Home > Daily Life, Paraguay > Buying A Car In Paraguay

Buying A Car In Paraguay

Buying a car in Paraguay is a bit of an adventure. Unlike in the UK where all that needs to be done is hand over some money, sign the registration document and send it to the driving vehicle licensing authority, buying a car in Paraguay involves visits to an escribana and some unexpected expenses.


I shall recount our experience. Once a car had been found, it was necessary for the vendor to take the title document, called an escritura publica, to an escribana to check that the vendor had clear title and that there were no other claims on the vehicle. We also had to show identification for the registration procedure. This can be passport or cedula. An escribana had been recommended to us by a friend, as they had experience of her services and that she would not allow any transfer if there was any problem with the title. This was reassuring as we had heard of people waiting months for their documents because of problems with clear title. Preparing for the transfer and checking the documents took about 10 days.


Once the contract was prepared we visited the office with the seller. Both of us had to be present to sign the documents. It was at this point we were asked to pay for the car. We were able to pay by bank cheque. this is not always possible. Many people in Paraguay, including professionals, do not have bank accounts. it is not unusual to have to pay for large purchases, including cars and land, in cash.


The fees for transfer of the vehicle was 2.000.000 guaranis, about 500usd. this included all the government registration fees and the escribana’s fees. Generally these fees are shared between the buyer and seller.


I received the seller’s registration document which is called a green cedula, habilitacion which is the car tax and a receipt for the vehicle. I had to carry the receipt in the car until I received my own green cedula and escritura publica, which shows that I own the vehicle. It takes about 4-6 weeks to receive the documents. Green cedula, habilitacion and insurance card have to be carried at all times in Paraguay in case you are stopped by the police.


It is also important to remember that if you allow another person to use your vehicle when you are not accompanying them, to give written permission to the person, including their cedula number. This document should be authenticated by an escribana to ensure it is honoured by police.


Another aspect of the purchase procedure that is different, is getting insurance. We had to show the receipt to the insurance company for the vehicle once we had bought it, rather than ringing and arranging the insurance to commence at the time of purchase. We also had to take the car to the insurers offices to be photographed and inspected by them. When the insurance certificate is issued it also needs to be carried in the car.


Cars up to 10 years old may be imported into Paraguay. When imported there is duty paid. If this has not yet been done, a brown cedula issued instead of a green cedula, until the duty is paid. When the duty is paid and you apply for the green cedula it is necessary to again get the signature of the person who originally sold the vehicle to you. If you cannot find the person it is necessary to commence legal proceedings and the previous owner is eventually summonsed to sign the documents. A frustrating and expensive procedure. It is also common to see cars with no registration plates. This is because they have been newly imported into Paraguay and are waiting for their first registration in this country.


I have been told by Brad, one of our readers, that sometimes you are required to have the vehicle inspected by the municipality before it can be registered. Some municipalities,  have very thorough inspections, while others are much more superficial in their nature. it is also necessary to have this inspection done each year prior to re-taxing the vehicle.


Categories: Daily Life, Paraguay Tags: ,
  1. Christopher
    September 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I see that cars up to 10 years old may be imported. Is there any exemption for classic cars?
    Is vandalism or theft of cars or parts of parked cars much of a problem there, or is it best to rent a garage or space on a locked parking lot?

    • September 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      I am not aware of there being any exemption of the 10 year rule for the importation of classic cars. Even though cars older than 10 years may not be imported, there are many cars older than this in Paraguay and there is a thriving market for these vehicles.

      There is a problem of theft of and from parked vehicles. Cars are generally not parked in the street at night and it is necessary to find secured parking. Almost all houses have a garage or parking space and it is not too difficult to find somewhere to park if your accommodation does not provide this.

      During the day if you have to drive into the centre of Asuncion or an area to do business, such as the Municipality building it is common for your car to be cared for by a cuidacoche for a small fee. They will also often wash your car as a part of their service.

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