Note that this information is for people who are traveling with their private vehicle (not a rented or borrowed vehicle; additional paperwork may be required but I don’t have that information).
Carnet de Passage vs. Temporary Import Document (TID)
You don’ need a Carnet de Passage for Bolivia, at the border you are issued with a Temporary Import Document. There appears to be no logic in Bolivia as to why you are issued a one or three-month TID. It depends on the border crossing, the official’s mood and you need a bit of luck. On our last crossing, coming from Corumbá, Brazil (Jan 2013) we got a one-month TID.
Note that the validity of the TID is unrelated to the validity of your visa. The documents are handled by different bureaucracies.
We have been among the lucky few to have received a six-month Temporary Import Document in Jan. 2010 (it did need some persuading). In case you don’t get such a long validity at the border but would like to have one, drive to the DAB (Aduana) in El Alto to arrange this.
Extension of Car Papers with DAB -La Aduana Boliviana
1. El Alto (La Paz, Jun ’10)
Along the highway that leads through El Alto lies the DAB, nearby the airport (when driving in the direction of Oruro it’s on your right-hand side – other travelers gave us this GPS waypoint but we didn’t check it: -16.510000, -68.160000.
Here we arranged the extension of our Temporary Import Document (June 2010). Our Land Cruiser was checked on its license plate and chassis. Bring passport and car papers (and make copies to hand over) as well as an official letter requesting this extension. The extension was free of charge.
It’s hard to believe, but we got another six months. When leaving Bolivia this gave a bit of a struggle because apparently according to the law this is impossible. Coen suggested to the official to figure that out with his superiors, which he said he would do. We left the country without further delay.
2. Cochabamba (March ’13)
Situated along Avenida Capitan Victor Ustariz, which lies on the west side of Cochabamba on your way to Quillacollo. Like in El Alto, bring passport and car papers (and make copies to hand over) as well as an official letter requesting this extension. The extension was free of charge. (GPS waypoint: -17.39558, -66.22502).
New: Orden do Translado – Border Crossing Coming from Brazil, Corumbá (Jan ’13)
Right at the border crossing we had to pay a toll. It was only B3.50 and I mention it because it may be handy to have some coins ready.
For the first time during our 6-year journey in South America we were asked for copies of papers (passport including of page with entry stamp, driver’s license, and car papers). You have to organize this yourself, the aduana has no Xerox.
New was a mandatory visit to the traffic police, elsewhere in town (see GPS waypoint): La Policia Transito. Apparently they can ask for an Orden de Translado at roadblocks or when you are stopped by (traffic) police anywhere in the country.
Here we handed a copy of Temporary Import Document + driver’s license (no Xerox machine in this office either) and were then charged B50. Coen asked for a receipt which the officer couldn’t give. We waited for the boss (out for lunch) who then informed us that unofficially the fee was B50, but since we wanted to do it officially it would cost B100 – which had to be deposited at the bank downtown, which we did.
This information may be outdated. What are your experiences? Please share them with us in the comments below so other travelers can benefit from them. Thanks.