Entry & Exit Formalities
If you have your documents in order and are willing to answer a few questions about the aim of your visit, entering Bolivia should be a breeze. If crossing at a small border post, you may be asked to pay an ‘exit fee.’ In most cases, such fees are strictly unofficial, but it's easier just to pay them anyway.
Note that more remote Bolivian border opening times can be unreliable at best and it is worth checking with a migración (immigration) office in the nearest major town. If you plan to cross the border outside the stated hours, or at a point where there is no border post, you can usually obtain an exit/entry stamp from the nearest migración office on departure or arrival.
- When entering Bolivia you can bring in most articles duty-free provided you can convince customs that they are for personal use.
- There’s a loosely enforced duty-free allowance of 200 cigarettes and 1L of alcohol per person.
US citizens need a visa to visit Bolivia. Citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and most European countries do not need a visa.
- Your passport must be valid for six months beyond the date of entry.
- Charging of unofficial 'administration fees,' particularly at remote borders, is not unusual. The path of least resistance is to just pay and go.
- US citizens need a visa to visit Bolivia (a 90-day visa valid for 10 years costs US$160). Theoretically it is possible to obtain the visa upon arrival in Bolivia, but some airlines will not let you board your flight without one and the US embassy advises to get a visa before traveling.
- Citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, most European countries and most South American countries do not need a visa and will be granted an entry stamp valid for 30 days.
- If you want to stay longer, you can get a free 30-day extension at the immigration office in any major city. The maximum time travelers are permitted to stay is 90 days.
- Overstayers can be forced to pay a fine – payable at the immigration office or airport – and may face ribbons of red tape at the border or airport when leaving the country.
- In addition to a valid passport and visa, citizens of some African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries may require ‘official permission’ from the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs before a visa will be issued.
- Personal documents – passports and visas – must be carried at all times, especially in lowland regions. It’s safest to carry photocopies rather than originals, but if you are going anywhere near a border area (even if you don’t actually cross) you should have your real passport with you.
Border agents may or may not request a yellow-fever vaccination certificate, but there are occasional checkpoints heading into the lowlands, where you will need to produce a certificate. Some neighboring countries, including Brazil, require anyone entering from Bolivia to have proof of a yellow-fever vaccination. If necessary, a jab can often be administered at the border but it is preferable to take care of this at home.