There are plenty of features that make the Bolivian economy attractive to foreign investors. Due to sustained economic growth, Bolivia reached its highest GDP levels in 2018 with US$40.29 billion; an increase of 4.224% compared to 2017, according to Trending Economics.
The country is offering plentiful opportunities in various sectors as financial technology (fintech), building and construction, health sector, real estate, mining, textile, hydrocarbon, energy, and tourism. According to World Bank data, foreign direct investment (FDI) into Bolivia jumped to US$725 million in 2017, more than double 2016’s figures.
The Bolivian government makes a lot of effort to develop the country by way of foreign investment. The country offers investors a market with a high demand of products and cheap labor. Total Bolivian exports increased by 9.5% in 2018, reaching US$8.9 billion. Additionally, its growing import market increased by 7.9% to US$ 10 billion. This shows strong export and growing import activity.
Aligning with the government vision, the country developed a variety of visa options to accommodate foreign investors and business people. Generally, the possibilities all fall under the same overarching category: Temporary/Permanent Working Visa. We connected with the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores) to find out investors’ options for visas in Bolivia.
The Specifics Purpose Visa
This visa is the first step to operate your business in the Bolivian market. Indeed, this is an essential step to get a Temporary or Permanent Working/Resident visa.
With this visa, you can stay 30 days in Bolivia from the day you pass the border. If your business needs more time than this, you should look forward to applying to the one- or two-year temporary visa. To get this visa, you will need to follow some simple steps:
- Provide a Sworn Statement for Visa Application, obtained from the websites of the General Directorate of Migration, the General Directorate of Consular Affairs or Consular Offices where the visa is requested
- Passport valid with at least 6 months of validity
- A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever and other health certifications, if applicable
- Recent 2″ x 2″ passport-type photograph
- Proof of payment of visa fee, except those granted under agreements or state agreements, with a Bank solvency copy (Bank statement of your current account, savings, or your credit card).
- Documentation demonstrating the activity that will be carried out in the territory of the Plurinational State of Bolivia and letter of invitation from the organization or company with supporting documentation where appropriate
- Current certificate attesting that the foreign person has no criminal and police record, issued by a competent authority in the country of origin or last residence, according to current regulations
- Financial solvency accredited by affidavit or other documentation, as appropriate.
This visa can be extended twice, up to a maximum of 90 days, through the National Immigration Service extendable. The cost for this is US$85 and 2 days of procedure time. It’s the simplest and quickest visa you can apply for to enter Bolivia.
Multiple Entry Visa
The Multiple Entry Visa is a specific visa created for foreign investors or business travelers. They are issued for a period of 1 year and are renewable for similar periods. It’s ideal for foreign investors that engage in investment or business activities needing to periodically enter and exit Bolivian territory.
To get a Multiple Entry Visa, you will need to prepare the following:
- Completed Sworn Statement for Visa Application
- Original passport with at least 6 months of validity
- One recent 2″ x 2″ passport-type photograph
- A fee of US$200, you may pay on Money Order or through the Credit Card Authorization Form
- Current certificate of good conduct/background check issued by INTERPOL
- Legalized documentation of the constitution of the company that you represent in your country of origin or country of residence
- If the company established in Bolivia, a certified photocopy of the Tax Identification Number (NIT), or original electronic certification.
Ideally, this is the most suitable visa option for most entrepreneurs and investors looking to run a business from Bolivia without living in the country. The program, ease of application, and extensive benefits appeal to business people and investors all over the world.
One or Two-Year Temporary Resident Visa
For foreign investors who want to move to Bolivia, consider applying for a temporary resident visa for a period of 1 or 2 years. This option will give you a similar status as if you were a Bolivian investor. You will not need to have a Bolivian partner to obtain this visa. After one year, if your business is on the rightpath, you can extend it to a two-year temporary resident visa.
To get your application right the first time and avoid unnecessary delays, make sure to prepare the following documents to finalize the transaction of the one-year temporary resident visa:
- A valid passport containing the specific purpose visa
- A work contract
- A notarized letter that confirms your economic solvency and specifies the activity you will do
- A photocopy of the NIT (taxpaper identification number) and if a company you will employ you also need to provide a copy of the company by-laws registered with FUNDEMPRESA
- Your criminal background certificate from INTERPOL (International Police) and FELCC (Bolivian Police)
- A residence record certificate from FELCC (Apparently the thing Will take the longest time to get)
- Official medical document
- Once these papers are collected, a written request prepared by a lawyer.
It will cost you approximatively 1320 Bolivianos (approximately US$190), and will take between 10 to 30 days to process.
It’s easier to get a two-year temporary resident visa. You will only need to provide a current passport, valid for six months, containing a one-year resident visa, along with a photocopy of the passport, the visa and the Bolivian entry and exit stamps, a memorandum (again prepared by a lawyer) requesting a two-year resident visa.
You will also need to provide a notarized letter that confirms you have not left the country for more than 90 days, and your status has not changed, plus one 4×4 cm identity photo with a red background. The two-year temporary resident visa has a cost of 2000 Bolivianos (approximately US$286).
Permanent Resident or Definitive Visa
If you decide to relocate permanently to Bolivia for business and lifestyle, you can ask for a Permanent Resident Visa after 2 years of living in the country. This will allow you to live in Bolivian territory for an indefinite period as long as you are not outside of the country for more than 2 years. This will cost of 3920 Bolivianos (approximately US$560) to apply for.
To apply for this visa you will need to:
- Provide a valid Passport with the two-year resident visa
- Provide a notarized letter confirming that you have not left the country for a period longer than 90 days and that your status has not changed.
Need assistance? Biz Latin Hub is the partner for you
At Biz Latin Hub, we offer a range of back-office support services to help in your expansion into Bolivia. From company incorporation through to recruitment, due diligence, and visa processing, we’re the one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs with a global vision.
Contact us here at Biz Latin Hub, and a member of the team will get back to you with a personalized business strategy that can help you unlock new commercial opportunities in Bolivia.