If you want to live in Bolivia but don’t know if the country will allow you to do it, then you can be sure there are many ways for living here without too much trouble. You can be a passing traveler, a tourist, a resident, or even a naturalized citizen, without too many restrictions, like in other countries. Bolivia doesn’t have any kind of blocked country, just do the right paperwork to live here.
Foreigners are legally allowed to stay and live in Bolivia by being passing travelers for up to 15 days, by being tourists for up to 90 days per year, by being temporary residents for up to 3 years, by being permanent residents for an indefinite time, and by being naturalized Bolivian citizens.
Here, we will show you all the details about whether you are allowed or not to live in Bolivia, to what extent, with which kinds of residence statuses, and for what purposes, like work, family, etcetera. Also, we will give you some clues about the paperwork and spendings you will need to go through in order to be allowed to live in the country.
Yes, you can live in Bolivia at least for 90 days
According to the laws and regulations that norm how foreigners should be treated in Bolivia, people from overseas have the right (with the proper permission documents) to stay up to 90 days as tourists. Tourism is the only reason you need to stay for up to 90 days in Bolivia.
You can also stay in Bolivia with transit permission (Transit Visa) for up to 15 days.
In all these cases, you’ll need to get a Bolivian visa. You can do the paperwork to get it at the border posts of the country (for different types of visas, including transit and tourist visas) when you are entering Bolivia.
There is good news about staying longer. If while being a tourist you get a valid reason to live more time in Bolivia (for example, you start to work, study, and similar reasons), you can then change your transitory residence into a temporary one, which will allow you to live in Bolivia for up to 3 years.
Living in Bolivia with a transitory residence
So, in summary, you can live in Bolivia with transitory permission for the following reasons:
- For tourism (90 days max per year).
- For transit (15 days max).
- For working (30 days visa, can be extended).
- For transitory working (180 days visa, can be extended).
- For health purposes (90 days visa, can be extended)
- For studying (60 days visa, can be extended)
- For family purposes (90 days visa, can be extended)
- For investing and business (up to 1-year visa, can be extended)
- For humanitarian reasons (30 days visa, can be extended).
- Because of an invitation issued by a public Bolivian institution, embassy, or similar (60 days max).
Remember that you can change your residency status, from for example being a tourist into a temporary resident, but to do this, you need to have a valid reason (for example, you started working in Bolivia).
Living in Bolivia with a temporary residence
You also can live in Bolivia with temporary permission for the following reasons:
- Health purposes
- Family purposes
- Humanitarian purposes
We have a complete guide about how to get the Bolivian residence link, also on how to get the Bolivian citizenship link, see the links for more detailed information.
Living with a permanent residence or being a citizen
You can get a permanent residence for the same valid reasons you have for a temporary residence. But you will need to present more requirements to change your status. This permanent residence will allow you to leave the country for up to 2 years, without losing your status of permanent resident.
Furthermore, you can live here as a naturalized citizen, but you’ll need to comply with the proper conditions and requirements to become a Bolivian citizen, as we show in our guide on how to become a Bolivian citizen link.
Remember that the rights you have when either being a resident or a citizen are almost the same, Bolivian laws apply equally for both of them.
Laws and norms that regulate your permanence in Bolivia
The following laws, currently active in the country, norm every aspect of how and in which ways are allowed foreigners to stay in the country. These laws haven’t faced many changes throughout the last years, so expect them to stay almost the same, without major modifications, in the short and medium terms.
You can see the Immigrant’s Law of Bolivia in the following link (translated):
You can also see the technical regulation of this law by the Supreme Decree No. 1923. (translated)
In this regulation of the Immigrant’s Law are the conditions and requirements you need to comply with in order to stay in Bolivia.
Living in Bolivia according to different settling statuses
1) As a passing traveler
When you are just passing through Bolivia, towards another country, you can stay and live here for up to 15 days with a transit visa. To get this document, just do the paperwork at a border post in Bolivia, it’ll cost you around $100.
2) As a tourist
When you want to visit Bolivia as a tourist, you also can stay here for up to 90 days but you first need a tourist visa, which will only last for 30 days, then it needs to be updated to extend its deadline for another up to 60 days.
You also will be able to work while you are staying here as a tourist. Even more, if you find a job in Bolivia while being a tourist, then near the visa deadline, you can apply for a temporary residence for working purposes, extending your permission to live in Bolivia for up to 3 years.
Not only this, but if you have any other valid reason to stay more than 90 days, as we mentioned before, you can also jump from a tourist status to a temporary resident one, and live for many years in the country.
