Second Citizenship
April 8, 2024
Reading Time: 7 min

All ways to get Uruguay citizenship: a complete guide

Uruguay is one of the most prosperous countries in South America. It is open to foreigners and offers a simplified path to citizenship in 3 or 5 years for those who obtained a residence permit.

There are two types of citizenship in Uruguay: natural and legal. Natural citizenship is granted by birth, and legal citizenship can be obtained by naturalisation after investing at least $100,000 in the country’s economy.

Let’s discuss the benefits of Uruguayan citizenship and how investors can get it.

Elena Ruda
Elena Ruda

Told about all the ways to become a citizen of Uruguay

Uruguay citizenship: all ways to get 2023

All ways to get Uruguay citizenship: a complete guide

7 benefits of Uruguay citizenship

1. Second citizenship is allowed in Uruguay. There is no need to give up the first passport to get a Uruguayan one unless the country of origin also allows multiple citizenship.

Uruguay is open for expats and those willing to settle in the country. The rejection rate for permanent residence applications is low. Legal residents can obtain citizenship by naturalisation in 3 or 5 years. To do so, they apply for a residence permit in Uruguay.

Married couples obtain Uruguayan passports in 3 years, and singles do the same in 5 years. Paraguay is an alternative to Uruguay, with the same living standards but an easier naturalisation procedure. In Paraguay, also located in South America, investors can obtain citizenship 3 years after getting permanent residence. The term does not depend on whether an investor is married.

Legal citizens can lose their citizenship if they move from Uruguay for a significant period, e.g., more than 3 years. The privileges include the right to vote or to be elected. Natural citizens do not lose their citizenship but do lose their privileges that can be returned by coming back to Uruguay.

2. Citizenship in Uruguay is granted by birth. It is called natural citizenship. All children born in Uruguay obtain this type of citizenship even if their parents are not Uruguayan citizens.

3. Global mobility. A Uruguayan passport can help if freedom of movement is a priority. It allows visa-free travel to 117 countries.

Uruguayan citizens enjoy simplified travel and trade with the states that are members of the Southern Common Market, or Mercosur: Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. The Market positively influences the Human Development Index of all four countries.

4. Access to highly qualified medical care. Citizens of Uruguay enjoy the benefits of public healthcare and can seek medical treatment in both public and private hospitals.

Uruguay has the National Integrated Health System, or SNIS. Half the population of Uruguay are covered by the state-funded medical healthcare packages that enable free emergency services and primary care.

5. Uruguay welcomes expats from all around the world. It is easy for foreigners to open a bank account or register a company in Uruguay. Even though most of the population only speak Spanish, there is no discrimination against those who do not speak it.

There is no need to adapt to a completely different way of life in Uruguay. Since there are a lot of immigrants from Europe, they influence local culture.

6. Stable economy and a safe country. Uruguay is both politically and economically stable. It was ranked 58th on the list of countries with a very high Human Development Index and 50th on the Global Peace Index list in 2023. To compare, South Korea was ranked 43rd, and Greece was ranked 60th.

7. Pleasant climate and a slower pace of life. Uruguay is an alternative to Portugal. The country has beautiful beaches and a laid-back way of life. Locals often travel to the ocean on weekends or evenings to drink yerba mate, a traditional South American drink, and share the moment with their relatives.

Way № 1

How to get Uruguay citizenship by investment

Foreigners can become tax or legal residents of Uruguay and obtain citizenship by naturalization. Getting a temporary residence permit takes 2 weeks, and a permanent residence card is issued in 4–8 months.

The naturalisation term is 3 years for married couples and 5 years for singles. The main advantage of getting citizenship in Uruguay is that applicants wait from the day they enter Uruguay to apply for a residence permit, not the day they get their residence.

Tax residents enjoy special rights and privileges in the country. The main include:

  • tax holiday during the first 11 years of tax residency — no tax on foreign income;

  • from the 12th year onwards, only two types of foreign income are taxed at a 12% rate: interests and dividends;

  • rental income or capital gains are not taxed at all;

  • no property tax on foreign assets.

The alternative to the tax holiday is paying 7% of the tax for two taxed options during an unlimited period.

Options for investors to become tax residents include:

  1. Making an investment of $510,000 or more in real estate and spending at least 60 days a year in Uruguay.

  2. Making an investment of $2,180,000 or more in real estate without spending at least 60 days a year in Uruguay.

  3. Investing $2,180,000 or more in any company in Uruguay and generating at least 15 full-time jobs.

  4. Investing at least $6,530,000 in any company of national interest in Uruguay.

  5. Generating higher income in Uruguay than in any other country. It cannot be passive income, for example, from rental property.

  6. Spending at least 183 days a year in the country.

  7. Proving that vital interests are located in Uruguay, for example, by transferring pension funds to the country.

Legal residence can be obtained by opening or registering a company in Uruguay or getting a rentier visa. This type of visa requires a fee of $10,000 and $2,000 for all dependents and a stable monthly income of $1,500.

