Important Update: Residency and Cedula in Paraguay

Frau Paraguay

Anyone who wants to live permanently in Paraguay or keep this option open for an uncertain future needs a residence permit. If you have applied for this permit before October 18, 2022, you are subject to Law 978/1996 under the “Residencia Permanente.” All applications after this date are subject to the new Law 6984/2022 under the “Residencia Temporaria.” In any case, the guidelines of the immigration authority are valid and are discussed in this article.

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A new boss brings fresh air

In 2023, Paraguay elected a new president. This also resulted in the reappointment of all managerial positions in the authorities, with many employees being replaced. For Paraguay, this is entirely normal and always causes some chaos during the transition period.

The authority responsible for granting residence has also had a new boss since August. Lawyer and law professor Mr. Jorge Marcelo Kronawetter is the new head of the immigration authority. He is known for his tough stance against corruption and could advocate for a stricter interpretation of existing laws.

Unjustified Absence – Permanent residency

This currently concerns a specific article of the Migration Law. Even under the old Law 978/1996, holders of permanent residence “admisión permanente” were obliged not to be unjustifiably absent from Paraguay for more than 3 years.

In the past, this provision was not applied very strictly. It was neither checked nor were there consequences for longer absences. Even individuals who were not in Paraguay for more than 10 years had no problem retaining their residence permits. This is now changing.

For those living in Paraguay or at least regularly traveling to Paraguay, nothing changes. The law is being followed. However, for those who have obtained their permanent residence as a “Plan B” for the future, they should consider a visit every 3 years from now on. The immigration authority creates a “movimiento migratorio” (migration movement) at each border crossing, knowing exactly when someone enters or exits.

In the future, if a person with permanent residence enters and has been outside of Paraguay for more than 3 years, that person will be asked to report to the immigration authority in Asunción. There, they will be asked about the reason for the long absence, and a decision will be made on whether to possibly revoke the residence permit.

Based on experience with the authority, it can be assumed that there will be a certain margin of discretion for officials, which may be positively influenced by “valuable arguments” under certain circumstances. Nevertheless, this is not advisable and should be avoided if possible.

Those who already know that they cannot be in Paraguay for the next 3+ years can inform the authority in advance through a personal visit and then obtain special permission for a longer absence.

Unjustified Absence – Temporary residency

Those with a “Residencia Temporaria” under the new Law 6984/2022 should not spend more than 365 consecutive days outside of Paraguay.

With this clarification from the authority, the question of whether this regulation refers to 1 day per calendar year or 365 days from the last departure has been definitively answered. However, this has not made things easier, as each case must now be tracked individually using exit stamps. In the case of entry or exit with the Cédula, it may even be useful to note the respective dates in the calendar.

In any case, a longer absence must be justified. Since the Residencia Temporaria is only valid for 2 years, this requirement is fulfilled in many cases with just one visit during the validity period.

Once you have the “Residencia Permanente” (regardless of the law), you are allowed to be absent for up to 3 years in a row.

Upgrade from “Temporaria” to “Permanente”

Another explanation from the immigration authority concerns the application deadline for “Residencia Permanente” under the new Law 6984/2022.

The expiration date is printed on the front lower right corner in red on the physical “Residencia Temporaria.” The application for “Residencia Permanente” can be made no earlier than 90 days before this expiration date and no later than the expiration date.

As of the current situation, the application can only be made in person at the immigration authority and has the same stamp fees as the application for “Residencia Temporaria.” Almost all documents required for this can be applied for directly in Paraguay. However, when applying for “Permanente,” the solvency of the applicant must be demonstrated. This can be done, for example, through an academic diploma or a pension certificate. The law provides a whole range of options here, which are currently still quite “ambiguous” and will probably be clarified by the authority by October 2024.

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