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Bolivia
Official Name:

Plurinational State of Bolivia

Last Updated: August 4, 2017

Embassy Messages

Further Safety and Security Information

Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.

Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.

Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy La Paz

Avenida Arce 2780
La Paz, Bolivia

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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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Six months (as of entry date into the country)

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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One page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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Yes

VACCINATIONS:

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Yellow Fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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$10,000

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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$10,000

 

Country Map

U.S. Embassy La Paz

Avenida Arce 2780
La Paz, Bolivia

Telephone: +(591) (2) 216-8246

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(591) (2) 216-8500

Fax: +(591) (2) 216-8808

Hours:  Monday to Thursday:  08:00 – 17:30 and Friday: 08:00 – 12:00 (except U.S. and local holidays)

Consulates

United States Consular Agency, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Radial Castilla S/N (In front of Santo Tomas School soccer field). Between 3er Anillo Interno y 3er Anillo Externo

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Telephone: +(591) (3) 351-3477 / 351-3479

Emergency after-hours telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in La Paz - +(591) 2-216-8500

Facsimile: +(591) (3) 351-3478

Hours:  Monday and Tuesday: 08:00 – 15:00 Wednesday and Thursday: 8:30 – 15:00, and Friday: 09:00 – 12:00  (except U.S. and local holidays)

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Bolivia for information on U.S. – Bolivia relations.

You need a valid passport for at least six months after entry, and a valid Bolivian visa.

  • With a visitor visa, you may stay for a maximum of 30 days per trip, not to exceed 90 days per year.
  • If you plan to conduct business in Bolivia, you must apply for a separate visa.
  • Make sure you obtain entry and exit stamps from the Bolivian authorities every time you enter or exit Bolivia.
  • There are limited flights within Bolivia and to neighboring countries. Flight delays and cancellations are common. 
  • If you received the Bolivian visa at the port of entry and you lose your passport, you will need to visit Bolivian Immigration toobtain a new visa and pay the visa fee in order to exit the country. Visit the U.S. Embassy’s website for more information.
  • Unaccompanied minors with Bolivian citizenship need to obtain authorization from the non-traveling parent or parents, to exit Bolivia. All other unaccompanied minors remaining in Bolivia for more than 90 days, regardless of citizenship, also need to obtain this same authorization.

Dual Nationality: Upon entering and/or exiting Bolivia, U.S.-Bolivian citizens may be required to show a valid Bolivian identity document, such as a Bolivian cedula de identidad

HIV Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of Bolivia.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our website.

Protests, strikes, and roadblocks are common. While they generally begin peacefully, they have the potential to become violent.

You should:

  • Avoid roadblocks or public demonstrations.
  • Consider the possibility of flight disruptions.
  • Take extra food, water, and warm clothing on road trips. Roadblocks may occur without warning and could strand you for several days.
  • Monitor Bolivian media and the U.S. Embassy website for updates.

Messages regarding demonstrations, strikes and weather-related events are posted on the embassy’s website.

Chapare and Yungas Regions: Organized criminal groups near Coroico and Carnavi in Yungas have committed carjackings and robberies. Additionally, government authorities have used force in past confrontations with residents over coca eradication, and pro-coca groups may attempt to target U.S. interests. Contact the Embassy's Consular Section before traveling to these regions.

Crime: Pick pocketing, assaults following ATM withdrawals, and car theft are common.

  • Express kidnappings, in which tourists are robbed and forced to withdraw money from ATMs, are common in La Paz. Use only radio taxis and don’t travel alone, particularly late at night, or if you’re under the influence.
  • Avoid Coronilla Hill in Cochabamba next to the main bus terminal, due to crime.
  • Use caution if you plan to travel from Copacabana to La Paz by bus. Arrive during daylight hours if possible, verify the final destination, and buy tickets directly at the bus terminal. 
  • Be aware of impostors. Organized criminal groups sometimes pose as police with the intent to rob foreigners. It is also a common scheme for criminals to pose as a crime victim, only to rob an unsuspecting bystander.
  • Theft of bags, wallets, and backpacks are a problem, especially in tourist areas and on overnight buses. Thieves sometimes distract victims by spraying water on their neck or placing a substance on the bag, and trick them into giving up the bag. Never leave personal items unattended.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should immediately get to a safe place, seek medical care if necessary, and then contact the U.S. Embassy. 

Report crimes to the local police at 110 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (591) (2) 216-8246. After working hours: (591) (2) 216-8500. The National Tourism Police provides free assistance in English to tourists. Contact the La Paz office at 800-14-0081. Contact the Cochabamba office at (591) (4) 450-3880. In the city of Santa Cruz, contact Interpol at (591) (3) 349-7720.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.

