A week ago Yoli and I finally traveled to Houston to do business with the Bolivian consulate there. We arrived Monday and stayed overnight. Our appointment was for Tuesday morning. We stayed at the apartment of some friends who also have two children.
We had three pieces of business we wanted to accomplish:
- Get a new Bolivian passport for Yoli
- Get Bolivian consular birth certificates for Jadzia and Ludi
- Get a tourist visa for me
Well, most of you know how things go when you have kids. We got a later start than we should have. And the consulate turned out to be farther away timewise than I had imagined from our MapQuest printout. We ran late.
But to the consulate’s credit, they didn’t put up a fuss when we arrived. They took care of all of our business, and we left feeling happy that we had gotten everything we needed. This was definitely a better experience than when we were in Washington D.C. last year and were informed they had run out of passports.
My visa cost $100, but is good for five years. I still maintain that this visa program will ultimately hurt Bolivia and depress the tourist trade. But they seem to be processing these visas in a timely and organized fashion, so kudos to them for this.
2 Replies to “Consolation”
Josh, what is the difference between a passport and a visa?
A passport is issued by a country to its citizens. If you are American, you get a passport only from the U.S. The passport tells other countries of the world, “Hey, this guy belongs to us.” It establishes the identity of the citizen, and guarantees they can return and enter his/her home country.
A visa is a document given by a country to a foreigner granting that person permission to enter the country. They are issued for various purposes like tourism, or business, or education. A Bolivian could not enter the U.S., for example, without first obtaining a visa from the U.S. Visas last a set period of time, like 30 days for a tourist visa, or a year for an education visa, or whatever.
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