The paperwork to get a tourist visa can be done in a frontier post, and it will cost you around $150. You will need to extend this tourist visa after the first 30 days.
3) As a temporary resident
You can also live as a temporary resident in Bolivia. This permanent status means that you can stay within the country for at least 1 year, and extend this temporary residence up to 3 years. But bear in mind that, as we said before, you need a valid reason or purpose to stay in Bolivia as a temporary resident.
The advantage of this status is that you will get your foreigners’ ID card, which will allow you to enjoy full banking services, full health services, also full real estate services, among other improvements. With your foreigner ID card and your temporary residence, you will be treated as any other Bolivian, with the same rights and liabilities.
4) As a permanent resident
Also, if you want to become a permanent resident, you will enjoy the same situation as if you were a temporary resident, but with the additional advantage that you will be allowed to leave the country for up to 2 years, without losing your status of a permanent resident.
This is very different than with a temporary residence, because when being in this status, you can only leave the country for up to 90 days and no more, or you lose your status of temporary resident.
Also, after being in the country for at least 3 years, you can apply for Bolivian citizenship, or otherwise, just extend your permanent residence without a limited time.
5) After becoming a Bolivian citizen
Finally, when you have become a Bolivian citizen by naturalization, you don’t have any kind of restriction for living in Bolivia. You can leave the country for a decade if you want. Also, you’ll have all the rights, without any exception, that native people normally enjoy in the country.
We have a complete guide about how to get the Bolivian residence link, also on how to get the Bolivian citizenship link, we see the links for more detailed information.
To live more than 90 days in Bolivia you need a valid reason
As we said in an earlier section, to stay and live in Bolivia for more than 90 days, in the case of a tourist, for more than 180 days in some particular cases of transitory residence. You will need a valid reason.
You can’t just stay as a tourist in Bolivia without any other valid reason. Staying in the country for more than 90 days just for tourism is not allowed by Bolivian law. You will need to get a valid purpose in the time you are still a tourist, for example, you can:
- Find a job in Bolivia, to get a temporary residence for working
- Start a business or invest, to get a temporary residence for investment purposes (the multiple visa).
- Get married to a Bolivian, to get a temporary or permanent residence for family purposes (be very careful with this option, because your assets may be at risk of and in the hands of your future spouse).
- Get a health treatment, to get a temporary residence for health purposes.
- Start studying in Bolivia, to get a temporary residence for studying purposes.
After you get a valid purpose to stay in Bolivia for more than 90 days, you can get your foreigners’ ID card, which as we said, will allow you to open a bank account and be treated like any other Bolivian inside the country. Also, this status can be turned into permanent residence if necessary.
How to get temporary residence status in Bolivia?
Now, the steps and requirements also the documents and paperwork to get temporary residency status in Bolivia, are way more complicated and are beyond this note, you will need for example to:
- Give proof of your valid reason (a job contract in Bolivia, the ownership documentation of a Bolivian company, the inscription in a Bolivian college, a written document of health treatment, and similar proofs).
- Your at least 6 months valid passport.
- A legal form, that is provided by the Bolivian government, where you ask to become a temporary resident.
- Pay the fees and bills of the paperwork.
- Get assistance from a Bolivian lawyer (be very careful with this).
- And many other requirements and steps.,
We have a complete guide about how to get temporary residency in Bolivia, with all the conditions, requirements, and steps you need to meet to get this residence status, in the following direction: How to get a Bolivian residence? All the details. Link
In this note about if you can live in Bolivia, you have seen that it is completely possible, whether you are a passing traveler, a tourist, a temporary or permanent resident, or a naturalized citizen. When being just a passing traveler, you have up to 15 days, when being a tourist, you have up to 90 days per year for staying and living in Bolivia.
You also saw that while you’re a tourist in the country, you can apply for a job, start a business, start studying, get health treatment, get married, or invest, among other activities to turn your transitory residence into a temporary residence. And these temporary residences will allow you to stay in the country for up to 3 years.
Finally, you have seen that many kinds of permissions and visas can be issued by the Bolivian government according to the purpose of your visit to Bolivia, but when you get the status of temporary resident, then you will get your foreigner ID card, which will allow you to enjoy the full rights and liabilities that any other Bolivian has, and of course, live in the country with very few limitations.
We hope this information has helped you, and if you want to know more about the best cities to live in Bolivia, with all the details about why they are the best ones, according to different purposes, like work, tourism, etcetera, visit our dedicated guide in the following direction: The best cities to live in Bolivia, all you need to know.
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