Things you should know before you immigrate to Uruguay

Moving to Uruguay: Things you should know before you immigrate to Uruguay

With such a gracious name as República Oriental del Uruguay (the Oriental Republic of Uruguay), it comes as no surprise that the name Uruguay has an exotic meaning. The name comes from the Uruguay River, which starts in Brazil and runs all the way to the border between Argentina and Uruguay. “Uruguay” stands for the “river of the painted birds” in Guarani language. But Uruguay is not only a land of exotic animals. With 12 million cows, cattle outnumber people in this relatively small country in South America. With an impressive history, a growing economy and an abundance of natural beauty, Uruguay has everything to make for an ideal expat location. In our guide we will get you up to speed on things such as accommodation, finding a job, education, driving and many more things that will get you ready for your relocation to Uruguay.

International Removals to Uruguay with Eurosender

Moving to Uruguay from the USA or any other country, means starting a new life. There are few places in the world that are so diverse as this tiny nation which has 410 miles of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. Uruguay is becoming a more important player in the wine market every year, which is no surprise when you consider the local cuisine: an eclectic mix of cultures by itself. With affordable housing and a booming economy, Uruguay has everything going to be your new home. That is why we have compiled this ultimate relocation guide to Uruguay.

Before you start living among the locals, you should first find out what Uruguay is all about. Let’s take a quick look at the facts.

CapitalMontevideo, with 1.3 million inhabitants also the largest city in Uruguay.
TimezoneUTC -3
CurrencyUruguayan peso (UYU)
PopulationUruguay has a population of approximately 3.4 million inhabitants.
How do you call someone from Uruguay?Uruguayan, Oriental
Official languageSpanish while Uruguayan Portuguese is considered a regional language.
International dialing code+598
Emergency number997 (Ambulance) 999 (Police) 998 (Fire) 993 (Traffic police)
DrivingOn the right side
TippingUsually, a 10% tip is expected unless the bill indicates that this is already included, which is not often.
Unusual factMore than half of the Uruguayan population lives in the capital Montevideo.

When you are relocating from the USA to Uruguay, you want to be sure that all your belongings arrive in one piece. With the services of Eurosender, you can be sure that your international removals to Uruguay will go smoothly. So, what are you waiting for? Place your order and start planning your new adventure in Uruguay today!

Living in Uruguay

When you decide to turn your life upside down and move to Uruguay, you will notice that not everything is the same as in your home country.

  • Mate, which is gaining worldwide popularity now, is one of the most popular drinks in Uruguay and is way more popular than sugary sodas. This caffeine infused drink made of leaves of the “yerba mat” plant will have you hooked in no-time.
  • Uruguay has a fine dining culture, owing to the mix of immigrants over the centuries. One drawback, however, is that the restaurants mostly open only after 0730 PM which makes it a late evening when you have to get up early for work the next day.
  • Situated near the ocean, Uruguay has a vivid beach life and Montevideo is located right on the coast, which makes for a relaxed atmosphere all year long.
  • Although crime is not absent, Uruguay is one of the safest countries in South America.
  • When you speak Spanish, you may find that the Spanish spoken in Uruguay is a little different from the Spanish in your textbooks. Uruguayan Spanish is influenced by Portuguese, Guaraní and Italian and takes some getting used to.

Visa Regulations for Uruguay

Uruguay has relatively easy visa regulations. Below you will find the kinds you can choose from.

  • Tourist visa: Citizens from most countries (including, for example, the USA, Canada and countries from the EU) don’t need a visa when staying as a tourist. When you do need a visa, contact your local Uruguayan embassy for the documents you need. Uruguay is also one of the few countries that allow you to look for a job on a tourist visa.
  • Temporary residence permit: There are 7 categories for this kind of permit and depending on the permit you have it can allow you to stay up to 4 years and you are also allowed to work with it.
  • Permanent residence permit: Want to make Uruguay your permanent home? Then choose for permanent residence and never leave again.

Healthcare in Uruguay

When having a temporary or permanent residence permit, you can visit the free clinics provided by Uruguayan public healthcare. Even though the quality is not bad, there are huge waiting lists as there is a lack of funding. Therefore, many expats use private healthcare, which is both of good quality and affordable. You don’t buy healthcare insurance but instead, you pay a monthly fee to a healthcare company, that usually has numerous different clinics across the country.

School and education

The school system in Uruguay is known as one of the best in South America. Education is mandatory free for citizens and permanent residents and mandatory until 14 years. Below you see the basic outline of the system.

