|Still current at: 04 October 2011
Updated: 26 September 2011
This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Travel Summary and the Safety and Security – Crime section (incident in Horgueta). The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for Paraguay.
(see travel advice legal disclaimer)
There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
Safety and Security - Terrorism
There is an general threat from terrorism. Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. See our Terrorism Abroad page.
Safety and Security - Crime
Instances of serious violent crime, including kidnapping, have increased lately. However, weapons can easily be obtained in Paraguay and are routinely carried. On 19 September 2011, an explosive device was thrown at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Horqueta, Concepcion Department resulting in a minor injury to a security guard. Although foreigners are not routinely targeted, remain alert at all times.
Take sensible precautions – avoid wearing expensive jewellery, carrying large amounts of cash or carrying handbags. Essential items, such as mobile phones or wallets, should be kept out of sight when out walking or using public transport. Armed assaults and pick-pocketing on public transport and in areas frequented by foreigners are increasing. Many foreigners choose to use taxis in preference to public transport for security and convenience. You should be particularly alert in downtown Asunción, Ciudad del Este and Pedro Juan Caballero, where it is not advisable to be on foot after dark, due to increasing crime.
See our Victims of Crime Abroad.
Safety and Security - Local Travel
There are increased military and police checks nationwide, usually to check documents and perform breathalyser tests. These are particularly frequent in the San Pedro and Concepcion Departments because of the police activity mentioned above. Travel to these areas should not be undertaken lightly.
Care should be taken when travelling in the north-eastern provinces of Amambay and Canindeyu where illegal cross-border activities are common and often violent.
There are no rail services and no regular passenger services on the Parana River. The most reliable form of travel within Paraguay is by long distance bus services.
Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road Travel
Paraguay's network of surfaced main roads is limited and of variable condition. There is an ongoing programme to upgrade the major routes but minor roads remain unsurfaced and often become impassable during heavy rains. Large potholes are an additional hazard, particularly in the highway to the Mennonite Colonies in the Chaco region and in Asunción. Exercise extreme caution when driving on country roads at night as unlit vehicles and cattle sleeping on the roads are common.
See our Driving Abroad page.
Safety and Security - Political Situation
Paraguay Country Profile
An increase in attempted invasions of private agricultural land by “landless peasants” following Lugo´s election as President has led to greater police activity especially in San Pedro and Concepcion Departments. You should exercise caution, particularly in these areas, and avoid any protests and demonstrations.
All residents and visitors are required by law to carry an acceptable form of identification with them at all times: foreign residents are issued with identity cards. You should carry a photocopy of the details page of your passport. You are advised to leave your passport, other important documents and large amounts of money in a safe place.
There are severe penalties for drug trafficking. Prison sentences in such cases are mandatory, without bail, and prisons standards are poor.
Paraguay has few of the normal facilities for tourists outside the main towns. You should therefore be realistic about the standards of service and facilities that you can expect to find.
Homosexuality is accepted, but Paraguay is also a conservative society. You are therefore advised to show respect for local customs.
See our Your Trip page.
Entry Requirements - Visas
If you are staying for less than three months and you have a British Passport, you do not require a visa to enter Paraguay. You must make sure on arrival that your passport is stamped by an immigration official, dated, signed and sealed. Anybody without an entry stamp in their passport will be fined when they leave the country. This is particularly important for anyone entering Paraguay at a land border. Sometimes long distance bus drivers tell non-Mercosur nationals that they can complete immigration formalities in Asunción. This is not true, and visitors will incur a fine if they do not get their passport stamped at point of entry.
If you wish to stay longer than three months as a visitor you must produce a "certificado de buena conducta" (certificate of good conduct) in order to apply for a residence permit. You should obtain this certificate from your local police station in the UK before travelling, as the Honorary Consul cannot issue one. This must be issued in the month before you leave the UK and has a limited validity of six months.
If you intend to stay in Paraguay for longer than three months (e.g set up a business, work or study) you should contact the Paraguayan Embassy in London.
They can provide further assistance before travelling in order to make sure you get the necessary entry clearance documentation. It can be a lengthy process to regularise your status in country if you arrive in Paraguay without the required documentation.
Entry Requirements - Passport Validity
You must hold a valid passport to enter Paraguay. Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required. However, it is always sensible to have a short period of extra validity on your passport in case of any unforeseen delays to your departure. You do not have to wait until your old passport expires to apply to renew it. Any time left on your old passport when you apply will be added to your new passport, up to a maximum of nine months. For passport applications in the UK, you should apply to the Identity and Passport Service.
Health - Dengue Fever
On 1 April 2011, the Paraguayan Health Ministry reported 3989 confirmed cases of dengue fever with 20 deaths.
The most affected regions are Alto Parana, Concepcion and the Central department, although there is a risk of dengue fever throughout the country. The Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare has implemented a control programme. Dengue fever is endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year. There is no vaccine to protect against dengue fever, which has severe flu-like symptoms, including high fever, aching joints and bones and a headache and can sometimes be fatal (Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever - DHF). If you develop these symptoms, you should consult a doctor.
Dengue fever is spread by mosquito bites, therefore you should use mosquito repellent regularly and cover up with suitable clothing to avoid being bitten.
Health - Yellow Fever
You should be vaccinated against Yellow Fever if you intend to travel to Paraguay. Yellow Fever is spread by mosquito bites. You should use mosquito repellent regularly and cover up with suitable clothing. If you do fall ill you should seek immediate medical advice.
Health - Malaria and Leishmaniasis
There are occasional reports of outbreaks of malaria and Leishmaniasis (transmitted by insects) is also on the increase. You should bring insect repellent with you, as local brands are not usually as potent as those available in the UK.
Health - General
Facilities for good private medical care exist but are limited to the major cities. Hospitals and GPs will expect immediate payment for medical services. The availability of certain types of medicines cannot be guaranteed. If you need a regular prescription you should bring enough with you.
You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date. NHS Direct (0845 46 47) can provide you with advice on the vaccination requirements for Paraguay.
General - Insurance
You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. Check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. See our Travel Insurance page.
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then see our When Things Go Wrong page.
General - Registration
Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.
General - Representation in Paraguay
There is no British Embassy in Paraguay. The British Embassy in Buenos Aires now has overall responsibility for Paraguay and all enquiries should be directed to them at the contact details given below. For emergency consular assistance only, please contact the British Honorary Consul in Asunción: Dr Guillermo F Peroni; Address: Eulogio Estigarribia, 4846 C/Monseñor Bogarin, Asunción, Paraguay; Tel: (595) (21) 210405 / (595) (21) 663536; Fax: (595) (21) 600448; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
General - Money
ATMs are widespread, many accepting Cirrus, Maestro and Visa cards. You should be aware that you may be asked to provide identification, such as a passport, if paying for items with a credit or debit card. Travellers' cheques are not widely used. When exchanging money, you should use registered banks or bureaux de change. We advise that you do not change money with people offering attractive rates on the street or on arrival at the airport, as false banknotes are common.