Not long ago Americans were able to enter Bolivia without a visa, but this changed in 2007, as a result of a new norm established by the socialist government of that time. In 2015, a specific Supreme Decree for the entrance and stay of US citizens in Bolivia came into force, which required them to present a visa in all cases.
Us citizens will always require a visa to enter Bolivia, they can use several types of visas, but the easiest one to get is the Bolivian Tourist Visa, which can be issued at a border checkpoint or the Bolivian consulate in the US, in a matter of minutes, after paying $160 and meeting some requirements.
In this guide about whether Americans need or not a visa to enter Bolivia, you’ll see all the details about the Tourist Visa application, its steps, requirements, and costs, as well as its features and norms to obtain it. Also, the different types of visas you can use to enter and stay in Bolivia as a US citizen.
Table of Contents
Yes, US citizens need a visa to enter and stay in Bolivia
In all cases, unless they are naturalized citizens, Americans will need a visa to enter Bolivia. By far, the easiest visa available for them is the “Tourist Visa”, which will grant 30 days of permanency in the country, extendable to 90 days after asking for this to the Bolivian Migration Entity within Bolivia (DIGEMIG).
US citizens will always need a visa to enter Bolivia unless they also have Bolivian citizenship.
|Bolivian Tourist Visa for US citizens||Details|
|Time of permanency||30 days, extendable to 90 days per year|
|Cost||$160, up to $200|
|Where it can be issued||in both Bolivian consulates and embassies, or on arrival (VOA)|
|Validity time||10 years|
|Paperwork timeline||1 to 2 days, 30 to 60 min on arrival|
|Normative||Supreme Decree No. 2339 (link)|
|Visa cost proof of payment||get it at a border checkpoint or in a Bolivian consulate or embassy|
|Valid passport||valid until the US foreigner leaves the country|
|Travel itinerary or…||return flight tickets|
|Hotel booking or…||proof of legal home address of a host in Bolivia|
|Economic solvency proof||backed by an affidavit, bank statement, or credit card|
|Applicant’s photo||current photo, size 4×4, white background|
|Yellow fever vaccine cert||only if the person will visit endemic areas|
|Proof of payment of the visa cost||presented during the application process|
|Other types of visas for US citizens||Validity time & details|
|Transit Visa||15 days validity, for people like pilots, crews, etcetera|
|Working Visa||variable validity, depending on the job or business|
|Health Visa||variable validity, depending on the illness treatment|
|Family Visa||60 days first, extendable to 1-year periods|
|Student Visa||60 days first, extendable to 1 year periods|
|Specific Purpose Visa||variable validity, depending on the specific purpose’s timespan|
|Multiple Visa||multiple entrances, 1-year validity|
|Courtesy visa||variable validity|
|Humanitarian Visa||30 days validity, extendable|
|Consulate card, similar||variable validity|
But don’t worry, the Tourist Visa to enter Bolivia for US citizens is pretty easy to obtain. It’ll cost from $160 to $200 and can be obtained both on arrival (visa on arrival VOA), or before coming to Bolivia, inside a Bolivian consulate or embassy around the world.
You can get a Tourist Visa in a Bolivian consulate or on arrival
When you’re coming to Bolivia, but you don’t have time to get a Tourist Visa in the United States within the Bolivian consulate, or in any other country around the world that has a Bolivian embassy or consulate, then you can obtain a Tourist Visa upon your arrival (VOA), or inside a Bolivian border checkpoint.
It will be issued to you 30 to 60 minutes after starting the application process at the border or airport checkpoint and will cost between $160 and $200. You’ll need to provide some easy-to-meet requirements to obtain it.
But if you have time before your travel to Bolivia, you can obtain a Tourist Visa by just going to the Bolivian consulate in the US or a similar Bolivian entity present in any other country around the world.
Of course, there are other types of visas you can use to enter Bolivia as an American, like work, study, health, courtesy, or specific purpose visas, as we show you in a later section.
Tourist visa requirements for US citizens
Now let’s see the detailed requirements that you’ll need to meet, either at a border checkpoint or inside the Bolivian consulate, to obtain a Bolivian Tourist Visa as an American.