Secondary (first cycle)12-163
Secondary (second cycle)16-193

After finishing secondary school, students can go on in higher education. Besides 4 private universities, there are 2 universities in Uruguay:
• University of the Republic (Uruguay)
• Universidad Tecnológica del Uruguay

The job market in Uruguay

Even in times of recession, Uruguay’s’ economy continued to grow. Agriculture is the main engine of the economy, but other sectors as the textile industry, chemicals, machinery, and of more recently the automotive industry are also adding to the success of Uruguay. As the economy is making rapid advancements, Uruguay is a great pick when it comes to locations for expats. When you have some experience and the right education, you should be able to find a job easily. Keep in mind that speaking Spanish will drastically increase your chances on the labour market.

Property information

There is a wide range of accommodation in Uruguay, matching each budget. However, most expats choose to rent an apartment in Montevideo. When you just arrive, renting an Airbnb will do just fine for a short period, which will give you the time to look for something more permanent. When looking for living space, keep in mind that the following costs are involved when renting an apartment:

  • 1st-month rent
  • Deposit (about 2 to 5 months’ worth of rent)
  • Broker’s fee (1/2 to 1-month rent)

Cost of moving to Uruguay

Renting an unfurnished apartment could save you a lot of money. On top of that, all your furniture and household appliances can be imported duty-free which leads to the low cost of moving house Uruguay. So, when you want to figure out: How much is shipping from the USA to Uruguay? It is most important that you choose the right service.

  • Standard Shipping: Only want to ship your luggage, your cosmetics or your laptop? Everything that fits within the dimensions below is suitable for standard shipment.
    • Maximum weight of 40kg (30kg in some cases).
    • A maximum length of 175 cm.
    • Length (in cm) + 2x width (in cm) + 2x height (in cm) < 300 cm.
  • Freight shipping: When you have large items or just a lot of stuff you want to get to Uruguay, you might want to consider shipping on pallets. This will surely offer you the cheapest way to move furniture to Uruguay.
  • Dedicated Van Delivery: With this service, one van will be filled with only your items and will not have any other delivery points than your destination. Keep in mind that this option is not available on every route.

Whichever option you choose, with Eurosender you can be sure that you profit from the lowest average moving costs to Uruguay.

Cost of living in Uruguay

Compared to most expat hotbeds, life in Uruguay is quite affordable. Like in any other country, accommodation takes the biggest bite out of your budget, but on the whole, your expenses will be much lower than when renting something similar, in let’s say Europe. With Uruguay being an agricultural powerhouse, local produce is both widely available and affordable. With its gorgeous beaches and its unique location, you can also cheaply travel within the country on your days off.

Driving in Uruguay

Getting to know Uruguay by car is one of the most fascinating ways of exploring the country. To get started you need to have your paperwork in order. These are the documents you need with you when driving a vehicle in Uruguay.

  • Driving licens: local licenses from many countries are accepted. However, it is always recommended to check with the local Uruguayan embassy to check whether you need an International Driving Permit. You can get one for about $20-25 at your local driving authority. This is always recommended when travelling often.
  • Registration document of the vehicle
  • Insurance document for the vehicle.

After you are sure that your paperwork is legit, you are ready to start driving the roads of Uruguay. So, let’s have a look at some of the peculiarities of driving in this Latin American nation.

  • It is mandatory to keep your headlights on at all time.
  • Compared to many countries in the world, drivers in Uruguay are easy-going, tolerant and well-mannered.
  • As half of the country lives in Montevideo, you can expect a fair amount of traffic jams and difficulty finding a parking space.
  • Many highways are tollways. And also, many of them only accept cash, so make sure you have enough pesos in your pocket when setting off.
  • When driving in the countryside, you will notice that the road conditions are not as good as in the area surrounding the capital. Sand or dirt roads, potholes or even cows on the road, you can find anything on rural roads in Uruguay.

See the most popular destination from where you can move


Moving to Uruguay from Canada has become more and more popular over the last 2 decades. With its natural diversity and its growing economy, Uruguay is popular among Canadians who are looking for a change of scenery. Add to that the easy visa regulations and the pleasant climate, and you understand why many Canadians opt for this step.

Other destinations?

Disclaimer: The materials provided in this article were collected from other credible resources to be used for general information purposes only. Given that the legislative basis of the country and its economic development have a changing nature, the information provided in the article could be subject to change. Whilst we endeavour to keep the information up-to-date and correct, Eurosender will not be liable for any inappropriate, incomplete, or inaccurate information. Certain links will lead to websites which are not under control of Eurosender. Thus, Eurosender accepts no liability in respect of materials, products or services being not under control of Eurosender.