Driving license in Bolivia

Hi all,

Can a foreigner take the driving test in Bolivia?

What are the formalities to get a driver's licence in Bolivia?

Do you need special or extra documents being an expatriate?

How much does it cost?

Thank you for participating ;).


no way i can list all the prerequisits here for a license but its long and ridiculous and super inconvenient and not to mention of course expensive and tedious.

better to get an international one and drive using that. its good for whatever expiration you have. i think you can get a ten year one from aaa online.
your own countries drivers license is good for six months after entering the country but being a foreigner means ALL the police will zero in on you and stop you and delay you and if they find a reason to charge you any thing meaning any amount for anything, they will and if you dont know the law (buy a transito book immediately and still prepare yourself to argue with the police and be delayed anyway because this is how they eat every day--on your money! so they dont go away easily. ever.) and make sure to request a receipt when you do get charged. the bottom line is you, my friend, are in for a horrible visit to bolivia as long as you are behind the wheel and dont think they dont have radar guns and are absolutely prepared to lie to your face about how fast you were going just to embezzle your dough right then on the spot. and if the car you are driving has any shine on it just assume its telling them that you have too much money and are looking for someone in uniform to share it with.  and you need tools and a first aid kit and a triangle and a fire extinguisher on board at all times and they will be asking you for it and they will pull you over to search your car for it half the time just to look for things they can charge you on and diliberatly waste time so you are inclined to offer a bribe.

just take a taxi and the micro and the bus and avoid them all these so called police. if you must drive then wait until you speak enough spanish to sit through a driving instruction class, take a written drivers test and so on and so forth. figure a month long process minimum for dealing with liars theives and robbers to get yourself all legal, if you dare. perhaps you can find a lawyer to help you. mine was very helpful and she was very cheap considerning all the hassle and running around chasing down forms and documents and unreasonable BS considering that the streets hardly have signs or traffic flow signals or any such thing reflecting design for efficency or sensibility not to mention that every car out there is breaking at least one law and 80% of them all have fake papers anyway.
ever played a race car video game involving dirt?
thats bolivia. its nuts. and there is no respect here for pedestrains or other drivers. the game is called who's first and screw you.

best of luck.

International driver's licences are not legal in Bolivia, if you get pulled over with one, they will not accept it and you will get seriously hassled. Even the 6 months with a foreign licence are a problem. The only way to drive with a foreign licence and not have problems is if you are using a rental car.

Legal residents can get a driver's licence, it IS a pain, but you can hire people to do the first part of the paperwork for you (around $100-200 not including official fees), then just go in to do the photo and fill out forms. Expect to spend 4-8 hours. When I got my licence, they didn't make me take the test (written or driving), but your experience may be different.

In general, it's easier to go to a nearby small town to do this than in the major cities.

Oh - and if you do get pulled over - DO NOT hand your licence (foreign or bolivian) to the officer - make them view it through the glass of your window. This is common practice because police will confiscate your licence and make you pay to get it back, or otherwise hold you for extended amounts of time. If they hassle you, use your cel to call for help  and let them know you are calling for help from a local. Do NOT get out of the car.

I disagree. since I actually lived there I can attest that only some of the poster info here is incorrect.
First, drivers, you must get out of the car at stops, almost always. staying inside was rarely to never an option. the roadside police sit behind a small table and expect you to always approach them and hand money and id and whatnot over. "stay in the car" is advice from someone who hasn't driven much, if any. I drove nearly every major byway from and to santa cruz-cochabomba-sucre-la Paz, and I drove in Chile and a few other parts of SA, too so feel free to see for yourself and see who knows.  And holding on to your documents and refusing to hand them over is a rude first sign that you don't trust them and they will immediately begin the hassle process on you. and anything that's fishy will draw attention. remember they look at fishy crap all day long because most Bolivians are liars. best approach is have things from somewhere they are unfamiliar with along with all necessary docs for your car and yourself, ie. my international drivers was good for ten years and had about 8 different languages explaining it but they never wanted to search through especially when traffic was backing up behind me. most of them have little to no education beyond basics so you will almost every time get the wave on by when they cant figure it out especially if you simply pass them some coins or bills and say kindly, its for their "refreshment". its the way it works. you pay random unexplained fake tolls between the real ones. expect it. they expect it. don't play along and you better be prepared for trouble. believe me I was in it a lot. but I survived and so may you. they only way to change that silly behavior of theirs is to refuse but respectfully and wisely so choose carefully when to do that and when to not. FYI- I had to meet with an attorney in nearly every city always over something stupid and later their cell phone contact numbers came in handy when the police were around.
And you should expect to open your car and allow search at every stop. this doesn't always happen, depending on how white or pretty your face looks but if you don't wear broken tire sandals with near rags for clothes and look broken down old weather beaten native farmer, you can expect a hassle.  I know it sounds like they are horrible and despicable racists because they are. customary fallout from socialism, I presume. Thailand is similar, too. its not the place itself. its the people under the boots of oppression. I'm sure they would behave differently if given different circumstances and a few generations to evolve. 
look folks, the LA times wrote an article listing friendliest countries for tourism down to the least. Bolivia bottoms out as the worst and if you go there, you wont be a bit surprised.

Getting a drivers licence is a difficult process, as is any bureaucracy in Bolivia.  However I do feel that ChefJeff is a little over the top with his criticisms of Bolivians.  The people are quite shy and not very outwardly friendly to foreigners, but once you get to know them and build their trust they are as friendly as anyone.  It's worth noting that Americans are not well viewed for their governments interference with the war against drugs.

Blog - gringoinbolivia.wordpress.com/

Get an International Drivers License. Go to triple A (USA) or equal in other countries, pay $15 and that's it.

Is there a consensus about whether an international license is acceptable? From what ChefJeff says, it sounds like that may not be the best option.