Immigration to bolivia

Living and working in Bolivia

Bolivia is home to six species of flamingosBolivia, is located in a western region of South America. Bolivia contains varied terrain spanning Andes Mountains, The Amazon Basin rainforest and Atacama Desert.  Bolivia has two capital cities, Sucre and La Paz. The capital city La Paz, is situated on the Andes’ Altiplano plateau with Mountain Illimani in the backside. There is also a  nearby lake  called Titcaca with glass smooth water and is known as the South America’s largest lake, sharing the border with Peru.  Bolivia is also famous for its dizzying altitude and llamas. There are roads that runs from the middle of the jungle. In Bolivia, you can find gigantic salt flats and wide range of flora and fauna. Today, Bolivia is an independent republic featuring varied landscapes from rich plains to dense jungle, majestic mountains, pastoral steppes and breathtaking glaciers. It is surrounded by Peru and Brazil to the North, Chile to the west, Paraguay and Argentina in the south and Brazil to the east. La Paz is a city pulsating with vitality and seductive charm from colorful European architecture to animated neighborhood and sizzling nightlife. La Paz and Sucre are one of the largest cities of Bolivia. La Paz is the country’s administrative capital and Sucre is the judicial capital of Bolivia.

Bolivia is the best place for people who love adventures, with plenty of good old heritage sites to visit. The crime rate in Bolivia is low and big cities have a lowest threat level of crime as compared to the major cities in the U.S.  Bolivia is one of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse countries in the world. with plenty of job vacancies in the hotel and tourism industry for expats and immigrants. Over the past ten years, Bolivia has shown a steady growth economically and politically.  People are warm, open and welcoming. Immigrants and expats find it easy to settle down in Bolivia. Expats in Bolivia are mostly employed by the NGO’s or are working as volunteers for a short period of time.  Bolivia has distinct and stunning geography, interesting culture and history, sizzling nightlife and unique local delicacies. The cost of living is low as compared to other American and European Countries.

It has some of the best salty highland lakes in the world. Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will revel in exploring all that it has to offer. Encompassing rivers, lakes, swamps, and wetlands, the watery world is fascinating to hike or horseback ride. The more you’ll know about this country, you will get more and more interesting facts.

Traveling information

Flag of Bolivia by Micheal Christen from Pixabay
Flag of Bolivia

Bolivia is now currently open for tourists and vacationers and allowing those who are fully vaccinated or the foreigners who did not take vaccination must submit the negative COVID-19 test report done prior to the maximum seventy two hours prior to the flight. There is no need of quarantine after arrival in Bolivia. The agency taking charge of COVID-19 testing in this country is Servicio Departmental de Salud (SEDES). After arrival contact this agency and take Antigen and RTPCR tests. Results will be issued by email, physical copies or by text messages.

Visa is required, which can be obtained by the embassy or consulate in your home country. A passport is needed with validity for 6 months or more. A ticket of round trip is must or confirmation of plan to depart Bolivia. Also submit the proof of lodging including the address of the accommodation. If you are staying with friends or family, authorities may require a letter from friend. If you are planning to work, study or start a business in this country then you need a separate visa.

The borders between the country Argentina, Brazil and Peru are reopened for fully vaccinated travelers. Bolivia’s borders with Brazil may occur closed according to the situation. Getting a travel insurance which has sufficient cover policy is important. Best way to reach here is by flight from all over the world. This nation has International Airport in the major cities connecting to most of the countries. Several transports are available to get around Argentina like car, bus, ferry, bike and plane. Traveling by plane within the country can be costly so if you want to keep your budget low then traveling by buses will be the best option.

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How to immigrate to Bolivia 


To move to Bolivia, first you need a valid passport and tickets as well as visa to be issued by the Bolivian Authority. The visa policy depends on your home country. There are three groups made by the Bolivian government, in first group there are countries like US, EU and Australia, etc., who do not need a visa to enter this country for up to 90 days. Also there is no need of visa up to 30 days and once in this country, visa extension for 90 days is possible. 

If you are from group second or third, then you must get a visa and the requirements and process will change. Visa can be obtained from the Bolivian Embassy or Consulate in your home country or you can get it on arrival with a fee. 

Tourist and Visitors Visa: Expats traveling to this nation from visa free countries, for business purpose or as a tourist, are issued a 3 months visa upon arrival and do not need to apply for it beforehand (depends on the nationality). People traveling from other than visa free countries must apply for a tourism visa before entering; also make sure to check with your country’s Bolivian Embassy or Consulate before starting the trip. You also have to pay the reciprocity fee before arriving in Bolivia. This can be paid online and every time you enter, showing receipt is must.  

