Border Crossing Chile to Argentina at Paso Jama

I try to find information that can make border crossings easier on my trip and found Life Remotely. Here was plenty of useful information but I reproduces only the short version in respect for the great job they had done. So those who need more information should visit Life Remotely.

Chile to Argentina at Paso Jama: Border Crossing

Border name: Paso Jama

Closest major cities: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, Susques or Salta, Argentina
Cost for visas: $0 (See reciprocity fee update below!)
Cost for vehicle: $0
Total time: 2 hours in Chile, 1 hour 15 minutes in Argentina (on the start of a holiday weekend)

  • The Chilean border offices are in San Pedro de Atacama, there are no offices near the border. If you entered from Bolivia’s southwest circuit, you are returning to the same offices where you were stamped in.
  • Insurance is mandatory in Argentina and is NOT available for purchase at the border crossing. See below on how we arranged insurance.
  • Chile and Argentina both charge reciprocity fees for US citizens, but ONLY if you are arriving at an airport. Save your cash for steak and wine.
  • RECIPROCITY FEE UPDATE: Effective January 7, 2013 all US, Canadian and Australian citizen are required to pay a reciprocity fee at all Argentinian border entries, including land crossings. You must pay the fee online and bring the receipt to the border. Pay your fee online at this website.

The Steps

  1. Go to the Chilean immigration/aduanda offices in San Pedro de Atacama. S22 54.659 W68 11.626
  2. Go to the immigration window first. Hand in your tourist card you received on entry and get a passport stamp. You MUST get stamped out of Chile, the Argentinian officials will check your passport!
  3. Go to the aduana window and hand in your vehicle import permit. They may ask to see your car, but nothing further.
  4. Drive the 100 miles up the huge mountain over the pass of Jama.
  5. Park your car in the gravel lots on the right or left side, it doesn’t matter.
  6. Go into the office on the left with the sign that says «Entrada».
  7. Stand in line at the first window for immigration. Hand over your passport. The official will stamp you in and either give you a printed tourist card, or will fill out a card for you. It depends if the printer is working.
  8. The immigration official will also give you a slip of paper with three check boxes on it. One for immigration, one for aduana and the other for agriculture inspection. You will get a stamp or a signature when you complete each step. He will stamp the immigration part and send you to aduana.
  9. Move down to the 4th or 5th window (they are helpfully signed as aduana).
  10. Hand over your vehicle title and the driver’s passport and the paper with the three check boxes. The official will enter all your info into a computer, print a vehicle permit and stamp your paper.
  11. Head outside with your paperwork and drive your car up to the border gate.
  12. An inspector will take your paper with the three check boxes. He will then search your car for prohibited food products. Thoroughness of the search depends on the official. Technically meat, fresh fruit and vegetables and some other products are prohibited to carry across the border.

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