Visa

What visas and vaccinations do I need for South America?

Reading time: 5 minutes

If you’ve been daydreaming about making a trip to South America, there’s plenty to be excited about. Over the space of 12 countries, there are five main languages, and countless indigenous ones to be heard, various cuisines to sample and jaw-dropping vistas to view. However, there’s another element to consider before you book that trip to Brazil, and that’s what visas and vaccinations you’ll need.

Fortunately, we’re going to make life a little bit easier by laying out some of the current rules and regulations for travelling to South America.

1. Argentina

Do I need a visa to visit?

No. If you are an Australian national, you do not require a visa to visit Argentina. However, you will be required to pay a ‘reciprocity fee’ of US$100 (approximately AU$130). You will need to pay this prior to your arrival in Argentina, a process that can be done online at Argentine Migration. You’ll need to print your receipt and present it to immigration officials when you arrive. If you neglect to pay the fee, you could be sent back home – so make sure you get it done! Once you’ve paid the reciprocity fee, you won’t have to pay it again for any further re-entries to Argentina for a year from the payment date.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination to enter?

No, but they are strongly recommended by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

2. Bolivia

Do I need a visa to visit?

No. As an Australian national, you’ll be able to stay in Bolivia as a tourist for up to 90 days. However, DFAT recommends travellers consult the closest Bolivian Embassy or Consulate for more information, as entry conditions are subject to change at short notice. Your passport will need to be valid for at least six months after the date of your intended return to Australia, and you will need proof of onward travel when visiting Bolivia.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination to enter?

No, but it is recommended by DFAT for all visitors to Bolivia.

3. Brazil

Do I need a visa to visit?

Yes. Australian visitors will need to acquire their Brazilian visa prior to travelling in Brazil. You can find the details available online at the website for the Brazilian Consulate. If you do not have the correct visa upon arrival, you may be detained and prevented from entering the country. More information is available from DFAT.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination to enter?

No. Vaccination is not mandatory, but is still highly recommended as a precaution.

4. Chile

Do I need a visa to visit?

No. Similar to Argentina, Australian visitors entering the country via Santiago International Airport are required to pay a ‘reciprocity fee’. This can be paid upon arrival – contact the Chilean Embassy or Consulate of Chile to find out more. You will be issued a 90-day Tourist Card when you arrive, but you can apply for an extension from the Chilean Immigration Office in Santiago.

When you depart Chile, you will need to surrender your Tourist Card. Any visitor staying past the limit of their card will be stopped from leaving the country until granted permission from officials at the Migration Department of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination to enter?

No.

5. Colombia

Do I need a visa to visit?

No. You can stay in Colombia for up to 90 days on your Australian passport without needing a visa. However, you may be required to show evidence of onward travel in the form of your return or outbound plane ticket. Visitors who overstay their 90 days will be fined.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination to enter?

No. However, DFAT recommends that you get a yellow fever vaccination prior to travelling to Colombia.

6. Ecuador

Do I need a visa to visit?

No. Australians visiting Ecuador do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. As entry conditions are subject to change, please contact the Ecuadorian Embassy for further information. As noted by DFAT, the Australian Government is not able to assist travellers who are refused entry to Ecuador due to visa issues – you can learn more here.

If you are planning on visiting the Galapagos Islands, you will need to register in advance onlineto acquire aTransit Control Card at a small fee.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination to enter?

No. DFAT still advises travellers to get vaccinated for yellow fever prior to visiting Ecuador.

7. Guyana

Do I need a visa to visit?

No. As with Ecuador, Australian visitors to Guyana can stay visa-free for up to three months.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination to enter?

Yellow fever vaccination is not mandatory if you are travelling to Guyana from Australia, however, it is still a recommended precaution. If you are entering Guyana from a country with a risk of yellow fever (excludingArgentina, Paraguay, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago), you will need to present a vaccination certificate upon arrival.

8. Paraguay

Do I need a visa to visit?

Yes. For US$135 (approximately AU$175), Australian visitors can obtain a 90-day, multiple entry visa upon arrival only at the Silvio Pettirossi Asunción International Airport. If you are entering Paraguay through any other port, you’ll need to arrange your visa before arrival. For more information, consult the Embassy of Paraguay.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination to enter?

Similar to Guyana, visitors to Paraguay only require a vaccination certificate if entering from another at-risk country.

9. Peru

Do I need a visa to visit?

No. Australian tourists can stay in Peru for up to 183 days, a period that can be extended with permission from the Dirección General de Migraciones in Lima. You will need a valid passport, as well as proof of onward travel upon arrival. You’ll be given an Andean immigration card when you arrive in Peru which you’ll need to present upon your departure.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination to enter?

No. Yellow fever vaccinations are not mandatory for Australian visitors to Peru, but are strongly recommended by DFAT.

10. Suriname

Do I need a visa to visit?

Yes. Please contact your travel agent or the Surinamese Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia for more information – Suriname does not have representation in Australia, and you will likely need to arrange your visa prior to your departure.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination to enter?

If you are travelling to Suriname from Australia, yellow fever is endemic for yellow fever, but visitors will only require a vaccination certificate if entering the country via another country at-risk of yellow fever transmission. It is advisable that Australian travellers to Suriname get a yellow fever vaccination prior to travel.

11. Uruguay

Do I need a visa to visit?

No. As with a number of other South American countries, Australians do not require a visa to stay in Uruguay for up to 90 days.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination to enter?

Not if you are travelling from Australia. If you are entering Uruguay via a country endemic for yellow fever, you will need to present a vaccination certificate upon arrival.

12. Venezuela

Do I need a visa to visit?

No. Australian nationals can stay in Venezuela for up to 90 days without a visa. You’ll need a passport that is valid for six months after the date of travel, as well as evidence of onward travel. However, DFAT advises consulting your nearest Venezuelan Embassy or Consulate prior to departing, as entry conditions can change suddenly.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination to enter?

No. Although Venezuela is another country affected by yellow fever, vaccination is not mandatory for inbound travellers. DFAT strongly recommends that you receive a vaccination for yellow fever if you’re visiting Venezuela.

What you should know about yellow fever in South America

  • Countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission include Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
  • Countries that are considered to be endemic for yellow fever include Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.

You can learn which other countries are considered to have a transmission risk for yellow fever virus via the US CDC website.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is intended as a guide only. Please consult the appropriate authorities for official advice and travel updates. For the purpose of this post, any references to Australian travellers generally refer to Australian citizens or passport holders.

See also: Guide to Argentina 

See also: Top 8 things to do in South America


Author

TID is an Australian online travel insurance company.

Guides

Q&A with Eddie Hobson Capture The World

Travel Insurance Direct chat with Australian photographer and timelapse filmmaker Eddie Hobson on his two year ...

KEEP READING

Events

TID’s ultimate guide to the 2016 Rio Olympics

From the most anticipated events at the Games to Australia’s most promising hopefuls, TID’s ultimate guide to the ...

KEEP READING

Health & Medical

Do I need a bike license in southeast Asia?

Sadly, Southeast Asia is not some magical land where no rules apply to holidaymakers. And yes, there are plenty of ...

KEEP READING