The requirements you’ll need to meet and present are:
- The affidavit form for the visa application. You can find it at the Bolivian consulate in the US or similar institutions, like embassies or consulates, present in any other country, also at any border or airport checkpoint, before entering Bolivia. Unfortunately, it is not currently available to download online.
- Your valid passport. It needs to be valid until the date you plan to leave Bolivia.
- Your travel itinerary or your return flight tickets to the US or another country.
- Your hotel booking or the legal address of the host with which you are going to stay in Bolivia.
- An economic solvency proof. You need to show that you have solvency, a credit card or banknotes are enough.
- Your current photo. Usually, they will take this photo of you at the border checkpoint or consulate, but you can bring it also, the size needs to be 4×4, with white background.
- A certificate of yellow fever vaccination. Only if you are going to visit endemic areas in Bolivia link, like its tropical western part, or cities and towns like Santa Cruz, Trinidad, Cobija Rurrenabaque, Chiquitania, Madidi National Park, etcetera.
- The proof of payment of the tourist visa’s cost. You’ll receive proof of payment after you pay for the visa application procedure, $160, provide it also.
You’ll need to present all these requirements in order to initiate the application process for obtaining a Tourist Visa to enter Bolivia.
Steps to get a Bolivian Tourist Visa for US citizens
The steps to get a Bolivian Visa you need to follow are the next ones (which are actually very easy to follow):
- Go to the Bolivia consulate in your country. If you are outside the US go to a Bolivian embassy or consulate in the country you are located in. If you just arrived at a Bolivian airport or frontier, then go to the border or airport checkpoint and start the visa application process there.
- In that place, ask for starting the Visa tourist application process, get the affidavit form for the tourist visa application, and fill it out.
- Present all the requirements shown in the last section (you’ll need all of them, except for the photograph).
- Pay $160, which is the cost of getting the tourist visa, you’ll need some additional money for additional documentation in some cases, but not more than $200 in total ($160 + $40 for additional contingencies).
- Wait 30 to 60 minutes for the visa to be issued to you if you are at a border checkpoint. Otherwise, if you are in the Bolivian consulate or an embassy, you need to wait from several minutes or hours, up to 2 days.
- Get your Tourist Visa and it’s all done!
Bolivian Tourist Visa main features for US citizens
The following are the main features that the Bolivian Tourist Visa has for US citizens, some of them are unique for Americans and slightly different for other countries.
Grants 30 days of permanency, up to 90 days per year
When you get a Bolivian Tourist Visa, it grants you 30 days of permanency, after this time you’ll need to go to the Bolivian National Migration Entity (DIGEMIG) and extend this deadline for another 30 days, you can extend it one more time for another 30 days, 90 days in total.
With the Bolivian tourist visa, you are allowed to stay in Bolivia for up to 90 days per year, and no more. Anyway, you can get other types of visas, like working or student visas, which will grant you more time for permanency.
Issued on arrival (VOA), or at Bolivian consulates or embassies
The Bolivian tourist visa can be issued at several different places to Americans:
- The Bolivian consulate in the US.
- At a Bolivian embassy or consulate in any other country.
- At a border or airport checkpoint before entering Bolivia.
Use the best option for you according to your personal needs.
Cost of $160 up to $200
Officially, the Bolivian service cost $160 to be obtained, but almost always you’ll need additional money for additional paperwork or unexpected situations, but usually the total cost won’t go above $200.
It’s valid for 10 years
Once you get the Bolivian Visa, this document will be valid for 10 years. After this time, you’ll need to renovate it. This means that each year you can use the same visa to stay in Bolivia for up to 90 days.
30 minutes to 2 days of paperwork timeline
Depending on where you’re getting the Bolivian Tourist Visa, it’ll be issued in just several minutes, for example, at an airport checkpoint. But in some consulates and embassies around the world, it’ll be issued in up to 2 days or more.
Normative of this visa for US citizens
The law that currently regulates, in a very specific way, the entry requirements of US citizens, as tourists, as well as Puerto Ricans, in Bolivia is the Supreme Decree No. 2339, instated in April 2015:
This Supreme Decree states a special immigration regimen in regards to the entrance and stay of both US and Puerto Rican tourists, also norms the tourist visa validity period (10 years), the unique requirements to get it, the government entity that issues this visa, along with other norms.