Documents required: 

  • Fill the visa application form, accessible online.
  • A valid passport
  • Passport size photograph
  • Accommodation proof in Bolivia
  • Invitation letter from the host in Bolivia
  • Certificate of vaccination against Yellow fever
  • Print of the confirmation page of visa application, duly signed

You must have some cash in hand to pay for the Bolivian visa on arrival fee. The bills for the visa should be in good condition, as the officers may refuse to accept them at the entry.

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Citizens from Bolivia are called Bolivians or Bolivianos (Spanish). This connection can be legal, residential, cultural or historical. Bolivia is a multilingual and multiethnic nation, just like its neighbors with people from Amerindian, African European and Asian descent or combination of these groups. There are many ethnic groups in this country, Mestizo Bolivian 68%; Indigenous Bolivians 21%, European Bolivians (Spanish or Italian descent) 4%, Afro Bolivians 1% and other groups – 6%). Religions followed by the population are Roman Catholic 81%, Protestant 10%, others 9%. People here are diverse, engaging and vibrant. Bolivians have different ancestors, Americans, Europeans, Spanish, Africans, and Indigenous as a result there is diversity in their culture. These people are generally polite, courteous and charming. Even in casual meet, they address each other with love and respect. Bolivian Andean Women of indigenous descent wear a ski and bowler hat. Skin color ranges here from white to black and most people are of mixed race. A person of Indian or Spanish descent is called Mestizo. People here do speak in Spanish, but their Spanish language is different from the Spanish language spoken in the European Countries.

Job offers in Bolivia

If you want to work and live in Bolivia, first you need to get a residency permit and a valid visa. In this country a candidate’s employment contract is only valid if they have government’s approval to work. Employees working for a brief time can obtain a transitory residence or work visa which is valid for 30 to 180 days. Long term work needs a temporary residence visa, which allows you to work for 3 years. After completing three years you can also apply for permanent residence. The amount of each visa rises with the duration of your stay. In order to obtain temporary residence or work visa, submit the filled and signed application with the Bolivian Consulate in you r home country. Along with this a passport with six months validity, yellow fever vaccination certificate, offer letter from the company, NOC from INTERPOL of their last country of residence, medical certificate, passport size photograph, etc. You will find good paying teaching jobs in this nation. Also you can get jobs in the Hospitality and tourism sector. If you have skills in other profession, there are also many opportunities in other fields as well. Learning the local language Spanish will also help you to get there. 

How to get a job offer: 

  • Search online
  • Apply after finding a suitable company
  • Give interview online or in person
  • Sign a contract offered by the School or Company
  • Submit your documents in order to get a job

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Unemployment rate

The unemployment rate in Bolivia got rise till 6.9% in the year 2021 from the previous year which was 5.6% in the year 2020. The jobless rate is expected to decline till 6.0% in the year 2022. It is the highest unemployment rate since the year 2012, which was 2.3%. The jobless rate refers to the share of working force that is unemployed but is available for work and seeking for it. The rate is as high because of the job losses in commerce, distribution, tourism and several other sectors, same as the absence of a system of unemployment benefits, like many other countries in the year 2021. Inflation increased, shown in higher food, health, medicines and housing prices. This unemployment rate is decreased since the pandemic has started in the year 2020 as the unemployed population got jobs and the number of employed increased. At the same time the number of economically active population has risen. On a seasonal basis, the unemployment rate eased to 3.4% in the month of December 2021. 

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Economy of Bolivia

Bolivia is a developing country with the ninety fifth largest national economy in World and ranked on eighty seventh positions in the terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). Bolivia is classified as a lower middle income country. In recent times, Bolivia is leading Latin America in terms of economic growth, fiscal stability and foreign reserves. It has a single commodity focus. Products like silver, tin, coca (also known as cocain), this country has occasional periods of economic diversification. Bolivian economy is depended on rich natural resources of highly literate population, agricultural sector and diverse industrial base. The economy is however,  a bit uncertain, sometimes with high growth followed by recessions,  political unstability. Lower population growth with low life expectancy has restricted the labor supply and prevented industries from expanding. However, since few years the economy is rising and Bolivia had lowest inflation compared to any Latin American country since 2021. Bolivia exports include natural gas, silver, zinc, lead, tin, gold, quinoa, soybeans and soy products. 

