In the ever-changing landscape of global citizenship and immigration, Paraguay has emerged as an appealing option for individuals seeking residency and potential citizenship. It stands out as an intriguing choice in the Latin-American context, offering a relatively straightforward pathway to residency. The unique simplicity of the process is noteworthy - applicants can obtain a temporary residence permit by simply declaring their intention to establish residence in the country and demonstrating the means to do so. This distinctive approach sets Paraguay apart as a welcoming and attractive destination for those navigating the complexities of international residency and citizenship.
Benefits of Residency and Citizenship in Paraguay
Obtaining Paraguayan residency and then citizenship comes with a myriad of advantages across legal, social, economic, and political spheres. These include:
- Unrestricted Entry and Exit
Paraguayan residents and citizens can freely enter and exit the country without the need for visas or travel permits. Additionally, this freedom of movement not only facilitates easy travel for Paraguayan citizens but also promotes international cooperation and cultural exchange. It exemplifies Paraguay's commitment to providing its citizens with the flexibility to explore opportunities and experiences beyond national borders.
- Access to Social Benefits and Services
Paraguayan residents and citizens are eligible for a range of social benefits, including healthcare, education, social security, and welfare programs, demonstrating the government's commitment to citizens' well-being. The current life expectancy for Paraguay in 2023 is 74.59 years, a 0.14% increase from 2022.
- Access to Higher Education
Paraguayan residents and citizens typically have easier access to public universities and educational institutions, with various scholarships and financial aid opportunities available to support higher education. In 2023, education spending in Paraguay is expected to be 3.30% of GDP. This commitment to education is indicative of Paraguay's dedication to nurturing a skilled and knowledgeable workforce, as the government's substantial investment in education ensures that citizens not only have easier access to higher education but also contribute to the nation's intellectual and economic growth.
- Employment Opportunities
Residency or citizenship in Paraguay can enhance employment prospects, especially in sectors requiring security clearances, contributing to national security and governance. The unemployment rate in Paraguay was predicted to fall by 0.2 percentage points between 2023 and 2028. In 2028, the rate is expected to be six percent. In addition, the country's growing economy and strategic location make it a favorable destination for foreign investment, further diversifying employment opportunities across various industries.
- Property Ownership
Paraguayan residents and citizens face fewer restrictions on owning property, benefiting from preferential policies and incentives that contribute to a stable real estate market and economic growth. The indicator 'real estate transaction value' in the Paraguayan real estate market was forecast to increase by USD 373 million between 2023 and 2028. Residential real estate dominates the market, with a market volume of USD 145 billion expected in 2023.
- Business Ownership and Investment
Paraguayan residents and citizens may encounter fewer restrictions when establishing businesses, investing, or engaging in commercial activities, enjoying preferential treatment in access to government grants, loans, and business development programs. The company registration process allows individuals to complete the required forms online and at no cost. The approval process takes between 24 and 72 hours. Paraguayans have no restrictions on investing abroad.
- Visa-Free Travel
Holders of a Paraguayan passport enjoy visa-free access to over 140 countries globally (EU, South Korea, UAE, Singapore, etc.), facilitating unrestricted travel and fostering cultural exchange, business opportunities, and personal growth on an international scale. This showcases the nation's commitment to global mobility and cooperation.
- Right to Vote and Participate in Elections
Paraguayan citizens have the fundamental right to vote in national and local elections, influencing political decisions and shaping the direction of the nation through active civic participation. Furthermore, this democratic right empowers Paraguayan citizens to actively contribute to the democratic process, ensuring that their voices are heard and their choices shape the future trajectory of the nation.
- Protection and Assistance From Overseas
Paraguayan citizens have the right to the protection and assistance of the Paraguayan government when traveling abroad. They have access to consular services and support in various situations. In 2023, Paraguayan embassies and consulates assisted over 7,000 citizens in various situations, ranging from passport renewals to emergency evacuations.
- Inheritance and Succession Rights
Citizens in Paraguay have full rights to inherit property and assets, ensuring wealth preservation and intergenerational financial stability within families. Moreover, Paraguay's legal framework prioritizes equitable succession rights, aiming to uphold fair distribution among heirs. The transparent and well-defined inheritance laws contribute to a sense of security, economic continuity, and familial prosperity for generations to come.
