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Should You Choose Paraguay or Uruguay for Relocation?

Discover your ideal South American safe haven! Explore residence opportunities in Paraguay and Uruguay with this in-depth comparison. Learn about the affordable Paraguayan residence program, its simplicity, and low cost. Or, delve into Uruguay’s more complex but versatile program that offers various investment options for fast citizenship.

In today’s unstable world, many people look for a ‘safe haven’ where they could peacefully live and where their freedoms and property rights would be well protected. South America has been a quiet continent over recent years in comparison to many other parts of the world.  

Two South American countries that have become extremely popular with foreign investors are Paraguay and Uruguay. Both countries offer attractive residence opportunities and below we are going to compare them from the viewpoint of a person looking for a place to relocate to. We hope that our comparative analysis will help you decide which of the two countries suits you better.

Residence opportunities in Paraguay

Let’s start with Paraguay. The local residence program is one of the most affordable such programs in the world. The fact reflects the national character of Paraguayans: they are extremely open people and amicable to foreigners. All you have to do is demonstrate your solvency to be able to acquire a residence card in Paraguay.

If you come from a country whose citizens need visas to enter Paraguay, you have to apply for a tourist visa first. However, citizens of a great number of countries are free to enter Paraguay without visas.

When you arrive in Paraguay, you can file an application for legal residence in the country. The residence card called cedula in Spanish allows living and working in Paraguay as long as the document is valid. Besides, you can apply for citizenship of Paraguay when you have a cedula.

One of the most significant advantages of the Paraguayan residence program is its affordability. The total cost of acquiring legal residence in the country is around US$ 10,000 including all legal costs and service fees. This is only a small portion of what you would have to pay to acquire legal residence in most other countries of the world.

Residence opportunities in Uruguay

The residence program in Uruguay is a bit more complex than it is in Paraguay but it is relatively easy to establish legal residence in Uruguay anyway. Similarly to Paraguay, you also have to prove your solvency when applying for a residence permit in Uruguay. The important difference is that you have to rent or buy residential accommodations in Uruguay to qualify for a residence permit. Besides, you have to live in the country more than half of the year.

You can apply for a residence card if you can demonstrate having a stable income of at least US$ 1,500 per month. In addition, you have to submit a police clearance.

If you meet these requirements, you can go to Uruguay and launch the application process with the help of a lawyer. Again, depending on the country of your citizenship, you may need a visa to Uruguay.

Acquiring an Uruguayan cedula may take a few months but you can live and work in the country while your application for legal residence is processed. Once you obtain a residence card, you can qualify for citizenship of Uruguay after living in the country for 3 or 5 years (depending on your marital status).

One of the most important advantages of the Uruguayan residence program is the fact that foreign investors have a wide choice of options. You can invest in a business venture, in real estate, or in Government bonds to qualify for fast citizenship of Uruguay. Please visit the International Wealth portal to find out more about the residence programs and investment opportunities both in Paraguay and in Uruguay.

Residence in Paraguay or in Uruguay: which option would suit you better?

Let us compare the two residence programs described above. The comparison will hopefully let you make a balanced choice.

Affordability: The Paraguayan residence program is highly attractive but its affordability. US$ 10,000 is what a single applicant for Paraguayan residence has to pay. If you apply for legal residence in the country for all members of your family, you will NOT have to pay US$ 10,000 per person. Some additional costs are going to be involved but they are not too high.  

The Uruguayan residence program requires that you have residential accommodations in the country and besides, the cost of living is higher in Uruguay than it is in Paraguay. These facts make legal residence in Uruguay less affordable. However, if you compare the cost of acquiring Uruguayan residence to that in Europe, US or Canada, you will understand that the Uruguayan residence program is very inexpensive. The same goes for the cost of living: it is low in Uruguay compared to Europe or North America.

Physical presence requirements: There are no personal presence requirements for Paraguayan cedula holders. When you have acquired your cedula, you are free to live in other countries without losing the Paraguayan residence card. At the same time, this document will allow you to enter Paraguay at any time you wish. Please note, however, that you have to live in Paraguay for more than six months each year if you plan to apply for Paraguayan citizenship after three years.

Uruguay, on the contrary, requires that a foreign cedula holder live in the country if he/ she wants to keep it. The personal presence issue is treated seriously in Uruguay: you have to live in the country for more than six months per year to keep your cedula. There are some exceptions from the general rule, however. For example, if an Uruguayan company or an Uruguayan government agency sends you on a business trip abroad, the time of your trip will count as time spent in Uruguay.

Citizenship opportunities: Both countries allow applying for citizenship after some time. In Paraguay, you can file an application after living in the country for three years. You have to realize, however, that your application for citizenship will have to go through several ministries and the process is going to take a long time.

Your application for Paraguayan citizenship will be approved only if you can demonstrate deep integration with the country. You will have to learn Spanish as well as the history and culture of Paraguay. But even if you are able to meet all the official requirements, there is no guarantee that your application for Paraguayan citizenship will be approved.

The citizenship acquisition process is much more transparent in Uruguay. If you are married (to a citizen of any country: your spouse does not necessarily have to be a citizen of Uruguay), you can apply for citizenship after three years. If you are single, you can apply after living in Uruguay for five years. If you meet the personal presence requirement and you do not misbehave while living in Uruguay, you will get a passport of the country in a few months after applying for citizenship.

So what conclusions can we make? It is simpler and less costly to acquire legal residence in Paraguay than it is in Uruguay. On the other hand, you have better chances to upgrade your status from ‘legal resident’ to ‘citizen’ in Uruguay in comparison to Paraguay. Are you planning to become a citizen of one of the two South American countries or are you going to be happy with the status of a legal resident? The answer to this question will have a direct bearing on the choice between Paraguay and Uruguay.

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