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Many do not need a tourist visa to enter Bolivia, and immigration formalities at airports or land crossings are normally simple. Citizens from United States are required to have Tourist Visa to enter the country.
Bolivia classifies countries into three groups. Those belonging to group I do not require to have tourist visa to enter the country, but they must have a valid passport for at least six months and sometimes they may be requested to show proof of financial means for their trip. Normally it is enough to present a credit card, cash or travelers checks. On occasion, a return ticket or a complete itinerary may have to be shown to immigration authorities, and now it is mandatory to have as well the International Vaccination Certificate for Yellow Fever.
Countries listed in group II require a tourist visa, for some of them this visa is free and for others there is a fee. The characteristic for this group is that citizens of such countries can get the visa at any Bolivian consulate quite easily, since the consular authorities do not have to request an authorization to immigration services in La Paz. In general the applications have to be done in person, and one has to present a valid passport with a least six months of validity, hotel reservations for the entire stay or a letter of invitation by a local Bolivian resident, plus the International Vaccination Certificate for Yellow Fever. We have spoken with the consulate of Bolivia in Buenos Aires and they told us they can process the visa in 24 hours for travelers from any country included in Group II. The consulates in Washington, Madrid and Tokyo can process such visas as well.
Citizens in group III have a more difficult time getting the visa, but it is not impossible, it normally means a longer application time since consular authorities have to request authorization to immigration authorities in La Paz.
United States is in group II, so they need a visa, but for Americans this visa can be obtained for sure on arrival at any of the airport or land border crossings, be sure to carry all the documents, together with proof of yellow fever vaccination and exact change. It has been said that any country in group II can get such visa on arrival (just to be sure is better to contact the consulate of Bolivia ahead to confirm that) we know for sure that Americans can get it and their fee is 135 USD. Just be sure to get the entry stamp in your passport since sometimes we have heard that if it is not stamped one can have problems later when one is leaving the country.
Travelers from the US and Malaysia have reported to us just recently that they have been able to get the visa on arrival without problem they were still asked for invitation letters (an informal letter written by the host with a signature and details of the hosting) and full booked round trip tickets. But please always call any of the Bolivian diplomatic mission before your trip, requirements and procedures can change at any time without notice, here is a useful list with contact info of many of the Bolivian embassies and consulates around the world: Bolivian embassies
Here is the list of countries organized by groups. The best call is always to contact the nearest Bolivian consulate since regulations can change at any time.
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela
Armenia, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Cyprus, Comoros, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Solomon Islands, Jamaica,Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lesotho, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Morocco, Mauritius, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Central African Republic, South Korea, Dominican Republic, Tanzania, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Swaziland, Thailand, Tajikistan, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uganda, United States, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Cambodia, Chad, Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, Iran, China, Congo, North Korea, Laos, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan,Timor-Leste,Yemen