South America Living

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Visas & Fees for Bolivia

When planning your trip to Bolivia get ready for the visa fees. U.S. citizens must pay $135 USD to enter the country, and that includes all border crossings, not just when arriving by air as is the case for Chile. Canadians can enter the country and visit for 30 days without any charge, yet must pay $30 USD and obtain a Tourist Visa if they want to stay longer.

Coat of Arms of Bolivia

British and Australian nationals do not have to pay upon entry and are granted up to 90 days, free of charge. If you get a 30 day stamp when crossing the border, just visit an Immigration Office in Bolivia and request an extension.

Maximum stay for visitors for Canadian, British and Australian tourists is 90 days. After 90 days you need to leave the country and re-enter with a new visa stamp in your passport. Not too difficult considering Bolivia shares borders with Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Chile and Peru.

Important Note for Americans traveling to Bolivia: United States passport holders are allowed ONLY 90 DAYS PER YEAR, as of 2011. U.S. citizens CANNOT extend their tourist visit as other nationalities can.

If not a U.S. citizen… you can also extend your 90 day visa at an Immigration office within Bolivia, and pay for the additional time. If you overstay your visa past the 90 days illegally, you’ll be charged 20 bolivianos per day overstay fee at the border when you leave.

The visa fee charged to U.S. citizens is called a reciprocity fee’ as it is the same amount that citizens of Bolivia are charged when visiting the United States. All fees quoted above are subject to change. If the corresponding country raises its entry fee for Bolivian nationals, Bolivia will then in turn raise its fee to enter their country. How the game is currently being played.

If you have questions, contact your countries embassy or consulate in Bolivia: Living in Bolivia – Embassies of the USA, Canada, Australia & UK

U.S. citizens can purchase a Tourist Visa before entering the country, or at any border crossing. Bolivia also requires a Yellow Fever Certificate but is not enforced across the board. A vaccine may be administered at the border if you have not already had the shot – or you may be allowed to enter without it.

Officially, the requirements for the visa for U.S. citizens also includes proof of income (bank statement, credit card, etc.), passport photos, return ticket out of the country (if arriving by air) and a hotel reservation or ‘letter of invitation’ from a Bolivian national. When entering the country by land, you most likely will only need to show your passport, Yellow Fever Certificate and pay the fee, but there is no guarantee.

Most importantly – to make the process go smoothly – have your $135 USD reciprocity fee ready to hand-over in U.S. dollars. The visa is valid for five years, multiple entries. Do not lose your passport (that has the visa stamp) or you will have to pay for another visa ($80 USD for replacement) and redo the process all over again.

Departure tax when leaving Bolivia

They don’t let you off the hook when you leave the country either. Bolivia charges a departure tax of $25 USD for international departures. If you are flying within the country, the fee is minimal – only 15 Bolivianos ($2 USD). To save any hassle, have the correct amount ready to pass over to the Immigration money collector, in U.S. dollars.

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Living in Ecuador – How To Purchase Real Estate

30 to “Visas & Fees for Bolivia”


  1. Altiplano Bolivia says:

    It is good to have information like this about Bolivia, but unfortunately it is misleading and incomplete. The fees for Visas etc above relate to Tourist Visas only. If you want to live in Bolivia you need to apply for a Objeto Determinado Visa which costs USD85.00 and is valid for 30-Days.

    For reliable and up-to-date information check out either the Altiplano Bolivia Services for Expats or BoliviaBella sites. Both are specialists in Bolivia.

    • Molly McHugh says:

      Hi Altiplano – thank you for taking the time to post this info – the information above is for Tourist Visas (and is accurate) and that should be clear… I actually found your info confusing… why would anyone pay for a ’30 – day’ visa – and how would that be anything close to ‘Residency Status’? Does not make any sense, as Tourist Visas give you longer stays in the country.

      • Marcus says:

        Molly – the Objeto Determinada Visa allows one to apply for a one or two year temporary residency in Bolivia. Foreigners cannot apply for permanent residency in Bolivia under a visitor visa. Therefore, if one plans on staying in Bolivia beyond 90 days without being charged for overstaying, applying for temporary residency in this way is an option. Objeto Determinada visas may also be extended for 90 days to allow time to complete residency application requirements.

