has final say over when the goods will be paid for.
Processing time is officially 15 days, but many requests are put on hold for indefinite periods of review.  An Argentine firm or individual who wishes to import must utilize the services of an Argentine customs broker to file the DJAI through the online customs system known as (S.I.M. - Sistema Informático MALVINA), 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 DJAI being marked “Salida” by AFIP to signify approval to import. 
Documentation Requirements and Restrictions
In 1997, the Argentine government put in place greater certificate of origin and consularization requirements on a broad range of imports generally covering but not limited to consumer goods, textiles, apparel and footwear, printing machines, and machine tools. Consularization is required for every country from which an integrated component is sourced.
Moreover, on March 27, 2012, AFIP issued Resolution 3304 regarding new inspection and documentation procedures for imported goods arriving in Argentina. Given the extensive manpower and inspections infrastructure required to actually implement Resolution 3304, it is still unclear as to which requirements and procedures will be implemented and how.  In light of the aforementioned and the significant number of changes in requirements to import goods into Argentina over the last year, 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 at for information on 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 negotiable 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)
  • Airway bill (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 on a freight collect basis; i.e., the fees must be prepaid.
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 and 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 or 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.
On November 1, 2013, the following requirements came into effect:
  • Commercial invoice must include payment terms
  • Date on the commercial invoice must be prior to bill of lading date.
Electronic documents with electronic signatures are acceptable if the certifying company has obtained eligibility by completing a licensing procedure.
Consular legalization is generally not required, but may be required in certain cases. Check with the importer for exact requirements.
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 legalization 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:
  • Antidumping 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 U.S. and the seal of that organization and also must be legalized by the Argentine Consulate in the United States.  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.
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