For those of you who are planning on importing vehicles as part of a move to Bolivia where you will apply for residency, we consulted authorities of the Bolivian Customs Service (Aduana Nacional) in Santa Cruz Bolivia (Phone: 591-3-349-2923) in an effort to offer you the most correct and up-to-date information on how to import our personal vehicle(s) into Bolivia. Additionally, we researched the most recent laws, resolutions, decrees and procedures on importing vehicles into Bolivia, and offer you links to them below.
The first thing you need to know is that if you plan to reside in Bolivia you must arrive to Bolivia on a Visa de Objeto Determinado or Specific Purpose Visa. This travel visa allows you to enter Bolivia specifically for the purpose of applying for residency. As part of your move to Bolivia, you may be considering shipping all of your belongings, rather than making a fresh start in Bolivia. Please read our page on importing household goods to ensure you are fully informed on the implications of, and procedures for, doing so. Bolivia also offers a program which, if you qualify, would enable you to import your belongings tax free.
Although they are a personal belonging, vehicles are not considered household goods under Bolivian law, and thus cannot be imported under the same tax regimen as your personal belongings. Even if you ship a vehicle to Bolivia in the same container as your household goods, customs clearance procedures, and the taxes you’ll be required to pay, will differ.
What You Need to Know
► On 31 December, 2014 Bolivia’s government passed Supreme Decree No. 2232, modifying the Regulations for Importing Vehicles, and declaring that as of January 2015, no vehicles over two (2) years old may be imported into Bolivia and as of January 2016, no vehicles older than one (1) year of age will be allowed into the country.
► Previously, the law allowed importing vehicles of up to five (5) years of age. While this is no longer the case, the I.C.E. tax (Impuesto al Consumo Específico) on vehicles was up to 50% of the value of the vehicle. The customs agents we spoke with were unwilling to tell us what the import duties would be on any vehicle, used or new, because the import duties depend on the brand, age, and model of each specific vehicle and vary greatly. However, you can expect taxes on used vehicles for personal, non-commercial use, to be in a similar range, and possibly more if your vehicle is new (0 kilometers).
► The objective of this law is to prevent Bolivia from becoming a nation that imports junk cars and to protect the environment due to emissions from older vehicles. The law, therefore, also prohibits importing vehicles that have any type of exterior damage, regardless of how slight, moderate, or serious it may be.
► The government has now limited the number of vehicles each individual or family may import. Individuals not registered as owners of a vehicle importing company may only import a maximum of two (2) vehicles per year. This stipulation is designed to prevent tax evasion as individuals may not import vehicles for resale by acting as unregistered companies. Any person who imports more than two (2) vehicles per year will be charged all of the taxes paid by vehicle importing companies, which are much higher.
► Once you’ve entered Bolivia and your vehicle arrives into a Bolivian customs zone, you will need to contract the services of a despachante de aduana (customs clearance agent) to assist you with the paperwork necessary to clear your vehicle(s) from customs. To this end, you must have all of the necessary paperwork with you including the title of ownership and any documents you have that very clearly indicate the brand, model and year of manufacture of your vehicle. You will be required to sign a sworn statement declaring the vehicle is yours and that you are importing it for your own use, and not for resale.
References for Download and Online
All of the information on our website pages regarding the importation of household goods and/or vehicles was compiled from conversations we held in person with Bolivian Customs officials and information available on the official website of the Bolivian Customs Service. We do everything possible to keep the content of our website pages current and up-to-date. However, as changes may occur at any time, we strongly recommend you inform yourself at a Bolivian consulate overseas prior to moving to Bolivia. You may also wish to consult the following references:
This page on the official website of the Ministry of Economy and Finance explains why the Bolivian Government passed Decree No. 2232, when the stipulations go into effect, who may import a vehicle, what types of vehicles may be imported and which types may not.
On this website you can download the full text of Decree No. 2232 in PDF format, or read it online.
This document lists the exact steps you must take as an importer of a vehicle, plus a list of all of the approximate costs you will incur in taxes and fees to import a vehicle, and to whom each payment must be made.
This page on the official website of the Bolivian Customs Service lists responses to Frequently Asked Questions about importing vehicles into Bolivia, including a detailed list of the types of vehicles that may not be imported into Bolivia.
This PDF file on the official website of the Bolivian Customs Service describes the procedures you must follow if you are planning on importing a vehicle into Bolivia for tourism only, known as a temporary importation.
The official website of the Bolivian Customs Service lists the taxes to be paid on vehicles by vehicle type on this page.