Santa Cruz

Working in Santa Cruz?

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Working in Santa Cruz

Prepared to live the experience of working in Santa Cruz, Bolivia? Expatriates can look forward to a diverse economy, due the city’s richness in commodities and its popularity with tourists. Read on for detailed information on the local economy, work permits and more!

Local Economy

The city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra is the financial, industrial and agricultural capital of Bolivia. It contributes almost 40% of the GDP and more than 80% of the national agricultural production, focused in particular on soybeans, cotton, rice and sugar.

Natural resources are boosting the local economy: the department is very rich in natural gas and is home to the second largest iron ore deposit in the world. Additionally, the city is in part covered with forest and it trades lumber and other wood products.

Working in Santa Cruz offers many diverse opportunities to expats. Tourism is a large income source; the city attracts one third of the tourists in Bolivia and the city hosts many multinational companies. These companies may require employees with a very good to excellent level of English.

Work Permits to Santa Cruz

In order to obtain a work permit in Santa Cruz, you first need to enter the country on a specific purpose visa. This is valid for 30 days and allows expats to enter the country and start the residency application process.

There is no work visa for Bolivia, therefore if you plan on working in Santa Cruz you will need to have your residency approved and a work permit issued by the Ministry of Work (permiso de trabajo).

Applying for a specific purpose visa requires a letter of intent from your Bolivian employer; therefore you should already have a job position and the required paperwork before leaving to Santa Cruz. Applications for visas start in your home country and you should check your local Bolivian embassy or consulate on the dedicated website.

Income Taxation in Santa Cruz

In Santa Cruz, the national tax legislation is in force, and the city has the same taxes as the rest of the country.

Every resident or visa holder is expected to pay income taxes on their worldwide income: a fixed rate of 13% is applied and the VAT must be paid on work contracts, as well as on sales and imports.

Employees are furthermore required to pay social security contributions monthly, which entails an employer contribution of 13.71%, housing 2%, professional risk 1.71%, short term insurance 10%,

employee contribution 12.21%, seniority contribution 10%, common risk 1.71% and Pension Fund commission 0.5%.

Peter B. Krehmer

"I was amazed how many like-minded expats there are in La Paz; it was great to get in touch with such a friendly group of people."

Heather Albrey

"Expat living in Bolivia can be difficult at times. The InterNations community made it a lot easier for us. "

Global Expat Guide