This is our experience/record of crossing the Chile-Argentina at Paso Jama border on Wednesday, 21 October 2015. Our traveling party consisted of two people and two motorcycles. We arrived at 1:38pm and were finished at 2:01pm. This was the most efficient border crossing we have experienced to date.
Border Name: Paso Jama
Closest major cities: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile and Susques, Argentina
Costs: US$160 for Argentina reciprocity fee (good for ten years)
*Argentina reciprocity payment receipt (for US citizens). This fee, for US citizens only, cannot be arranged at the border and must be done prior to arrival. You pay the fee online and print your receipt. This receipt is your proof of payment that will be required each time you cross into Argentina. You will be denied entry into Argentina if you go without.
*Chile temporary vehicle import permit
Note: we keep all originals in individual plastic sleeves. We labeled these sleeves clearly to avoid confusion as to what was what, to keep original documents clean, and to differentiate what is original and what is a copy. All border-crossing officials have respected the sleeve.
Exit Chile and enter Argentina (same building)
Drive to the front of the line, passing any trucks that might be lined up to the right, and there will be a gate with a soldier. The soldier will write you plate number on a ticket that has multiple boxes and wave you through. There are boxes for Chile and for Argentina for migration and aduana, they will stamp this piece of paper at every step and you will need the completed ticket to exit the border area. Drive to the right (slightly south) and park next to the building on your left (north). Go into the building – both immigration and customs for Chile and Argentina are in the same building.
Start at window one and move on down the line.
Step 1 – Immigration: Window 1 is for Chile and turn in your passport and the ticket with boxes and the officer will stamp you out of Chile. Proceed to window 2 for Argentina. Provide your passport, print out of reciprocity payment (for US citizens – this must be paid online and you bring the printed receipt), and ticket with boxes you were given earlier. You will be stamped into Argentina and returned your reciprocity receipt. We were automatically given 90-days. Each officer will also stamp a box on the ticket you received that means you have completed the step.
Step 2 – Customs: Move down the line to window 3 for Chile customs. Provide your temporary vehicle import permit and ticket with boxes. The officer will enter items in the computer and tell you that you can move on. Go to window 4 for Argentina customs. Provide your passport, vehicle title, and ticket with boxes. The officer will issue you a temporary vehicle import permit. Each officer will also stamp a box on the ticket you received that means you have completed the step.
Step 3 – Insurance: it is possible that you will be asked for proof of insurance when entering Argentina. We purchased our insurance in La Paz, Bolivia for Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. We were not requested for proof of insurance at the border.
You are finished.
Leave the building and drive to the border gate to turn in your ticket with all boxes stamped. We were also briefly searched; we had to open a few of our bags.
Total time at this border was 23 minutes – a record!
When you get into Argentina there will be a tiny, wind-swept stop with an YPF gas station and they rent rooms. There was a moneychanger at the hostel across from the gas station that gave a decent rate for US dollars.