where and how to extend your tourist visa in la paz

The standard tourist entry visa for Bolivia is, unfortunately, only 30 days. This is the least generous allowance out of all the countries we visited in South America.

However, do not despair! Most of you will be actually be entitled to an extra 30 days (and then another 30 days!), with no extra charge, so you don't have to cut your Bolivian adventure short.

Here's what you need to know about extending your tourist visa in La Paz. 

#1 plan your arrival in advance

If you already expect to be staying longer than 30 days in Bolivia, then it makes sense to plan your route around being somewhere where it is possible to renew your tourist visa when it's close to expiry.

So, the first thing you need to do after entry is to work out exactly when your visa expiry date is and ensure your route will bring you to La Paz, or one of the other major cities, so that you are able to extend in time.  We would recommend trying to arrive and extend, if you're able, on the day before expiry, just in case there are any mishaps or complications.  

Please note that you cannot extend your visa at borders. 


#2 get your paperwork in order

To renew, you will require your passport, green immigration card (which you should have filled out at the border) plus a photocopy of your passport ID photo page, a photocopy of your Bolivia entry stamp page and a photocopy of your immigration card.

Don't worry if you don't have these before going to the Immigration offices in La Paz, as you can find plenty photocopy shops on nearby Calle Loyaza (turn right up the hill), which will do copies for 1-2 B.

Also, for some reason when we entered Bolivia, we weren't given the green immigration card. We managed to explain this away at the immigration offices so, if you're in the same situation as we were, just be aware that questions may be asked but that it shouldn't be a huge issue.


#3 arrive at the immigration offices early

The Immigration office in La Paz is notorious for queues and bureaucracy. Therefore, you really are best arriving there early in the morning (i.e. 9 a.m.) to cut down waiting times and prevent you wasting an entire day.

You will find the offices at 1433 Avenida Camacho (between streets Loyaza and Bueno) - here's a link to it on Google Maps so you can work out how to get there from your hostel.


#4 know the process 

When you enter the Immigration office, you will see an official on the right hand side. Wait your turn, greet him or her and then state - 'Quiero extender mi visa, por favor'. They should then ask to see your passport and other documentation before, hopefully, issuing you with a number.

The office here is always busy so take a seat and keep an eye on the TV screens where they will eventually announce your number and the window to which you have to go.

For both of us, it was then simply a case of restating that we wanted to extend for 'treinta dias mas' and handing over our paperwork (although Emily was never asked for photocopies) before we received a little stamp in our passports.

30 days extra extension stamp, Bolivia

And that is how we received 30 extra days in Bolivia! To have a stay of 90 days, simply repeat the process above when your 60 days are close to expiry. Anything beyond 90 days, then a fee and more paperwork is involved. 

It may also be useful to know that, if you overstay your visa in Bolivia then, at the time of writing (April 2016), you will be charged a set fee of 20 B (£2 / $2.8 USD) per overstayed day when you are exiting the country. For a number of reasons, we really wouldn't recommend relying on this approach but it's good to know it's there.

If all you had to do to enter Bolivia was present your passport at the border and you received a 30 day stamp in return, then the process outlined in this post is very likely to apply to you. Some nationalities however, (i.e. Americans and Israelis) have completely different entry, visa and maximum stay requirements for Bolivia, so please do not assume that this process will be the same for each and every nationality, especially if you've had to apply for a visa prior to coming to Bolivia.

now plan more bolivian adventures for that extra month!