We’ll talk in deep detail about the norm in a later section, where you’ll find out how it has changed and why Americans currently need a visa to enter Bolivia.
We have a complete guide about the Bolivian tourist visa, but from a general perspective for all countries, can’t see it in the following direction: The Bolivian Tourist Visa, everything to know. Link
Other visas that also allow Americans to enter and stay in Bolivia
The Tourist Visa is not the only one you can use as an American to stay in Bolivia, there are many other types of visas, if you need and can get one of them, go for it because, unlike the tourist visa, other visas will allow you to get a foreigner ID card link, which will enable you to open bank accounts, run businesses, and have almost all the freedom that any common Bolivian has in the country.
The other visas that allow Americans to enter and stay in Bolivia are:
- The transit visa
- The working visa
- The student visa
- The health visa
- The family visa
- The specific purpose visa
- The multiple entrance visa
- The humanitarian visa
- The courtesy visa
- A consulate card or similar document
The worker, health, and family visas are sub-variants of the specific purpose visa, as they address a specific goal or purpose, and follow the same paperwork.
We have a complete guide about the Bolivian working visa, with its unique features, requirements, and also advantages and disadvantages in the following direction: The Bolivian working visa, a full overview. Link
We have a complete guide about the Bolivian investor-like visas, that will allow you to own and run a business in the country, with all their unique details, advantages, and disadvantages: The Bolivian investor visa, a complete walkthrough. Link
Laws that norm the entrance of US citizens to Bolivia
A brief history of the norm that ended up in the need for a visa for US citizens
The norm for Americans to enter Bolivia has changed a lot because of many political conflicts, different points of view, and similar situations, as we show you next.
Supreme Decree No. 27150, September 2003
This Supreme Decree first established 3 groups of countries regarding their Bolivia entrance requirements, the US was initially in group 1. People from countries within this group didn’t need a visa to enter Bolivia.
Supreme Decree No. 28997, January 2007
The US is moved to group 3 by the socialist MAS government, the reason for this change, as they said, was: Reciprocal relationships between both countries, “If the US doesn’t grant free visa entry to Bolivians, why should Bolivia grant it either?”.
Supreme Decree No. 2339, April 2015
The government of MAS creates special legislation that regulates the entrance and stay of US citizens in Bolivia, which also states special and unique requirements for them.
Supreme Decree No. 4107, December 2019
The transition government of Jeanine Añez removes the visa requirement entrance for US citizens, repeals Supreme Decree No. 2339, which creates special legislation for the entrance of US citizens and moves the US back to group 1 of countries.
- https://bolivia.infoleyes.com/norma/7215/decreto-supremo-4107 (also translated by Google: Link).
Supreme Decree No. 4460, January 2021
The new government of MAS, led by Luis Arce, reactivates Supreme Decree No. 2330 and reestablishes the visa requirement for US citizens.
Here you’ve seen that in all cases unless they are also Bolivian citizens, Americans will need a visa to enter the country. These can be different types of visas, but the easiest one to get is the Tourist Visa, which will cost about $160, will last 10 years, will allow you to visit up to 90 days per year of the country, and can be obtained in a matter of minutes or up to 2 days, after presenting in some easy to meet requirements.
You saw that these requirements are: a visa application affidavit form, your valid passport, proof of your economic solvency, your hotel bookings, your return flight tickets, a yellow fever vaccination certificate (in some cases) the proof of payment of the cost of the visa, and your current photo. You also saw that the specific purpose visa, the multiple visa, the student visa, and others also can be used to enter Bolivia as an American.
Additionally, you realized that the tourist visa can be obtained when you are at a Bolivian airport or frontier, at the border checkpoint, or in the consulate of Bolivia within the US, or a similar institution in any other country. Finally, you learned that 15 years ago US citizens were able to enter the country without a visa, but this recently changed, as a result of a new regulation done by the government of MAS.
We hope this information has helped you, and if you want to know more about other types of visas that can be used to enter and stay in Bolivia, see our dedicated guides for them: The Bolivian working visa, a complete guide. Also for doing business: The Bolivian visa business, all you need to know. For studying here: The Bolivian student visa, every detail to know. For volunteers: The Bolivian volunteer visa, a full overview. link
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