Getting a Bolivian Tourist Visa in Lima

American citizens need to get a tourist visa to visit Bolivia and pay a reciprocal US$135 fee. Opinions aside as to the wisdom of this decision from a Bolivian tourism perspective,  I decided to get this taken care of upon arriving in Lima since you have to pay in cash and I didn’t want to carry it around until I got to the Bolivian border. Why didn’t I get it beforehand in New York? Good question. For some ridiculous reason, Americans getting the visa in New York need to have a Certificate of Good Conduct from the police, which costs $50 and requires a visit to police HQ in the Financial District. Gracias, pero no gracias.  

Fortunately, getting the visa was extraordinarily quick and easy in Lima. I walked to the Bolivian embassy from my nearby hostel in San Isidro and got there around 11:00. Despite information online that says the embassy is open until 6 pm, the posted sign said it is only open to the public from 9:00 – 13:00. I showed my passport to the guard at the front, who asked me a couple of questions and pointed me in the right direction.

There was no line at the embassy and I was attended to almost immediately. I handed over the following documents:

  • My passport (of course, with ample free pages and more than six months validity)
  • A completed application
  • My Yellow Fever inoculation card
  • A copy of my flight itinerary showing onward travel
  • A copy of a hotel reservation in Sucre via Expedia (which was later cancelled)
  • A copy of my most recent bank statement, with identifying information blacked out
  • Two photocopies of my passport
  • A color passport-sized photo

I did not have photocopies of my credit or debit cards, but I was asked for them and they made a copy at the embassy without any trouble. I don’t know whether they actually needed all of the information I gave them, but I wanted to be comfortable knowing I wouldn’t be missing anything.

I was then given a slip of paper with a bank account number on it and was told to go to the Banco Continental four blocks away to deposit the cash and get a receipt. This was a very simple process and took about half an hour, including the walk to and from the bank.

Once I had my deposit slip, I returned to the embassy and they had already put a visa, good for five years, into my passport. Like magic.

5 thoughts on “Getting a Bolivian Tourist Visa in Lima

    • Hi Neha,

      The vaccination is technically a requirement, and as I had it anyway I handed it in with all my other documents without even asking. I think if you get lucky with the agent you speak to they might not ask.

      Good luck! Enjoy Bolivia, it’s amazing.


  1. Did anyone speak english there? I’m leaving in 5 weeks to Follow the Quito, Ecuador to Santiago, Chile route and I do not have my Bolivian visa yet and just found out about the Certificate of Good Conduct requirement in NYC. I live in NYC.

    • Hi Justin,

      The staff should speak minimal English as necessary, though it might be worth it to just look up three or four phrases in Spanish just in case. Honestly, the process is so straightforward you could get away without talking to anyone at the consulate at all! Just hand over the documents.

      Enjoy your trip 🙂


  2. I just obtained my visa from the embassy in Lima and will be heading to Bolivia in just under a week. Did you need any documents or anything else at the border when you crossed into the country?

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