Bolivia Visa entry
Replies: 10 - Last Post: May 17, 2012 9:28 AM Last Post By: helibel
May 15, 2012 5:13 AM
Bolivia Visa entryHi ya'll, I was under the impression that it would be fine to get my visa for entering Bolivia landing in La Paz. I just read the following requirements from Wikitravel:
Arriving overland from Peru, US citizen tourist visas can be obtained at the border. Officially, they require a visa application form, a copy of the passport, a copy of yellow fever vaccination, a copy of an itinerary leaving Bolivia, evidence of economic solvency, a hotel reservation or written invitation, and a 4cm X 4cm or "passport sized" photo. A $135 dollar fee is also required, payable in freshly minted cash. Any old or marked bills will not be accepted. There are photocopy machines at the Border crossing in
I'm good on a visa application, a copy of passport, and yellow fever, but i'm uncertain abotut the rest. We do not have much of an itinterary, except a vague idea of where we would like to go, we do not have hotel reservations because we are immediately jumping on a plane to Rurre and going on a tour. What about a photo? Do I need to go get a photo taken of me?
Thanks in advance
May 15, 2012 5:34 AM
1A 'vague idea'of where to go is fine...i doubt they will ask to see it,but you can just make a list of (real or hypothetical)places in Bolivia and write dates next to them.
Same for the hotel...choose any one at random or invent one.Or write the one in Rurre if you know the name...
The photo is always useful to have when crossing borders or applying for things..I never travel without 5 or 6 passport size photos for various eventualities.
May 15, 2012 8:11 AM
2We had no problem at all (From the UK and didn't seem to need anything), but I am led to believe that the Bolivian border officials are a bit easier going on us than you folks from across the pond. I still can't imagine them being harsh on you, at least where we crossed near Copacabana. I'd just follow what #1 said, you'll be fine.
May 15, 2012 10:22 AM
3Why not be truthful ?
Supplying false information to obtain a visa is a criminal offense here, punishable by a minimum of 80 years in lock-up, or death by lethal injection.
Don´t invent anything.
If the information you supply is checked (and it might be - you never know), you´re in deep doggy-doo.
May 15, 2012 10:47 AM
May 15, 2012 6:41 PM
5I'm going to Bolivia in July and I will arrive in Bolivia overland from Chile (Salar de Uyuni tour). I'm a Thai citizen living in the US, so I also need a visa to enter Bolivia, and all those requirements apply when I am applying for a visa. I didn't apply it in Puno, though, but instead I applied right in the US at the consulate in LA.
I was also concerned about those itineraries requirements as I don't have any fixed dates for my stay in Bolivia either, so I called the consulate and they said that just giving them the letter telling that I will find all the hotels by myself while in Bolivia is fine. As I won't have a fixed itinerary, I can just write a letter to them, telling them the approximate timeframe of entering and leaving Bolivia. So you can just write a letter telling them the truth that you don't have a fixed itinerary. That will be enough! I got my visa by doing this.
And of course, you will need one passport-sized photo, which you will put it right on your application form. That's it! I'm sure there should be numerous places in Peru where you can get your photos taken before heading to Bolivia. Or if you haven't left the States yet, just get your visa done while here! There are consulates in New York, Washington, Miami, and Los Angeles! Just pick the one that is nearest to you!
May 15, 2012 11:32 PM
6There's good advice here: always carry photos, invent an itinerary and/or hotels, quit worrying. There's remarkably bad advice, as others have pointed out.
I used to fill out visa forms with the name and address of actual lodgings taken from guidebooks. That got tiresome, so I started entering imaginary hotels and hostels, with addresses that consisted of the names of distant cities. I wouldn't do this in the USA or Brazil, but it's worked fine in every other Western Hemisphere country--bar none. Basically, no one cares as long as you fill in something on the appropriate line in the application.
Enjoy your trip.
May 16, 2012 12:43 AM
7Mark's info is good.
As ever in Bolivia, what the law says and how things actually work in practice are often entirely different.
In summary, there are three different official categories of requirements for entry into Bolivia, depending which country you come from, and one unofficial one, which is that for US citizens.