        • Molly McHugh says:

          Beyond ridiculous… and again, confusing – can you apply for “temporary residency” when arriving with a Tourist Visa and wanting to then live in Bolivia?

          My site is in phase 2 will cover obtaining residency in all countries for foreigners, right now building out travel section and completing an eBook.

  2. Wade Kilpatrick says:

    Hi Molly, Looking forward to your residency info. Everything I’ve read about residency in Bolivia is frustrating, especially for Americans. Before one can obtain residency he must, before entering Bolivia, obtain in his home country the special 30 day visa named above from his country’s, or the nearest with one, Bolivian embassy. This allows him to go to Bolivia and begin an arduous red tape process that is complicated enough that he’ll probably have to extend that 30 days and, at least in my case, would want to obtain professional help. I’d like to live in Sucre, but am now looking at Ecuador as the process there is straight forward and easy. Plus Ecuador offers retirees various price breaks on goods and services.

    • Molly McHugh says:

      Hi, the best folks for info on residency in Bolivia are Altiplano Bolivia – http://altiplanobolivia.blogspot.com/p/altiplano-expat-services.html – they live in Tarija and help folks through the residency process.

      Don’t give up on Sucre… at the very least, land in Bolivia (or maybe Peru) and travel the area, spend a month in Sucre and enjoy it, then head to Ecuador if you want. Ecuador is not easy either, be sure to start the process before your three month tourist visa expires or your six-month extension (can only stay up to 180 days per year in the country unless you have become a resident).

      Do you have to get residency? Is it because you want to buy property and retire full-time (the main reason for going through all the hassle)? If not, you may want to consider a great alternative of six months in Ecuador, and then some time in Bolivia — don’t leave out Peru, great country and can stay as long as you want, just enter and leave every 6 months to get a new stamp in your passport. Best of luck, Molly

    • Ralph Camery says:

      Molly and Wade I find it hard to believe the two adults who are smart enough to get on the net ask questions that a 10 year old could figure out with ease! If you´re going to start complaining before you ever leave please dont´t bother to come as I am sure you couldn´t handle it.

      • Molly McHugh says:

        Totally inappropriate comment. Residency issues are complicated for all countries, and one of the most common questions/concerns prospective expats have when thinking of where to relocate to. cheers, Molly

  3. Eric says:

    I want to enter the country from Argentina, am a US citizen, and would like to know if there is a way to obtain USD at the border. I have been traveling for a few weeks and have run out of USD, and as one can’t purchase USD in Argentina very easily, I would like to know how to get the $135 once I’m in Bolivia. Has anybody run into this problem? Know any solutions? Thank you for any help!

    • Molly McHugh says:

      You have to have cash in USD. They won’t accept anything else, I am 99.9% sure. But you can get USD out of many ATM machines, have you tried that? I’m trying off the top of my head (must be three years ago or so now that we did this crossing) how I got the cash… pretty sure out of an ATM.

      And don’t forget… you are entering Bolivia – have to have the cash BEFORE you enter, so will be getting it in Argentina.

    • Eric says:

      You cannot pull USD out of Argentinian ATMs any longer. It’s a new rule as of July 2012, I think. Therefore, I’d need to pull out money in Bolivia in order to accomplish paying in USD. I’m assuming this is not possible considering I need to go through immigration before having access to an ATM. This leaves me with a bit of a problem.

      • Molly McHugh says:

        Oh, and thank you Argentina… sigh. Here is another idea! You can (it is a pain in the arse but possible) set-up a Western Union account online and then send money to yourself. Then you can get USD at a Western Union office. Either that, or have someone send to you, no? Or just bit the bullet and exchange somewhere.

        Sorry, the whole thing is a pain in the arse not to mention that fact that we even have to pay at all… but don’t get me started. Bolivianos (most – not all – with little to no money and wanting to become illegal immigrants we can assume) coming into the U.S. is a SLIGHTLY different issue than Americans (with cash) visiting Bolivia to spend and travel. Just slightly. Anyways, have a great time. Molly

  4. Eric says:

    I’ll be entering the country in Villazon, just to clarify. Thank you!

