Traveling to Uyuni? What you Need to Know About Bolivia’s Entry Visa

Knowing what travel documents you need in order to cross borders is key to getting between San Pedro de Atacama, Chile and the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia without delays or headaches. Services are limited in this area so it’s important to have everything you need before crossing.

All countries are part of one of three “Visa Groups.” Depending on your nationality and group number, the Bolivian government will ask for additional travel documents such as itinerary and copies of your passport. Scroll down or click here to see which group you belong to.

Travel Tip: The Bolivian government has a big gap between what is on the books and what they usually enforce. Most travelers just need to fill out a visa form and a copy of their passport. The best way to know exactly what you need to cross the border is to know what group your nationality falls under.

Requirements for US Citizens Traveling to Bolivia

Due to the political relationships between the USA and Bolivia, requirements to enter Bolivia as a US citizen are a little bit different. United States citizens are required to pay a “reciprocity fee” of $160 USD to enter Bolivia – the same amount Bolivians have to pay to enter the US. If you plan to pay this fee at the border, be sure to bring crisp US dollars – they will not accept marked or torn bills. They will not accept credit or debit card.

US tourist visas are valid for 10 years from the date of issue and allow you to be in the country, for the purpose of tourism, for 30 days.. US tourists may extend their 30 day stay up to a 90 day stay through Bolivian immigration offices. The maximum period of stay for tourists is 90 days per calendar year and the visa holder will only be able to use the visa for up to 3 trips per year.

In addition to paying the $160 USD visa fee, you are also required to have the follow travel documents:

Please note that at the border between Chile and Bolivia, the immigration officers most often only ask for a filled out visa form, copy of your passport, and the visa fee (if applicable). However, technically, the Bolivian government requires all of the above and if you choose to bring less documentation, you do so at your own risk. But don’t be surprised if you bring all of your documentation and they ask for almost none of it.

As US Citizens, you are also required to fill out and sign the sworn statement application form. You can fill it out online and print it beforehand for convenience. The form can be found online here. If you are entering Bolivia by plane or bus, it’s most likely that you will be given one.

Bolivia Visa: Group 1

Bolivia Travel Group 1

If you are a citizen from one of these countries, you may enter Bolivia without a visa for period of up to 30 days. It can easily be extended for an additional 30 days free of charge. The only document you need  is a valid passport with more than 6 months remaining before expiration.

If you wish to extend your stay and you belong to group 1, you can do so for free for 30 more days and then again for another 30 days. This will give you a total of 90 days in Bolivia. Each time you want to extend your stay you need to have the following:

Take these copies along with the originals to any immigration office and you’ll receive a stamp on your passport and tourist card with a 30 day extension.

Bolivia Visa: Group 2

If you are a citizen from countries listed as Group 2, you have two options to obtain a Consular Tourist Visa. If you apply for this visa before your arrival through the Bolivian Embassy, it’s completely free of charge. If you decided to apply for visa upon arrival, a $95 USD visa fee will apply. It’s best to have exact change because it’s most likely there will be no change and the bills must be new and crisp for them to be accepted. Either way, when you decided to apply for your visa, you must present the following documents:

Bolivia Visa: Group 3

Bolivia Visa Travel Group 3

Citizens from countries listed on Group 3 are required to obtain a tourist visa from a Bolivian consulate/embassy prior to traveling to Bolivia. The application process takes around 3-5 weeks, cost $30 USD and needs the same travel documents as group 2:

Do I Really Need my Yellow Fever Vaccination?

The Bolivian ministry of health states that all travelers visiting yellow fever risk areas must carry proof of yellow fever vaccination. These areas are the entire departments of Beni, Pando, Santa Cruz, and certain areas of Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, and Tarija. Mainly, they are located on the east side of the country and if you’re visiting only the Salt flats you should be fine to enter without this vaccination.

As mentioned above, since the Bolivian government has a big gap of what is required and what the actually enforce, it really depends on the border patrol agents’ mood that day if he or she wants to be picky about this certificate.

How do I get an Itinerary of my Bolivia Trip?

If you book through Keteka, we would be happy to provide you with a detailed itinerary for your Bolivia Visa. Just let our customer service representative know that you’d like an itinerary for your Uyuni Salt Flat trip and we’ll send one over so you’re prepared for your trip. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us.

More Information on Bolivia Visas

If you aren’t sure about something, ask us! Our guides know what travel documents you need as they see this all the time. They are happy to help you out with anything you need. For more information about Visa requirements, check out the sources we used to write this article:

A Note on Money

If you are traveling to Bolivia through San Pedro de Atacama, you should exchange your money into Bolivian Bolivianos before departing to the salt flats. It is highly recommended that you exchange all the money you will need before your trip because ATMs and currency exchange is very limited once you cross the border. In San Pedro, go to the street Toconao, just south of Caracoles and you will find plenty of  “casas de cambios” which all have competitive exchange rates.

Also note that number of places in Santiago may not stock Bolivianos and you cannot change money at the airport in Calama. 

Passport Photos in San Pedro

If you’re looking to get last-minute passport photos in San Pedro, we recommend “Casa de DANI Casa de Cambio e Internet” located at Toconao 544

Questions about Bolivia Entry Visa