When I went for my Bolivia visa extension, this realization struck me: Out of all the Latin American countries I have been to, Bolivia is probably the weirdest when it comes to tourist visas. The country is a traveler’s paradise- the mines, the lakes, the small towns, the salt desert and the people- always something new to see. And so cheap.
But for some reason, visitors to Bolivia are normally granted a 30 day initial entry, not more than that. As a US citizen, I did have to get an actual visa that was valid for 10 years and it would permit me 90 days maximum every year. I came thinking I would get 90 days but apparently that wasn’t the case. Welcome to the 30-day club, they said.
I don’t know if other people see some logic in it, because I don’t. I mean, why not give people 90 days right when they enter? Why make things harder?
Anyways, within the first 30 days that I had been in Bolivia, I hadn’t seen much outside of Cochabamba. I wanted to visit the Salar de Uyuni and lake Titicaca and many other places, so I decided to extend my stay in Bolivia beyond 30 days. And I went for a second extension for 30 days as well.
What Group does Your Country Belong to?
Group 1: Countries in Green
Group 2 : Countries in Yellow
Group 3 : Countries in Brown
** Countries in orange are part of Mercosur countries **
If you are from a country that comes under Group 1, your Bolivia tourist visa extension is free and not complicated at all. The 30 days initial entry period can be extended for 30 more days, and then 30 additional days for free.
But for countries in Group 2 or Group 3, extending your Bolivian tourist visa will cost you and you might be asked for more documents than me. Examples would be India, Russia etc.
Where to Get the Bolivia Visa Extension?
You can extend a tourist visa at any of the immigration offices in Bolivia. I did it at the office in Cochabamba.
Website of Bolivia Immigration– http://www.migracion.gob.bo/index.php
When to Extend and How?
The when part is really important. The extension starts running from the day it’s issued. So, it’s best to extend it a day or two before. So there is no point showing up a week before to extend the visa. And in lots of immigration offices, they would actually turn you back if you go for the extension more than 5 days before your stay expires. So let’s say, your 30th day is on 21 October, then you are good to go any day after 16th October.
So, make sure to time it right so you are not in the middle of the salt flats ( although Uyuni has an immigration office). Plan your trip well around these dates so that you are in a city with an immigration office towards the end of your 30-day stay. And, try to avoid last day extension just in case there are any issues. No Migración – no Good!
- Photocopies of the first page of the passport and the page with the entry stamp.
- Photocopy of the Bolivian tourist card ( the green form that was stamped and returned to you when you entered the country), as well as the original.
Now, if you didn’t get your tourist card while entering Bolivia, that’s alright. A couple of my friends from Denmark didn’t get the tourist cards when they crossed the border and they extended their tourist visas just fine. So, If you didn’t get one at the border or airport, explain that to the immigration officers.
At the Immigration Office
I did my extension in the immigration office in Cochabamba. To get there, I took a truffy-cab from the main square to the Fidel Anze park. From the park, it’s a short walk. The office was mostly empty except for a couple of foreigners. There were a couple of immigration officers behind the desk. I spoke to them in broken Spanish and explained why I was there. One of the officers examined my passport and asked me for the photocopies, which I promptly handed over.
Five minutes and he stamped my passport and the tourist card with a 30 day extension. It was that simple.
Second 30-day Extension
The first extension adds 30 days to your tourist stay, which effectively gives you 60 days in Bolivia. If you want to spend the beyond 60 days in Bolivia, then you need to extend your the Bolivia tourist visa one more time.
I did my extension second time in the immigration office in Sucre and the process was all the same, except for the fact that the Sucre office has a numbering system owing to the huge influx of tourists there.
As a principle, I never think overstaying is ever a good idea even if the country is easy about it. If you overstay a few days or weeks you will be required to pay a fine of 20 Bs per day at the border or airport when you leave. However, overstaying for months doesn’t have that good of an ending. You may get detained or being banned from entering Bolivia for some time. So, please extend your stay in time and don’t overstay.
Did you extend your tourist visa in Bolivia?
Let us know if you tried to extend your tourist visa in Bolivia. Please share the article if you think it’s useful.