If you’re confounded by the requirements and process to obtain a Bolivian tourist visa, your confusion is justified.
We travel to Bolivia frequently, and our experience entering the country doesn’t even come close to resembling the supposed prerequisites. Most of the misinformation comes from Bolivian consular websites, and should be taken with a grain of salt.
Application requirements, process, forms and fees change frequently without notice, but this information, current as of this writing, might help to demystify the process.
True or false: US citizens are required to obtain a visa to enter Bolivia.
True or false: You must obtain a visa before your trip.
False. In fact, as of this writing, it is only possible to obtain a visa upon arrival.
True or false: It is advisable to complete the visa application form in advance.
True. Unfortunately, it was removed from the consular website in 2019, and as of this writing it hasn’t been reposted.
True or false: You must present a sworn statement from the General Directorate of Migration, the General Directorate of Consular Affairs or a Consular Office.
True or false: You must present a travel itinerary or letter of invitation from someone with legal domicile in Bolivia.
True or false: Proof of financial solvency is required.
True or false: A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required.
True and false. This has been listed as a requirement since 2007, but in our experience, proof is never requested.
True or false: The fee is $160 and the visa is valid for 10 years.
False. The fee ranges from $50 to $150, and it could be valid for 1, 5 or 10 years. The fee and term of validity are at the discretion of the immigration officer. You cannot specify a preference.
True or false: Airlines may deny boarding without a visa.
True. It happened to someone we know. It’s helpful to present a completed visa application, if it ever becomes available online again. If you are denied boarding, insist that a visa is only available upon arrival, and cite your sources as the Immigration Authorities in Santa Cruz and La Paz. The airline might also tell you that you need photos to obtain the visa upon arrival. Not true.
True or false: You may contact the Bolivian embassy or consulate for assistance.
False. Our repeated attempts to do so over many years have been futile. If such offices exist, either they’re not staffed or they don’t answer the phones.
Don’t be discouraged! Bolivia is one of the world’s best kept secrets, and in spite of the hassle, it’s well worth the effort.
іBuen viaje y que te vaya bien!