Reasons Why You Should Consider Acquiring Legal Residence in Uruguay

Uruguay is sometimes referred to as ‘Latin American Switzerland’ and for a good reason. The country has a strong economy by the Latin American standards. Besides, it is a stable democracy with a transparent Government, efficient administration, a high level of personal security, and free press.

In addition to that, Uruguay adheres to a neutral position as far as global conflicts are concerned whatever the nature of these conflicts is. It welcomes citizens of all countries who want to move to Latin America and obtain legal residence permits in Uruguay. A legal residence permit can eventually turn into full citizenship of the country.

How to get residence permit, permanent residence permit and citizenship of Uruguay
  • How can you become a legal resident of Uruguay?
  • What documents do you have to submit when applying for Uruguay residency?
  • What should you know before you apply for residency in Uruguay in 2023?
  • Who can qualify for permanent residence in Uruguay?

We answer these and other relevant questions below.

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Basic facts about Uruguay

Uruguay sits on the Atlantic coast and it borders on Brazil and Argentina. The population of the country exceeds 3 million people and about 88% of them are of European origin.

Uruguay as a whole and the capital city of Montevideo in particular offers high living standards, which is a rarity in Latin America, to be frank. Many expats from the Old World and other regions note that living in the resort town of Punta del Este in the South of Uruguay feels like living in Europe rather than Latin America. 

The cost of living in Uruguay is average: it’s not cheap but neither is it too expensive. As far as acquiring legal residence in Uruguay is concerned, the cost of acquiring a residence permit and then a passport of Uruguay is much lower than it is in most other countries.

We must stress again that the country maintains political neutrality and citizens of all countries of the world are welcome to move to Uruguay. Whatever conflicts there may be, Uruguay does not side with any of the parties.

Thus, if you are contemplating the opportunity to move to a foreign country, Uruguay is certainly one of the most attractive options to consider. Relocating to Uruguay is a relatively easy task and it does not require too much money.

Main reasons why you should consider the opportunity to move to Uruguay

The economy of Uruguay is stable and growing. The tax system is rather beneficial and several tax breaks and tax incentives are available to new residents of the country. Foreign retirees will find attractive conditions in Uruguay if they decide to spend their golden years in the country. The local people are friendly and easy-going and the infrastructure is well developed in Uruguay. In particular, you will find fast Internet connection at a low price there.

Immigration to Uruguay

Below please find several reasons why you should give the possibility of moving to Uruguay some serious consideration:

  1. Local people. Uruguayans are typical Latin Americans: they are not very industrious and they are never in a hurry. On the other hand, people are extremely calm and friendly in Uruguay. They will try to avoid conflicts at all times, which makes them very nice neighbors to have around you.
  2. High speed of relocating to Uruguay. It does not take too much time, effort, or money to acquire legal residence in Uruguay. The only requirement is that the prospective immigrant has to fall within one of the categories of people who qualify for residence in the country (we discuss the categories below).  
  3. The local Government. Uruguay is a stable democracy. The Government of the country serves the people including those who were born abroad but then relocated to Uruguay. All sorts of foreign direct investments are highly welcome.  
  4. The nature and the climate. First, Uruguay is a beautiful country with a lot of green vegetation, fantastic views of the ocean and breathtaking landscapes. Second, the country has an advanced agricultural sector: many food products are exported to other Latin American countries and beyond. There you will find all sorts of high-quality healthy food from beef to oranges. As for the climate, it is close to perfect in Uruguay. You will especially appreciate living there if you come from a country with cold winters and/ or unpredictable weather conditions.
  5. High level of security and a good reputation. The crime rates as well as poverty rates are among the lowest in Uruguay of all Latin American countries. Uruguay has one of the highest GDP per capita in the region. 
  6. Visa-free travel opportunities. Citizens of a great number of countries do not have to apply for tourist visas if they want to visit Uruguay. In particular, most Europeans and all Latin Americans can stay in Uruguay for 90 days within six months without visas.  
  7. High speed and low cost of acquiring legal residence in Uruguay. Below we discuss the immigration programs that are especially popular with foreign nationals wishing to move to Uruguay.
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Please note that the local currency in Uruguay is the peso even though you can withdraw US dollars from the ATMs in the country. We suggest that you should consider the opportunity to open a multicurrency bank account before you relocate to Uruguay. Our experts will be happy to assist you with that.

How can you acquire legal residence in Uruguay and become a citizen of the country?

Seven categories of foreigners can easily qualify for legal residence in Uruguay. Besides, citizens of the Southern Common Market countries and foreign pensioners enjoy certain preferences. 

