Finding a Visa

It is useful to know the location of the closest Uruguayan embassy or consulate because it will be necessary to seek advice both initially and later in the application process. Uruguay maintains 47 embassies abroad as well as 124 consulates and other representations. The country’s official site allows searches for overseas Uruguayan diplomatic missions and for foreign missions within the country.

The official Dirección Nacional de Migración (DNM) site is written in Spanish but information can be obtained from many other sources. Brief but up-to-date details of immigration requirements for residency are given by Peer Voss although this is not an official site and the disclaimer should be noted. Voss does comment that it is perfectly possible to deal with the DNM personally and not through a lawyer provided language does not present a problem. The Uruguayan Residency Group is a legal firm that provides a full service to prospective immigrants and the fees are stated on the site.

There is no visa leading to permanent residency specifically for retirees to Uruguay. The country is, however, very welcoming from an immigration point of view towards retirees and others. Visiting Uruguay as a tourist or as a prospective immigrant is easy so a “Golden Rule” (visit before settling) trip can be comfortably undertaken.

The usual documents need to be produced and translated into Spanish. These documents include an application petition, completed application form, two passport size photographs, a copy of the passport data page, birth certificate, marriage certificate (or a divorce decree), spouse’s death certificate if the applicant is a widow or widower and police clearance certificates. A retiree will also have to provide proof of a continuing income from the paying authority. The amount of income varies from time to time. This point should always be verified by reference to the nearest Uruguayan embassy or consulate. Uruguay now accepts apostilled documents. This simplifies authentication procedures although official translation is still required. It takes about a year to obtain residency and a further five years to be eligible to apply for citizenship.

Uruguay also permits applications from within its borders from those wishing to change their current status, for example, from visitor to permanent residency. There is no obligation to employ the services of a lawyer for the application. It may well be helpful and expedient to do so unless one is fluent in the Spanish language. Temporary permanent residence is granted on acceptance of the application for permanent residency and a temporary “cedula de identidad” or identity document may be requested. This is useful when applying for such things as a driving license and a bank account. A final or permanent cedula de identidad may be obtained on being granted permanent residency.

All of these points are amplified by reference to the links in the "Resources" tab on this site and to the book "How to Retire in Uruguay" by Les Johns which is availabl;e from this site.

Getting Help

As is stated above it is useful to employ a lawyer/attorney for dealing with government departments in Uruguay if Spanish is not your first language or if you are not fluent in that language. An estimate of the likely cost should be obtained before any work is done. A list of legal firms is available at the Martinadale.com web site although only those in Montevideo and Punta del Este are shown. It must be emphasised that an estimate of charges should always be obtained before employing a lawyer or any other firm offering professional services. An indication of typical lawyer’s fees for immigration work in Uruguay is, as stated above, available from The Uruguayan Residency Group.

Not everything goes smoothly all of the time as can be seen from comments at the “Immigration Matters” and “totaluruguay” web sites even with a lawyer assisting the process. It has to be accepted that the standards of performance in many countries’ civil services are not always as good as would be desired. The ExpatBlog website provides practical guidance from the personal experiences of contributors on many aspects relevant to settling in a new country. How peculiar these problems are to particular circumstances is difficult to judge from what are probably very subjective rather that objective comments.

The links provided at the "Resources" tab on this site and the book "How to Retire in Uruguay" by Les Johns will add to the above information and save intending retirees much research time in their initial investigations.