Background: Following independence from Spain in 1816, Argentina experienced periods of internal political conflict between conservatives and liberals and between civilian and military factions.

After World War II, a long period of Peronist authoritarian rule and interference in subsequent governments was followed by a military junta that took power in 1976. Democracy returned in 1983, and numerous elections since then have underscored Argentina's progress in democratic consolidation.

Environmental problems (urban and rural) typical of an industrializing economy such as deforestation, soil degradation, desertification, air pollution, and water pollution note: Argentina is a world leader in setting voluntary greenhouse gas targets.

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Argentina is a medium income nation. Though Buenos Aires has many four and five star hotels, the quality of tourist facilities in many towns outside the capital is not up to the same standards.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days for tourism and business. In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated special procedures for minors at entry and exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry or departure. The age of majority in Argentina is 21 years. Minors who are permanent or temporary residents of Argentina who are traveling alone, with one parent, or in someone else's custody, are required to present at departure from Argentina a notarized document that certifies both parents' permission for the child's travel. A parent with sole custody should carry a copy of the judicial custody decree. Though Argentine regulations do not require that minors who enter Argentina as tourists carry certified parental permission, immigration officials infrequently do request such a certification upon arrival in Argentina. Either document should be notarized before an Argentine consular officer or, if in Argentina, a local notary (escribano). For current information concerning entry and customs requirements for Argentina, travelers can contact the Argentine Embassy at 1600 New Hampshire Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009, tel. (202) 939-6400. Internet: Travelers may also contact the nearest Argentine consulate in Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, or Houston.