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Bolivian Visas for South African Citizens

There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding obtaining a visa for Bolivia by South Africans. Even when we were doing our research, we found very little concrete information, and most of it was contradicting.Information on required documents etc. is very scarce or very contradicting. Bolivia does not have a Bolivian Consulate or Embassy in South Africa, however, an extensive Google search will give you a random email address and office address somewhere in Johannesburg. So, having been through the process, here are the facts:

how to apply for a Bolivia visa south african citizens
Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

You don't need to apply before you leave South Africa

South African citizens fall in Group 2 which means you can obtain a visa upon arrival. You can also apply at a Bolivian Consulate in a neighbouring country just before you cross the border.We applied at the Consulate in Salta, Argentina. It literally took 10 minutes to obtain the visa while we waited. You can apply at the border, however, as some border posts are super busy, it might take much longer. So to avoid waiting, we suggest you just apply before you cross over.

It is absolutely FREE!

So if you managed to get the email address in Johannesburg and asked them relevant questions like we did, they will tell you that you have to apply before you leave South Africa and it will cost about R1000 per person. This may be true if you apply from South Africa, but as we said, you don't have to.If you apply upon arrival or at a Consulate in a neighbouring country, it is free! Why would you pay if you don't have to? Note that we did read from other Group 2 citizens, that they had to pay a fee if they applied at the border, we cannot attest to that as it is supposed to be free. It could be that the Officials took a chance, but we don't know. To avoid this, apply before you cross the border.

Update: One of our readers informed us that  it wasn't free for them in October 2019. They had to pay $103 per person, at the airport/land boarders from Puno to Copacabana.  This is a different experience than ours, so we cannot state that this is true for all borders.  

Required documents you need

Because you are applying for a formal visa, you do need all the annoying documents applicable for any other visa application. You need hard copies of all the following documents: You can do an application online at: but you need to print this form out and take it with you, this is just an application form, and you can get one at the Consulate or border.