- Residency and Citizenship for the Whole Family
Paraguayan citizenship laws extend benefits to immediate family members, fostering social cohesion and encouraging families to build their lives together in Paraguay. The streamlined process for family reunification facilitates the integration of spouses, children, and dependent relatives, promoting a harmonious environment for collective growth.
- Tax Benefits
Paraguayan residents and citizens benefit from an advantageous tax regime, including a territorial tax system, double taxation treaties, and the absence of wealth and estate taxes, reducing the overall tax burden and liabilities. The government's commitment to maintaining a stable and investor-friendly fiscal environment enhances Paraguay's appeal, attracting individuals and businesses seeking not only tax advantages but also long-term financial sustainability. For more details on taxes in Paraguay, please check out the information below.
Permanent and Temporary Residency in Paraguay
Paraguay provides a variety of residency programs tailored to diverse circumstances and individuals. In general, there are two main categories of residency in Paraguay: temporary and permanent, each with its own set of subcategories.
For those visiting Paraguay for 90 days or less, it is advisable to check whether a visa is required. Some individuals from specific countries can enter Paraguay for short stays, such as for tourism, visiting family, or receiving medical treatment, without the need for a visa. This list includes the USA, UK, EU countries, Mexico, and others.
However, if you are a foreigner planning to stay in Paraguay for more than 90 days, it is necessary to apply for a visa, or, in other words, temporary residence. In such cases, you can obtain a Paraguayan temporary residence permit.
Temporary Residency in Paraguay
Temporary residency in Paraguay is a valuable option for foreign nationals who plan to stay in the country for an extended period, particularly for reasons such as living, working, or studying. This form of residency is initially granted for up to 1 year, but it can be renewed for similar durations based on factors like profession, specific activities, or the reasons for residing in Paraguay. The total duration for which temporary residency can be extended is capped at 6 years.
This policy allows for a flexible but regulated stay in Paraguay, accommodating those who need more time in the country than a tourist visa would allow but who may not yet be ready or eligible for permanent residency
Permanent Residency in Paraguay
Permanent residency in Paraguay is available to foreign citizens who want to live there permanently and contribute to the country's development. This residency lasts for life, but the ID card needs renewal every 10 years. There are three main ways to get it:
- Through retirement residency (which includes passive income earners),
- By living in Paraguay for 2 years with a temporary permit,
- Via an investment program.
After having permanent residency for 3 years, residents may apply for Paraguayan citizenship. This step requires additional criteria, like proving language skills and showing commitment to the country. Becoming a citizen means fully integrating into Paraguayan society, with all the rights and responsibilities that come with citizenship.
Paraguay Residency via Retirement
If you're considering getting residency via retirement and have a stable monthly income, you may find the Paraguyan retirement residency program particularly appealing. You will need to demonstrate a monthly income equivalent to 100 minimum wages, currently PYG 7,015,600 (≈ USD 1,300 at the moment of writing). The permit does not need to be renewed, but you must visit Paraguay at least once every 3 years, or your residency may be suspended.
For a more detailed understanding of this residency option, including specific requirements and processes, please refer to the comprehensive table provided below:
Paraguay Residency by Investment
It is a special procedure of permanent residency under the conditions established in Law No. 6984/22 and its regulation, aimed at foreign citizens who arrive in Paraguayan territory as investors and choose to take advantage of the Unified System of Opening and Closing of Companies (SUACE).
SUACE is a one-stop shop comprised of several public institutions that handles the procedures for opening, formalizing, and/or closing of physical or legal companies, as well as the entry of applications and state registries, in order to facilitate and expedite the process of establishing new business ventures by managing the relevant procedures in one location.
Paraguay Residency via Passive Income
Paraguay's residency program, ideal for those seeking a long-term stay without the need for frequent renewals, requires applicants to demonstrate a monthly income equivalent to 100 times the minimum wage, roughly USD 1,300, similar to the retirement program. This program offers permanence, stipulating that residents must visit Paraguay at least once every three years to maintain their residency status.
