Bolivian Visa Requirements

By John Costa
Americans traveling to Bolivia must have a tourist visa to enter the country.
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The high-altitude country of Bolivia in South America is home to the world's highest capital, La Paz, at 11,942 feet above sea level. The country offers a diverse range of landscapes, including imposing mountain peaks, tropical lowlands and sparse deserts. Visitors to the country may require tourist visa to enter the country. Citizens of the United States should apply for a visa at a Bolivian consulate before traveling to the country.


Bolivia requires citizens of certain foreign countries, including the United States, to obtain visas. Citizens of Canada and most South American and European countries do not require tourist visas. With a tourist visa, visitors from the United States can stay in Bolivia for a period of 90 days. U.S. citizens may use tourist visas for three visits during a five-year period. Nationals of other countries may only be permitted to stay for up to 30 days and may only be granted a visa for a single entry. Specific purpose visas -- such as for business purposes -- are valid for 30 days from the date of entry for all foreign visitors.

Applying for a Visa

Applications for tourist visas can be made at Bolivia's diplomatic missions. In the United States, Bolivia's embassy is located in Washington, D.C., and consular services are provided in Washington, New York City, Miami and Los Angeles. Applications and supporting documents can be submitted in person or by mail at the nearest consulate. Upon receipt of the application, a consulate will issue a tourist visa within 30 days. Specific purpose visas may take two to three weeks to process. An application fee is generally required when applying for all visas.

Tourist Visa

To apply for a tourist visa, a visa application form must be completed. Applicants must also hold a current passport valid for at least six months. A passport picture measuring 2-by-2 inches; a copy of a hotel reservation or a letter of invitation, if visiting family or friends in Bolivia; and a copy of a ticket for travel to Bolivia or travel itinerary must be submitted. A bank statement or equivalent demonstrating economic solvency must also be provided.

Specific Purpose Visa

A specific purpose visa is required for business, religious or missionary and volunteer travel. A visa application must be submitted with a passport that is valid for at least six months; a passport picture; a copy of the travel itinerary or ticket; and a letter of introduction outlining the purpose of the trip, travel dates and how expenses will be covered. Travelers visiting for religious or volunteer purposes must also submit a letter from a local institution or church indicating that it is registered with the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a letter of membership in a religious or volunteer organization in the visitor's home country.

Student Visa

Visitors traveling to Bolivia for education must submit an application for a student visa. Applicants must also hold a current passport with at least six months of validity. Student visa applicants are also required to submit a passport picture; official criminal record; results of an HIV/AIDS test; proof of enrollment in an educational institution; a copy of a travel itinerary or ticket; and a bank statement or equivalent to demonstrate economic solvency.

Other Types of Visas

Visitors for diplomatic or official purposes must complete a visa application for a diplomatic visa. They must also provide a current passport valid for at least six months, a passport picture, and an official letter of request outlining the purpose of the visit, which must be approved by Bolivia. Visitors who are in transit to another country via Bolivia must also apply for a in-transit visa. In-transit visitors must complete an application and hold a current passport that is valid for at least six months.

Bolivian U.S. Citizens

Bolivians who hold United States citizenship are exempt from visa requirements. In these cases, visitors must provide evidence of their Bolivian citizenship. For example, a current or expired identity card, birth certificate, family book, Military Service Book, Bolivian passport, or a Bolivian National Single Registry (RUN) must be presented when traveling to the country. Showing a United States passport stating the Place of Birth as Bolivia is not sufficient to gain entry into the country without a visa.