Last night I was researching about my next trip which is to Paraguay. I knew in advanced that the process for US Passport holders was a VISA on arrival fee for $160 USD. I assumed that it would last at least 10 years just like other countries in South America like Brazil, Chile (now visa-free), and Argentina. Little did i know, a $160 USD visa on arrival would only grant you a stamp valid for 90 days. I thought that was a little bit obsessive and not tourism friendly, so I went on the Paraguayan Consulate of Los Angeles website to find out how I could extend my visa for the same price.
Upon doing more research, I found out that they do grant US Passport holders multiple entry VISAs for a one-time fee of $160 good for 10 years. The only condition is that you must complete an application and visit the nearest consulate or use a VISA service. I was excited because I would want to visit Paraguay more than once and not pay the $160 fee each time.
I completed the VISA application via PDF format and luckily had two passport pictures on hand. The office opened the next day (Friday) at 9am and I read that the process is simple. No appointments are necessary and I heard that a same day turnaround is possible at the Los Angeles Paraguayan Consulate. I didn’t know what to expect as my trip commences in two weeks.
I headed to the consulate of Paraguay this morning and found out that they were closed today (Friday) due to Holy Week (Easter).
I spent $3.20 on the Metro ExpressLanes toll and paid $2.00 for metered parking for 2 hours. Did I mention that it took me 30 minutes to get there with rising gas costs in California? Had the website been updated with holiday hours and office closures, I would not have visited the consulate today. This was a complete waste of time. I have a history of bad luck with applying for VISAs during holidays. Last year when I visited the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles to get a VISA for Shanghai, they were closed for two weeks because of Chinese New Year. Their website was not updated as well!
Has this ever happened to you?