It’s a shame that Bolivia only gives a 30 day entry visa for us Europeans. Sorry B, but this is simply not enough time to explore all you have to offer.
With tourism on the rise, we expect and hope that the thriving country will one day take a leaf from the book of its neighbouring countries and eventually offer a 60 or 90 day visa. But until that day fear not, as a a Bolivian tourist visa extension is available and to apply for one is as easy as buying a salteña.
Firstly, triple check your nationality’s requirements but for most of us Europeans (and definitly us Irish) we are entitled a further 60 days on top of our original 30, completely free of charge.
Like we said, it is a simple process and can be done in La Paz, Sucre or Cochabamba. Alternatively, if close by, you can easily cross over into a neighbouring country such as Peru but you will have to spend 24 hours in said country before you can re-enter Bolivia.
In the meantime La Paz is the easiest destination to apply for an extension considering you will most likely pass through here on more than one occasion to reach other Bolivian destinations. It’s basically Bolivia’s transport hub.
In La Paz, The Dirección General de Migración is where the stamping takes place. The building, found on Avenida Camacho, is just two blocks and a short walk away from the central San Francisco Plaza.
From the San Fran Plaza, with your back to the church, take a right and head straight up the big and busy Avenida until you reach the parting fork in the road. At this fork take a left and in less than 10 minutes the Dirección General de Migración building will appear on your right hand side. It’s beside the number of banks just a few doors up from the Banco Union which is on the corner.
Enter the building and directly on your right will be the ‘Información’ desk. Hand over your passport, preferably opened on the page where your entry stamp is and take a ticket.
Know that the earlier the arrival the better. As you can imagine, this is a rammed government building and you could be waiting a while. Since we only arrived into La Paz from Rurrenabaque after 8am, we didn’t reach the office until 11am. After what felt like an age, we were finally seen at 1pm. We even had a little nap while we waited.
Note: We noticed some tourists took a ticket and left the premises for an hour or so. While a few made it back before their number was called others didn’t, yet thought it would be fine to still visit the desk despite the fact their number had been and gone. This led to more delays and more waiting time for us. In a nutshell, don’t be a dick. Wait it out like the rest of us.
All you need to bring with you is your passport and your visa entry slip, which you should have received when you entered the country. Be sure to keep this safe at all times.
And that’s it! You do not need anything else; no photocopies of your passport, no proof of onward travel, nothing. Nada. Zilch!
So take a seat, have a nap, read a book and wait for your ticket number to show up on the large overshadowing TV screens.
Once called, pop up to the desk, flash the passport, show off the visa entry slip and tell the clerk how many days you need.
A few years ago it use to be the case that you could only renew by another 30 days per visit. It seems to have changed since we were asked if we wanted 30 or 60 days more.
Save yourself the hassle and opt in for the 90 days. Recieve the tiny little button size stamp and you’re good to go.
Note: If for whatever reason you have over-stayed your original 30 days, this is only punishable by a daily fine of 20B per day. That’s €2.50 for every day of your over-stay. It might not seem like much, and such a low cost could make you a little lazy but with regularly roadside police checks (where we were asked for our passport on a number of occasions) if they see you are taking the piss, it could cause you more problems than necessary.
So take heed, prevent a headache and get your ass to the nearest immigration office and recieve you’re entitled 60 days.
Now! Off you go and enjoy exploring every corner of Bolivia with a peace of mind.
And sure while you’re here, and there, you might as well have a click onto our guide to La Paz.
Join the discussion 4 Comments
A friend from Canada received 90 days on entry in the last few months, he said he asked several times before they agreed but said it wasn’t a hassle.
This is such a huge help! Thanks a mil for the update and for letting us and our readers know. Was he charged at all?
hi Katie,rob here Dublin.a question do you have to stay the initial days 30 permitted than seek a extension before time expires or can I apply for 90 days from my arrival time,you see i plan to spend some two months on the salt flats Desert on a walk challenge around same two months solo,be good to have the 90 days from day two of geting to La paz before i start the challenge.
hey great stuff,,,respect the dubinatub
Now that sounds epic, how do we follow you? We want to visit that through your eyes!! Have a ball and fair play, a challenge indeed. That poor Irish skin haha, it will be red raw but so worth it.
So, unfortunately, on arrival you will recieve only the 30 days. You will need to visit immigration regardless, so I would suggest doing so and explaining the situation. How is your Spanish? You could pop into the local tourist office if you need help with the language barrier, they tend to speak decent enough English.
I am aware that when you renew your visa, they will ask how many days and you can say the additional 60 but I THINK that may start from the day you apply so if you have only entered, you may lose a month. If that makes sense?
Will you have some time before you head to do the challenge? Are you exploring more of the country before or after? Not sure if helpful but you can use your original 30 days to explore and then renew (can also renew in Sucre) for an extra 60 days ahead of Salt Flats challenge? I think your best bet is to visit immigration and explain, enquire with whoever is leading the Salt Flats adventure (they may have had this enquiry before) or visit local tourist office and seek advice from them.
Wish we could be of more help, Rob. Best of luck and if you can keep us posted that would be much appreciated, handy to let others know also.
Have an amazing time in Salts. Well jealous!!!