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Travel Security Advice for Paraguay

Paraguay_National_Flag

paraguay_mapParaguay_Overview


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

Paraguay is a constitutional democracy with a developing economy.  Tourist facilities are adequate in the capital city of Asuncion, but vary greatly in quality and prices.  Travelers outside Asuncion should consult with a travel agency, as satisfactory or adequate tourist facilities are limited in other cities and almost nonexistent in remote areas.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Paraguay for additional information.



REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION:

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Paraguay are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department of State’s travel registration page in order to obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency. 

Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.

U.S. Embassy Asuncion


1776 Mariscal Lopez Avenue, Asuncion, Paraguay.
Tel. 595-21-213-715
Fax 595-21-228-603

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Facsimile: 595-021-228-603



ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

A passport and visa are required.  U.S. citizens traveling to Paraguay must apply for visas in person or by secure messenger at the Paraguayan Embassy in Washington, DC or the nearest Paraguayan consulate and pay a fee.   For minors under the age of 18, parents or guardians must provide a notorized authorization.   Some airlines include the Paraguayan airport departure tax in the cost of the airline ticket.  It is recommended that you check with the airline in order to determine whether or not the departure tax has been included.  Visit the Embassy of Paraguay website for the most current visa information.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Paraguay.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.



THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY:

As stated in the Department of State's latest Worldwide Caution, U.S. citizens overseas may be targeted by extremist groups and should maintain a high level of vigilance.  The U.S. Embassy is not aware of any specific terrorist threat to Americans in Paraguay.  Individuals and organizations providing financial support to extremist groups operate in Ciudad del Este and along the tri-border area between Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.  Small armed groups have also been reported to be operating in the San Pedro and Concepcion Departments.  Drug trafficking remains a serious concern in the Department of Amambay.  Because of concerns about the lack of security in border areas and departments, 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, as well as the San Pedro, Concepcion and Amambay Departments.  As a general precaution, the Embassy also counsels its employees traveling outside the capital to provide an itinerary including dates, contact names, and telephone numbers where the employee may be reached.

Over the past several years, there have been several high-profile kidnapping incidents in the interior of the country.  Targets have been members of the Paraguayan business community or their family members.  It is believed that the individuals responsible for the kidnappings are financially motivated and have pre-selected their targets based on the victims’ wealth. 

U.S. citizens should 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.  While generally nonviolent, demonstrations and/or roadblocks have turned violent in the past.  Areas where such closures and barricades exist should be avoided.  U.S. citizens who encounter demonstrations and/or roadblocks should not attempt to continue the planned travel or to confront those at the roadblock.  Instead, they should avoid areas where individuals are demonstrating and in case of roadblock, wait for the road to reopen or return to the origin of their trip.  Uniformed police often conduct roving checks of vehicles and passengers.For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs' website,

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.



CRIME:

Crime has increased steadily throughout 2009 posing a challenge to the Paraguayan National Police.  Although most crime is nonviolent, there has been an increase in the use of weapons and there have been incidents where extreme violence has been used.  U.S. citizens have on occasion been the victims of assaults, kidnappings, robberies, and rape.  Local authorities frequently lack the training and resources to solve these cases.  Under these circumstances, U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Paraguay should be aware of their surroundings and security at all times.  Travelers and residents alike should take common sense precautions including refraining from displaying expensive-looking cameras and jewelry, large amounts of money, or other valuable items.  Criminal often target those thought to be wealthy.  Resistance to armed assailants has often aggravated the situation and therefore is not advised.

Armed robbery, "car-jackings", car theft, and home invasions are a problem in both urban and rural areas.  Street crime, including pick pocketing and mugging, is prevalent in cities.  The number of pick pocketing incidents and armed assaults is also increasing on public buses and in the downtown area of Asunción.  As many incidents on public buses involve individuals snatching valuables, passengers should not wear expensive-looking jewelry or display other flashy items.  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 in carry-on luggage.  Unauthorized ticket vendors also reportedly operate at the Asuncion bus terminal, badgering travelers into buying tickets for substandard or non-existent services.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available.  Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law.  In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. 