Bolivia Bella has links to the three groups on her excellent website:
As said, the one exception is the States. US citizens can get a visa on entry, despite (and as a result of political spite) being in Group 3. Stuff like the YF cert, accommodation details and so on are an official requirement still, but in reality you'll need your passport, photos, the form and the money in good-condition dollar notes, and that's it. Don't try that, however, if you're from another Group 3 country like China or Nigeria, as they likely won't let you in.
You may find it's impossible to pre-apply as a US citizen, regardless. The last I heard, the Bolivian Consulate in Washington were no longer issuing visas to US citizens and were referring them to apply on entry.
For those folk from Group 1 countries, note that the 90-days-per-calendar-year restriction is pretty rigorously enforced these days, a rare case of where the rules are actually stuck to and part of the current government's "decolonisation" drive (which also keeps tourist money out of the country, but that takes second place to political dogma). Border runs to get a fresh 90 days, as you would do in all other countries in the region provided you have visa-free access in the first place, are no longer possible. There are, nonetheless, ways around this if you wish to stay in Bolivia longer.
The official route is to apply for an Objeto Determinado and then put in an application for one year temporary residency. This is bureaucratic and time consuming but you'll have the right of abode, and will be able to enter and exit Bolivia at will, for an extra year on top of your initial 3 months as a tourist. This will cost you around Bs 4500 in total plus any lawyer's fees, although it can be done without the latter. Despite what you may hear to the contrary, you can still apply for an OD (the above permission to stay, not a drug overdose) while still in the country - there's no need to leave Bolivia to do it.
The unofficial route, which is very commonly done and is accepted by the authorities as long as you don't take the piss, is to overstay your 90 day tourist stamp. Doing it this way, you'll be charged a fine, or multa, of Bs 20 per day of overstay. If leaving by air, you'll also be liable for the residents' Bs 254 or so extra departure tax. The things to watch doing it this way are (a) length of overstay and (b) where you exit the country.
I did it very recently with 58 days of overstay, leaving via Santa Cruz airport, and it was no problem at all; the bloke was even apologetic that I'd got stuck in the country for so long because of the recent blockades, which was partly true. I've also left by land at Villazón being 12 days or so over and that again was no issue. A mate of mine who has a girlfriend in La Paz spends six months there every year, three on overstay, pays the fine at La Paz airport on exit, and similarly has no problems. However, that's probably pushing it time-wise, plus you've got the advantage of being in full public view at an airport where you're not liable to be taken into a back room and extracted of further cash.
In a different case, another guy I know, having engaged a lawyer who didn't know her arse from her elbow, ended up 6 months over his tourist stamp. With that length of time, there's a good chance they'll think you've been working illegally or, far more serious, up to other more nefarious practices (i.e. the narco business or subversive practices against the state). When he went to Migration to plead his case, they told him that officially they were meant to lock him up, but the officer on duty believed his story, took pity and advised him to leave the country by one of the lesser-used border crossings into Argentina. Even there, they held him for a few hours before letting him go after he'd paid the fine plus a fat bribe, and stamping his passport as a persona non grata in Bolivia.
So anyway, that's how it works on the ground. For anybody from a Group 1 country (i.e. most of the EU, Australia, NZ, Canada etc) who only receives 30 days on entry, be aware that you can get this extended on-the-spot and free of charge to 90 days at any Migration office. Take two photocopies with you of the photo page of your passport, entry stamp and green/white slip which they gave you on entry.
May 16, 2012 1:34 AM
8#3/#4/#5: What Mason fails to mention is that not only is it death by lethal injection, but it's injection of a stick of San Pedro stuck where the sun don't shine! That rule only applies in Cochabamba department, however, where it's common recreational practice since there's not much else to do in Cochabamba. Hence, they've grown accustomed over the years, so in reality it's rarely fatal.
May 17, 2012 7:42 AM
9Here is the real deal for US citizens.
You can still do it by mail, or in person or at the border. No yellow fever certificate required anymore ( has not been for years). We had a reservation for our first night, not such a big deal.We did this 5 months ago
There seem to be several web sites for the Bolivian embassy in DC but I called there and was told to use this one and was guaranteed this is the correct info!
May 17, 2012 9:28 AM
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