Two days before entering the country of Bolivia I decided to check the requirements to enter the country as an American Citizen. What a shocker that was to see everything we had to have prepared at the border! Most other nationalities can just cross the border and receive a stamp no problem. But for US citizens here is the list of everything you need before arriving to the Bolivian border.
1) As Americans we are one of the only nationalities that have to pay for a Bolivian Visa. It will cost $160 in crisp US cash. Alot of ATMS in Peru will dispense US dollars which really helps this situation since it is the only time you will need to pull out USD during your travels. You need to make sure to store your cash in a book or something that will keep it perfectly straight. They will check every corner of every bill and will refuse any that are bent.
2) Your exit flight or bus ticket to show when you are leaving the country. Now for this one I may have lied. If you book a flight off of Expedia.com you have 24 hours to cancel your flight and get 100% of your money back. So what I did was buy a flight out of La Paz three weeks after we were going to arrive and saved them as PDFs and then immediately cancelled the flight. Later I printed them out which you can do at one of the many internet cafes in every city in Peru. This is a bit of a white lie but hey if you are traveling long term who wants to be tied down to a certain day and time you have to leave? As Americans as well we get a 10 year visa that is good 90 days a year for 30 days at a time. So at least now you know where you will go for every vacation for the next decade.
3) Your hostel itinerary for your entire stay. Again, I may have lied. What I did was book all of our hostels off booking.com and made sure to book places that had free cancellation policies. (There is a filter that selects places with free cancellation when searching on the website). I booked random places in four different cities in Bolivia and saved them all as PDFs before cancelling every reservation and then printing out the PDFS.
4) Your bank statement. You will need to prove that you have the funds to enter the country. For that all you need to do is print off your bank statement that shows your full name and your ready to go. If you have multiple bank accounts just print off the one that has the most money in it.
5) Two copies of your passport. They were a bit hesitant that my copies were in black and white but they still accepted it. Just try to get it printed in color if you can.
6) Two passport photos. Yes, they will need two; one for keepsakes and one for the Sworn Statement.
7) Sworn Statement for Visa Application. You will need to print this off online and fill it out before getting to the border. It is quick and easy to fill out and you can find the application here.
What they didnt ask for but you need just in case.
1) Yellow Fever Vaccine. This vaccine was a requirement I read online that I needed before entering the country and they didn't even ask for proof of it. Just in case, have it on your carry on across the border in case they do.
There was one other American couple that was crossing the border with us and we of course made the whole bus have to wait until we were cleared to cross. Don't feel intimidated by it. Even with the visa hassle this country is one I truly am happy I spent time in and would recommend anybody to just go through the few hours it takes to prepare and enjoy your time in this awesome country!
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