The seven categories of foreign candidates for Uruguayan residence include the following ones:

  1. Researchers and scientists.
  2. Business administrators and entrepreneurs.
  3. Students.
  4. Journalists, sportspeople, and artists working on a contract in Uruguay.
  5. Holders of scholarships from Uruguayan educational institutions.
  6. Religious figures.
  7. Spouses, partners, children, and parents of Uruguayan citizens.

The residence permit is valid for 1 or 2 years depending on the category that the permit holder belongs to. The permit can be extended.

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Please note that a state duty of 3,440 Uruguayan pesos (around 88 US dollars) is payable when you apply for a residence permit in Uruguay. If a residence permit holder leaves Uruguay, he or she will have to pay 1,266 pesos (32 US dollars) to re-enter the country.

Documents required for obtaining legal residence in Uruguay

You have to submit the following documents to the Uruguayan Migration Service when applying for a legal residence permit in the country:

  • Your photograph.
  • Medical insurance.
  • Confirmation of the date of entry (tourist’s card, travel document, verbal confirmation, etc.).
  • Clean police records from the countries where you have lived over the last 5 years.
  • Personal ID.
  • Birth certificate and parents’ consent for underage children.
  • Marriage certificate for married couples.
  • Documents confirming that you belong to one of the categories of foreigners who qualify for Uruguay residency. 

All the application documents have to be translated into Spanish (the official language of Uruguay) and notarized/ legalized. 

Uruguay residency for scientists

Researchers, scientists, highly qualified specialists, and teachers/ instructors are eligible to apply for temporary residence permits in Uruguay if they are able to prove their membership in the group. In addition to the standard set of application documents, the following documents need to be supplied:

  • A letter from the employer indicating the position held and the term of the job agreement;
  • A document confirming the legal status of the employer in Uruguay.

The residence permit for scientists, etc. is valid for 2 years in Uruguay. It can be extended afterwards but the term of its validity cannot exceed the term of the job contract.

Uruguay residency for foreign entrepreneurs

A foreign national can register a business company in Uruguay or transfer a company to Uruguay from another country. In this case, the person will qualify for a 2-year legal residence permit in Uruguay (extendable). 

To become eligible for a residence permit, the foreign entrepreneur has to supply documents that confirm the company registration with the tax authorities and social security office in Uruguay. The documents need to be notarized.

Uruguay residency for foreign students

The rules governing the issuance of residence permits to students are the same in Uruguay as the rules in most other countries. It is enough to enroll in a university or a school in the country and supply proof of solvency to become eligible for a student visa in Uruguay. The validity term of the residence permit issued to a student in the country is normally 1 year. It can be extended later as long as the educational program lasts.

Uruguay residency for artists, sportspeople, and religious figures

Foreign journalists, sportspeople, and artists fall into one category of applicants for Uruguayan residency while religious figures fall into another category but the requirements are similar. Those belonging to one of the groups have to supply the following documents when applying for legal residence in Uruguay in addition to the standard application document package (see above):

  • A job contract with a Uruguayan employer for artists and sportspeople;
  • A certificate from the church/ mission (on headed paper) for religious figures;

The residence permit validity term is two years in both cases.

Uruguay residency for scholarship holders

Students who have scholarships from Uruguayan educational institutions are eligible to apply for 1-year residence permits. The permits can be extended as long as the scholarship remains available. Foreign scholarship holders have to supply confirmations of the status and bring a note from the consulate of their home country or from an NGO.

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Please note that spouses, children, and parents of the abovementioned applicants for Uruguay residency will also qualify for temporary residence permits if they can prove relations of kin.

Rentier visa to Uruguay: residence permits for persons of independent means

Wealthy foreigners whose monthly income exceeds US$ 1,500 and it is derived from foreign sources are eligible to apply for residence permits in Uruguay. The permit will be issued very fast: all you have to do is prove your income and make a one-time payment of US$ 10,000 (and additional US$ 2,000 for every member of the family). This sort of residence permit does not serve as a work permit in Uruguay. The rentier visa is a temporary residence permit that can become a permanent residence permit with time.

How can you acquire permanent residency in Uruguay in 2023?

The first residence permit that you can get in Uruguay is going to be a temporary one. However, you can turn it into a permanent residence permit after some time if you spend the best part of the year in the country. Practice shows that acquiring a permanent residence permit in Uruguay does not take too much time. You have to bear in mind though that the application processing time has recently become longer due to the increasing popularity of the immigration programs available in Uruguay. The immigration authorities may take up to 18 months to process your application for permanent residence in the country.