Paraguay Residency by Bank Deposit (Canceled)
Prior to October 2022, Paraguay operated a residency program known as "Permanent Residency by Independent Means," providing an avenue for foreign nationals to secure permanent residency by making a deposit in a Paraguayan bank. The key criterion for this program involved depositing a specified amount, typically 35,000 times the minimum monthly wage, equivalent to approximately USD 4,500, into a designated Paraguayan bank. This initiative attracted individuals seeking a straightforward and financially backed pathway to residency in the country, offering an attractive option for those willing to make the required financial commitment.
However, in October 2022, Paraguay underwent a significant shift in its migration policies when the president enacted a new Law on Migration. This law completely repealed previous legislation that supported the widely used deposit-based independent means visa and effectively ended this type of permanent residency.
Tax Residency in Paraguay
An individual is considered tax-resident in Paraguay if they spend more than 120 days in the country within a year. Both individuals with residence in Paraguay and those residing abroad are taxable on Paraguayan-source income. Corporate legal residence is determined as the place where the direction or central management takes place, unless the corporation’s charter states otherwise. The following tax rates are effective in Argentina:
Personal Income Tax (PIT)
- The general PIT rate is 10% for individuals with residence in Paraguay earning an annual income equal to or higher than 36 monthly minimum salaries (approximately USD 13,000 annually).
- PIT rate is 20% on the net income of 50% of the perceived income for individuals living abroad but deriving profits from activities within Paraguay, resulting in an effective tax rate of 10%.
Social Security Contributions
- A compulsory social security system exists in Paraguay.
- The calculation basis includes every wage item, except annual mandatory bonus and family allowance.
- Monthly rates:
- Employee: 9%
- Employer: 16.5% (Commercial entity) / 17% (Financial entity)
- Total: 25.5% (Commercial entity) / 28% (Financial entity)
- Contributions are withheld by employers, and contributions for some independent positions are optional.
Value-Added Tax (VAT)
Goods assignments and personal services rendered in Paraguayan territory are subject to a 10% VAT.
Business Income Tax (IRE)
10% IRE is applicable to all Paraguayan income, profits, or earnings from economic, primary, secondary, and tertiary activities. It covers agricultural, commercial, industrial, or service-related income, including income generated by assets, rights, obligations, and acts of disposition.
Simplified Regimes for Legal Entities
a. IRE SIMPLE (for Medium-sized Companies):
- Applicable to taxpayers with income below PYG 2 billion.
- These taxpayers may pay the tax by calculating their net income on a real or presumed basis, whichever is less.
b. RESIMPLE (for small businesses):
- Intended for sole proprietorships with gross income equal to or less than PYG 80 million.
- The taxpayers will pay a monthly sum in accordance with the tax administration's payment schedule. The tax amount ranges between PYG 20,000 and PYG 80,000, depending on the annual income.
Gains on all assets, tangible and intangible, are taxable as profits and subject to 10% income tax. Gains on foreign currency exchange are also taxed at the same rate.
Paraguay Residency Requirements
In terms of residency requirements, Paraguay is one of the easiest countries in South America to acquire residency. To apply for residency in Paraguay, the following documents are required:
- Identity document from the country of origin (valid identity card, national identity document, or passport).
- Copy of the consular visa, with verification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if necessary.
- Certificate of entry into the country (stamped immigration ticket or stamp of entry in the passport).
- Birth certificate issued by the competent authority in the country of origin, visated, and legalized or apostilled.
- Civil status certificate, depending on marital status (marriage certificate, divorce sentence, or death certificate of the spouse).
- Current criminal or police record certificate, with variations based on residence history.
- Background certificate issued by INTERPOL (required from 14 years of age).
- Background certificate for foreigners, issued by the Department of Informatics of the National Police (required from 14 years of age).
- Sworn declaration committing to comply with the National Constitution, laws, and regulatory provisions.
- Affidavit regarding the profession, activity, or trade to be pursued in the country and the established domicile.
For applicants under 18 years of age, additional documents include:
- Current identity document of parents or legal guardians.
- In the absence of one or both parents, attach an original and certified copy of the special power of attorney issued by a public notary, authorizing the travel and documentation processing of the minor.
