Bolivian Customs laws are very strict because so much contraband is brought into the country. The government loses millions of dollars a year in revenues from import taxes due to this situation. Authorities rigorously inspect any shipments or items to ensure they do not contain weapons, stolen art or antiques, and other smuggled goods. They also inspect your luggage when you arrive at the airport
. See airlines in Bolivia
If you are going to bring expensive electronic items be sure you have a copy of your receipt to prove you paid for the items. You wouldn’t want anything like that to be confiscated when you arrive. If you must bring any medications, be sure they are all in their original bottles with a clear prescription and description.
If you bring gifts for friends or family members in Bolivia, it's best not to bring them closed and wrapped. They will most likely be opened when you arrive anyway. Never ever bring a sealed package or envelope for anyone, even family members or close friends, if you do not know what it contains. Even if they have innocently and inadvertently sent something that is considered illegal, the person responsible for bringing it into Bolivia is you!
If you are
moving to Bolivia
and will be
your household and personal items through a shipping company, those items will also be inspected when they arrive (probably quite a long time after you do). To clear them from customs, you will need a good agent in Bolivia. You should also be aware you will be responsible for any import taxes on the total value of those goods, in some cases even if they are used, such as furniture, household electronics, jewelry, etc.
If you are importing or exporting goods for
reasons you must be especially vigilant and ensure you are completely informed about any certificates of origin, phytosanitary certificates, or other permits you will need to prove you have paid for those items, they belong to you, and you have paid taxes on them. Customs in the country of destination will require at least that as well.
If you break the law and import or export any illegal substance or item, fines and/or prison time are pretty severe in Bolivia. The items could also be confiscated and you could forfeit all ownership of them. You should be aware that getting your case to court could take a looooooong time, during which time you would most likely be detained in a Bolivian jail (not good!) until your court date. Read more info on
If you have broken the law, your country’s
or consulate may not be able to help you out. You are ultimately responsible under Bolivian law while you are here.
If you are using a freight forwarder to ship your items to Bolivia, they should be able to provide you with the information you need; however, since laws in Bolivia change and/or are modified frequently, they may not have the most current information.
You should request information on Bolivian customs requirements and laws by contacting a Bolivian Embassy or consulate in your country before traveling or shipping anything. Or you can check out the official website (in Spanish) Aduana Nacional: