Paraguay

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Monday, 02 February 2015.   This advice has undergone a regular review to ensure it is still accurate. There are only minor editorial amendments, and the level of the advice has not changed. We continue to advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in Paraguay.

Paraguay overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Paraguay due to the high level of crime. You should pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about possible new security risks.
  • Incidents of violent crime are increasing in Paraguay. Be particularly alert in tourist locations and downtown areas in Asunción, Ciudad del Este and Pedro Juan Caballero and avoid walking in these areas after dark.
  • The rainy season is from December to March and can affect the accessibility and reliability of public transport.
  • Australia has a Consulate in Asunción, headed by an Honorary Consul, which can provide limited consular assistance (not including the issue of passports). Appointments are required for all visits. Full consular services are available from the Australian Embassy in Argentina.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
    • organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
    • register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you in an emergency
    • subscribe to this travel advice to receive free email updates each time it's reissued.
    • follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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Entry and exit

Australians need a visa to visit Paraguay. Some Australians may be eligible to obtain a 90-day multiple-entry visa on arrival, at the Asunción International Airport for a fee of USD135.00, payable in cash. Contact your nearest Embassy or Consulate of Paraguay to determine if you are eligible, or to apply for a single and multiple-entry visa if you are not.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Paraguay for the most up-to-date information.

Ensure that your passport is stamped by an immigration official if entering Paraguay overland or you will be subject to a fine when departing the country.

Children under 18 years of age travelling alone or with one parent may be required to provide a letter of consent from the non-travelling parent(s) to the Paraguayan authorities. Contact your nearest Embassy or Consulate of Paraguay well in advance of travel for further advice.

If you are travelling to or from Paraguay via the United States you will need to meet US entry/transit requirements. You should check your visa needs well in advance of travel with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the United States. See also our travel advice for the United States of America.

Paraguay is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a country at risk of yellow fever. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that all travellers be vaccinated for yellow fever before travelling to Paraguay. As the quarantine requirements for yellow fever vaccination differ between countries, we recommend that you check the yellow fever entry requirements for Paraguay and all countries you intend to enter or transit by contacting their foreign missions in Australia. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia.

Safety and security

Crime

Incidents of violent crime are increasing in Paraguay. There have been reports of armed assault, car theft and kidnapping. Be particularly alert in tourist locations and downtown areas in Asunción, Ciudad del Este and Pedro Juan Caballero and avoid walking in these areas after dark.

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, occurs regularly in major cities, particularly on public transport and in crowded areas frequented by foreigners. Dress down and carry minimal cash and credit cards, as victims are often targeted for perceived wealth or value of personal possessions. Remain vigilant in crowded public places and ensure that your belongings are secure at all times.

If you are attacked or robbed, do not resist. Thieves are often armed and you could be seriously injured or killed.

There are reports of robbery of passengers in unregistered taxis. See Local travel.

Never leave food or drinks unattended as drink and food spiking may occur.

Civil unrest/political tension

Demonstrations and large public gatherings occur frequently and have the potential to turn violent. In the past, protests and demonstrations have led to roadblocks and road closures which have caused severe traffic congestion. It is recommended that travellers do not attempt to cross roadblocks even if unattended. You should avoid all protests and demonstrations. Monitor the media for developments and follow the advice of local authorities.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin

Money and valuables

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Review the general advice to Australian travellers for further information on being safe and prepared abroad.

Local travel

Driving: Driving standards in Paraguay are poor and traffic can be disorganised. Exercise caution and common sense when travelling by motor vehicle. Many cars are poorly maintained and traffic regulations are routinely ignored. The network of surfaced roads in Paraguay is limited and can be of variable condition. Outside of major urban centres, other than major intercity highways, most roads remain unsurfaced and often become impassable during heavy rain. Driving at night in rural areas should be avoided if possible due to the risk of stray animals on the road and vehicles being driven without headlights.

Taxi/Bus: Taxi and bus services can be a convenient mode of travel in urban centres, however, most do not meet Australian safety standards and do not have functioning seatbelts.

Some taxis may appear to be official but are not registered with local authorities. There are reports of robbery of passengers in unregistered taxis. We recommend that travellers only use registered taxi companies. After dark, registered taxis should be booked by phone or at major hotels.

Iguaza Falls: Travellers planning to visit Iguazu Falls should read the travel advice for Brazil and Argentina and be aware of the visa requirements for these countries. You should apply for your visa to Brazil or Argentina well in advance of planned travel, as these processes can be time consuming. You should consult the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Brazil or Argentina for visa information. The Australian Government is unable to assist with the visa application process of other countries.

Additional care should be taken if you travel to the north-eastern provinces of Concepción, San Pedro, Amambay and Canindeyú, as illegal cross-border activities are common and occasionally become violent.

Hiking: If hiking in remote areas, you should register your details with park authorities. Hikers should fully acquaint themselves with local natural hazards and conditions, including weather conditions.

Airline safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Paraguay.

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

You are subject to the local laws of Paraguay, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

Penalties for the possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs in Paraguay are severe and include mandatory prison sentences and heavy fines. See our Drugs page.

There are strict regulations against the temporary import or export of items such as firearms, medications, toys resembling weapons and protected species. It is against the law to hunt animals or remove certain plant species from nature reserves.

Photographing airports, military establishments, police stations and government buildings is prohibited.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Dual nationals

See our Dual nationals page.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Medical care is adequate in Asunción but may be limited or unavailable in rural areas. Medical facilities will often expect immediate cash payment for services.

The WHO lists Paraguay as a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes which is preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that you are vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to Paraguay. See Department of Health website.

Outbreaks of other insect-borne diseases (including malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya) are a risk to travellers to Paraguay. You should consult your doctor or travel clinic about prophylaxis against malaria and take measures to avoid mosquito and other insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing, staying indoors whenever possible and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof. For further information on dengue fever see the World Health Organization's factsheet.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, hepatitis A and rabies) are prevalent. Consult your doctor or travel clinic about pre-departure vaccinations for typhoid, hepatitis A and rabies. In rural areas, we recommend you boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Be aware that some water-borne diseases can be prevalent is fresh water courses. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

HIV/AIDS is also a significant risk in Paraguay. You should exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection. You can find out more information at the World Health Organization website.

Where to get help

Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.

If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the local police on 441-111. You should always obtain a police report when reporting a crime. The national emergency number is 911.

If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas. Australia has a Consulate in Asunción headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular assistance. Passport services are not available from this consulate. As this office operates on a part-time basis, appointments are required for all visits.

Australian Consulate, Asunción

Australian Consulate, Asuncion
Prócer Arguello 208 e/Mariscal
López y Bollani
76629 Asunción, Paraguay
Telephone (59 521) 608 740
Facsimile (59 521) 608 740

You can contact the Australian Government at the Australian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina for full consular assistance. See contact details below:

Australian Embassy, Buenos Aires

Villanueva 1400,
(C1426BMJ)
Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
Telephone: (54 11) 4779 3500
Facsimile: (54 11) 4779 3581
Website: www.argentina.embassy.gov.au
Facebook: Australia in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay

See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are travelling to Paraguay, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

The rainy season is from December to March and can affect the accessibility and reliability of public transport. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional Resources

For other useful information to assist travelling in this country, see:



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.