Latin American countries are popularly known for offering paradise to those looking for a change of pace from busier and more expensive countries. Most of these popular areas for expats are in Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, and Panama. Paraguay is more of a hidden gem, at least for now. The fact that it is a landlocked country has most likely contributed to this, but permanent residency in Paraguay is becoming a more appealing option for expats of late. Here are a few reasons why.
If you research first-hand accounts of what it is like to live in Paraguay, you’ll find that everyone’s first go-to reason for loving the country involves the kindness and friendliness of the people. They are often described as being warm and welcoming to strangers, and open to making friends with their neighbors, even on the bus or passing by on the sidewalk. In many countries, people tend to be wary of strangers, and expats would want to search for an area with a large expat population in order to get acquainted with a new social circle, but in Paraguay, immigrants are welcomed with open arms.
The next point that is typically made is about “Paraguayan time.” Much like various other areas of Latin America, time runs slower Paraguay than it does in countries like the United States, or in the metropolitan areas of most other countries. Even in the capital city of Asuncion, no one frets about running a little late. This relaxed atmosphere helps you to breathe easier and live a calmer lifestyle.
Finally, the country is known for having a very high happiness index. The 2017 Global Emotions Report listed Paraguay as the happiest country in the world, based on a study of emotional well-being. This wasn’t the first year that Paraguay ranked as such, and it certainly won’t be the last. Maybe the fact that Paraguay averages over seven hours of sunlight per day has something to do with this?
Taxes and Cost of Living
Another great perk to life in Paraguay is its low cost of living. Everything is relative, of course, but compare the average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in the Asuncion city center ($246.55 USD) to the average cost of renting a one-bedroom in the Washington, D.C. city center ($1,759.08 USD) and you’ll see what I mean.
It doesn’t stop there. Prices are much lower across the board than they are in most of North America and many parts of Europe. For example, on a regular trip to the market for grocery items, you’ll find that most everything falls under $3 USD, with only milk and cheese hitting that number. With numbers like those, imagine the higher quality of living one could experience with permanent residency in Paraguay as opposed to staying back in North America. These lower costs apply to universities as well, which is why international students are known to gather in Paraguay for their education.
The tax system is also part of the financial benefit many find appealing here. There is only a tax on income and personal gains earned in the country itself, and that is at a flat rate of 10 percent. There is no inheritance or estate tax, no net worth tax, and no capital duty, stamp duty or capital acquisitions tax.
Ease of Immigration/Permanent Residency in Paraguay
Paraguay welcomes immigrants with open arms and warm smiles, as I stated above. Nothing illustrates this better than their immigration policies. You can gain permanent residency in Paraguay in just three months, and obtain citizenship in as little as three years!
People of all nationalities are welcome in this peaceful country, where there are no racial tensions. You can get started with the process of obtaining residency by making a bank deposit of $5,000 USD, with no minimum income requirement thereafter. The other option would be to purchase local real estate. Either path leads to permanent residency. After three years as a permanent resident, you and your family can apply together for naturalization. If you don’t want the citizenship, you can still remain a permanent resident as long as you want to. A permanent residency in Paraguay allows for the right to live and work there for life. This is a country of wide personal freedoms, where you are said to be able to live the life you want.
Paraguay offers an option for dual citizenship and doesn’t even require that you actually live in the country, so you don’t have to renounce your current citizenship. It’s also important to note that the national language is Spanish, but German and Portuguese are also widely spoken. You should probably know at least one of these (preferably Spanish) if you plan on going to live in this country.