Paraguay is gradually becoming a country of great opportunities for opening a business and for comfortable and peaceful relocation. Find out why this country is considered a good place to live for expats.
Key Features of Paraguay
Here are twelve noteworthy facts about the country:
1. The Republic of Paraguay is a state in South America bordering Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil. The name “Paraguay” is translated from one of the dialects of local Indians as “horned river”.
2. The state gained independence from the Spanish Empire in 1811.
3. The country is called the “heart of South America” because of its central location on the continent.
4. Paraguay is landlocked, but the country has many rivers. The main one is Rio Paraguay (the third largest river on the continent), which divides the country into two parts:
- Western – the sparsely populated plain of Gran Chaco (60% of the area of the country); and
- Eastern – the Paramenya region, where most of the population lives. This area offers fertile lowlands and beautiful green hill ridges.
5. In terms of area (406,750 sq. km), Paraguay is comparable to such countries as Uzbekistan, Sweden and Germany.
6. The population of the country is 7.2 million people. More than half of the people in the country live in the agglomerations of Asunción and Ciudad del Este. The literacy of the population is 96%. The average age of the population is 25 years.
7. More than 500,000 people live in the capital of Paraguay, Asunción. The population of the metropolitan agglomeration exceeds 2 million inhabitants. About 10% of them are expats. People from many different countries live here:
8. The official languages of Paraguay are Spanish and Guarani; not many people use English. Assimilation of expats without a basic knowledge of Spanish can be a real challenge. The locals are friendly and always willing to help guests practice their Spanish.
9. Following are the key economic indicators of Paraguay:
- GDP per capita is 6,265 US dollars. It shows average growth of around 2% per year;
- Inflation rate is 5.3% per year;
- Unemployment rate is 6.3% of the population.
10. The country’s national currency is the Paraguayan Guarani. Its current exchange rate is 7,260.6 ₲ to 1 US dollar. Over the past 20 years, the Guarani exchange rate has not changed much. In 2003, it averaged 6,000 ₲ / 1 USD.
11. The largest sectors of the Paraguayan economy, providing for 25% of the income in the country’s budget, are agriculture and industry.
12. Expats working long-distance may find it noteworthy that the average download speed of data via fixed broadband Internet access in Paraguay is 63 Mbps.
Follow the link to learn about the most important things to know about Paraguay.
Favorable location and climate
Paraguay is located in the southern hemisphere in the tropical zone, which provides many advantages associated with a warm climate. The seasons are inverted here. Winter lasts from mid-May to the end of August, and summer is from November to March.
In the southern part of the country, where a lot of expats choose to settle, the climate is subtropical:
- the average air temperature in January (mid-summer) is +27°;
- in July (mid-winter) it is +16°.
Unlike, for example, Chile, in this part of South America, there are no volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and major earthquakes.
The nature of Paraguay has not changed much under the influence of man. There are virgin forests left here, so one of the main advantages of the country is fresh and clean air. There is a problem with smog in the major Paraguayan cities. However, outside of the advanced urban areas, the air is noticeably cleaner. Water in small rivers in rural areas is not polluted and is perfectly drinkable.
Friendly local people
Living in Paraguay, foreigners do not feel any hostility from the local people. The national temperament of the Paraguayans is quite friendly and calm. It is a custom for them to greet their guests with a smile and treat them to the refreshing national drink terere, which can be found in any home.
Foreigners are also welcome in the residential areas of Asuncion, the capital, and its suburbs. Immigrants can seek help from any member of the local population.
In Paraguay, you can easily and quickly establish friendly relations. Of course, for this you need to be able to speak and understand standard phrases in Spanish. By using single words in Guarani, you will gain the favor and trust of the locals even faster.
Affordable cost of living
According to the Go Banking Rates, Paraguay is ranked 8th out of 112 countries with the most affordable cost of living. Most expats generally confirm that one can comfortably live in the suburbs of the capital with an income of 1,000-1,500 USD per month. This amount is probably comparable to the average monthly earnings of a married couple in any large city. Foreign freelancers and wealthy pensioners with an income of around 2,000 USD or more can enjoy a decent living standard in the country. The average monthly salary of the local population is 320 USD.
Compared to the neighboring countries on the continent, the basic food basket and standard costs of transport, entertainment, and eating out are around 20-30% cheaper in Paraguay.
The cost of renting real estate is lower than in Serbia, Turkey, or Armenia. An apartment of 50 sq. meters in the central districts of the capital cost 500-600 dollars per month. In small towns, such housing with a good renovation can cost around 300 USD.
Buying an apartment in Paraguay is also quite an affordable option. Price 1 sq. meter of housing in the metropolitan agglomeration is from 650 to 1500 dollars, which is one and a half times lower than in large cities of Russia.
Moving to Paraguay for permanent residence is often connected with starting an agricultural business. The average cost of a plot of land suitable for building a house and getting into some agricultural activities is around 15,000 USD per hectare.
An income of around 2,500 USD per month would ensure a high standard of living in Paraguay for a relocated foreigner.
Taxation of individuals in Paraguay: lower than in Europe
The territorial principle of taxation and low tax rates are two reasons why expats consider motivating expats to consider Paraguay for permanent residence.
To become a tax resident of Paraguay, it is enough for an individual to stay in the country for more than 120 days a year.
Personal income tax rate is differentiated:
- the tax rate for income of up to 120 minimum wages (about 1,560 USD) is 8%;
- for any amount above, the rate is 10%.
Other tax rates:
- for capital gains and inheritance — 0%;
- for dividends — 5%;
- for real estate — 1% of the value indicated in the cadastral register;
- standard VAT rate is 10%.
