Paraguay - Consular Information Sheet
February 15, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Paraguay is a middle-income nation
with a developing economy. Tourist facilities are good in Asuncion,
the capital city, poor in major cities, and almost nonexistent
in remote areas.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. U.S. citizens
traveling as tourists or for business do not need a visa for stays
up to three months. Persons planning on working, formally or informally,
or staying longer than three months, may require a visa and should
seek information from the Paraguayan Embassy or consulate on the
corresponding visas prior to travel. Although Paraguayan law allows
changes in visa status, the procedure is lengthy and can be cumbersome.
In addition, individuals wishing to reside in Paraguay for any
length of time should have their civil documents (birth and marriage
certificates, etc.) certified and authenticated by the Paraguayan
Embassy or Consulate in the U.S. as well as translated into Spanish.
For current information concerning entry and customs requirements
for Paraguay, travelers may contact the
Paraguayan Embassy at 2400 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington,
D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 483-6960. Internet: http://www.embassy.org/embassies/py.html;
or the Paraguayan consulate in Los Angeles, Miami, or New York.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: U.S. citizens traveling to or residing
in Paraguay are advised to take common sense precautions and avoid
large gatherings or any other event where crowds have congregated
to demonstrate or protest. Such activities have resulted in intermittent
road closures including major routes traveled by tourists and
residents. Curfews are occasionally imposed. Roadblocks in the
past have been sporadic and of varying duration but generally
nonviolent. Areas where such closures and barricades exist should
be avoided. U.S. citizens who encounter roadblocks should not
attempt to continue the planned travel or to confront those at
the roadblock. Instead, wait for the road to reopen or return
to the origin of your trip. Travelers also are advised that uniformed
police often conduct roving checks of vehicles and passengers.
Individuals and organizations with ties to extremist groups operate
in Ciudad del Este and along the tri-border area between Paraguay,
Brazil and Argentina. Because of concerns about the lack of security
in border areas, the U.S. Embassy in Asuncion requires U.S. Government
personnel and their family members to provide advance notice and
a travel itinerary when traveling to Ciudad del Este or Pedro
Juan Caballero. As a general precaution, the Embassy also counsels
its employees traveling outside of the capital to provide an itinerary
including dates, contact names and telephone numbers where the
employee may be reached.
Additional advice and information may be obtained from the U.S.
Embassy at the telephone number below.
CRIME: Armed robberies, car thefts, and home invasions
are on the rise. Street crime, including pickpocketing and mugging,
is prevalent in the cities, particularly during the evening hours
in the vicinity of hotels and airports. The numbers of pickpocketing
incidents and armed assaults are also increasing on public buses.
There have been incidents of pilferage from checked baggage at
both airports and bus terminals. Travelers have found it prudent
to hide valuables on their person or else in carry-on luggage.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's
pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad,
for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet
is available by mail from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402; via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su
docs, or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Facilities for medical care in Paraguay
are limited. Medical supplies may be limited depending on the
location of the hospital or clinic and the nature of the injury
or illness. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash
payment for health services.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas
may face extreme difficulties. Serious medical problems requiring
hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States
can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether
your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical
evacuation, and for the adequacy of coverage. Please ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor
or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you
incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Paraguay is provided for general reference only
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Fair
Only minimal standards must be met to obtain a Paraguayan driver's
license, and driver education prior to licensing is not common.
Drivers throughout Paraguay routinely ignore traffic regulations.
Persons who drive in Paraguay should be prepared to drive defensively
in both urban and rural areas.
Public transportation is readily available for urban and inter-city
travel. Buses vary in maintenance conditions and may not meet
U.S. safety standards. Taxis are available and may be called using
telephone numbers listed in the newspapers. Since a fatal accident
in August 2000, the passenger train from Asuncion to Aregua ceased
operations and no regular passenger train service exists. Bicycle
travel may not be safe due to traffic and other road hazards.
Most urban streets consist of cobblestones over dirt. Some roads
in Asuncion and other large cities are paved. However, these roads
frequently develop potholes that often remain without repair for
several months. Nearly all rural roads are unpaved, and during
rainy periods they may be impassable. Road signs indicating hazards,
such as sharp curves or major intersections, are lacking in many
areas. Driving or traveling at night is not advisable outside
Asuncion, as animals or vehicles without proper lights are often
on the roads.
