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Can foreigners buy property in Bolivia the regulations and laws

Can Foreigners Buy Property in Bolivia? All the Details and Laws

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Buying real estate in Bolivia it’s easier than you may think. We, as real estate Bolivian experts who help lots of Bolivian people to make their real estate projects, will give you the most important clues about this topic with all the details and restrictions when you are planning to buy real estate in this country.

In Bolivia, foreigners can buy all kinds of urban real estate, but they can’t buy any kind of rural real estate and also any kind of real estate in the 31.1 mile wide frontier band of this country. When buying a property, aliens have the same rights and obligations as bolivians.

Next, we are going to discuss deeply about all the restrictions, laws and regulations applied to foreigners buying different kinds of urban and rural real estate in Bolivia. We also will give you a general view on how you can buy these types of properties here.

Can foreigners buy real estate in Bolivia?

People from overseas and Bolivian citizens have the same rights when it comes to buying or selling real estate in this country, with the exceptions that aliens can’t buy any kind of rural real estate and they also can’t buy any real estate within the 31.1 mile wide frontier band of Bolivia.

As a foreigner, there are 3 types of Bolivian real estate that you can or can’t buy:

  1. You can buy all kinds of urban real estate.
  2. You can’t buy any kind of rural real estate. 
  3. Also, you can’t buy any kind of real estate in Bolivia if it’s inside the 31.1 mile wide frontier band of the country, unless you become a Bolivian citizen.

For all the types of real estate you can buy in this country, you will need to follow the same steps and will have the same rights and obligations when buying and acquiring these properties as if you were a Bolivia citizen. 

Of course, you will need to replace some documents that Bolivian people normally need to buy a property, for example, the Bolivian ID cards, and you will need to present some others, like your passport, visa or similar. The rest of the documents and legal procedures to buy a house will be almost the same as for Bolivian people.

Types of real estate that foreigners can and can’t buy

Next, we will discuss the 3 categories of real estate you can or can’t buy in Bolivia as a foreigner mentioned in the above section.

1) Real estate in urban areas

When it comes to buying urban real estate in Bolivia, you have the same rights as Bolivian people. The Bolivian Constitution and laws protect you when you own an urban property in this country as if you were Bolivian. 

You also have the same liabilities and obligations that Bolivian people need to address, for example, you need to pay taxes for the urban real estate you own, you need to do all the documents and paperwork and you may also face the same legal troubles, risks and possible lawsuits that may appear.

Said that, you can buy any kind of urban real estate here, including residential real estate, commercial real estate, industrial real estate, and similars, then, you can buy homes, commercial galleries, galpons, urban lands, apartments, buildings, even full high-rises.

If you want to know how to buy real estate in Bolivia, with all the details about paperwork and legal risks, you can visit the next article, in which we talk deeply about this: How to buy a house in Bolivia, a complete and detailed guide.

2) Real estate in rural areas

The Political Constitution of Bolivia says that no foreign natural or legal person is allowed to buy any kind of rural real estate in the country. This means that no matter if you are a real person or an alien company, you will not be capable to buy any kind of rural land, rural house or edification, rural real estate for industrial purposes, etcetera, in this country.

The only way to buy rural property in Bolivia, without becoming a Bolivian citizen is with the help of a Bolivian company. In summary, you must create a company in Bolivia (of which you will have the ownership in the form of stocks or partnership), and this company will be allowed to buy Bolivian rural real estate for business purposes.

Of course, if you become a Bolivian citizen, you will be allowed and capable of buying any kind of real estate that is available in this country. We have a complete guide link about how to become a Bolivian citizen.

3) Real estate near to the border lines of Bolivia

This is a very old law that was created to protect the sovereignty of Bolivia, and says that no foreign natural or legal person is allowed to buy any kind of urban or rural real estate in the 31.1 mile wide frontier band of Bolivia.

Then, you can’t buy any type of real estate in this frontier area, no matter if it’s an urban or a rural property. Again, the only way to buy real estate in the frontier band of Bolivia is through a Bolivian company that you first need to create and have the ownership of, with stocks or partnerships.

For example, if there is a city that is on the border of Bolivia, like Copacabana, Villazon, Puerto Suarez, you can’t buy any kind of real estate there, even with the fact that they are urban areas.

Of course, you can buy real estate in the borders of Bolivia if you became a Bolivian citizen and you are not an alien anymore.

