Uruguay – A Second Passport and Tax-Free Residence Opportunity

I have been all over Europe on business recently and did something that you probably have never done: five countries in one day! Living on the road, I needed an official base. Besides, I recommend citizenship programs to clients, and I need to try them first. This is an update on my Uruguay residence application, which I’m going through with a view to obtaining the coveted Uruguayan passport after a few years. I am bagged right now, but I can summarize what has happened to date.

I am now a permanent resident of Uruguay. My ID card has been picked up for me by my lawyer. Here is the process that I have gone through up to this point.

In my case I had to get a police report ‘legalized’ (stamped) by the Uruguay consulate in both Canada and England, because a report is mandatory for every place that you have lived for the past five years. A legalization is also required for your birth certificate. Note that when applying for these documents, if you tell the consulate that this is for immigration purposes, by Uruguayan law there is no fee involved for this.

The final document required is the proof of income letter. This was issued by my Uruguay local company that I set up. Many if not most expats set up a local company, for reasons that will become clear. Anyway, if the letter comes from Uruguay, then you do not need to explain the source of the money, and this is a good selling point for this program.

My documents were then sent to Uruguay for translation. The client does not need to get them translated beforehand, which is another good service that my lawyers there can provide.

I then contacted my people there and they set up the appointment with the government office. Everything else was booked around that date. It normally takes about 6 weeks for the appointment, but I was lucky and got mine in 3 weeks.

The day prior to this my people scheduled the medical exam. This must be done in Uruguay, so one needs to go to either Montevideo or Punta del Este. The medical process took about 90 minutes. First you fill in an application. Then they give you a blood test. Next they give you a 30 second dental exam where the dentist simply looksin your mouth with a mirror. She said my teeth were perfect — and I have not been to a dentist in 8 years!

Next I had the medical ‘exam’. This was done by a young doctor who spoke English. All she did was ask me questions about my family, nothing about me. She then weighed me and took my blood pressure. Next she made me read the eye chart. That was the exam over. I then waited for my blood test results. If anything is wrong they just tell you, so it does not lead to denial of the application. Note: you must bring in a passport photo for the application, otherwise they make you go get one taken. I had to do this. Also you must not eat in the four hours prior to the exam. Oh yes, and you will get a tetanus shot if you cannot prove that you have had one already.

The next day was the appointment at immigration. Nothing special. I had to pay 768 pesos for the fee, plus 320 for the filing fee. My people presented all documents including the medical card that you get when the medical is done. Then they tell you to show up in two days at this certain office to fingerprint you and get your picture done on the card. So I did that a couple of days later. Five working days from that your permanent residence card is ready. It is valid for one year.

The day in between I went visiting with a number of banks. I found a bank that can offer its clients a Uruguayan bank account. It can be opened in four days. The client can receive a Visa or MasterCard in another two days. The limit is half your deposit on the card. The bank account which is separate can be opened with USD $1000. You can link the credit card to the account for automatic payment, which would certainly be the easiest way of doing things. To open the account you need bank references plus an introduction letter which my people can provide. We can simply have the client bring this with them and it can be done quickly.

The Uruguay driver’s license I do not have yet, but I will get one soon. That is in a separate place in the city and had to be set up. I will do this next time I am there and I will report on this in a future article. You cannot apply for the driver’s license until you are an official resident with the ID card. But my lawyers are currently working on a way to get this arranged so the client can do everything on one visit to Montevideo.

So as you can see it is pretty easy. When I am back in November, I will pick up my ID card from the lawyer, get my driver’s license done, and open my bank account.

Of course, the second phase of this process is the nationality. Presently it is five years for me to do it. But I will find out if it is necessary to establish some kind of physical residence there or not. I was told this is not necessary, but I will re-confirm. Since I am going to be spending more time there, I will be looking at apartments there for both rental and purchase. The people helping me there also assist their clients in real estate purchases.

I will write a second report after my next trip there, so I have all of the information in hand. In the meantime if anyone would like to contact me personally, they are welcome to do so.

Canadian Rob Montes is an author and lecturer on Latin American finance, investment, residence and citizenship. He is a frequent contributor to The Q Wealth Report, a publication dedicated to publishing freedom, wealth and privacy information for a select internationally oriented audience. You will also find articles about citizenship in Paraguay, The Dominican Republic, St Kitts and Nevis and the Commonwealth of Dominica in the “Second Passports” section at the official Q Wealth Report site. Rob offers a free sample copy to readers of EzineArticles. You can visit The Q Wealth Report and learn all about international living