Whilst finding teaching work isn’t a big hassle, getting legal to work can be – just as it can be in Brazil, as described in our Brazil article – and this hassle involves the procedure for when first entering the country, and then the bureaucratic hoops which both you and the school need to jump through once the wheels have been set in motion.
Anyone wanting to teach English legally in Bolivia must enter the country on a Specific Purpose Visa. Easy right? Well, yes and no. It’s a little like a catch 22 situation. Most schools in Bolivia like to recruit from within the country; meaning they prefer to see you in person before offering you work.
The issue with this is that to obtain the Specific Purpose Visa, you need a letter of invitation from the language school. Some of the larger schools will recruit from abroad, but before agreeing to sign up with one particular school, we recommend that you heavily research the school and working conditions.
The Specific Purpose Visa is valid for 30 days upon entry into Bolivia and then you have within these 30 days to file all the necessary work permit papers. The way we found out some teachers get around this red tape is by entering Bolivia on a standard 30-day Tourist Visa, securing work within their allotted 30 days and then leaving across the border to Chile, where they apply for the Specific Purpose Visa at the Bolivian Consulate in Arica. US citizens though must apply for any type of Bolivian visa from their home state, so if you are coming from the USA then you will unfortunately need to arrange work in advance and apply directly for the Specific Purpose Visa before arrival. If you are from the UK however, you can just dandy yourself over to South America and everything’s chill. The third option for teaching English in Bolivia is working illegally, but we never recommend this option.
Please remember that at tefl online pro we assist our graduates with ongoing job support, help and advice, so if you are thinking of making the move to Bolivia and need guidance then feel free to reach out and contact us.