How to buy urban real estate in Bolivia?

The steps and requirements to buy any kind of urban real estate in Bolivia are the same for foreigners as for bolivians. In general, you will need to do the following tasks:

  1. Preparation stage, in which you will need to search for a house that meets your personal needs, visiting and reviewing docens houses for sale. Also, you will need to find and hire the appropriate legal and real estate professionals that you may need.
  2. Verification stage, in which you will need to prove the authenticity of the house seller, search for possible scams and hidden risks (real estate scams are common in Bolivia), review the documents of the house and similar tasks.
  3. Negotiations stage, in which you will need to negotiate the price of the house with the sellers and also verify if it has a fair price, with a professional appraisal.
  4. Notary public stage, once made the deal, you will need to register your real estate acquisition with a Bolivian notary public professional, and the help of your own attorneys, signing up a public deed of property.
  5. Taxes and local government stage, once you have the public deed of property finished, you will need to pay the property buying taxes, and also change your name in the registars of the city’s local government.
  6. Derechos Reales stage, which is the final stage and in which you will need to register your ownership of the property in the official public institution of Bolivia that is meant for this purpose “Derechos Reales”. Remember that before registering your acquisition in Derechos Reales, you can’t yet consider the property as yours.

Always be very careful about buying a house or real estate in Bolivia, there are a lot of scams and risks that you will need to avoid. You will need the help of attorneys, real estate agents, and also, important knowledge about how to carry out this process, don’t be fooled just because you are a foreigner.

We have a definitive guide about how to buy a house in Bolivia, with all the risks involved and the legal paperwork you need to do, in the following article: How to buy a house in Bolivia as a foreigner?.

To buy rural real estate, you can follow two strategies

As we have said at the beginning of this article, it’s not possible for a natural or legal foreign person to buy any kind of rural property in Bolivia. But there are some shortcuts about this situation we are going to discuss more deeply in the next sections.

1) Create a Bolivian company as a foreigner

Of course, it is not possible to buy rural real estate as an overseas company, but Bolivian laws and regulations don’t prohibit Bolivian companies owned by foreigners from buying rural properties for production purposes. 

So, in order to get the control of rural real estate in Bolivia for business and production purposes, you first need to create a Bolivian company (Bolivian legal person) in this country. Accomplishing this task is relatively easy, and the steps are almost the same for aliens as for bolivian people. 

You can create Bolivian partnership companies (S.R.L.) and limited liability companies (S.A.) as the most recommended ones to start a business in this country. Then, you can buy rural real estate with the help of this Bolivian company, always with the goal of making goods and services, and not for living or residential purposes.

We have a complete guide about how to create a Bolivian company, with everything you need to know in order to achieve this task, in the following article: How to create a company in Bolivia, all the details link.

2) Become a Bolivian citizen

The second way to have the possibility of buying rural real estate in Bolivia is to just become a Bolivian citizen. This is a relatively difficult process to follow, and also, it will take a long time. 

In general to become a Bolivian citizen you will need to address one the following conditions:

  • You are allowed to ask for Bolivian citizenship after living and working in Bolivia for 3 straight years.
  • Or you need to get married with a Bolivian person.
  • Or either your mother or your father needs to be a Bolivian citizen.
  • Or you may be granted Bolivian citizenship for providing military services to Bolivia, or exceptional services in other areas.

We have a detailed guide about how to become a Bolivian citizen, with all the steps and restrictions you need to know, in the following note: How to become a Bolivian citizen, all the details and steps.

Conclusions:

In this article you have learned that natural and legal persons from overseas can buy any kind of urban real estate property, like residential homes, commercial and industrial spaces. The only requirement is that all these properties shall be within the urban radius of a city, of a town or of a similar urban area.

You also have seen that no natural or legal foreign person is allowed by law to buy rural real estate in Bolivia, additionally, these persons can’t buy any kind of real estate within the 31.1 mile wide frontier band. But you have seen that there are 2 ways to get around this issue, the first one is becoming a Bolivian citizen, and the second one is to create a Bolivian company and buy the rural property through this company.

You also have noticed the general steps to buy real estate here, and also the risks involved. Remember that you really need to know what you are doing before buying real estate in this country. The risk of scams and legal issues when buying a property here are a lot higher than in developed countries. You can visit our detailed guide on how to buy a house in Bolivia? for more information.

BolivianExperts.com, information about how to live, work, invest and travel in Bolivia.

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