Most international tourists do not need a traditional visa to travel to Bolivia. The government of Bolivia has divided foreign nations into three groups.
Travelers from Group 1 do not require a visa to travel to Bolivia, and they can enter the country with their identity document (passport or national ID) and SIGEMIG form.
Citizens of nations in Groups 2 and 3 need to get travel authorization, such as a Bolivia visa issued by its government to visit the country. Foreign travelers from countries in Group 2 can either get it through a Bolivian embassy or can purchase it at the port of entry. However, visitors from nations in Group 3 need to get a visa from a Bolivian embassy before their trip. Here’s what international travelers need to know about the Bolivian visa application at the embassy.
A Bolivian visa is a legal travel authorization issued by the country’s government to citizens of countries in Groups 2 and 3. The government of Bolivia grants two types of short-term visas -- for tourism and business. To attend a business meeting, seminar, or conference, foreigners need a business visa, and to explore the country’s tourism destinations, they should apply for a tourism visa. Foreign travelers from countries in group 2 can apply for a visa at their nearest Bolivian embassy or purchase it at the port of entry. The Bolivian visa application at the embassy is free of cost in most countries.
However, travelers who are planning to get a visa on arrival at an international airport or border crossing in the country will have to pay a fee depending on their country of origin. The application process for a Bolivia visa has two parts.
First, the applicants need to complete the online application form (Sworn Statement). After that, they need to send the form along with supporting documents to a Bolivian mission. In some countries, they may have to personally drop the documents at the embassy. Applicants should contact the nearest Bolivian embassy to understand the latest application process – whether they can mail the application form and documents or should personally drop them off.
Note that all countries do not have a Bolivian embassy, and applicants from countries in Group 3 have to get special authorization from the mission along with their visa for Bolivia. Apart from a Bolivian visa, all foreigners, irrespective of their country of origin, should register themselves in SIGEMIG, an online registration platform launched by the Bolivian government.
Foreigners from countries in Groups 2 and 3 can begin the application by completing the online application form. The application form is hosted on the official websites of the Bolivian immigration service. Through the application form, the applicants are required to share their identity and travel information. This includes their name, date of birth, nationality, passport type, and number. They also should share their travel itinerary and accommodation details with the authorities.
All visa applicants should submit the following documents to get their Bolivian visa:
Foreigners can apply for a visa at any Bolivian mission. Applicants should gather the documents before starting their application process. They should ensure that the information shared in the visa application form as well as in the SIGEMIG is the same as in their passport.
The time taken to complete a Bolivian visa application at the embassy varies from country to country and mission to mission. In most cases, the visa is processed in 10 days, and it may take a few weeks in some missions, especially in countries in group 3. Travelers from countries in group 3 are required to get special authorization along with their visas from the Bolivia mission. Some Bolivian embassies deliver the visa through the post. Others ask applicants to collect the document directly from the mission.
Citizens of countries in group 2 can purchase a tourist visa on arrival at three international airports and border crossings in Bolivia, provided they submit the required documents, such as their passports, SIGEMIG registration. They also need to submit a vaccination certificate for yellow fever and proof of economic solvency.
A Bolivia visa on arrival is not free. The processing fee changes based on the nationality of the traveler.
They can get a visa on arrival at international airports in Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, and La Paz. Travelers who are planning to purchase a visa on arrival in Bolivia are encouraged to carry cash as digital payment facilities may not be available in all airports. Make sure to carry bills that are in good condition.
A Bolivian SIGEMIG is a mandatory document that all foreign travelers and Bolivian citizens should get before arriving in the country. It is a mandatory registration form hosted on the official website of the country’s immigration service. All passengers, including Bolivian citizens, must register on the online immigration platform and share information about their home or accommodation before arriving in the country.
If they are unable to do so, they can get help from the officers at the immigration counter to register their details in the SIGEMIG platform. Foreigners who fail to complete the SIGEMID form will have to pay heavy fines while leaving the country. Foreign visitors should share their accommodation details, like the address of their hotels/resorts for the entire trip. Note that a Bolivian SIGEMIG is not a replacement for a visa. It is a mandatory registration, and foreigners from visa-free countries can visit Bolivia with their passports and SIGEMIG.
International travelers arriving in Bolivia on a tourist visa can stay up to 90 days a year. Initially, they will be allowed to stay for 30 days. They can later extend it for up to 90 days.
A visa for Bolivia does not guarantee a foreigner’s entry to the country. He/she needs to go through immigration and customs checks. Immigration officials are authorized to make the final decision regarding his/her entry into the country. Foreign travelers must keep their travel and identity documents in order to be granted entry to the country.