Emigration to Bolivia

Area: 1,098,581 km²
Residents: 11,080,649 (March 2018)
Population density: 10 E / km²
Form of Government: Republic
System of Government: Presidential system
Neighboring countries: Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile
Capital: Sucre
National Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aimara, (as well as a few Guaraní and 33 other indigenous languages)
92% Catholics
5% Evangelical
0.2% Jehovah’s Witnesses
Currency: Boliviano (BOB) (colloquially Peso)
1 BOB = 100 Centavos
Exchange rates:
1 EUR = 8.12 BOB
1 BOB = 0.12 EUR
1 CHF = 7.54 BOB
1 BOB = 0.13 CHF
(rate from January 16, 2021)
Telephone area code: +591
Time zone: UTC -4
Mains voltage: 220 volts (in La Paz also 110 volts)
Road traffic:
40 km / h in cities,
schools 10 km / h
outside cities 80 km / h.

Due to the great differences in altitude, Bolivia has different climatic zones. Although the climate is predominantly tropical and temperatures are mostly warm or even hot, the higher areas have a cold and dry climate. However, the differences in altitude are very difficult for many people with weak hearts. Even a healthy European needs a few days to adapt to the altitude conditions.

According to best-medical-schools, the most popular and probably most pleasant time to travel in Bolivia is winter from May to October with its dry, clear days. This is also the best season for mountain climbing.

A little over 55% of the population belongs to the indigenous peoples, mostly Quechua and Aymara; a good 30% of the population are mestizos. The remaining residents of the country are white, mostly descendants of the various waves of immigration until after the Second World War, but also around 40,000 Mennonites.

Travel and Visa

Changed travel regulations during and after the corona pandemic

The entry of foreigners by air is generally permitted if a negative PCR test is presented that is not older than 72 hours. A ten-day quarantine is mandatory after entry. A PCR test must be carried out again after seven days.

Foreigners who do not have a valid residence permit for Bolivia must present health insurance cover against COVID-19 upon entry.

Entry by land is only possible with restrictions. The national borders with Brazil are closed until further notice. There are no exceptions for those who have been vaccinated or recovered.

Source: Federal Foreign Office on July 22, 2021

General provisions for travel and residence (until the corona pandemic)

German citizens do not need a visa to enter Bolivia. A valid passport is sufficient (passport should still be valid for 6 months) to receive a residence permit of 90 days. When entering the country, you usually get a residence permit of 30 days. However, this can be extended twice for 30 days at the migration authority free of charge.

Further entry requirements:

  • Flight tickets / travel documents for the return or onward journey
  • Valid international yellow fever vaccination certificate when entering or leaving via third countries (or medical certificate in English or Spanish)

When traveling overland by bus, it is strongly advised to only travel with well-known bus companies, as others do not offer the necessary security. In addition, when entering overland, you should make sure that you get a correct residence stamp in your passport. This avoids possible difficulties.

For all other travel purposes (e.g. business trip, internship, study, etc.), a corresponding visa (“visa de objeto determinado”) must be applied for at the Bolivian embassy in your home country. Business people can obtain a long-term business visa with multiple entries and a total length of stay of up to 180 days per year.

Immigration, residence permit, permanent residence

If you want to live in the country, you can apply for a so-called “visa de objeto determinado” (visa for a specific purpose).

People who have the following concerns can apply for a visa:

  • Business trip or employment relationship with an employment contract
  • Internship
  • Unpaid volunteer work
  • Marriage
  • Temporary relocation or immigration (due to job or family)

First, an entry visa with a validity of 30 days is issued. This is then used to initiate further processing of the desired visa on site.

The following documents must be submitted in order to be able to apply for the visa for a specific purpose:

  • Cover letter to the consular department
  • Visa application form
  • Passport with a validity of at least 6 months
  • Documents justifying the application for the visa
  • Proof of registration of the organization / registration of the institution in the register book
    a) an employment contract legalized by the Bolivian Ministry of Labor
    b) a contract / invitation to cultural, religious, artistic or sporting activities, etc. legalized by the Bolivian Ministry of Culture and Foreign Affairs, etc.
  • International yellow fever vaccination
  • Proof of financial creditworthiness
  • Police clearance certificate (not older than a month)
  • International birth certificate and certificate of unmarried status in the event of marriage

If you do not have an employment relationship with a certain employer, a notarized letter must be presented, certifying the nature of the activities and solvency.

All documents submitted must be legalized beforehand by the consular department.
Processing time: approx. 14 days
Costs: (Visa for a specific purpose) € 85
Legalization costs: € 20

For more information on procedures and costs, it is best to contact the consular section of the embassy or the honorary consulates.

Emigration and life in Bolivia – conclusion

A culturally (35 ethnic groups) and in its nature very varied and interesting country, in which in some places time seems to have stood still. Immigration and life are only (conditionally) recommended for retirees and financially independent people. Further advantages are: Free of nuclear power, lots of forest, low cost of living (LHK-I 52.1). If you have to work and have no financial support, it will be very difficult here. Regional political unrest has been the order of the day in recent years. In any case, you should at least master some basic vocabulary in Spanish.

Bolivia Travel Guide

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