  5. Eric says:

    A rare report back on a blog:

    For any US citizen stumbling upon this blog in fear of not having enough USD for the Bolivian reciprocity fee, don’t worry. At the time of this post, anybody can just walk into Bolivia and get USD from an ATM. No worries. The border at La Quiaca/Villazon is an easy crossing. Just walk past the immigration windows (nobody says anything) go into Villazon for about 5/6 blocks and ask for an ATM. We had to try two before we found one that would give us USD, but we got them, made our way back to the immigration office for stamps, and are currently sitting in Tupiza full of cheap asado.

    TL;DR– You can get USD across the border in Villazon BEFORE having to go through immigration.

    Safe Travels!

    • Molly McHugh says:

      Awesome Eric & thanks for the info, I know there are money changers on the Bolivia side (Villazon) and they would probably let you go change cash if you leave your luggage with them and show them you have Argentinian pesos or whatever but couldn’t remember if it was easy to get USD and the ATM as I remember was about 6 blocks or so (we took a cab, needed pesos after we entered). Didn’t think they’d let travelers enter and then return for a visa but if you did it it can be done.

      Note: This still has a slight risk… you could arrive and get immigration officials not in a good mood, demanding you have cash on hand, make you return to La Quicaca, etc. At least that is probably what they would have done to me… LOL!

      Thanks for the info, loved Tupiza glad your having a good time, Molly

  6. Eric says:

    Hmmm…there were dozens of people walking back and forth across the border, both on the road and across the creek on either side of the bridge. I guess there is a slight risk, but there didn’t seem to be anybody who cared that we walked right past the window…in fact, one Bolivian police officer watched us do it.

    I think with the new restrictions on purchasing USD in Argentina, they must realize that acquiring USD will most likely require a 5/6 block jaunt into Bolivia before paying the fee. The Bolivian immigration officials even gave us change in USD (only $100 bills are given at ATMs), so I think they understand the situation.

    • Molly McHugh says:

      Ok, and that is great news, but I have to take into account the audience here, and the simple fact that things do change, and that it is NOT normal at all to be able to walk by an immigration office at a border crossing and have no one stop you. That’s all. Hope that makes sense & have fun!

  7. Rob says:

    THANK YOU ERIC! I am sitting in Tilcara, JuJuy with the same exact dilema, and was seriously thinking about just saying forget it to Bolivia and heading back through Chile. Given the prices in Chile, I´d say I owe you a belly full of asado!

  8. Andy says:

    Hi, i’m an American with a Visa to travel to Bolivia that expires on July 19th of this year, is there a way to renew this Visa, or do i have to go through the application process all over again?

    and also if I travel to Bolivia and get there, lets say July 18 or 19 (before day that Visa expires), will the Visa still be valid or will there be a problem?

    if anyone can help me with these questions, it will be greatly appreciated. thanks!

    • Molly McHugh says:

      Hi, Bolivia is very strict with Americans (lots of animosity in general towards Americans, whether warranted or not…) and with the Visa for Americans, I am not sure if they will let you in with one expiring in a day or not… doubt it (you would then just pay for an overstay when you leave, a few dollars a day – we overstayed ours and did that without any problem) — and you will not be able to renew for this year as you only have 90 days per year as an American, no exceptions.

      For information on residency visas and other options contact these folks who help people move to Bolivia: http://altiplanobolivia.blogspot.com/.

      best of luck, Molly

  9. Liv says:

    Molly,
    I am a bolivian citizen. I appreciate you sharing this information with people who wish to visit my country. I do however resent your comparison between getting currency exchange to illegal bolivian inmigrants coming to the US. I understand inmigration becomes an issue,however in essence these inmigrants are being motivated by an empty stomach. None in their rigth mind will chose to leave behind their roots and family without a financial motivaion. Remeber that we are all humans with dreams and needs, but you were lucky enough to be born in a country of opportunities , so dont hate!

    • Molly McHugh says:

      Hi Liv and thanks very much for commenting, I’ve never said anything ‘hateful’ at all, so please accept my apologies if that is how you somehow misinterpreted it!

      I understand many who live in poverty think the U.S. is a wealthy country and everyone in it is rich. That is far from the truth, we have much poverty and in many cases it is much worse to be poverty-stricken in the U.S. than it is to be living in poverty in a country that is less wealthy such as Bolivia. Please be careful to challenge your assumptions about the U.S., as they are not true for many who live there, and many who would love to visit the beautiful sites in Bolivia but cannot afford it and probably never will be able to afford it.

