Located in the heart of South America, Paraguay enjoys a warm and humid climate with a population speaking Spanish and indigenous Guarani. The country holds membership in the trade bloc known as MERCOSUR. With its favourable location and renowned hospitality, Paraguay has earned its reputation as the "heart of South America."
8 benefits of getting a Paraguay passport
1. Social benefits. Citizens of Paraguay get access to national healthcare and public education.
2. Tax exemptions. Tax residency in Paraguay may help you reduce the tax burden. There are no foreign income, inheritance, and property taxes. The tax rates for corporate and personal incomes are 10%.
3. No need to give up the first passport. You can obtain a Paraguay passport as the second without the need to renounce previous citizenship. Citizens of Spain and Italy can get double citizenship with Paraguay.
4. Travel without a visa to 141 countries. The list includes 27 countries of the Schengen Area, the UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, and many others.
As for the USA, a Paraguay citizen may get a 5-year nonimmigrant business E-2 visa to the country.
5. Business opportunities. Paraguay is a member of a union called MERCOSUR. It means with a Paraguay passport, you may conduct business on the territory of other member states as well. MERCOSUR includes Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.
6. Affordable living. According to the cost of living database Numbeo, life in Paraguay is cheaper than it is in many other countries of South America, like Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, or Uruguay.
In the capital of Paraguay, Asuncion, the estimated cost of monthly living for a single person is $466. For a family of four, it is $1,646 without rent. Renting a single-bedroom apartment in the city centre costs around $370, and a three-bedroom apartment — approximately $730. On average, the price of a square meter to buy an apartment in Asuncion varies between $952 and $1,141.
7. Expat-friendly immigration rules. A candidate may get a temporary residence permit even before they get a job or business in the country. There is no requirement for a bank deposit anymore, and it is not necessary to live in the country to keep the status.
Foreigners can acquire citizenship in Paraguay after getting permanent residency by investment. To obtain the status, one has to spend at least $70,000 per year for 10 years.
8. Captivating nature and unique culture. Paraguay boasts waterfalls, savannas, forests and various peaks with panoramic views across the country. The people of Paraguay honour their traditions: they hold carnivals, make colourful lace Nyandutu, and speak the indigenous language of Guarani.
3 main ways to obtain a Paraguay passport
A passport of Paraguay can be obtained in one of four main ways:
- Birth — children born in Paraguay automatically get citizenship of the country.
- Descent — if a person was born to a family where at least one parent is a Paraguayan citizen can obtain a passport, if they move to the country.
- Naturalisation — this option is available to foreigners who moved to and settled in Paraguay;
- Naturalisation after making an investment — a simplified way to get a passport for foreign entrepreneurs who commit to invest at least $70,000 in a new business in Paraguay;
Let’s discuss each of the ways in detail.
Paraguay citizenship by naturalisation
A person who has lived in the country for three years is eligible to get Paraguay citizenship by naturalisation.
There are three major steps a foreigner is required to take to be granted citizenship. First, they get a temporary residence permit, then permanent residency status, and only after that can they apply for citizenship.
Temporary residence permit is valid for two years. There is no payment requirement or a bank deposit. An applicant should have grounds to get a temporary permit in Paraguay. It could be a job offer, study, business, a sports contract, or joining a religious congregation.
A temporary resident does not need to stay permanently in the country to keep the status. It is enough to visit the country 2—3 times a year.
Documents for application for a temporary residence permit:
- a passport of the country of origin with a Paraguayan visa if applicable;
- a birth certificate;
- a marriage certificate if applicable;
- a certificate of no criminal record;
- a certificate of life and residence permit, which is issued at the police station of the district the candidate will reside in;
- a job contract or other documentation proving one’s reason to obtain residency.
The certificates must be apostilled or by the Paraguayan embassy in the issuing country. You have to submit the documents to the Migration Service in Asuncion personally. It may request additional documents.
Permanent residence. The status is permanent, but the residency card has to be renewed every five years. To get it, a foreigner proves their reason to stay in Paraguay — marriage, work, business, study or other.
To apply, a temporary resident provides the same list of documents as for temporary residency and adds to the package additional papers:
- proof of grounds to stay in Paraguay;
- a bank statement;
- a temporary residence permit.
An applicant submits the documents to the Migration Service in person. The fee for issuing the permanent residence is approximately $220. The residence card is normally delivered within three months.
Citizenship. To be eligible, you need to stay in the country at least 183 days per year for three years.
The criteria for obtaining Paraguay citizenship by naturalisation include the following:
- Age over 18.
- Legal residence in Paraguay for more than three years.
- Professional activity in the country: job, science, art, industry, or entrepreneurship.
- No criminal records.
An applicant will need to learn the national anthem and pass two exams: in Spanish or Guarani language and in Paraguay politics and history. The citizenship may be renounced if a new citizen by naturalisation is absent from the country for more than three years.
According to the Paraguayan Constitution, there is no separate option for getting citizenship by marriage. Spouses obtain citizenship by naturalisation in a common way.
Paraguay citizenship for investors
Technically, there is no such thing as Paraguay citizenship by investment. However, investors may get nationality by naturalisation in a simplified way. This path allows foreigners to skip the temporary residence stage and obtain permanent residence right away.
