Investor Guide - establish residence in Uruguay

Introduction

A residence permit will allow you to legally work in Uruguay. Before you begin the process with the National Immigration Office, you must choose the type of residence that best suits your situation:

  • The Provisional Identity Sheet [Hoja Provisoria de Identidad] will enable you to work for a maximum period of 180 days. It will be issued only once and no extension is possible.
  • Temporary Legal Residence will be more appropriate if you intend to remain in Uruguay for a period exceeding 180 days but less than two years; its effectiveness will depend on the activity you develop. If you are from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador or Peru you can apply for MERCOSUR Temporary Residence with the advantage of not having to provide information on your means of livelihood nor an address in Uruguay.
  • Permanent Legal Residence will be more appropriate if your intention is to remain in the country for a period exceeding 2 years or if your temporary residence has already expired and you wish to become a permanent legal resident.

1.  Temporary entry: non-residents

As a general rule, businessmen/women visiting the country are only required to submit their valid passport, except in some cases where a previous visa is required. Information on the countries that require visa is available at National Immigration Office.

However, citizens from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela are not required to present their passport and may enter the country with their national identity card.

2.  Working in Uruguay: residents

Immigrants are entitled by law to receive the same treatment as nationals regarding the exercise of a labor activity, including labor rights.

Companies cannot hire or enter in their Payrolls foreigners who fail to justify that they are duly authorized to work legally in the country, whether permanently or provisionally. Every foreigner who wishes to process his/her Legal Residence in the country may begin the process and have, at that same act, an immigration certificate issued to process the provisional identity card with the National Bureau of Civil Identification.

2.1 Provisional identity sheet

The Provisional Identity Sheet [Hoja Provisoria de Identidad] will enable you to work for a maximum period of 180 days. It will be issued only once and no extension is possible.

Foreigners who process their temporary residence for a period of less than six months must provide the National Immigration Office with evidence of the activity that gives rise to the application and date of termination thereof.

Once said activity has been accredited, they will have a certificate issued for the purposes of processing the Provisional Identity Sheet with the National Bureau of Civil Identification, whereby they will be registered with the relevant Social Security bodies and the Ministry of Work and Social Security.

2.2  Temporary residence

Temporary Legal Residence will be more appropriate if you intend to remain in Uruguay for a period exceeding 180 days but less than two years. The interested party will be required to appear in person for the purposes of submitting his/her application to the National Immigration Office. The cost of this process amounts to 2.10 UR.

The effectiveness of the legal residence will depend on the activity being developed. In the case of professionals, technicians, specialized personnel, businessmen/women, directors, managers and administrative personnel, among others, the term they can stay in the country is up to two years, which can be extended for an equal period, up to four years.

Nationals of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador or Peru can apply for MERCOSUR Temporary Residence with special advantages that simplify the procedure of obtaining the temporary residence4. If any foreigner intends to stay in the country for a longer period than the one provided in the temporary residence, both common or MERCOSUR, he/she should take the necessary steps in order to obtain the Permanent Residence, prior expiration of the temporary condition term.

2.3  Permanent legal residence

Permanent Legal Residence will be more appropriate if your intention is to remain in the country for a period exceeding 2 years or if your temporary residence has already expired and you wish to become a permanent legal resident. The interested party will be required to appear in person for the purposes of submitting his/her application to the National Immigration Office5. The cost of this process amounts to 2.71 UR6.

When a permanent residence is granted, the admitted stay period is indefinite. As in the temporary residence procedure, the nationals of Argentine, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, as well as foreign relatives of Uruguayan nationals have special advantages which facilitate the procedure.

3.  Legal Citizenship

Eligibility requirements to become a Legal Citizen in Uruguay apply to foreigners of legal age who provide a police clearance certificate and evidence that:

  • They have a family settled in the Republic, capital or property in the country or exercise any science, art or industry and have lived three years in the Republic, uninterruptedly.
  • Do not have a family settled in the Republic but have any of the attributes of the foregoing subsection and have lived five years in the Republic, uninterruptedly.
  • Are granted a special venue by the General Assembly for notable services or relevant merits.

The interested party will be required to appear in person for the purposes of submitting his/her application to the Electoral Bureau. The process is free and once approved is effective for an indefinite term7. As in the procedure for temporary residence, citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, and foreign family members of nationals in the country have special facilities to the time for filing.

4.  Incentives to immigration

Policies which favor foreign investments also convey incentives to immigration, as well as to Uruguayan citizens who lived abroad for two years and who settle in the country, entering capital to be invested in activities which serve economic, social or cultural development.

Under certain conditions, the introduction of tools, machinery, devices and instruments required for the exercise of their profession, arts and crafts or trade is custom duty-exempt; this also apply to their personal effects and household goods.

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