The specific purpose visa is the visa you will use if you are traveling to Bolivia for the specific purpose of applying for residency. Foreigners from visa groups 2 and 3 who wish to live, work or retire in Bolivia, must enter the country on the specific purpose visa (know in Spanish as the visa de objeto determinado), which must be obtained prior to travel from a Bolivian consulate in your country or general region. Foreigners from visa group 1 (for whom a tourist visa is not required) also do not need to request a specific purpose visa. Group 1 foreigners can enter Bolivia without a visa and initiate the residency application process directly. Click to see which visa group your country is in: Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3
The specific purpose visa is a travel visa only. It simply allows you entry into Bolivia for the specific purpose of applying for residency. It does not automatically grant you residency, nor authorization to work here legally.
The specific purpose visa is valid for 30 days, calculated as of the date on which you entered Bolivia (not the date it was issued to you by a Bolivian consulate). During those 30 days you must initiate and complete your application for residency at a local Immigration office. If you are unable to complete your residency application within the allotted 30-day period, you may apply one time for an additional 30-day extension. There is an extra cost for the extension.
How to Apply for the Specific Purpose Visa
Group 2 and 3 foreigners: in order to obtain the specific purpose visa to travel to Bolivia, you will be required to present the following documents to the Bolivian consulate in charge of your country or region:
2. Valid passport or travel document with a minimum validity of 6 months. This means your passport must not expire for at least 6 months from the date you enter Bolivia.
3. One recent 2" x 2" passport type photograph, solid color background.
4. Application fee of $85.00 per person
5. Letter of introduction explaining your specific purpose for wanting to seek residency in Bolivia. In your own words, explain why you are choosing to move to Bolivia and how you plan to make a living or provide for yourself and family. If you have been hired by a company to work in Bolivia, they will need to send a letter stating that.
6. Photocopy of plane ticket or itinerary
7. Bank statement or equivalent that shows economic solvency. (Please note that the validity of the document should be for at least the travel period). This is required in order to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to ensure you will not become indigent while in Bolivia.
8. Certificate of good conduct / police record
9. Additionally, if you will be traveling to a tropical area in Bolivia, you must get a yellow fever vaccination and include a copy of the vaccination certificate with your visa application.
The specific purpose visa has a cost of Us$85.00 per person, and can be paid by credit card or money order payable to the Bolivian Consulate. No cash will be accepted.
All of these documents must be presented in person or mailed to the Bolivian consulate.
If you process your specific purpose visa by mail, you must also download (from the consulate's website) a credit/debit card authorization form to pay for the visa. Print it, fill it out, and send it in. The safest way to send your passport is by registered mail or courier.
If you process your visa by mail, the safest way to ensure your passport is not lost when they return it to you, is to include a self-addressed, postage pre-paid courier envelope (such as FEDEX or DHL) when you send your package to them. The consulate can then use it to return your passport to you with the visa sticker adhered onto one of its pages.
Applications for the specific purpose visa that are incomplete or illegible will cause the consulate to return your package and passport to you, unprocessed.
You must apply for one specific purpose visa for each adult and each child traveling with you.
Other Specific Purpose Visas
There are several other specific purpose visas for which you may apply, depending on the reasons you have for wishing to remain in Bolivia:
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about the Bolivia Specific Purpose Visa
How can I locate a Bolivian consulate? The website of the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (known as the Cancillería) has a page which contains a list of Bolivian consulates and embassies worldwide.
What should I do if there is no Bolivian consulate in my country? If there isn't a Bolivian consulate in your country you must find the one that is responsible for your general region. Often embassies and consulates are assigned blocks of countries.
What if I can't travel to the nearest Bolivian consulate? Bolivia's consulates are prepared to process your specific purpose visa application by mail. Contact them by phone, fax, or email before you mail your application to ensure they give you the most recent information you'll need. Then, prepare all of the documentation required and mail it to them, following the instructions above.
What if I need more than 30 days to apply for residency? Once you arrive in Bolivia and begin your residency application process, if your application for residency is delayed for a valid reason, and you cannot complete the application procedure within the allotted 30-day period, you can request that your specific purpose visa be extended one time, to allow you an additional 30 days in Bolivia. You will pay an additional fee of approximately US$85.00 per person each time you extend it for 30 days.
What should I do if I do not want to get a yellow fever vaccination? If you or your doctor feel that getting a yellow fever vaccination might be hazardous to your health, your doctor should write a letter to this effect, stating that he/she recommends against the vaccine, and stating the reasons. The vaccine is only required of those traveling to tropical areas.
Why do I have to present my bank statements for a visa? The Bolivian government wishes to ensure, and you must prove, that you have sufficient money to live on while in Bolivia. There are no social programs in place in Bolivia to assist foreigners who can't make it on their own.
What is the minimum amount of money I need to prove economic solvency? There are no minimum or maximum set amounts required. Basically, you are being asked to prove that you have enough income to live on while you reside in Bolivia. If you've been hired by a company to work in Bolivia, the company should provide you a letter confirming your employment and salary. If you plan to be self-employed in Bolivia, you should describe the type of company you plan to set up, how much you will invest for start-up, and how much income will be available to you to live on until your company starts generating profits. The amount of money in your account must be sufficient to back up your statements/claims.
What if I am planning to live or retire, but NOT work, in Bolivia? You are not required to have a job or start a business in Bolivia to be granted residency. If you do not plan to work at all, you must demonstrate that you have sufficient savings, or that you are earning sufficient income from elsewhere, to sustain you during the time you live in Bolivia. Your bank statements serve to prove this. Typically, you will be asked to show a minimum of 6 months of recent bank statements.
If I have a police record, will I be denied the visa? It depends on what is reflected in your police record. Consulate officials will make a determination on an individual basis.
If I am married to a Bolivian, do I need a specific purpose visa? If you have not already been granted residency in Bolivia, you (but not your Bolivian spouse) must individually enter on a specific purpose visa and apply for residency.
If I enter on a specific purpose visa, can I apply for Bolivian citizenship? No. You must first live in Bolivia for a minimum of 3 consecutive (uninterrupted) years prior to being allowed to apply for Bolivian citizenship (2 consecutive years if you are married to a Bolivian national, have a child born in Bolivia, or have done military service here).
If I enter on a tourist visa can I apply for residency? The answer to this question was "no" until just recently. Today, the Bolivian Immigration Service is making an exception to this rule for some foreigners, but not all. Foreigners from visa group 1 do not need a tourist visa or specific purpose visa. Foreigners from groups 2 and 3 may be issued a specific purpose visa (if they entered on a tourist visa) only in very exceptional cases. Each case is now reviewed on an individual basis. Therefore IF Migración officials determine they will make an exception for you, they will charge you a hefty amount to void your tourist visa and issue you a "specific purpose visa" (the visa you should have used to enter Bolivia if your plan was to apply for residency). The specific purpose visa costs US$85.00 per person when you apply for it before traveling to Bolivia. The cost to issue you one in Bolivia, and void your tourist visa, is roughly US$365.00 per person.
Disclaimer: We do everything possible to keep the information on our website pages updated and current; however, immigration laws can and do change at any moment. We recommend that you always inform yourself within the days prior to applying for a visa to ensure that you are aware of any changes to the rules and requirements for citizens of your country.
If you have further questions regarding the specific purpose visa, you may post them in our public Bolivia Visa Forum. Other members of the public may or may not respond to your questions. If you have questions regarding residency, you may make use of our Question and Answer Service.