Official Name:

Oriental Republic of Uruguay

Last Updated: January 23, 2017

Embassy Messages

Further Safety and Security Information

Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.

Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.

Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Montevideo

Lauro Muller 1776
Montevideo 11200

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Quick Facts

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Must be valid at time of entry


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One page required for entry stamp


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No, for stays less than 90 days. A visa is required when traveling on a diplomatic or official passport.


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Country Map

U.S. Embassy Montevideo

Lauro Muller 1776
Montevideo 11200

Telephone: +(598) (2) 1770-2222

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(598) 298-870-666 (from the U.S.) or 098-870-666 (from Uruguay)

Fax: +(598) (2) 1770-2040

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Uruguay for information on U.S. - Uruguay relations. 

You do not need a visa for a visit of less than 90 days if you are traveling on a regular passport. You must have a valid visa if you are traveling on a diplomatic or official passport. Visit the Embassy of Uruguay website for current visa information.

There is an airport tax “boarding fee” for departure. This fee is usually part of the airfare – contact your travel agency or airline to confirm. You may pay the fee in U.S. dollars or in Uruguayan pesos at the airport.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of, Uruguay.

TRAVEL WITH MINORS: When not traveling with both parents, children under the age of 18 who have remained in Uruguay for more than 365 days, regardless of citizenship or nationality, are required to present a Permiso de Menor (permission for a minor) issued by Uruguayan National Immigration Directorate (Direccion Nacional de Migracion) in order to depart Uruguay. A minor child who is not traveling with both parents and does not have a Permiso de Menor will not be allowed to leave Uruguay. Uruguayan immigration authorities will not waive this requirement under any circumstances. This does not apply to individuals assigned to Uruguay on official U.S. government orders who are traveling on a diplomatic (black) or official (red) passport.

To obtain the Permiso de Menor, both parents must appear at the National Immigration Directorate main office (Misiones 1513) and present valid identification documents for both parents and the child, as well as an official copy of the child’s birth certificate issued within the last 30 days. Complete instructions can be found on the government website.

Information about dual nationality and  the prevention of international child abduction can be found on the State Department website. For additional information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

CRIME: Street crime is common throughout Montevideo, and criminals may resort to violence when victims resist. While Montevideo’s Ciudad Vieja is popular among tourists, there is minimal physical police presence and muggings do occur.

Burglaries and attempted burglaries are common in upscale residential neighborhoods, including Punta Carretas, Pocitos, and Carrasco. Montevideo continues to experience armed robberies at crowded restaurants. The following Montevideo neighborhoods have higher crime rates:

  • Casabo
  • Cerro Norte
  • Casavalle
  • Borro
  • Marconi
  • 40 Semanas
  • Hipodromo

During the summer months (December-March), beach resort areas, including Punta del Este, la Paloma, Cabo Polonio, la Pedrera, and Punta del Diablo, experience  an increase in the number of petty street crimes and residential burglaries.

Police cars are clearly marked and equipped with cellular phones. Most police officers do not speak English.

Protests, some expressing anti-U.S. sentiment, regularly occur in Uruguay, particularly near the Legislative Palace, City Hall, and the universities in Montevideo. Additionally, some protests directed toward the U.S. government, usually small in size, can occur around the U.S. Embassy. U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Uruguay should avoid large gatherings or events where crowds have congregated to demonstrate, protest, or cause damage as a byproduct of celebrating an event, such as after soccer matches.

VICTIMS OF CRIME: Report crimes to the local police at 911 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (598) 94 870 666. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada. You may also call 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.

Medical care facilities in Uruguay are considered adequate and most meet U.S. standards. The responsiveness of emergency personnel ambulance service is generally within U.S. standards. Ambulances are staffed with a medical doctor, enabling advanced treatment/care en route to the local hospital.

It is important to remember that serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. The U.S. Embassy Montevideo does not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not cover you overseas.

Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Carry prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. There is no restriction on types of medication that can be imported for personal use. Some medications may not be available in country. Bring a sufficient supply for your stay.

