Click here for visa update #1, here for visa update #2, and here for visa update #3.
My fingerprints were submitted exactly a month ago today. I really thought the background check would arrive today (fingerprints submitted exactly a month ago and today is 21 business days… the length of the wait for a background check on the LA State Police website), but it did not arrive. Apparently the system in Louisiana is overloaded with background check requests, and they're really behind. Although they received my fingerprints December 10th, they weren't put into the system until the 18th, and then the offices were closed for several days for both Christmas and New Years. It's frustrating knowing that each day more that I wait pushes every other step one day further behind.
I'm writing all of these updates mainly for myself but also for anyone else who may be going through this process. It's hard to find up-to-date info on how to go about getting an Objeto Determinado Visa to Bolivia, and the info. that I have found is sometimes difficult to understand (maybe because I'm unfamiliar with the whole process or maybe because a lot of it is in Spanish). So, if you're going through this process right now, this is the info I have as it pertains to Objeto Determinado Visas at the end of 2013/beginning of 2014. I don't know how long it will be the most up-to-date, but it's what I've learned so far…
(Sorry if the following repeats anything else I've written… I'm sure some of it does, but like I said, I want to keep a record of everything!)
When you receive the visa sticker in your passport, it's valid for 90 days. That means you have 90 days to enter Bolivia before needing to apply for another visa. Once you enter Bolivia, you then have 30 days to submit the paperwork with Migración to begin the process for 1 year of temporary residency. Like I've said before, I'll be using a lawyer to help me with this process, and many others use a lawyer, as well.
I'd read online that if you don't bring all your paperwork with you and need more than the 30 days to get it submitted, you can request a 30 day extension to the original 30 days. You can request two 30 day extensions (for 90 days total). However, this is NO LONGER allowed. Thirty day extensions are no longer granted. Instead, you pay a $3 fine for every day you are there past the 30 days that you haven't submitted your paperwork. Once you submit the first documents, the fine is stopped (you still have to pay for the days, but the days after that aren't fined).
I know that if I were to stay home and wait for all my paperwork, it could take several more months. To get the actual sticker in my passport for the visa, I had to send in a photocopy of my airline tickets or itinerary. When I sent in the paperwork, I sent in a possible itinerary because I hadn't purchased plane tickets yet. It wasn't a problem at all, and I received the visa. It's recommended that if you are going to buy the plane tickets, buy them for at least 2 months out to give yourself enough time to get everything finished. In my case, had I bought them 2 months out, I still wouldn't have had enough time to finish the documents. So, I'll be buying my tickets and going on to Bolivia (I'll have been home for about a month and a half), and my mom will finish the documents for me (sending them to each place for authentication) and then mail them to Bolivia.
This is getting long, but there is also a little good news to all of this! I've been doing a LOT of research on what will be expected of me once I'm working on the 1 year temporary residency paperwork. I'll have the lawyer to help, but I want to have a copy of everything I need, as well. The website for Migración in Bolivia is www.migracion.gob.bo. It's all in Spanish, but it's been pretty helpful. On the homepage, click on "Trámites" and then "Para Extranjeros." Then it's "Por Nacionalidad," and you choose your nationality from the drop-down list. It'll take you to a page about the different visas, and you'll look under "Trámites que Puede Realizar." We need the information for the "Residencia Temporal de 1 Año" (#4 in the first list under the section's title). It'll list all of the prerequisites and steps needed to get the temporary residency. If you don't speak Spanish, some of it may be difficult to understand, but with a little help from an online translator, I have a pretty good understanding of the requirements. It's definitely a relief to have found this information. I hope it'll help you, too!