Moving to Uruguay?
Uruguay: Visas and Residency
Residents of many countries can enter Uruguay without having to apply for a visa beforehand. The Dirección Nacional de Migración offers a complete overview of visa requirements on their homepage. If you do indeed need a visa, please allow up to four weeks for your application to be processed. You will need to submit the following:
- completed and signed application form
- passport valid for at least six months after your arrival in Uruguay
- passport-sized photo
- photocopy of your round trip ticket
- consular fee (42 USD)
Passing Through or Putting Down Roots?
There are two types of residence permits available to expatriates in Uruguay: temporary and permanent. The requirements are fairly similar for both and the application processes start at the Dirección Nacional de Migración in Montevideo, where you have to bring the required documents to in person. Uruguay does not distinguish between work and residence permits, so there is one less thing to worry about.
Unlike the immigration legislation in other expat destinations, it is perfectly legal to come to Uruguay without a job offer, and stay indefinitely once you have found employment or can prove you can afford to live there — provided the process does not take longer than the duration your tourist visa is valid for. This means that Uruguay may prove to be a viable option for expats-to-be trying to get things done on their own. Of course, you will not have to worry about this if you get posted to Uruguay by your employer in your home country.
Below are general requirements for both types of residence permits:
- one passport-sized photo
- health certificate issued by the Health Department of Uruguay
- police clearance certificate from the country you last lived in
- birth certificate
- entry/departure card
- original and copy of your passport
All foreign documents must be apostilled and, if applicable, translated into English. As the entire process of getting either kind of permit is handled in Spanish, most institutions require you to bring an interpreter if you are lacking the necessary language skills. While it is possible to handle everything yourself, some people might still be more comfortable with the support of an immigration lawyer. You should not have too hard a time finding a capable professional via an online search.
For more detailed information in English, please see the website of the Uruguayan Embassy in the US.
Just Passing Through
If you already know what you will be doing in Uruguay, e.g. if you are being sent abroad by your employer or want to conduct research in the country, you might want to opt for the temporary residence permit. Of the seven permit categories, category 1 is the one most pertinent to expatriates. With this permit, you can live and work in Uruguay for a maximum of four years.
Apart from the requirements listed above, you need to submit a signed statement from the Uruguayan branch office of your company indicating your position, duties, and monthly salary. If your employer is a private enterprise, they will also have to supply detailed information on the company itself. Again, the Uruguayan embassy has all details readily available on their website.
Putting Down Roots
This process is more long-winded, but also gives you the opportunity to get to know the country before you actually have to decide whether or not you want to live and work in Uruguay. If your fact-finding trip (by virtue of your tourist visa) ends with an employment offer and a real interest in staying in Uruguay, your journey begins at the Dirreción Nacional de Migración in Montevideo.
There you will have to submit a “letter of motivation”. Apart from basics such as your nationality, passport number, and date of entry, you have to state why you’d like to be a resident, where you live, and how you intend to pay for your stay (this is where your employment offer comes in handy). If your application is accepted, and the criminal background check is filed, you will shortly be the proud holder of a temporary cédula (ID card). With this temporary ID you actually already have all the rights of a “full” resident even though the permanent ID is only given after the procedure is completed. Congratulations!
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