How to Obtain a Visa for Bolivia As a U.S. Citizen

If you are a United States citizen and you are planning to travel to Bolivia, you will need a visa. The application requires many separate documents, but it is reasonably straightforward, and the consulate is helpful about answering questions and processing applications promptly, provided they are complete.


  1. 1
    Visit the website for the Bolivian consulate. [1] Review the consular services page there for the latest requirements. The website is a mixture of English and Spanish, but that page is in English.
  2. 2
    Determine the location of your nearest consulate. The main office is in Washington, D.C., but if you live elsewhere in the U.S., you will probably send your application to one of the other branches.
  3. 3
    Phone the consulate or consulate office, even if all you do is listen to the recording. Verify that the address is current before you mail your passport, and check that the location you have chosen accepts visa applications (the honorary consulates may not[citation needed]). Phoning the consulate is also helpful if you have any questions or difficulties with the process, and to verify that the process you are following is current and correct.

    • Be prepared for a mixture of Spanish and English. The consulate in the United States is staffed by people who live in the United States, but they also serve a population that speaks Spanish. If you ask and are patient, you can most likely reach somebody who speaks either Spanish or English. It may help, however, to read the tips in How to Communicate with a Non Native English Speaker.
  4. 4
    Allow ample time. There is no set time frame or deadline listed, but your application will need a few days to get to the consulate by mail, a few days to be processed, and a few more days be sent back to you. The visa pictured in this article took just over two weeks to be returned after it was mailed, but your experience may vary, and delays can certainly happen.

    • If time is short, you can save some time by sending the application overnight or by courier, and by including an overnight return envelope or mailer. Contact the consulate to ask how long the application will take and whether it can be expedited.
  5. 5
    Get a vaccination against yellow fever, and get an International Certificate of Vaccination. This is a yellow card, dated and signed/stamped by the clinic that vaccinated you. Although the western parts of Bolivia, such as La Paz and Sucre, are not considered to be at risk for yellow fever,[2] the government of Bolivia requires the vaccination for all travelers over one year of age in order to obtain a visa. [3]

    • The CDC maintains a directory of yellow fever vaccination clinics.[4] It may be wise to phone ahead and make sure your chosen clinic will have an appointment and a vaccine in stock when you arrive.
    • Mail the immunization certificate with your application. It will be returned to you with your passport and visa. Other parts of the paperwork will be retained by the consulate.
  6. 6
    A passport-style photo.
    Obtain a current passport photograph, and enclose it.
    Your passport already has a photograph, so this copy will not be returned to you; it will be retained for the consulate's records.

    • Many businesses will take and develop passport photos for a fee, or you can make your own.
    • Your face should take up about 80% of the area of the photo.[5]
  7. 7
    Image titled Bolivia_itinerary
    Enclose a copy of your plane ticket or other itinerary showing your name and the dates you plan to enter and leave Bolivia.
    A printout of an electronic ticket or itinerary from an airline website will suffice.
  8. 8
    Enclose a document showing your hotel reservation for your trip, or a letter from friends or relatives in Bolivia where you will stay. This document may be in Spanish. Things that would be helpful to state include:

    • your name
    • the name, address, and phone number of the hotel or home where you will stay
    • the dates when you will be staying
    • the names of the people inviting you and their relationship to you, if you are staying with friends or relatives.
  9. 9
    Complete a sworn statement for visa application. The form is available from the website, at the consulate office or by mail, if you request it.

    • Be certain to sign the form.
  10. 10
    Enclose a copy of a recent bank statement or credit card showing economic solvency. You may black out account numbers.
  11. 11
    Enclose a money order for $135, payable to the Bolivian Consulate. Money orders can be purchased at your local United States post office with cash, debit card, or traveler's check. They can be replaced if lost, stolen, or damaged. The money order itself costs an additional $1.10. Retain your receipt. [6]

    • The fee may also be paid in cash or by direct deposit, but it is extremely unwise to mail cash.
  12. 12
    Enclose your current, United States passport, valid for at least six months after the application date. Because you are mailing your passport, you may wish to send the application by certified mail or another service that you can track.
  13. 13
    Enclose a self-addressed envelope with sufficient return postage for your passport and the immunization certificate. This may be ordinary, first class postage[7], or it may be the special or expedited service of your choice. Be sure to take the weight into account; it will be more than one ounce.
  14. 14
    Recheck that your application is complete, and mail it to the consulate.


  • The Bolivian tourist visa is good for five years from the date of issue and for up to 90 days per year.
  • The Bolivian consulate Web site mentions reciprocity, which means that US citizens are require to apply for visas because the US requires Bolivian citizens to apply for visas to enter the US.
  • If you are visiting a doctor or clinic for the yellow fever vaccination, bring your vaccination records with you and ask whether there are other immunizations that might need updating before your trip. Yellow fever is the only vaccination required for travel to Bolivia, but it is not the only disease you may be exposed to while traveling in South America. Retain your vaccination records for your reference and for the reference of your doctors.
  • Services exist that will facilitate your visa processing for an extra fee. They will still require all the same documentation. They may be able to help expedite your application somewhat, but it is worth investigating whether the consulate could expedite your request directly and making an informed decision.
  • This is the process for a tourist visa; a "specific purpose visa", valid for thirty days, is also available if you are traveling for purposes other than tourism. Consult the embassy website for more information.


  • Search engines and directories may list Bolivian consulate offices that may no longer open. To be certain, phone the consulate nearest you and verify the address before sending your application.
  • Some people should not get the yellow fever vaccine. The doctor or nurse giving the vaccine should discuss the risks and contraindications with you before administering the vaccine. Mild flu-like symptoms are common and considered normal following the vaccine, but the CDC recommends that only people traveling to at-risk areas be vaccinated. [8]
    • The Bolivian consulate website states: "If a pediatrician or primary physician decides that for health reasons a person cannot receive a Yellow Fever vaccine, they may issue corresponding certification. This certification must be translated into Spanish and the passenger must hold a copy of both Certificate and translation, to be submitted before Bolivian Immigration Authorities."
  • The United States Department of State has travel warnings and other information about Bolivia on its website. It is wise to review this information before traveling. [9]

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