If you were to set off on the adventure of a new life in a new country, where would you go?
A lot of folks are choosing Uruguay: The small agricultural country in South America, known for its beautiful beaches.
While Uruguay is no longer among the least expensive countries in Latin America, it still has a lot to offer.
Uruguay is one of the most politically, socially, and economically stable countries in the region. It has the largest middle class in Latin America. Everyone in the country has access to medical care. People can attend the state university, including graduate school, for a small cost. And there is effective and affordable public transportation.
Uruguay also has the safest drinking water, the best roads, the most reliable electrical system, and the fastest Internet in Latin America.
So how do you become a resident of Uruguay?
When you come to Uruguay you can make your application in person at one of the immigration offices.
That’s because in Uruguay, you get it live in the country as a “resident in process” from the time you submit your complete application until the time your full residence status in granted.
Here are the four main steps to become a resident of Uruguay:
- prove who you are
- prove you have a means of financial support
- a background check
- a basic health test
These are the documents you need to bring to Uruguay:
- a birth certificate
- a marriage certificate (or divorce papers)
- a police certificate for each country you have lived in during the last five years. If you are a U.S. citizen you need an FBI report instead of a police report. You can obtain this from Uruguay by making an application at the Montevideo Interpol office.
These documents need legalization by having an apostille (an official pre-printed form) affixed to the document by the appropriate authority where the event occurred. For example, you need to get the birth certificate legalized with an apostille where you were born. A marriage certificate would need an apostille where the marriage took place.
For people from the U.S., this would be the office of the Secretary of State or acting deputy for the State where the event occurred.
These documents, verified by apostille, are then brought to Uruguay.
In Uruguay, the documents are translated into Spanish by an official public translator and legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The translated and legalized birth certificate must also be registered with the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Besides these documents, you need a Uruguay health certificate and an income certificate.
The health certificate requires a medical exam at an authorized clinic in Uruguay. The exam includes a health interview, dental checkup, vision test, as well as a blood and urine test.
For the income certification you must prove an income in keeping with your living standard. You need to have the source and amount of your income verified by an escribano, a legal professional authorized to prepare your income verification certificate.
Once you submit your paperwork to the immigration office, the final approval takes from one to three years. But no worries, you are living in Uruguay as a resident in process during the approval process.
While some expats make their residence application on their own, most hire a bilingual relocation specialist to help walk them through the process. If you decide to use a residence specialist, ask for and check references.
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