Understanding Bolivia visa requirements is a given if you are planning a trip to this Andean country. But we don’t go to Bolivia just to see the Bolivian cities like Sucre or La Paz, or visit the Salt Desert of Uyuni or the Lake Titicaca, right?
Some of us maybe want to study Spanish or do business or marry a Bolivian and stay for the long term. And considering how cheap it is, can you imagine how many digital nomads would kill to live there? There are many types of visas for Bolivia, and the requirements are different for all of them.
The visa policy of Bolivia is often confusing. I will try to address all these on this Bolivian visa guide and update it if I come across new information.
What Does Bolivia Visa Look like- a Sample Bolivia Visa
Yes, this is a tourist visa to Bolivia, obtained in the Bolivian consulate in India. The visa starts running from the day it is issued. So once you have it, you would need to plan to travel to Bolivia within 30 days of getting the visa.Bolivian visa validity = 30 days from the day it is issued.
Bolivia Visa Free Countries- Who Needs a Visa for Bolivia?
The first thing to know is that Bolivia divides different countries into 3 different groups, and only the first group comprises of Bolivia visa-free countries. You can check which group your country falls in on the official website of Bolivia’s foreign ministry, and then clicking on ‘Autorización de Ingreso Por TURISMO y VISITA’.
Bolivia Visa Group 1 Countries
Citizens from countries from Group 1 can enter Bolivia without a visa for 90 days (Initial length of stay is 30 days, then it can be extended.) A lot of European countries, the Philippines, Australia, USA etc. make up this group. This means you enter without a sticker visa, and get a Bolivian tourist card with an entry stamp.
The catch is that citizens from countries in Group 1 might have to pay an exit fee when they leave. It normally is around 25$ if you are leaving Bolivia and 2$ if you are flying domestic, but this depends on your country again.
Bolivia Visa Group 2 Countries
Citizens of countries from Group 2 are eligible for a visa on arrival or they can apply for it at a consulate beforehand.
Ex- India, South Korea, China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Bangladesh.
Bolivia Visa Group 3 Countries
Citizens from countries that fall under Group 3 don’t have the visa on arrival option. They have to obtain a tourist visa from a Bolivian consulate before they get to Bolivia. The application process might take around 1-5 weeks. The visa fee is normally 30$.
Ex- Indonesia, Pakistan.
Visa to Bolivia for Mercosur countries
Citizens from Mercosur countries such as Colombia, Argentina, Peru, etc. can enter with an ID card and a Yellow Fever certificate.
Types of Visas to Bolivia
1. Bolivia Tourist Visa/ Entry: 30 days
The good news is that Bolivia doesn’t require the citizens of the majority of the countries to apply for a tourist visa beforehand, and gives a lot of others to get a visa on arrival easily.
So you can get this visa from a consulate or on arrival. As you already might know, a tourist visa is for
- Instagram stories, Tiktok videos, and selfies of you that don’t look like selfies
I think you get the idea. It is simply for traveling to Bolivia.
2. Bolivia Student Visa
A Bolivia student visa is issued to people who want to study in Bolivia, the most popular reason being, you guessed it, studying Spanish.
There are a few types.
60-day student visa
It is the easiest student visa to get. You can get it from an embassy of Bolivia or in migraciones Bolivia. A lot of people get it just so they can stay longer in Bolivia, coz’ in reality, if you want to study Spanish in Bolivia for 60 days, you can easily do so with a tourist visa for Bolivia.
180-day Exchange student visa
A 180-day exchange student visa can be obtained from a Bolivian embassy to study in public or private universities or other teaching centers.
If you wish to stay longer, you can extend the student visa up to 3 years in Bolivian immigration office, until the completion of your studies.
3. Temporary Residence Visa for Bolivia
A temporary residence visa for Bolivia is issued to a foreigner for one year.
After obtaining your temporary residency visa you are required to obtain a Cedula de Extranjeros (foreigner’s identity card).
4. Objeto Determinado Visa/Specific Purpose Visa
The Objeto Determinado visa, also known as Specific Purpose Visa, allows temporary entry into Bolivia for several purposes, for 30 days.
- Business travel
- Work contract
- Marriage in Bolivia, Filming for commercial purposes
- Performing any other legal activity not related to tourism
- To apply for a temporary or permanent resident visa
It is not possible to apply for residency (temporary or permanent) while in Bolivia on a tourist visa. Instead it is necessary to obtain an Objeto Determinado Visa and, while on this visa, you can apply for Bolivia residence visa.
It can be extended to 90 days if necessary.
Citizens of some countries can apply for Objeto Determinado Visa while being in Bolivia, while many other nationals need to apply this visa from a consulate abroad.
5. Multiple Entry Visa
Multiple Entry Visas are issued for a period of 1 year. You can renew them every year as well. These are issued by Bolivian embassies to foreign citizens who want to
- Invest in Bolivia
- Conduct business in Bolivia
It is also known as Bolivia business visa.
7. Humanitarian Visa
A humanitarian visa is granted for 30 calendar days, based on humanitarian grounds such as to:
- Victims of human trafficking
- Being the companion to someone requiring medical treatment
8. Courtesy Visa
A Courtesy Visa is granted for up to 60 calendar days to foreigners who are invited by a public institution in Bolivia, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to do stuff that’s of interest to Bolivia.
9. Official/Diplomatic Visa
A diplomatic/official visa can be issued to foreign citizens traveling to Bolivia in order to perform official duties on behalf of their countries. Think of consular officers and ambassadors and so on.