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Renting and buying of real estates for foreigners


Renting pattern is same as worldwide for foreigners like you pay the rent weekly or monthly, and submit the deposit which will be refunded to you at the last month of your stay. Or you can also take the rental method called Anticretico, means in order to pay a rent you pay a lump sum amount to the owner in the beginning, after which you can stay for the agreed amount of time. And at the end the owner returns all your payment. As a result, you pay nothing for the rental. Renting a property, anywhere in this country is not difficult for foreigners. You can rent it on a short or a long term basis. Shorter duration leases are less, but still you can find it in major cities like La Paz, Sucre, Cochabamba, etc. The amount of rent may vary from city to city as it depends on the neighborhood, market, size of the property, city centre. Prices in the major cities are comparatively higher than the rural areas. You can search for an accommodation online or hire a broker. 


  • Passport
  • Identity Card
  • Documents issued by the Bolivian Government
  • Work permit/Bank Statement


Owning a property in Bolivia is possible for foreigners as there are no restrictions on buying it in this country. You can find comfortable accommodation in affordable prices, as the major cities are tremendously expanding like Santa Cruz, La Paz, etc. The good thing is there are many similar rules and regulation for foreigners as well as the local citizens regarding buy a property, with some minor differences. Property prices may vary due to various aspects. For instance, the property is in the city centre or is in outskirts, its size, or in the middle of the country, etc. Apart from the house price you will also need to pay the agency/brokers fees, notary and lawyer’s fee, acquisition fee, registration fee and the title insurance, payments for water and electricity. 


  • Valid passport
  • Legal documents issued from the Local Government Property Office
  • Promissory Agreement with the payment
  • Purchase or Sale Agreement
  • Title transfer papers
  • Correspondence Taxes Slips

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The weather in Bolivia is as diverse like the landscape of the country. Climate here varies severely depending upon altitude, from humid to tropical to semiarid to cold. The country has temperate climate with southern hemisphere climate pattern. This country has two distinct seasons Summer and Winter. There are also regional variations in this country’s weather. Summer is the also the rainy season in this country. The rainy season has moderate humidity levels and is a less popular time among tourists to visit this country. Winter is the dry season. The tourist season starts from June to October as the climate is cold and dry and the country celebrates festival during this time.

Summer Season: This season starts from the month of November till the month of March. Average temperature in this season can differ dramatically depending upon whether you are in the north or south part of this country. Temperature in the capital city ranges from 59°F to 72° F. During this season, there is rainfall and warm weather.

Winter Season: This season starts from the month of April till the month of October. This is the cooler time of the year. Temperature in winter season of the capital city drops to 62° to 80°F. The Atiplano region (highest region) in this country is cold. Since this is on highest point there is little heat and strong winds can blow over this part. All year round, the weather is cool to mild.

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The official language of Bolivia is Spanish and other indigenous languages. There are thirty six specific languages spoken by the indigenous community, of which some are extinct. Most prominently used are Aymara, Quechua, Chiquitano and Guarani. There are also other languages spoken like Bolivian Sign Language and immigrant language Plautdietsch. Spanish and Quechua languages are spoken mostly in Andes region, Aymara is used in Altiplano, around the Lake Titicaca. Chiquitano is spoken in the central part of Santa Cruz and Guarani is mostly used in the southeast region, near the border of Paraguay. Spanish is the first and second language spoken by nearly 75% of population of this country. English is also used in Bolivia in the major cities like La Paz and Sucre. Guarani and Quechua are other widely spoken languages in this nation by the population. Other than English, Bolivian Sign Language (LSA) is another language used by deaf communities. Immigrant languages spoken in their ethnic communities all over the country are German, Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Belarusian, Chinese, French, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Turkish, etc. Populations here are bilingual or multilingual as they can speak more than two languages. Many are people are multilingual, can speak, write and understand these languages and are fluent in it. 

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Expats can drive in Bolivia with a valid driving license. This license must be used for minimum of 2 years and if this is not in Spanish or not in Roman Alphabets, you must provide your international Driving license with it. Renting a vehicle here is also possible in major cities like Copacabana, Cochabamba, La Paz, Sucre, Uyuni, Tarija, Villa Tunari, Samaipata, and Coroico, etc. Some vehicle rental companies need your passport and personal credit card, while renting you a car. Many roads are paved, while others are not. To drive around cities, it is suggested to use medium and compact cars. This nation has altitude problems, so for those driving outside metro cities, it is best to get SUV or other four wheeler vehicle. These type of vehicles are for the roads having dust and dirt. All the road sign boards are easily understandable, even though they are written in Spanish. Traffic runs on the right hand side of the road, like many other countries in the world. Seat belts are mandatory for both, the driver and the passenger. Traffic rule for drinking and driving is not followed strictly here, hence people drive on the roads after drinking so being alert while driving is important.

