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Bolivia Work and Volunteer Visa

If you are intending to work or volunteer in Bolivia for any extended period of time, then you will need to get a visa. If the company that you are working or volunteering for is foreign, then it’s best to do this before you enter the county. You will need to go to your local Bolivian consulate and apply for a Visa de Objectivo Determinado, or specific purpose visa. Applications can also normally be sent by post.

For your application, you need to submit a completed application form, a passport photo, a letter of introduction, a fee of $85, a copy of your itinerary or ticket and your passport (needs to be valid for one year). The visa lasts for 30 days but can be extended at immigration in Bolivia for a fee.

If you come to Bolivia and decide to stay, then you can apply for your specific purpose visa in country. Be warned though, this process is very expensive and is only really worth it if you plan to stay for a while and apply for temporary residency. If you are coming to volunteer for a few months, and are from a country that doesn’t require a tourist visa, then the best option is probably to come in as a tourist, although this is not the official way of doing things.

For your application you need your passport, photocopies of your entry stamp and document page, a document verifying your purpose for staying the country (such as a work or volunteer contract) or a notarized letter stating what you’ll be doing and declaring that you are economically solvent. The cost of this 30-day visa is $360.

After that, you can then apply for your temporary residency of one year, although it is strongly advised to start getting your documentation together for your temporary visa before you submit your specific purpose visa. The process is long and full of bureaucracy, and is very likely to take more than 30 days. You will need:

A certificate registering your address issued by the Policía Técnica Judicial (PTJ),background check certificates from PTJ and Interpol, a medical certificate, photocopies of your entry stamp, document and v d o d from your passport and a work contract verified by the ministry of trabajo or a notarized letter stating what you intended to do in the country and that you are economically solvent, your passport and a memorial de solictud (notarized introductory letter). If you’re applying in La Paz, it is quite likely that Intepol will have your application for at least three weeks, so be prepared to be patient.

Once you have all your documentation, you will need to take your application to immigration and pay an additional $200 for your temporary resident visa. Then you will have to pay $50 for your carnet (ID card). With the costs of all the documentation you need, the total cost of the process is getting on for $800. From start to finish, the process can easily take six months or more, although you could be lucky and get in finished quicker.

It might be worth hiring a tramitador (a legal representative to assist in your application) to help you with the process - you will still have to queue up at immigration but you might only have to go in every other day, rather than every day!

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Bolivia: Bolivia Visa Regulations,

18 Dec 2009

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