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Emergency Financial Assistance
January 1, 2020


Americans who find themselves destitute in Bolivia may request the assistance of the Embassy to communicate with family or to return to the United States. Consular officers have no funds available for welfare services because the United States Congress does not provide funds to give or loan to U.S. citizens in need in foreign countries. With your authorization, the Embassy can call your family and friends to explain how money can be sent to you from the United States.  You will need to complete a Privacy Act Waiver first.  If no other resources are available, citizens can apply for a repatriation loan to purchase a one-way ticket directly back to the United States. In these cases citizens will have to sign a promissory note agreeing to repay the loan to the United States Government.

One of the fastest ways to obtain cash is by Western Union wire transfer from a friend or relative in the United States.  Western Union offices are located throughout Bolivia, and the transfer time is only a matter of minutes in most cases.  More information can be found on their website or by calling 1-800-325-6000 from the United States.

More information about sending money to U.S. citizens overseas is available here.

Transferring Money to a Destitute U.S. Citizen Overseas

If you need to get money to a destitute U.S. citizen outside the United States, you have a number of available options.

Banks, Credit Card Companies, and Money Transfer Companies

  • Contact the individual’s bank and arrange to add funds to the person’s account.
  • Contact the individual’s credit card company to ask for a temporary credit limit increase.
  • Arrange for immediate replacement of a lost/stolen credit card.  Express delivery may take 2-3 business days.
  • Identify a commercial money transfer company that operates in/near the city where the individual is located.  There are money transfer cost comparison tools online to help you identify your best option.  NOTE:  The individual must typically present identification to collect funds; this channel may not be an option if identification is lost or stolen.

Department of State:  As a last resort, the Department of State may be able to help transfer funds through our office in Washington, D.C. to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.  The U.S. citizen who is abroad should contact the Embassy or Consular Agency to inquire about eligibility requirements and additional details.  The Department of State charges a $30 processing fee to set up an account and transfer funds overseas per fiscal year (October 1 – September 30).  If your account remains open and in use for an additional fiscal year or is transferred to another overseas consular district then an additional $30 fee must be assessed.  When sending money for the first time, please be sure to add $30 for the State Department’s processing and account set-up fee to the amount you intend to send the recipient.

For more information click here.

Emergency Contacts

Fire Departments

Cochabamba: 911 | +591 (4)455-8080
La Paz: 119 | +591 (2)228-6683 | +591 720-16641
Santa Cruz: +591 (3)358-4707 | +591 781-11984

Police Stations

Cochabamba: +591 800-140178
La Paz: 110 | +591 (2)228-5384
Santa Cruz: 110 | +591 (3)353-1337 | +591 (3)352-1921

Emergency Contact Information

Regular Business Hours
Monday to Thursday:  8:00 am – 5:30 pm
Friday: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Excluding U.S. and Bolivian Holidays
Phone: (591) 2-216-8000

After Hours
Phone: (591) 2-216-8000
Fax: (591) 2-216-8111