There are many roundabouts, speed bumps, where you must reduce the speed of your vehicle. There are different speed limits given by the Argentinean government. In cities, speed limit is from 50 km/h. In small towns and villages, speed should be 70 km/h. This country does not have cameras to track the speed of your vehicle but officers charge fine if you get caught. To prevent road accidents, it is always better to follow the speed limits, otherwise you might get charged for not following speed limits.


  • Passport or green card
  • Valid driving license
  • International Driving Permit
  • Vehicle Registration Proof
  • Insurance papers of the vehicle
  • Contract papers from the rental company

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Bolivia’s official currency is Boliviano (Bs). The Boliviano is divided into 100 cents or centavos. The currency is minted by the Banco Central de Bolivia and the paper currency is minted in five denominations, which are Bs10, Bs20, Bs50, Bs100, Bs200 and coins as c.10, c.20, c.50, Bs1, Bs2, Bs5. As of 2013, the bills of Bs2 and Bs5 are out of circulation. In the year 2018, the Central Bank of Bolivia released some new banknotes. These notes are designed to reflect the multiculturalism of the country and all of its residents. This currency is manufacture abroad, in countries such as United Kingdom, Chile, France, even though this nation is politically independent. The coining and minting of currency stopped due to the lack of political interest and foreign printed coins and banknotes can be acquired at a cheap price than the Bolivian price rate. 

Payment Transaction

There are various methods of payment used in Bolivia. Payments can be made in this country through online, cash or cards, or by digital wallet, especially in big cities like La Paz, Copacabana, Sucre, Tarija, etc. You can use these payment options in major stores, restaurants, hotels and hospitals. Cash is the original and the oldest payment method, used by more than 90% population, so you’ll need some Bolivianos on hand. PayPal and Skrill are the most used online payment methods, these days used by the locals and foreigners. Cards are more popular and can be used and accepted anywhere in this country. Visa and MasterCard are the most common and widely accepted cards; however American Express is less popular. And so it is suggested to take along a Visa card with you while traveling. Bank transfers are also used by most of the expats as well as locals. This nation has one of the fastest growing mobile driven e-commerce markets in the South America. Non-cash payment methods currently used in this country are cheques, debit cards, credit cards, etc. Apparently, it’s anytime you pay without physically handing over notes and coins.

Payment Methods:

  • Cash
  • Credit Cards
  • Cheques
  • Digital Wallets
  • Bank Transfers

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Cost of living in Bolivia 

Statistics shows that Bolivia is the 4th cheapest countries in the world and the cost of living is also low.  Monthly rent will cost more in the urban areas or in the coastal areas than the cost of rent in rural areas. Expense will also rise if you need bigger accommodation, than the smaller one. Average living cost depends upon your lifestyle or your current situation, like whether you are working or a student. Average living cost in Bolivia depends upon your lifestyle or your current situation, like whether you are working or a student. Cost of living varies from city to city and also if you are staying alone or with your family. The average monthly expense for a single person is approximately Bs12,400. And the monthly expense will rise if you want to move along with your family of four persons, which will be Bs5,300. Food is cheap and if you are staying in a city where you can go by bicycle, walking till your university or work place or live in a city with a good public transport system, then your cost of living will be much lower. 

Here are some products mentioned below, so that you will get a clear idea of the cost of living: 



                  Amount in Boliviano (Bs)

Whole Fat Milk

1 lit



12 (a dozen)



1 Kg (2 lb.)



500 grams (1 lb)


Dining (Lunch)

Full meal


Fast food meal




2 loaf



8 mbps (1 month)


Cleaning help



Gas in vehicle

1 lit



Short visit


Movie Tickets

For 2


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Apartment Rent

La Paz and Sucre are major cities and most expensive place to rent a residential property, followed by Copacabana, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, and Tarija in this country. Also, cites on the borders areas in different provinces has the expensive apartments. Bolivia is twenty eight percent cheaper than the country Brazil. Fully furnished one bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost you approx Bs2,700 and same apartment, outside city will cost approx Bs1,650. A furnished studio apartment of 2 to 3 bedrooms in the city centre will cost you approx Bs3,600 and outside the city it will cost you approx Bs2,400. After visiting on the below given link you will get the ideas of the cost of monthly rent. You will find the apartments online or with the help of a local friend. Property showing websites also mentions prices below so that you can choose according to your need and comfort. There are web portals like, which are in direct contact with the real estate agents and help their clients to a good place. 