- Birth certificate to determine kinship.
It is important that all documents in a foreign language should be translated into Spanish by a public translator registered in the Republic of Paraguay or by a foreign public translator authorized by the competent authority of the country. Moreover, documents issued abroad must be legalized or certified by the Apostille method. Please keep in mind that the National Directorate of Migration may require any other additional document depending on each particular case.
How to Get Residency in Paraguay?
Applying for Paraguay residency involves several steps, such as:
Step 1. Choose Your Residency Type
You should determine the best temporary residence category for your situation, such as employment, study, family reunification, medical purposes, training, or investments, taking into account your specific objectives and eligibility criteria for each visa option.
Step 2. Document Preparation
At this stage, you have to collect and provide the necessary supporting documents, including a valid passport, proof of income, a clean criminal record, and health insurance. Furthermore, be thorough in gathering any other specific documents required for your chosen residency type, as specified by the immigration authorities.
Step 3. Apply for the Entry Visa
Apply for the entry permit that corresponds to your chosen category after you have determined your residency type. If your home country does not require a visa to enter Paraguay, you can easily move on to the next step.
Step 4. Travel to Paraguay
You have to arrive in Paraguay and stay for 6 business days in order to submit documents. This includes fingerprinting, photo-taking, and filling out the forms for the residence application. Upon arrival in the country, you have to navigate through a series of offices (Police, Interpol, IT Department, and then Migration Department).
Step 5. Temporary Residence
After 2-3 days, return to collect your temporary residence card with a photo from the Paraguayan Police Identification Department. Note that the residence is initially temporary, but after 2 years, you will be able to become a permanent resident.
Step 6. Future Steps
After 3 years, you may be eligible to apply for Paraguayan citizenship. You have to ensure the requirements and processes for maintaining residency and transitioning to permanent residency or citizenship.
Citizenship in Paraguay Overview
The Paraguay passport holds significant advantages for its holders, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 140 countries worldwide. As a member of Mercosur, Paraguay passport holders benefit from simplified immigration procedures within fellow member states. The passport incorporates modern security features such as biometric data, enhancing its authenticity and meeting international standards. With a validity period of 10 years, the passport application process is facilitated by the National Police, ensuring that citizens can efficiently obtain or renew their passports.
Paraguayan citizenship can be acquired through birth, descent, marriage to a Paraguayan citizen, or naturalization. Paraguay's naturalization process typically requires residence in the country for at least 3 years, fluency in Spanish, and a basic understanding of Paraguayan history and culture.
Dual Citizenship in Paraguay
The Paraguayan Constitution allows dual nationality on a reciprocal basis, implying that unless there is a bilateral agreement with another nation, dual nationality is not allowed. As of 2023, Spain and Italy are the only countries with a reciprocity agreement regarding dual nationality with Paraguay. Nevertheless, in practice, Paraguayan authorities rarely demand the renunciation of one's other nationality.
Paraguay Citizenship Costs
The expenses associated with acquiring Paraguayan citizenship can vary based on several factors, including the chosen application method and individual circumstances. It is important to note that you cannot directly purchase citizenship in Paraguay. You have to apply for permanent residency first. As of the latest update, the general investment amount for the Paraguayan permanent residency application is approximately USD 70,000 if you are from a country that requires a visa for Paraguay, including China, India, Saudi Arabia, etc. After maintaining residency in Paraguay for 3 years, you become eligible to apply for citizenship, subject to meeting specific requirements.
The government fee for a citizenship application is approximately USD 340. Furthermore, there are other fees associated with the process, such as:
- Passport: approx. USD 65
- National Renewal Identity Certificate: approx. USD 70
- 1st Time Identity Card for Nationals: Free
- Identity Card 1st Time and Renewal for Foreigners: approx. USD 70
You also have to account for other significant fees, such as professional services, document preparation, and certification. Please contact us for a more specific quote based on your specific situation.
How to Obtain Paraguay Citizenship?