VICTIMS OF CRIME:

If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see Regitration/Embassy section or see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates).  This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport.  The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds may be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Paraguay is:

In Asuncion for Emergency Services, including Police and Ambulances:  911; and
for the Fire Department, including rescue of accident victims: 131, 132.

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.



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.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States..

Persons violating Paraguayan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.  Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Paraguay are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.



SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

Paraguay’s customs authority may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Paraguay of items such as firearms, medications, toys resembling weapons, or protected species.  It is advisable to contact the Paraguayan Embassy in Washington, D.C., or one of Paraguay's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Paraguay does not recognize dual nationality for its citizens.  According to Article 150 of the Paraguayan Constitution, naturalized Paraguayans may lose their nationality if they have an unjustified absence from the Republic of more than three years (as determined by a court), or by voluntary adoption of another nationality.

Please see our Customs Information sheet.



MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Adequate medical facilities, prescription and over-the-counter medications, supplies, and services are available in Asuncion.  Elsewhere these are limited and in rural areas may not exist. 

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) websiteThe WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.



MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to determine whether the policy applies overseas and whether it covers emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.



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.

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.  The information below is provided for general reference only.  Road conditions may vary throughout Paraguay.

U.S. citizens have been injured and killed in traffic accidents.  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.  No vehicle insurance is required, and many Paraguayans drive without any insurance coverage.  Persons who drive in Paraguay should be prepared to drive defensively and with adequate insurance.

Public transportation is readily available for urban and inter-city travel.  Buses vary in maintenance conditions and may not meet U.S. safety standards.  Armed robberies and pick- pocketing occur on buses in cities and rural areas, sometimes with the apparent collusion of the bus driver.  Taxis are available and may be called using telephone numbers listed in the newspapers.  No passenger train service exists.  Bicycle travel may not be safe because of traffic and other road hazards.

Most urban streets consist of rough cobblestones over dirt.  Some roads in Asuncion and other large cities are paved.  However, these roads frequently develop potholes that often remain unrepaired.  Nearly all rural roads are unpaved, and during rainy periods and the rainy season (November-March/April), they may be impassable.  Major paved roads in Asuncion are prone to flooding and extreme caution should be used during rain storms.  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 because pedestrians, animals, or vehicles without proper lights are often found on the roads.  In addition, assaults and other crimes against motorists traveling at night have occurred.  Extra precautions should be exercised along infrequently traveled portions of rural roads.

Intercity highway maintenance is not equal to U.S. standards.  The privately maintained toll road between Caaguazu and Ciudad del Este and the routes between Asuncion and Encarnacion and Asuncion and Pedro Juan Caballero are in good condition.  Most other intercity routes are in good to fair condition with brief stretches in poor condition.  The Trans-Chaco route is in fair condition except for the portion between Mariscal Estigarribia and the Bolivian border, which is unpaved and at times impassable.

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 Brazil, First Floor, or telephoning 210-550, 210-551, 210-552, 210-553, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon, except for Paraguayan holidays.  The Touring Club has offices in Ciudad del Este (tel. 061-512-340), Coronel Oviedo (tel. 0521-203-350), Encarnación (tel. 071-202-203), San Ignacio Misiones (tel. 082-232-080), Santani (cell phone: 0981-534-272), Pozo Colorado (cell phone: 0981-939-611), Villa Florida (tel. 083-240-205), and Yby Yau (039) 210 206).  Towing services are scarce outside urban areas.  Twenty-four-hour tow truck services from Asuncion may be contacted by telephoning (021) 224-366, (021) 208-400, (cellular service provider) Tigo by dialing *822 or 0971-951-930.  For an extra fee, these companies may provide service outside Asuncion, but they typically demand immediate payment and may not accept credit cards.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.



AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Paraguay's Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Paraguay's air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.



CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Paraguay dated September 15, 2008 to update sections throughout. 


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding Paraguay HERE....

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassies Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens).........

There is also a Malaria Warning for Paraguay HERE...

Regards

The SW Team........

 

Direct Gov Travel News and Alerts