Like many countries in South America, US citizens need a visa to Paraguay. (Reciprocity fee…). There’s very little information about the country on the Internet. Even among travelers, when I tell them I want to go to Paraguay, they ask me why. I just shrug my shoulders and respond with a “Why not?”
If you are going by plane to Asunción, you can get a visa on arrival at the airport. If you’re going by land, you will need a visa beforehand. Since I read way too many blog posts about the 26+ hour “journey from hell” from Santa Cruz to Asunción, I opted to fly and paid way too much to sit in a propeller plane. But, just to make sure I don’t have any problems especially with my not-so-pretty US dollars, I applied early.
Before Going to the Paraguay Consulate
You will need the following:
- Your passport with 2 blank pages.
- One passport-sized photo
- If you’re a US citizen, $160 in cash. For other countries, check here.
- A name of a hotel/hostel in your port of entry in Paraguay.
- A phone number in Bolivia where you can be reached.
At the Paraguay Consulate
The Paraguayan Consulate is small, and I highly doubt they get a lot of visitors because the entrance door is wide open. After knocking on a window to get someone’s attention, I was given an application form. There’s a small podium outside the window. Then, I was told to go to the bank and deposit my dollars into their bank account.
My biggest worry that made me apply in Santa Cruz rather than at the airport was the condition of US dollars. When applying for visas, consulates and embassies only want brand-new unmarked bills. Those are hard to come by in Santa Cruz.
At the bank, the teller gave my bills a view looks, but luckily, she accepted them all. The only thing they didn’t like was that my passport was sitting on a desk in Paraguay Consulate. But after a quick chat with the bank manager, they accepted my photocopied passport page.
I returned to the consulate and handed them the receipt. Then, I was asked to go inside the building to have my photo taken. And that was it. They told me to return the next day in the afternoon.
Day 2 at the Consulate
I returned in the afternoon. The lady saw me coming, opened her window, handed me my passport, then closed the window again. I got one page of the visa, one page full of stamps of the fees I paid, and 10 years to go to and from Paraguay. That’s it!