You can become a citizen of Paraguay and get a passport in different ways, depending on your situation. Here are the 4 main ways:
Paraguay Citizenship by Birth
Children born within the borders of Paraguay automatically acquire citizenship by birth. This legal principle, known as jus soli, ensures that any child born in the country, whether to Paraguayan citizens or foreign tourists, is considered a citizen of Paraguay.
Additionally, a child born to a Paraguayan citizen is entitled to obtain Paraguayan nationality if the family resides in the Republic. It is noteworthy that if a Paraguayan couple lives abroad and does not plan to return to Paraguay, their child does not automatically receive Paraguayan nationality. However, such a child can still acquire citizenship by submitting a petition to the Paraguayan Civil and Commercial Court of Appeals.
Paraguay Citizenship by Descent
Individuals born into a family where at least one parent is a Paraguayan citizen can obtain citizenship if they decide to move to Paraguay. This means that even if you were not born in Paraguay, having a parent who is a citizen can pave the way for you to become one as well.
Paraguay Citizenship by Marriage
Paraguay does not typically grant automatic citizenship through marriage. If a foreigner marries a Paraguayan citizen, they can apply for residency based on their marriage.
The residency process often involves submitting documentation proving the marriage, providing evidence of financial stability, and complying with other legal requirements. After obtaining residency, individuals may be eligible to apply for citizenship through naturalization after meeting a residency period of at least 3 years.
Paraguay Citizenship by Naturalization
To be eligible for Paraguay citizenship through naturalization, certain criteria must be met:
- The applicant must be over 18 years of age.
- Legal residence in Paraguay for a period exceeding 3 years.
- Engaging in a professional activity within the country, such as employment, scientific pursuits, artistic endeavors, industrial involvement, or entrepreneurship.
- A clean criminal record.
In addition to meeting these criteria, applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in certain areas:
- Stay in the country for at least 183 days per year for 3 consecutive years.
- Learn the national anthem.
- Pass two exams: one in either Spanish or Guarani, and another in Paraguayan politics and history.
Please keep in mind that citizenship obtained through naturalization may be renounced if the new citizen is absent from the country for a period exceeding 3 years.
Naturalization after Making an Investment
While there is no formal program specifically termed "citizenship by investment" in Paraguay, investors have the opportunity to acquire nationality through a simplified naturalization process. This alternative pathway allows foreign investors to bypass the temporary residence phase and immediately obtain permanent residency.
The Paraguayan government has instituted a specialized program facilitated by the SUACE (Unified System of Opening and Closing Companies). This program enables foreign investors to secure residency within a concise timeframe of 3 months.
To participate in the SUACE program, an investor is required to establish a company in Paraguay and make a minimum investment of USD 70,000. Notably, this investment does not have to be a one-time lump sum; investors can submit a business plan and commit to contributing at least USD 7,000 annually for the subsequent 10 years.
How to Apply for Paraguay Citizenship?
To apply for Paraguay Citizenship, follow these steps:
Step 1. Meet Residency Requirements
To be eligible for Paraguayan citizenship, you typically need to be a legal permanent resident of Paraguay for 3 years. Start by applying for legal residency in Paraguay. This may involve obtaining a visa, such as a temporary or permanent residence visa, depending on your circumstances.
Step 2. Comply with Residency Period
Fulfill the required period of legal residency, language, and integration requirements in Paraguay. During the residency period, ensure compliance with all visa regulations and maintain a clean record.
Step 3. Apply for Citizenship
Once you meet the residency requirements, you can apply for Paraguayan citizenship. Submit the necessary application forms along with any required documents to the immigration authorities. The application process may involve an interview and other assessments to determine your eligibility.
Step 4. Get Approval and Naturalization
If your application is approved, you may be granted Paraguayan citizenship through a naturalization process. This often involves taking an oath of allegiance to the country.
Step 5. Attend Citizenship Ceremony and Get Citizenship Certificate
Attend any required citizenship ceremonies or events as part of the naturalization process. Upon successful completion of the naturalization process, you should receive a certificate of Paraguayan citizenship.
Step 6. Update Documents
After obtaining citizenship, update your identification documents, such as a national ID card or passport, to reflect your new status.