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In Bolivia, no taxes are imposed on foreign-earned income received by the individuals. This nation taxes persons only on their Bolivian Source income, regardless of their nationality. On the other hand, income generated from assets/goods within country and any activity done within Bolivian territory is considered as Bolivian Source income. The rate of Personal Income tax in this country is thirteen percent. Special taxes are applicable on these individuals, if they derive gains from dividends/securities, interests and property (real estate). However, there are no local taxes on personal income in Bolivia. Employers have the responsibility to pay the tax authorities the RC-IVA on gross income after deducting the social contributions and other ideas established by tax law. Taxes like VAT, Property Tax, Wealth Tax, are compulsory to pay on time. In this nation, the tax policy is implemented by the Federal Administration of Public Revenue, subordinate to the Ministry of Economy. Taxes are imposed on operations carried out on the national territory of the nation and in marine areas fully covered by the national tax policy. Taxes are also levied on import and export operations, operated by tax laws and custom regulations. In Bolivia, a tax year is of twelve months. The main sources of state budget revenues in this country are: 

  • Income Tax (imposed on enterprises and individuals)
  • Value-added Tax
  • Property Taxes

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Health Insurance 

Bolivian healthcare system is partially funded by the World Bank. This system of Bolivia is still becoming better day by day. This country has newly launched a free Unified Health System (SUS). It covers maximum seventy percent of the population who can’t afford any health insurance plan. Healthcare system here has three categories Private, Public and Social Security Healthcare, unlike most other countries in the world. With this you can also get the Expat health insurance. In this country locals and expats, both can take advantage of government funded programs. According to the law both the employer and the employee has to contribute to the payment system. These contributions are your savings that are later used to cover the healthcare expenses. Emergency, inpatient and outpatient care is absolutely free. The only thing you have to pay is for medicines. Above all, the staff is well trained and qualified. In public healthcare system the drawback is, it takes too long to wait in queue. If you want to get a quick response then you can choose the private healthcare system, which is a bit expensive. These services are given to the working professionals, employees and employers. They have to pay compulsory premiums for this semi private insurance plan. Most locals choose for this plan as this gives better overage and if the amount exceeds of medical care, the employer or the employee has to pay the difference. 

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Important addresses 

El Alto International Airport:
Huascar 204, El Alto,
Ph: +591 2 2157300

Jorge Wilstermann Airport:
HRMC+5GM, Cochabamba, Bolivia
Ph: +591 4 4120400

Sucre Alcantari International Airport (SRE):
QR3X+FH4, Yamparaez,
Bolivia Ph: +591 6933112

Tarija Airport:
F72R+M7W, Av. Fuerza Aerea,
Ph: 591 4 6634554

Terminal de Buses Lapaz:
Av. Peru, La Paz,

Ex Terminal de Buses:
Choferes del Chaco,
Santa Cruz de la Sierra,

Terminal de Buses:
Av. Colón, Uyuni,

Embassy of Paraguay:
Pedro Salazar 351, La Paz,
Ph: +54 11 4393-4156

United States Embassy:
Av. Arce 2780, La Paz,
Ph: +591 2 2168000

Embassy of Costa Rica:
Av. Montenegro 1196, La Paz,

Consulate of El Salvador:
Gabriel René Moreno 685,
La Paz,


Bolivia a South American beautiful country, with scenic beaches, a wide range of flora and fauna, dense forests and Amazon Basin. This nation is also famous for its dizzying altitude, llamas, and roads that take you from the middle of the jungle. In Bolivia, you can find gigantic salt flats. This is an independent republic featuring varied landscapes from rich plains to dense jungle, majestic mountains, pastoral steppes and breathtaking glaciers. This country has dual capitals one is the city of La Paz and other is Sucre, is a popular summer destination because of its scenic places. With the explosion of tourism in recent years, and has been experiencing a rapid growth, and the town’s small permanent population swells exponentially during the summer months. A South American country with breathtaking atmosphere, pleasant climate and a fun spot for adventurous people. This nation is culturally accessible and has a rich history, great food, many cultural attractions. People are friendly, fashionable, happy, modern and peace loving. It provides good healthcare system to locals as well as foreigners. This nation has plenty of job opportunities in the tourism sector and hotel industries. English in demand, so you can get jobs accordingly. Cost of living is cheap here as well as this nation gives you a better lifestyle.

Moving to Bolivia

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Translation Of The Documents

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