While rare, the Uruguayan summer can bring about an increase in diarrheal illness and mosquito-borne diseases, including:

  • Dengue fever (fewer than 10 locally-contracted cases were reported in 2016)
  • Zika virus (no locally-contracted cases reported in 2016)
  • Chikungunya virus (no cases reported in 2016)

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Criminal Penalties: When in Uruguay, you are subject to local law. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Customs Requirements: Uruguay's Customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation or exportation of certain items. These include precious jewels, gold, firearms, pornography, inflammable articles, acids, prohibited drugs, plants, seeds, and foodstuffs as well as antiquities and business equipment. Uruguayan Customs also prohibits the import of subversive materials aimed at overthrowing the government or promoting anarchy, genocide, or other globally condemned practices. Contact the Embassy of Uruguay in Washington, D.C., or one of Uruguay's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Tourists are permitted to import personal effects, including jewelry, cameras, computers, sporting goods etc., free of duty or taxes. Travelers bringing commercial goods into Uruguay must declare them to customs officers at the port of entry or face possible detention or seizure of the goods and criminal charges. Visitors are expected to comply with local law and regulations by approaching a customs officer before routine inspection of all incoming baggage. Please see our Customs Information page.

Marijuana Policy: While recent changes in legislation allow Uruguayan citizens and permanent residents to purchase limited amounts of marijuana at government-sponsored dispensaries/pharmacies, as well as grow a limited amount of marijuana for personal use, please note it remains illegal for tourists and other visitors to the country to purchase marijuana. Anyone who purchases marijuana and does not fit into one of these legal categories, will be susceptible to arrest and prosecution under Uruguayan law. 

Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Uruguay. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights Report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Uruguayan law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities, but the government does not effectively enforce these provisions. Transportation services are generally not equipped for access by persons with disabilities. Sidewalks and crosswalks are often in need of maintenance and/or accessibility ramps and can present challenges to persons with disabilities.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Road Conditions and Safety: Traffic fatalities are among the most common causes of death in Uruguay. Uruguay’s rate of traffic deaths per 100,000 people (21.5) is nearly double that of the United States (11.4), according to the World Health Organization.

Illumination, pavement markings, and road surfaces can be poor. Several of the main highways are particularly accident-ridden because of heavy tourist traffic, including: Route 1 (between Montevideo and Colonia), the Ruta Interbalnearia (between Montevideo and Punta del Este), and Route 2 (between Rosario and Fray Bentos). The frequency of road accidents rises during the summer beach season (December to March), Carnaval (mid-to-late February), and Easter week.

If you are in an accident, stay in place until a police officer arrives. The insurance company will generally respond to the scene as well. Some major roads are centrally monitored via live camera feeds and emergency response arrives quickly You should contact 911 immediately to report an emergency.

Uruguayan law requires your vehicle to be equipped with a specific road safety kit (hazard cones, flares, reflective vest, fire extinguisher, etc.) which you can find at most grocery stores or gas stations. Rental vehicles should have these basic kits.

Dial 911 in an emergency. For emergency roadside assistance, call the Automobile Club of Uruguay at 1707 or "Car Up" at 2628 1555. Even if you are not a member, tourists can use this fee-based service.

Traffic Laws:

  • You may drive using your foreign driver’s license in Uruguay.
  • Driving is on the right-hand side of the road.
  • Seat belts are mandatory.
  • Headlights must be on at all times, day and night.
  • Children under 12 years must ride in the back seat.
  • Drivers must keep a first aid kit in the car, which can be purchased at local grocery stores or gas stations.
  • Motorcyclists must wear helmets.
  • The use of cellular phones while driving is prohibited.
  • Right turns at red lights are prohibited.
  • Drivers approaching an intersection from the right or already in traffic circles have the right of way.
  • Flashing high beams indicates intent to pass or to continue through unmarked intersections.
  • Drivers often ignore lane markers, change lanes and make turns without signaling, ignore speed limits and disregard traffic signs.
  • Motorists make frequent and sudden stops when driving along the riverfront (Rambla).
  • Motorcyclists often drive the wrong way down one-way streets or use sidewalks to avoid lengthier routes.
  • If you plan to drive, use caution and drive defensively.
  • Cycling outside the capital or small towns is hazardous due to a scarcity of bike paths, narrow road shoulders, and unsafe driving practices.

Public Transportation: Public transportation (taxis and buses) is  generally safe and similar to U.S. standards and pricing. Within Montevideo, taxis can be hailed from the street, by phone (141), or by using one of several phone applications. Most taxis have no functioning seat belts in the back seat. The public bus system is coordinated by routes and is generally dependable. Regular labor strikes can halt public transportation with minimal advance notice. Travelers should have alternative plans, such as considering hiring a private executive car (remise), which is more costly but is reliable during mass shutdowns of public transportation. Additionally, some third party applications, such as Uber, are available for use.

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Uruguay’s national tourist office  and Montevideo’s Transit Authority Manual (Spanish only).

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Uruguay’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Uruguay’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

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