Customs regulations for your trip to Bolivia

Last modified: July 22, 2023
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Customs regulations

Illegal bars exist in Bolivia. You may be detained for questioning if you are caught at one of these, particularly if drugs are found within the premises.

Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of cocaine. There are harsh penalties for those caught trafficking or in possession. The minimum sentence is 8 years and prison conditions are very basic. Be very careful with your luggage and belongings and avoid any contact with illegal drugs.

Ayahuasca is a traditional plant used in “spiritual cleansing” ceremonies by indigenous communities in Bolivia, primarily in the Amazon region, but also near La Paz. This ceremony involves the consumption of a brew containing dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an hallucinogenic drug. Consumption of this brew is not regulated and its interaction with existing medical conditions is not well understood. People have suffered serious illnesses and in some cases death after participating in these ceremonies. Some Ayahuasca retreats are some distance from populated areas making it difficult to access medical attention for those who need it.

Be careful especially when carrying cameras or binoculars when travelling off the beaten track, particularly in coca-growing areas such as the Chapare and the Yungas.

Check before taking photographs of local people.

Homosexuality is not illegal, but is frowned upon by the majority of Bolivians, more so in the Altiplano than in Santa Cruz, where attitudes tend to be more liberal. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Police and immigration officials sometimes carry out ID checks. You can keep a photocopy of the pages from your passport containing your personal details and the Bolivian immigration stamps with you, and leave the original document in a safe place.

Dutiable Items

  • 400 cigarettes (2 cartons)
  • 50 cigars or
  • 500 grammes of tobacco;
  • 3 litres of alcoholic beverages
  • 1 photographic camera,
  • 1 non-professional camcorder
  • 1 personal portable computer
  • 1 tape recorder
  • 1 electronic memo book
  • 1 cellular phone

Restricted

  • All imported pets must be accompanied by an official government certificate.
  • Firearms and ammunition require an import license before being granted entry into the country.
  • All plant and meat products being imported into the country will require a sanitary or phytosanitary certificate from The Servicio Nacional de Sanidad Agropecuaria e Inocuidad.
  • Birds, cats and dogs entering the country will need to be accompanied by a good health certificate clearing the animals of any infections or diseases.
  • Transmission devices for radio and television must be authorized by the Telecommunications Office.
  • Pharmaceutical products must be approved under World Health Organization guidelines and registered with the Vice Ministry of Health
  • Pre-Colombian artefacts, historical paintings, items of Spanish colonial architecture and history and native textiles will require permission to be legally exported out of the country.

Prohibited Items

  • Illegal drugs
  • Unauthorized Guns, explosives and ammunition
  • Knives and deadly weapons
  • Unauthorized pharmaceuticals and drugs
  • Unauthorized chemicals
  • Food products containing noxious substances
  • Plants, fruits, vegetables, and seeds containing parasites considered harmful by the Ministry of Agriculture
  • Pets and animals containing diseases
  • Used clothing without a sanitary certificate
  • Radioactive scrap and other hazardous material
  • Counterfeit money and goods
  • Gambling machines
  • Pornographic material

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Motors

Since January 2011, the maximum age of cars permitted for import is three years old. Additionally, Bolivia has prohibited the importation of diesel vehicles with engine displacement smaller than 4,000 cubic centimeters, all vehicles that use liquefied petroleum gas, and cars with right side steering.

Wild Fauna and Flora:

The import of certain endangered species of plant, live animals and their products is prohibited or restricted under CITES.

Pets:

Birds, cats and dogs must be accompanied by a good health certificate issued by a government official authority at point of origin.

Baggage Clearance regulations:

Baggage is cleared at the airport of final destination in Bolivia, if the carrier is operating under the same flight number.
Exempt: baggage of transit passengers with a destination outside Bolivia, which is transferred by the carrier, if it is labeled to that destination.

Currency

Currency Import regulations:

Local currency (Bolivian Boliviano-BOB) and foreign currencies: no restrictions up to USD 10,000.- or equivalent. Higher amounts must be declared on arrival. For amounts over USD 50,000.- or equivalent, registration at The Central Bank of Bolivia is required.

Currency Export regulations:

Local currency (Bolivian Boliviano-BOB) and foreign currencies: up to the amounts imported and declared.

Arms and Ammunition regulations:

A Permit, granted by the Bolivian Ministry of Defense, is required to import firearms and/or ammunition. This must be obtained prior to arrival in Bolivia. Visitors must apply for this through the Bolivian Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence.

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