Bolivia Visa Requirements
Requirements for Bolivia Tourist Visa
Whether it is a visa on arrival or a visa that you get from a Bolivian consulate, the Bolivia visa requirements are same for citizens of Group 2 and Group 3 countries.
1. Sworn statement for Bolivia visa application form, obtained from http://www.rree.gob.bo/formvisas/.
2. A valid passport with at least 6 months of validity.
3. A certificate of vaccination against Yellow fever.
4. A recent 2″ x 2″ passport type photograph.
5. Travel itinerary and booking accommodation. Letter of invitation if someone is sponsoring you.
6. Proof of financial solvency: Account statements for the last 3 months.
7. A residence permit or a resident visa for the country you are in, if you are not in your home country.
Visit the website of Bolivia’s consulate in your country beforehand to check if there are any additional requirements.
Bolivia Visa Application Process
Bolivia embassy visa application process would usually be different from the process of applying a visa in an immigration office or General Directorate of Migration.
If you are opting for Visa on arrival, you need to have all the above-mentioned documents with you when you are at an international airport in Bolivia or a border crossing.
On the contrary, if you are planning to submit a visa application for Bolivia it from a Bolivian consulate in your home country or a country you are resident of, visit the http://www.rree.gob.bo/formvisas/. Once you fill in your details, you need to take a printout of the this form and other documents to the consulate.
Here is an article explaining the step by step process of obtaining a Bolivia tourist visa from a consulate.
How Long Can You Stay in Bolivia as a Tourist?
Bolivia entry requirements and stay duration are pretty straightforward. The maximum period of stay for tourists is 90 days per calendar year. The calendar year starts from the day you enter Bolivia.
So let’s say you enter Bolivia on 21st November 2020 for the first time, your calendar year will end on 21st November 2021.
Within this calendar year, your stay can be for 90 days consecutively or non-consecutively.
How Much Does Bolivia Visa Cost?
The visa fees vary from country to country, and even in different immigration offices in Bolivia. A visa on arrival for Bolivia would normally cost more than a visa obtained from a consulate.
|Visa type||Cost (in USDs)|
|Bolivia tourist visa fees||0-$30|
|Bolivia visa on arrival cost||Can vary, up to $95|
|60-day student visa||$50|
|180-day student visa||$50|
|Temporary residence visa||$200-$250|
A visa for Bolivia if applied from a consulate, might range from $0-30. Also note that even if a Bolivia visa is free for certain countries, it’s only free if you get it from a consulate beforehand. Once you apply for it on arrival, you might have to pay for it.
Visa On Arrival for Bolivia
I highly recommend you not to go for the visa on arrival option. I will explain why. Visa on arrival is designed to make travelling easier for tourists from many developing countries. However, in case of Bolivia, they make things harder for the VoA applicants.
On paper, it is all sunshine and rainbows. In most cases if you apply for a visa on arrival at a Bolivian border, they might not be so picky about all the documents needed for tourist visa. Most likely you will only need to show your passport, yellow fever certificate and pay the fee. But you should have everything handy.
But, there have been cases where citizens of different countries who have tried the visa on arrival option have been turned back even though they fulfilled all the requirements.
Depending on your citizenship, you might be subjected to treatments that others are not subjected to. At land borders or airports, they only accept cash. And that too, freshly minted US dollars. And stories from the airport are no better especially if you are not from a first-world country.
Based on your citizenship, you need to pay a visa fee at the border which normally is about 95$, while you could get it for free in a consulate.
Bolivia Visa Extension
You can extend a tourist visa at any of the immigration offices in Bolivia.
Here is the first person account of a US citizen on how to extend Bolivia visa.
If you are from a Group 1 country, extending the number of days is pretty easy. You can simply show up 2-3 days before your 30-days limit is up at an immigration office and get another 30 days. These are the documents you need. The extension is free of cost.
- 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.
But if you are from a Group 2 or Group 3 country, the extension process will be different. Along with the above documents, you would also need to carry proof of financial solvency, hotel reservations, and flight tickets- more or less the same documents that you used when you applied for a visa. And it will cost you.
Bolivia Visa for US Citizens
As of January 7, 2020, Tourist visas are no longer required for US citizens traveling to Bolivia. However, US citizens still need to extend their stay before running out of the 30-day limit in Bolivia. The same rules that apply to other foreigners apply to US citizens as well.
Prior to this, US citizens had to get a visa before coming to Bolivia. The Bolivia visa for US citizens used to cost $160, and it would be valid for 10 years.
But if you are planning to study in Bolivia or do business or engage in any activity other than tourism, you can get a visa from the Bolivian embassy in DC or a Bolivia consulate in other parts of USA.
Bolivian Embassy in DC
Address: 1825 Connecticut Ave NW suite 200C, Washington D.C., 20009.
Phone: 202-232-4827 / 4828
Emergency phone: 703-568-9339
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Opening hours : 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday
Bolivian Consulate NYC
Address: 211 East 43rd Street, Suite 702, New York, 10017
Bolivian Consulate Houston
Address: 2401 Fountain View Dr. Suite 110 , Houston, Texas, 77057
Phone: (832) 916-4200
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Bolivia Visa for Indians
Indian citizens can apply for Bolivia visa in India through the embassy of Bolivia in New Delhi. Bolivia visa for Indian passport holders is also available as a visa on arrival. However, this will end up costing you a lot more.
So I would say just go and apply for it in India, if you are sure about your plans.
Overstaying Bolivia Visa
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.
In conclusion, I would say that the Bolivia visa requirements and application guidelines are not that complicated. Watch out for extensions and avoid visa on arrival, and you will be fine.