5 Tips About Immigrating to Paraguay from Golden Harbors Experts
Our experience navigating the path to Paraguayan residency or citizenship emphasizes the importance of meticulous documentation and compliance with local immigration regulations. Based on our experience, the following guidelines should help you get started on the path to immigration in Paraguay:
- Research Visa Options
Before making any plans to immigrate to Paraguay, thoroughly research the available visa options. Paraguay offers various types of visas, including work visas, investor visas, and retirement visas. Understanding the requirements and eligibility criteria for each type of visa is crucial for a smooth immigration process.
- Financial Planning
Plan your finances well in advance. Understand the financial requirements associated with the type of visa you are applying for, including minimum investment thresholds or proof of income. It is crucial to ensure that your funds have a legal source, as immigration authorities may scrutinize the origin of your finances. Whether you are an investor, retiree, or seeking employment, having a clear understanding of the legal source of funds will help you prepare for a successful immigration process.
- Establish a Local Bank Account
Setting up a local bank account is essential when immigrating to Paraguay. Having a local bank account facilitates financial transactions, allows you to receive income locally, and may be a requirement for certain visa types. Research different banks, understand their services and fees, and ensure you have the necessary documentation to open an account. Amambay Bank, BBVA Bank, BNF Bank, Ita Bank, and the Central Bank of Paraguay are major and sought-after banks.
- Learn about the Culture and Language
Familiarize yourself with the local culture and, if possible, learn some basic Spanish. Approximately 87% of the population speaks Spanish, and 90% speak Guarani. While English may be understood in certain urban areas, having a basic understanding of the local language can greatly enhance your experience and help you integrate more easily into the community.
- Legal Assistance
Consider seeking legal assistance to navigate the immigration process effectively. Consulting with an immigration expert who is knowledgeable about Paraguay's laws and regulations can help you understand the necessary steps, documentation, and potential challenges associated with the immigration process. The Golden Harbors team can help you understand the specific requirements, guide you through the application process, and increase your chances of success.
How Long Does It Take to Get Permanent Residency in Paraguay?
The timeline for obtaining permanent residency in Paraguay is generally 3 months. This relatively swift process is often associated with specific programs, such as residency by investment.
Do I Have to Become a Tax Resident in Paraguay if I Get Residency?
No, you do not have to become a tax resident in Paraguay if you get residency. An individual is considered a tax resident if they spend more than 120 days in the country within a year. This criterion serves as a key determinant for tax residency status. If you exceed this threshold, you may be required to fulfill tax obligations in Paraguay.
What is the Minimum Investment Required to Get Residency in Paraguay?
The minimum investment required to obtain residency in Paraguay, particularly through the SUACE program for investors, is USD 70,000. This investment is typically associated with opening a company in Paraguay and committing to contribute to it.
Does Paraguay Allow Dual Citizenship?
Yes, Paraguay allows dual citizenship. This means that individuals can hold citizenship in Paraguay and another country simultaneously unless there is a specific bilateral agreement between Paraguay and another nation that imposes restrictions. Nevertheless, in practice, Paraguayan authorities rarely demand the renunciation of one's other nationality.
How Long Does It Take to Get Citizenship in Paraguay?
Getting citizenship in Paraguay is a step-by-step process. First, you get temporary residency, which automatically becomes permanent after living in Paraguay for 2 years. During this time, you do not have to stay in the country for any specific duration. Once you have had permanent residency for a total of 3 years, you can apply for Paraguayan citizenship.
How Strong is the Paraguay Passport?
The strength of the Paraguayan passport is reflected in its current ranking, which stands at 34th place globally. The Paraguayan passport provides visa-free access to over 140 countries, further enhancing its global standing and facilitating international travel for its holders.
How Much Does Paraguayan Citizenship Cost?
The cost of obtaining Paraguayan citizenship varies depending on factors like the chosen application method and individual circumstances. Directly purchasing citizenship is not possible; you must first apply for permanent residency, with a general investment amount of approximately USD 70,000 for those from countries requiring a visa for Paraguay. After maintaining residency for 3 years, you can apply for citizenship, with a government fee of around USD 340 and additional fees for documents like passports and identity certificates. Additionally, significant fees for professional services, document preparation, and certification should be considered.