Written by Neon
I had not gone through the trouble of getting a Bolivian Visa like my hiking partner had while in the United States, so I had to get one at the border. I read many different blogs about crossing the border, and each one said something different. Even the Bolivian Consulate website said something different, so I am going to assume that each border crossing is its own special snowflake, and just give you the rundown of my personal experience.
Since Mendoza, I had been reading up on what I needed at the Bolivian border, and was able to put most of it together in Salta.
What I handed over:
– 2 copies of my bank statement
– 2 passport-sized photos
– 1 copy of my passport
– 1 copy of proof of yellow fever shot
– $160 in USD (actually had $200 and the border officer gave me change in Bolivianos)
– Passport (original, expires in 2024, they request it be valid for at least 5 years and have at one full page free for visa and entry stamp)
– A general understanding of the Spanish language
Items I didn’t have, and the border control officer supplied:
– Visa Application
Items I had and the border control officer didn’t ask for:
– Proof of yellow fever shot (original)
– Itinerary while in Bolivia (on my phone)
– Proof of onward movement (plane ticket purchase confirmation on my phone)
– Proof of place to stay (hostel confirmation on my phone)
Fidgit already had her Bolivian Visa, but had overstayed her 90 days in Argentina, so we decided to cross seperately. The border control officers immediately knew we were together, but didn’t seem to care. Because I got stamped out of Argentina so quickly, I walked into Bolivia – right past the window that I needed to stop at. Thankfully, there were some helpful people nearby I could ask for directions, and I returned to the window sheepishly. I was the only one there that Sunday morning, and I imagine that may not always be the case, especially if you arrive by bus. The original officer I talked to called over the other one, and they joked with me about it being such a cold morning. I then handed over my passport and the papers I had, and they gave me the visa application to fill out. One of the border officers came out to warm up in the sun, and we chatted while the other one processed my ‘request’ and handed back my passport, now with a Bolivian Visa and 90-day stamp in it.
This was way easier and less hassle than I imagined it to be, though at one point he did ask if I had another $100 bill (mine had gotten a bit worn from being in my backpack for 7 months). I didn’t, and he seemed to be alright with that. I was glad to have everything I may have needed, even if they didn’t ask for everything, and I believe greeting them with a smile helped as well.