      I have been vocal about ‘reciprocity fees’ – but it is a political issue, nothing ‘hateful’ in my comments. The reality is that many Bolivianos ‘hate’ Americans (including your president some would say) yet few Americans harbor hatred toward Bolivianos, many Americans have lived and worked in your country to help impoverished indigenous groups, rallied political support for democratic freedoms etc. I don’t think many Bolivianos are concerned about Americans who are living in dire poverty, without food for their children, some on the streets or in temporary homeless shelters.

      What I have been vocal about is the tendency for poor countries to blame the U.S. for all the problems in the world. And I see the whining about being charged to visit our country the same type of ‘poor us’ ‘America is mean’ type of thinking. I support the U.S. charging a visa fee – wholeheartedly. I think it is an excellent deterrent to a small amount of persons who would try to enter as a tourist with the intention of staying illegally. And with all the work our Immigrations has to do, an excellent way to offset costs for the American government and people.

      I paid for everything I did when traveling/living in South America… I’m sure if I didn’t someone would have had immigrations knocking at my door, etc. Right? Not only that – when traveling Americans are forced to pay higher entrance fees, etc. for many attractions

      I would never have been able to live as an ‘illegal immigrant’ in Bolivia, provided food/shelter/legal services/free public — something that poor who enter our borders (supposedly for a ‘visit’) do everyday. And hard-working Americans PAY for those services provided for them. And NO they are not all RICH by any means.

      So, that’s just a little food for thought for you, my views have nothing to do with hatred (though I was very concerned at first about traveling in Bolivia due to the hatred present in your country in large numbers against Americans, and my then 14 year old son was actually harrassed by your police when we lived in Copacabana for a month) it has to do with reality. And support for MY country, and the hard-working Americans who live and work in it.

  10. Dave says:

    Well said Molly,
    I spent two months in Bolivia and just returned home in September 2013. After traveling through 12 countries in central and south America I felt that there was a bit more animosity towards Americans in Bolivia, although I didn’t let it get in my way of enjoying my time there. I stayed with a couple who were from Spain and New Zealand whom had lived there for five years yet were just receiving their permanent residency status.

    Approximately how much does it cost when all is said and done? Do they keep your passport while processing your paperwork, and do you get a one year temporary visa, which is renewable as long as you are applying for residency. How long does it take 1 or two years? What is required? Do you actually get a Bolivian passport if you are a resident/citizen?

    • Molly McHugh says:

      Us either Dave, and we had a very nice time during our stay, extra special in Tupiza where my son made friends with some cowboys and got to help with the horses, help take tourists out, etc. My son was harassed a bit in Copacabana, but probably as he was helping out an Argentine pizzeria owner (handing out flyers on the main tourist strip) and they didn’t like the gringo getting attention, or money – though he was mainly paid off in food! :)

  11. Dave says:

    I found this on another site, so I will answer part of my own question. But I still would like to know the costs associated to obtaining “naturalization”

    Can a foreigner living in Bolivia get Bolivian citizenship?
    by: BoliviaBella

    We asked today at the Immigration office in Santa Cruz. What they told us was that foreigners can apply for “naturalization” just prior to their 2-year residency expiring.

    The first time you come to Bolivia you get one year of residency.

    When this is about to expire you renew and get 2 years of residency.

    When this 2-year residency is about to expire you renew and get 5 years of residency.

    And finally, when your 5-year residency is about to expire, you can request indefinite residency – which means you are a permanent resident and do not need to continue renewing your residency any more. However, this is not citizenship or naturalization. It is simply residency.

    Foreigners who would like citizenship in Bolivia (called naturalization) can request it just prior to their 2-year residency expiring. (Instead of going on to renew your residency for 5 years).

    Please do not take this as legal advice. We simply asked immigration officials for you.

  12. Paceno says:

    i was born in Bolivia but now I am a US Citizen, I am traveling to Bolivia but I need to get clear information on what documents I need to exit Bolivia. I do not have a Bolivian Passport or ID? Is my US Passport enough to exit Bolivia or what documents do I Need? I was also told that I do not need a VISA since I was born in Bolivia.

    • You will have to use whatever you use to enter the country :) If you have a Bolivian passport, you won’t have to pay the reciprocity fee of course. have fun, Molly (helping out Andy Alexander, new owner)


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