In addition, assaults and other crimes against motorists traveling
at night have occurred. Extra precautions should be exercised
in the countryside and specifically in the San Pedro, Caaguazu
and Canindeyu Departments due to both reports of carjackings by
armed bandits along infrequently traveled portions of the rural
roads in those areas and also other road hazards.
The Ministry of Public Works and Communications is responsible
for maintaining highways. Two main roads out of Asuncion - one
leading east to Ciudad del Este and the Brazilian border and the
other south running south to Encarnacion and Argentina - are better
In Asuncion, the following phone numbers exist for roadside/ambulance
Emergency services, including ambulances: 141;
Fire department, including rescue of accident victims: 132;
Robberies and accidents: 130;
Vehicle thefts: 373 or 428.
The Touring and Automobile Club provides some roadside assistance
to its members. The club may be contacted in Asuncion by visiting
its offices at 25 de Mayo near Brasil, first floor, or calling
telephone 210-550, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through
Friday except for Paraguayan holidays. The Touring Club also has
offices in Ciudad del Este (061-512-340), Coronel Oviedo (0521-203-350),
Encarnacion (071-202-203), Pilar (0975-617-575), and Pozo Colorado
(093-516). Towing services are scarce outside of urban areas.
Twenty-four-hour tow truck services from Asuncion may be contacted
by calling (21) 226-136 or 214-334/5. For an extra fee, these
companies may provide service outside of Asuncion, but they typically
demand immediate payment and may not accept credit cards.
For specific information concerning Paraguay's driver's permits,
vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact
tourist offices in the Paraguayan Embassy in Washington, D.C.,
at telephone (202) 483-6960; Internet: http://www.embassy.org/embassies/py.html;
or the Paraguayan consulates at the locations noted under "Entry
Requirements." Information may also be obtained from the
Touring and Automobile Club in Asuncion.
For additional information about road safety, please see the
Department of State, Bureau of Consular
Affairs home page road safety overseas feature at http://travel.state.gov/road
safety.html. For specific information concerning Paraguay driving
permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance,
contact the Embassy of Paraguay in Washington, D.C.
AVIATION SATETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of Paraguay's Civil Aviation
Authority as Category 2 -- not in compliance with international
aviation safety standards for the oversight of Paraguay's air
carrier operations. While consultations to correct the deficiencies
are ongoing, Paraguay's air carriers currently flying to the U.S.
will be subject to heightened FAA surveillance. No additional
flights or new service to the U.S. by Paraguay's air carriers
will be permitted unless they arrange to have flights conducted
by an air carrier from a country meeting international safety
standards. For further information, travelers may contact the
Department of Transportation at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the
FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. In addition, DOD does not permit its personnel to
use air carriers from Category 2 countries for official business
except for flights originating from or terminating in the U.S.
Local exceptions may apply. For information regarding the DOD
policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the Pentagon
at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Paraguay's customs authorities may
enforce strict regulations concerning the temporary importation
into or export from Paraguay of items such as firearms, medications,
toys resembling weapons, or protected species. In October 1999,
a U.S. citizen seeking to import Viagra, toy stun guns, slingshots,
and other items as gifts for his family was arrested and detained
by Paraguayan authorities. It is advisable to contact the Paraguayan
Embassy in Washington or one of Paraguay's consulates in the United
States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Paraguay's laws, even unknowingly, may be arrested, expelled,
or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in
illegal drugs in Paraguay are strict and convicted offenders can
expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Prison conditions are harsh.
For additional information on the Paraguayan criminal justice
system and facilities, please review the most recent Human Rights
Report available on the
State Department website at http://www.state.gov.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's issues.html, or telephone
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or
visiting Paraguay are encouraged to register at the Consular Section
of the U.S. Embassy in Asuncion and obtain updated information
on travel and security in Paraguay. The U.S. Embassy is located
at 1776 Mariscal Lopez Avenue; telephone (011-595-21) 213-715.
The Consular Section is open for U.S. citizens services, including
registration, Monday through Thursday from 1-5 pm and Friday from
7:30 am to 11:30 am, except for U.S. and Paraguayan holidays.
Consular Section's Internet e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.