Bolivia is experiencing a water shortage. Many neighborhoods, particularly in La Paz, Potosi, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca, and Oruro, do not have regular running water.

Medical care in large cities is adequate, but of varying quality. Medical facilities are generally not equipped to handle serious medical conditions, and risk of infection is high.    

  • Ambulance services are limited to non-existent.
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications are widely available. However, many pharmacies only stock generic brands.
  • Much of Bolivia is 10,000 feet above sea level and higher. Consult your healthcare provider for recommendations concerning medication and high altitude tips.
  • Water treatment methods do not meet U.S. standards. Avoid consuming unfiltered tap water. 
  • Sanitize all produce, and ensure all meat products are completely cooked, due to higher risks of salmonella or other contaminants.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

The U.S. Embassy does not pay or provide loans for medical evacuations. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, verify with the Government of Bolivia the medication is legal in Bolivia. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Malaria
  • Dengue
  • Rabies
  • Yellow fever
  • Chikungunya
  • Zika

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

  • Under Bolivian law, suspects can be detained for up to 18 months without formal charges during an investigation, and the detention period could be extended beyond 18 months.
  • Legal cases often drag on for years. 

Medical Tourism: Undergoing elective cosmetic procedures in Bolivia presents significant risks. The blood supply and regulation of doctors and medical services do not meet U.S. standards in many areas. Visit the CDC Medical Tourism page for more information.

Mountain Trekking and Climbing Safety: Many popular trekking routes in the Bolivian Andes are at 16,000 feet or higher. Regardless of medical history or physical fitness, you may experience significant health issues due to the high altitude. Exercise extreme caution when trekking or climbing in Bolivia.

  • Trekkers must have adequate clothing and equipment, not always available locally, and should be experienced mountain travelers.
  • Don’t trek alone. The safest option is to join an organized group and/or use a reputable firm to provide an experienced guide and porter.
  • If you develop a severe headache, weakness, vomiting, shortness of breath at rest, cough, chest tightness, or unsteadiness while climbing, descend to a lower altitude immediately, and consider seeking medical attention.
  • Trekkers and climbers should purchase insurance that covers emergency services such as medical evacuations.
  • Satellite communication and internet connectivity can be limited or non-existent. Inform family members of your plans and note that you may not be reachable for extended periods.

Authentication of Documents: If you plan to use U.S. documents, such as birth, marriage, divorce, or death certificates, in Bolivia, you must authenticate them in the United States. Consult the Department of State Office of Authentications and the nearest Bolivian Embassy or consulate. 

Marriage: See the Embassy’s website for information on getting married in Bolivia.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: The Bolivian constitution prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Few buildings and streets are accessible by wheelchair. Sidewalks and ramps are often in disrepair. Most public transportation vehicles are ill-adapted.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Bolivia has one of the highest domestic violence rates against women in South America. A very high percentage of women have experienced intimate partner violence. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Road Conditions and Safety: Use extreme caution when driving on roadways. Few highways have shoulders, fencing or barriers, and lane markings are minimal. Even when lanes are marked, it is common for drivers to disregard them.

  • Although La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Cochabamba are connected by highways, most roads in Bolivia are unpaved.
  • Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for trips outside major cities.
  • Travel during the rainy season (November-March) is difficult, as most routes have potholes, and roads and bridges may be washed out.
  • Other dangers include poor maintenance and overloaded vehicles, lack of lights on some vehicles, and intoxicated or overly tired drivers, including commercial bus and truck drivers.
  • Stop signs are rare, and drivers commonly disregard red lights, particularly at night. 

Traffic Laws: Most drivers lack formal training. Maintain situational awareness on the roads and employ defensive driving skills. 

  • Drivers do not normally yield to pedestrians.
  • If you are involved in a traffic accident, stay at the scene until local police arrive. Leaving the scene is illegal under Bolivian law. The police may assess a percentage of fault to you relative to their assessment of your responsibility for the incident. 

Public Transportation: Although violent assaults on public transportation are rare, petty theft is common.

  • Avoid taking unlicensed taxis, and use radio taxis whenever possible.
  • The majority of intercity travel is by minibus, with varying levels of safety and service. Bus accidents have caused scores of deaths and severe injuries. The old Yungas road is considered one of the most dangerous routes in the world.

See our Road Safety page for more information. 

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Bolivia’s Civil Aviation Authority to be in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Bolivia’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

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