Personal income rates in Paraguay are comparatively low, significantly lower than, for example, in the EU countries. Doing business in this country is also beneficial in terms of taxation. The corporate tax on the income of enterprises operating in Paraguay amounts to 10%.
Liberal immigration policy
Citizens of the European Union and some other countries can stay in Paraguay for tourism or business purposes without a visa for 90 days within a 180-day period. A visitor should only enter the country for the purpose of immigration with a long-term visa. The waiting period for this type of visa is from several weeks to one month.
Foreigners can receive a residence permit in Paraguay on the following grounds:
- official employment in a Paraguayan company;
- investments in the country’s economy (starting a business) in the amount of 5000 USD;
- purchasing real estate (regardless of cost);
- getting married to a citizen of Paraguay (in this case, you can immediately apply for Paraguayan citizenship).
After staying in Paraguay for three months with a temporary residence permit, a businessman can apply for permanent residence. For other categories of foreigners, the waiting period is two years. Expats who have lived in Paraguay with a permanent residence permit for three years have the right to apply for citizenship. During this period, it is enough to visit the country once a year, and the visit should be no less than 90 days long.
Learn more about the stages of acquiring permanent residence in Paraguay in the following materials:
STEPS TO OBTAIN PERMANENT RESIDENCY IN PARAGUAY
Disadvantages of living in Paraguay
Foreigners who have moved Paraguay after being used to the living standards in Europe and the CIS countries point out the following disadvantages of living in the country as a permanent resident:
- Not a very advanced healthcare system. Only private hospitals in the capital can provide high-quality medical care. Expats need to take out health insurance. There is a shortage of equipment and staff in public health institutions. Wealthy Paraguayans and some foreigners who need surgical treatment choose medical facilities in Mexico.
- Hot climate. Paraguay is located inland at the subtropical latitudes. Away from the sea breeze, the air temperature rises rapidly. In winter, the thermometer can show up to 32°. In summer, it may be even hotter. On clear summer days the temperature can reach 40°C, so the locals often take a siesta during the day.
- Frequent water and power cuts. As a developing country Paraguay has an infrastructure prone to accidents and sudden failures. Even luxury hotels in Asuncion sometimes experience unexpected power cuts. They can happen in any part of the country during a thunderstorm – power is turned off to prevent possible accidents. During a drought, the government may introduce a rationed water supply.
Cities in Paraguay that are popular with expats
Expats prefer to settle in the eastern part of Paraguay, where most of the population lives. The immigrants choose both large cities and smaller towns in the countryside.
Capital city of Asuncion
Asuncion is the business and cultural center of the country. The capital is home to the main river port and the international airport connecting Paraguay with the rest of the world. There are direct flights from Asuncion to Madrid.
Asuncion offers expats the cosmopolitan vibe that many of them seek. Local provincials also strive here in order to get better jobs and decent salaries.
The metropolitan agglomeration known as “Greater Asuncion” is now home to about half of the country’s population. The best infrastructure is located in the historical center and the surrounding areas.
Expats with poor Spanish skills choose Asuncion because it is possible to find work here in international companies, where employees mostly communicate in English.
Asuncion is not a noisy metropolis. Many avid travelers consider it one of the most peaceful capitals in the world. On Sunday, when the shops are closed, the city center becomes deserted. But even on weekdays there is little fuss in the capital. Residents of the city prefer to meet and chat on the alleys of large green parks, which are numerous in that city.
The metropolitan agglomeration is perfect for retired expats and families with children. Here they can find the best health and education services in the country.
Ciudad del Este: the center of trade in the country
Ciudad del Este, Paraguay’s fastest growing city, is the favorite place of residence for business expats. Since the 1950s, the town has grown from a working settlement located next to what was once the largest hydroelectric power plant on the planet to the country’s main trading center.
Ciudad del Este has the status of a free port, which means it is possible to conduct duty-free import and export of goods there.
It is most advantageous to have an office in this city in order to set up trade business in Paraguay.
Click the link to find out more about starting a company in Paraguay with a local bank. Call our experts today for advice and assistance.
Villarrica: the center of student life
Villarrica lies 150 kilometers away from the capital of Paraguay. Its population is 57 thousand people. It is a university town and resort in the center of the Paramenya region. It appeals to fans of low-rise buildings, students, and other young people. Here one can find:
- a large campus;
- several stadiums;
- a number of theaters;
- many other entertainment venues;
- parks with lakes.
Despite its small size, Villarrica provides a high standard of living. A large community of emigrants has formed here, which is happy to welcome guests from other countries. Young people find Villarrica to be the right place to start a business in catering and growing crops.
Kaakupe: a quiet town near the capital
Kaakupe is good for those expats who want to live in a quiet provincial town, but have the opportunity to get out to the capital on weekends for shopping and entertainment. Asuncion is approximately 50 kilometers away. Like Villarrica, this city is small. The population is 56 thousand people. It is considered the religious center of Paraguay because of the pilgrimage to the statue of the Virgin of Kaakupe on the day of the Immaculate Conception (December 8).
Thanks to this holiday and the influx of pilgrims, the city has a fairly developed infrastructure for a comfortable stay. However, many expats prefer not to live in the center, choosing the suburbs which lie next to the green pastures and hills covered with lush greenery. The town is the first choice for expats engaged in agricultural business.
Paraguay is a good place for relocation. It is relatively easy to get permanent residence there. Having a comfortable life does not require a high income. Paraguay is perfect for those who prefer a measured lifestyle close to nature. This country is also well-suited for working online and having a peaceful retirement.
To get advice and assistance on obtaining permanent residence in Paraguay, please email us now at firstname.lastname@example.org.