As a means for investors, the government of Paraguay established a special programme operated by SUACE — ”Unified System of Opening and Closing Companies”. It allows foreign investors to get residency within three months.
To participate in the SUACE programme, an investor needs to open a company in Paraguay and invest in it at least $70,000. It does not need to be a lumpsum payment. Instead, investors may provide a business plan and commit to contributing at least $7,000 per year for the next 10 years.
The expenses include fees for permission to conduct business, opening a company, and getting a residence card. The total sum is approximately $14,000.
Paraguay citizenship by birth or descent
There is also a natural way to obtain nationality. Any child born in Paraguay becomes the country’s citizen. For example, if a foreign tourist gives birth while in Paraguay, the baby becomes its citizen. This principle is called jus soli, ‘the right of the soil’.
A child whose parent is a Paraguay citizen is entitled to obtain the country’s nationality if the family resides in the Republic. For instance, if a Paraguayan couple lives abroad and does not intend to return to their home country, their child will not get Paraguay nationality automatically. However, a child of a Paraguayan parent can still get citizenship by petitioning to the Paraguayan Civil and Commercial Court of Appeals.
Also, children of unknown parents found in Paraguay obtain the country’s citizenship. Children born abroad to a Paraguayan mother or a father who is at the country’s service.
How to get Paraguay citizenship as an investor
The whole process of getting Paraguay citizenship takes at least 3.5 years.
Immigrant Invest conducts its own preliminary Due Diligence to prepare for permanent residence by investment unit check. It helps to identify rejection risks and find a solution in advance.
Immigrant Invest lawyers give the investor a list of personal and financial documents required to participate in the program. The list usually includes:
- an international passport with a Paraguayan visa if needed;
- birth certificate;
- marriage certificate if applicable;
- certificates of no criminal record from the police of Paraguay, country of residing, and Interpol;
- business plan or another document which proves a candidate’s intention to invest in Paraguay economy at least $70,000 over 10 years;
- a bank statement.
Some additional documents may be required.
An investor submits the application personally to the office of the SUACE programme in Asuncion. The fee for getting a permit is approximately $220.
You also get a national ID card called ‘cedula’. It gives you the rights of a permanent resident of Paraguay, such as access to free medicine, bank services, and tax regime.
The list of documents for citizenship is the same as it is for permanent residence. Instead of a business plan, you provide documents that prove the investment. It is necessary to stay in the country for at least 183 days per year for these 3 years to become a Paraguay citizen. You will need to pass two exams: in Spanish or Guarani language, politics and history of Paraguay.
The Migration Service does have a set time frame for issuing the passport. Normally, an applicant waits up to a few years.
The passport may be renounced if a new citizen does not make investments according to the business plan.
Key points about Paraguay citizenship
- Paraguay passport has various benefits: visa-free travel to 141 countries, a 10-year visa to the USA, tax exemption, and the ability to live in an affordable country with a warm climate.
- A foreigner may obtain Paraguay citizenship by naturalisation. The requirements are to integrate into the local economy and live in the country for three years.
- Without investments, an applicant needs to get a temporary residence permit for two years, then find a job or start a business in Paraguay. After that, to get permanent residence.
- An investor can get a Paraguay passport in a simplified way. They need to invest at least $70,000. The sum may be paid over 10 years. After presenting a business plan with future investments, they get a permanent residence without a temporary status.
- A potential citizen has to pass exams in Spanish or Guarani language, politics and the history of Paraguay.
- Issuance of the passport may take up to several years.
Frequently asked questions
There are three ways to get citizenship in Paraguay: by naturalisation, by naturalisation with an investment, and by birth or descent.
To get Paraguay citizenship by naturalisation, you need to get a temporary residence permit first. Then, to find a job or start a business in Paraguay. Two years later, you may get permanent residence in the country. After three years of residing in the country, you are eligible to apply for Paraguay citizenship by naturalisation.
Investors can get a Paraguay passport in a simplified way. They may participate in a programme of permanent residence by investment called SUACE. It is required to spend at least $70,000. They are also eligible to obtain Paraguay citizenship by naturalisation after staying there at least 183 days per year for three years.
There is no option for Paraguay citizenship by investment. However, there is a special programme called SUACE that helps investors to get Paraguay permanent residence without a preliminary 2-year temporary status. To participate, an investor needs to spend at least $70,000.
After living in the country as a permanent resident for three years, an investor is eligible to apply for Paraguay citizenship.
According to the Global Passport Index by Immigrant Invest, it is in 46th place out of 161 countries in the freedom of travel ranking. The Paraguay passport is even stronger in the ranking to improve the quality of life, being number 45 among 162 states.
In the ranking for asset protection, it holds the 67th position out of 151 countries. As for the ranking or creating a plan B, Paraguay passport is in 88th place out of 176 countries.
If we compare the sum of investments, then Paraguay is a profitable programme. To obtain permanent residence in the country, it is necessary to invest $7,000 annually for 10 years. There are no additional investment requirements for citizenship in Paraguay.
The requirements are also low for countries in the Caribbean Basin: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Saint Lucia. The minimum investment in any of the three passports will be $100,000 in a lump sum, and it is non-refundable.
If we consider the timeframe for obtaining citizenship, then Vanuatu in Oceania offers a fast programme. Vanuatu passport by investment can be obtained in 1—2 months.