Paraguay

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Wednesday, 02 July 2014.   This advice contains new information under Additional information: Natural disasters, severe weather and climate (severe flooding in June 2014 affected Asunción, and a number of departments in south-eastern Paraguay). We continue to advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in Paraguay due to the high level of crime.

Paraguay overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Paraguay due to the high level of crime.
  • Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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Entry and exit

Australians need a visa to visit Paraguay. Single and multiple-entry visas can be obtained at your nearest Embassy or Consulate of 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.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the 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 heavy 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 and carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

Civil unrest/political tension

Demonstrations and large public gatherings occur frequently and have the potential to turn violent. You should avoid all protests and demonstrations. 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. Monitor the media for developments and follow the advice of local authorities.

Crime

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Paraguay due to the high level of crime. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety and security risks.

Petty crime, such as pick-pocketing occurs regularly in major cities, particularly on public transport and in crowded areas frequented by foreigners. Remain vigilant in crowded public places and ensure that your belongings are secure at all times.

Incidents of violent crime, including armed assault, 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.

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

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

The telephone number in Asunción for emergency assistance is 911.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out whether your ATM card will work in Paraguay.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

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.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Australian Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

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 stray animals and vehicles without headlights.

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

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.

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

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

Laws

When you are in Paraguay, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that might appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Penalties for the possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs in Paraguay are severe and convicted offenders can expect long mandatory prison sentences and heavy fines.

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

Our Dual nationals page provides information.

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 the Entry and Exit section for important information about vaccination certificate requirements. For more information about yellow fever, see the Department of Health website.

Outbreaks of other insect-borne diseases (including malaria and dengue fever) 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

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 obtain full consular services from the Australian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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

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.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

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.

Severe flooding in June 2014 affected Asunción, and a number of departments in south-eastern Paraguay. Australians are advised to avoid travel to areas affected by severe flooding, monitor the media and follow the advice of local authorities.

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

For Parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.



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.