Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.
There are no specific local business customs beyond the bounds of normal courtesy. Paraguayans are informal in observing appointment times, but foreign business visitors should not take such liberties when arriving for scheduled meetings. For social events, it is customary for Paraguayans to arrive up to 30 minutes late. Persons are normally addressed by their academic or professional title, e.g. Doctor, Engineer, Architect, or Licenciado, in the case of university graduates. Business dress follows similar patterns to those of the United States.
The State Department’s Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS) administers the Consular Information Program, which informs the public of conditions abroad that may affect their safety and security. Country Specific Information, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings are vital parts of this program.
Country Specific Information for Paraguay is available at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html
Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings can be found https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html.
On August 2021 the Paraguayan Congress approved the law that eliminates the need of visa for US citizens, Canadians, Australians, and citizens of New Zealand for up to 90 days. More information is available here. U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the State Department Visa Website.
The Guaraní (sign: ₲; code: PYG) is the national currency unit of Paraguay. The exchange rate as of August 2021 is one U.S. dollar to approximately 6,900 guaranies.
The telecommunications infrastructure in Paraguay has improved in recent years, although landline service from the state-owned monopoly can be slow and expensive. Mobile communication has been growing rapidly in recent years. Most telecom providers offer 3G and 4G in urban areas. Business travelers often obtain a mobile phone locally for extended stays. Internet connections are slow, but the quality of connections is improving gradually and service is becoming more widely available. Most hotels in Asuncion and Ciudad del Este offer Wi-Fi. Electricity in Paraguay is 220V and 50Hz.
Air connectivity to Paraguay is limited in comparison to neighboring countries. In January 2021, Eastern Airlines initiated the only direct passenger service to the United States, with twice-weekly flights between Miami and Asuncion. Following widespread cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international carriers have reinitiated non-stop flights from Asuncion to Buenos Aires, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Lima, Peru; Santiago, Chile; Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Madrid, Spain; and Panama City, Panama.
Many local and foreign bus companies offer in-country and international service to the major cities in Paraguay and neighboring countries. The urban bus transportation system is inadequate for business purposes.
Asuncion’s taxi network is reasonably well developed; however, some taxis are in poor repair and most lack air conditioning and seat belts. Motor vehicle rental service is available with or without a driver. Visitors can hire a “remise,” which is a dedicated car with driver that has better quality and security than a taxi. Uber and Muv (Paraguayan company similar to Uber) are also available in Asuncion. Uber service is also available in four other cities of Paraguay: Coronel Oviedo, Caaguazu, Ciudad del Este and Encarnacion.
Paraguay has two official languages: Spanish and Guarani. In practice, Spanish is the dominant language of business and government. A significant percentage of the business community understands Portuguese. English and German are also understood by many.
Adequate medical facilities, prescription and over-the-counter medications, supplies, and services are normally available in Asuncion, although medical facilities have been severely strained by the COVID-19 pandemic. Elsewhere, these are limited or non-existent in rural areas. Sanitary conditions are generally adequate. Bottled water is recommended.
Outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases including Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika are recurrent and occur in urban and rural areas. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Paraguay Malaria-free in 2018. Travelers should carry and use CDC-recommended insect repellents. COVID-19 vaccinations are also recommended. COVID-19 has strongly impacted the capacity of the public and private health systems. Paraguay has implemented testing and quarantine measures for foreign travelers due to COVID-19. Travelers should check https://py.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/] for current requirements.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions can be found on the U.S. Center for Disease Control website (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel). For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the WHO website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed Paraguay-specific health information.
Local Time, Business Hours and Holidays
Paraguay is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time, and same time as U.S. Eastern Standard Time. Paraguay implements daylight savings time by advancing clocks one hour, generally from mid-October to mid-March, meaning that it is two hours ahead of EST during the U.S. winter, but at EDT during the U.S. summer.
Commercial working hours are generally 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday through Friday; and 8:00 am to 12:00 noon Saturdays. Banking hours are 8:30 am to 4:00 pm Monday to Friday, with lobby hours generally only until 1:30 pm.
The following are national holidays in Paraguay:
January 1: New Year
March 1: Heroes’ Day (*)
March/April: Holy Thursday & Good Friday
May 1: Labor Day
May 14-15: Independence Day
June 12: Chaco Armistice (*)
August 15: Founding of Asuncion
September 29: Victory at Boquerón
December 8: Virgin of Caacupe Day
December 25: Christmas Day
(*): Some holidays observed on Mondays.
Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings
The government allows temporary entry of equipment for scientific research, exhibitions, training or testing, competitive sports, and traveler or tourist items. The following documents are required for temporary entry: (a) a letter stating the reason for temporary entry; (b) a detailed list of the equipment, including the purchase price of each item; and (c) a local insurance policy covering the cost of the duties waived. For travelers and tourists, a local customs broker can process these documents prior to arrival.