Besides, you have to realize that the key requirement that you have to meet if you are to qualify for a permanent residence permit is your extended personal presence in Uruguay. The migration service officers will pay regular visits to the applicants for permanent residence to make sure that the latter really live in Uruguay while they applications are being processed. Besides, the tax authorities and other Government bodies have to ascertain that the applicant is eligible for a permanent residence permit indeed. The residence permit is going to be termless but it needs to be renewed every three years.

Dual citizenship is allowed in Uruguay and you can apply for citizenship of the country after living there on a legal residence permit for 3 or 5 years.

  • The three-year term applies to people relocating to Uruguay with their families or those starting business companies there.
  • The five-year term applies to single foreigners and rentiers relocating to Uruguay.

The procedure of acquiring Uruguay citizenship can be accelerated if you can prove that an ancestor of yours was a Uruguayan. If this is the case, permanent residence is going to be granted to you instantly and after three years, you can apply for citizenship of the country. Please note that a child born in Uruguay automatically becomes a citizen of the country no matter if it is born to Uruguayan parents or foreigners. 

Uruguay residency for foreign retirees

Act № 16.340 says that a foreign pensioner is eligible for legal residence in Uruguay if he or she invests US$ 100,000 in real estate in the country or in government bonds. An additional condition to meet is keeping the property in your possession for at least 10 years. Otherwise, you will not be able to qualify for citizenship of Uruguay. Besides, your pension has to be not less than US$ 1,500 per month.

What advantages does a Uruguay passport bring?

Uruguay's second passport

The passport of Uruguay is among 25 strongest passports in the world. It gives visa-free access to 133 countries. These include all EU countries, all Central and South American countries, New Zealand, and several Asian countries.

Acquiring second citizenship of Uruguay is not going to come at a high price. Unlike many other countries, Uruguay does not require that the applicant for citizenship of the country should make substantial investments. The key requirement is that the candidate for Uruguay citizenship should live in the country for an extended period. Besides, you will have to pass a Spanish test to obtain the passport.

When you have citizenship of Uruguay, your children, their children, and so on will also be citizens of Uruguay and they will be able to enjoy all the advantages that this status brings.

Personal presence requirement

You have to permanently reside in Uruguay to qualify for a temporary or a permanent residence permit let alone the passport of the country. The Uruguayan authorities have to be certain that you want to make the country your home.

Even though you have to spend most of your time in Uruguay if you are to be eligible for a prolongation of your residence permit, you are free to go away on business trips or on holidays once in a while. You have to remember, however, that the legal residence permit holder has to pay a small fee when re-entering Uruguay. Besides, the immigration authorities will have to approve your return.

Facts about taxes in Uruguay that you have to know before relocating to the country

The Government of Uruguay seeks to attract more foreigners to the country because they bring their money with them. The local authorities offer the following incentives to new residents of Uruguay: your foreign income is going to be tax-exempt in Uruguay for the first five years that you live in the country.

We must note that certain changes to the Uruguayan tax code have been introduced recently. For example, while corporate income used to be taxed at a flat rate before (25%), a progressive tax rate has replaced it since the beginning of 2023. Besides, foreign income from certain sources is now taxed in Uruguay (no income derived from foreign sources was taxed in the country before).

Below please find some other tax rates applicable in Uruguay in 2023:

  • Income tax – 36%;
  • Sales tax – 22%;
  • Social security – 35.73%;

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Would you like to acquire legal residence in Uruguay and citizenship of the country? Please contact our experts by writing to and we will help you achieve the goal in the fastest, the safest, and the most economical manner. 

How much time can I spend in Uruguay without a visa?

Most nationalities can spend 90 days per six months in Uruguay without having to obtain visas.

Who can qualify for legal residence in Uruguay and citizenship of the country?

Foreign investors, specialists, students, and religious figures can qualify for residence and citizenship in Uruguay. A wealthy person with a passive income or a pensioner from another country is also welcome to relocate to Uruguay. Temporary residence can turn into permanent residence and then into citizenship of the country.

What does a foreign retiree have to do to qualify for legal residence in Uruguay?

To obtain a legal residence permit and then become a full citizen of Uruguay, the foreign pensioner has to invest US$ 100,000 in real estate or government bonds. The property has to be kept in the person’s possession for 10 years if he/ she is to qualify for citizenship of Uruguay. Besides, the pension amount has to be US$ 1,500 per month or more.

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