If you are planning to get permanent residency in Paraguay, you only need to bring a couple of documents from your home country. Make sure to follow the instructions PERFECTLY, because what may seem like a small inconsistency could create a big problem and delay your application. Here is the list of documents you will need to bring to Paraguay with you from your home country:
- Original Birth certificate
- Original Marriage certificate if married
- Criminal record background check
- Original university diploma
These documents all need to be legalized or apostilled. More on that later in the article.
Let’s break down each of these documents in detail so it’s 100% clear exactly what you need. We provide additional tips in this article for Canadians and Americans because they are the largest group of applicants for Paraguayan residency. European, Australian, and South African applicants are also very common. If you have any doubts about whether people from your country or nationality can apply for Paraguayan permanent residency, we can help determine that on a call.
Original Birth Certificate
You will need an original copy of your birth certificate. It should be noted that some countries issue several ‘versions’ of birth certificates. You will need the ‘long form’ birth certificate, not just the wallet sized card. The long form birth certificate is usually printed on legal-sized paper, includes parental information, has a raised seal/stamp, and other characteristics that make it more authentic for security and verification purposes. In Canada you can order your birth certificate here, and in the United States you can order your birth certificate here.
Original Marriage Certificate
If you are married, you will need an original copy of your marriage certificate. You will only need this document if you are married, obviously. If you were married and are now divorced, you do not need documentation surrounding your previous marriage and divorce. If your current legal name is different than the name your birth certificate, then you will need some documentation around that. A woman will need to present marriage certificate and divorce ruling to be registered as divorced. If you have any questions about name changes and inconsistently, we can help determine exactly what you need on a call.
Criminal Record Check (Background Check)
The criminal background check will come from either your country of birth or country of residence. Note that this document will differ in name from country to country. Some countries call it a police clearance certificate, police record, background check, criminal history report, or criminal record check. If you have any doubts about what document Paraguay wants to see, contact us or contact your local Paraguayan embassy.
Please note that this document is only valid for 6 months from date of issue. If you are coming with kids, note that children younger than 14 years old will not need a criminal record check. For example, in the USA this document is obtained from the FBI and called the FBI identity history check. It costs around $50 and requires you to get your fingerprints taken. If you have any doubts regarding how to obtain the background check, we can determine that for you and help you obtain the required document. If you are Canadian, check out our guide to obtaining the RCMP background check.
If you have been living outside of your country of birth for over 5 years, get this document from your country of residency. If you have been living outside your country of birth for less than 5 years (let’s say 3 years), it’s probably better to get the doc from your country of birth. If it’s possible for you to get 2 documents, 1 from your birth country and 1 from your residence country – do it. That was you can be fully confident that no issues will arise.
Original University Diploma
This is an optional document based on how you want to apply for permanent residency in Paraguay. The 2 most popular ways to get residency in Paraguay are 1) making a ~$5,000 bank deposit, or 2) presenting a university diploma. The university diploma option is less well known and less publicized but very popular. Many applicants prefer the diploma route because that way you don’t need to bring $5,000 down to Paraguay with you, just the diploma. This diploma needs to come from an accredited 4 year university. If you have any doubts regarding if your diploma is usable, we can determine that for you on a call. The diploma will need to be legalized or apostilled.
What is an Apostille?
An Apostille is an internationally recognized way of authenticating documents. The apostille looks like a sheet of paper that gets stapled to the original document. The apostille is signed by a recognized authority, verifying the document as authentic. Not all countries use apostilles as a way of authenticating documents. For example, the USA uses this system, but Canada does not. If you are curious which countries are part of the Hague Convention, check out the full list of Hague Convention countries. If your country is not part of the Hague Convention, you will not be obtaining apostilles for your documents. In non-Hague convention countries, you will need to legalize your documents. For more information on legalizations, see below.
What is a Legalized Document?
To legalize a document means to be legalized by the local Paraguayan consulate or embassy in your home country. You can often send the document to the Paraguayan embassy in the mail if you are unable to visit in person. It will take longer by mail because they will put your request in a stack and who knows when they’ll get to it. We recommend going in person to the Paraguayan consulate or embassy if you can. Going in person to legalize the documents allows you to immediately address any problems that may arise and ensure your document gets processed correctly. Going in person also gives you the change to make connections and network with the Paraguayan consular figures.
In Canada, the Paraguayan embassy is located in Ottawa at xyz and there are consuls in Toronto and Vancouver. In the USA, the Paraguayan embassy is located in Washington DC at xyz and there are consuls in xyzz.
Do I Need to Get My Documents Translated?
You do not need to get your documents translated before traveling to Paraguay. The only valid translations in Paraguay are translations done by a certified translator from the Paraguayan Supreme Court of Justice. As part of your residency application package, we will work with an official translator and take care of this for you. Brazilian documents are exempted of translation.