Financially independent individuals can move to Uruguay by getting an Independent Means Visa. To obtain a residence permit, applicants should:

  • confirm monthly income sources outside Uruguay of at least $1,500;

  • buy real estate or government securities for $100,000 or more.

If the property is cheaper than $100,000, applicants can add up by buying securities. Investment properties and securities cannot be sold for 10 years.

Way № 2

Uruguay citizenship by naturalisation

In Uruguay, the law recognises two types of citizenship: by birth and naturalization. The first type of citizenship, or ciudadanos naturales, is acquired by birthright in the country. The second type of citizenship, or ciudadanos legales, is available to foreigners who undergo the naturalisation procedure.

The naturalisation procedure takes 3 years for married couples and 5 years for unmarried applicants. In this case, a foreigner must live in Uruguay 6 months a year during these 3 or 5 years.

Uruguay’s passport must be renewed every 10 years by the country’s Ministry of the Interior. A passport may not be issued if a foreigner has committed crimes during 3 or 5 years of living in the country.

One of the advantages of citizenship in Uruguay is that the naturalisation term is calculated from the moment one enters the country. For example, if an investor and their spouse arrived in Uruguay on June 1, 2023, and applied for a residence permit on June 20, they can apply for Uruguayan citizenship from June 1, 2026.

How to obtain a Uruguayan passport

Locals in Uruguay value national traditions and celebrate them multiple times yearly by throwing remarkable community gatherings. Foreigners are encouraged to participate in them to integrate into society

Way № 3

Uruguay nationality by family reunion

All foreigners who want to reunite with their relatives in Uruguay can obtain a Family Reunification visa. The visa allows parents, spouses, single children, and relatives with a disability to enter Uruguay once in 180 days. Once they enter Uruguay, they must live there for 3 or 5 years. After that, they qualify for citizenship.

Relatives who qualify to be reunited are those with permanent residence in the process of obtaining it. The following documents can be requested to get the visa:

  • a valid passport;

  • a valid passport of a relative in Uruguay;

  • a document confirming the relation, such as a birth certificate.

If underage children want to reunite, they should provide a document stating both parents have agreed on the travel to Uruguay.

Will you obtain a Uruguay residence permit?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain a Uruguay residence permit?

Way № 4

Uruguay citizenship by descent

According to Article 74 of the Constitution of Uruguay, natural citizenship by birth is granted to those born in Uruguay, regardless of the parent’s nationality. It is also granted to children and grandchildren born abroad by parents and grandparents born in Uruguay.

Suppose a child was born in Uruguay to non-Uruguayan parents. In that case, they need to inform the state by registering the child in the National Civic Register, Registro Cívico Nacional, to obtain citizenship for them. To do so, they book an appointment online and visit the Register later.

Parents need to register their child 10—20 days after the birth, depending on the area of residence. Newborns from rural areas are given more time to be registered since the procedure is in person. Registration is free and takes up to a month.

During the registration, parents provide translated and apostilled copies of the following:

  • child’s birth certificate;

  • the birth certificate of a Uruguayan father or mother;

  • the certificate of establishment that confirms their will to reside in Uruguay.

Proving the will to reside in the country can include but is not limited to living in the country for more than three months, a rent agreement, purchasing a property, owning a business in Uruguay, and employment in Uruguay.

Even though children automatically obtain Uruguay citizenship by birth, their parents, if any other nationals, can only qualify for citizenship in 3 years. During this period, they must reside in Uruguay for at least 6 months a year for 3 years.

Way № 5

Uruguay’s second passport by marriage

Spouses of Uruguayan citizens can obtain a passport by naturalisation. They live in Uruguay for 3 years and then apply for citizenship if the marriage is still valid at the moment of application.

Currently, there is no established legal procedure for married couples. A foreign spouse usually submits the necessary documents to the National Civic Register 3 years after moving to Uruguay.

Additional documents for Uruguay citizenship by marriage include:

  1. Proof of an established family. It can be a marriage certificate. If the certificate is not in Spanish or was issued abroad, it has to be correctly translated and apostilled. The passport stating a Uruguayan spouse qualifies as well.

  2. Identification of family members. A witness who must be a citizen of Uruguay should confirm that they have interacted with a family for an extended period.

What documents are needed to apply for Uruguayan citizenship

Uruguay has two types of citizenship: legal and natural. Natural citizenship is granted by birth. Legal citizenship requires an application and the following documents:

  1. A residence permit or a permanent residence card. The National Migration Branch, Dirección Nacional de Migración, issues these.

  2. A birth certificate. It should be apostilled and translated into Spanish. A marriage certificate or a passport might also be requested to confirm the applicant’s nationality and age.

  3. 2 photos.

  4. Proof of identity. The proof should include the testimony of 2 witnesses over 25. They must be registered in the National Civic Register and cannot be relatives of the applicant, police officers, lawyers, or military members.

  5. Proof of residence. The proof of residency for married couples should show that they have resided in Uruguay for 3 years. For single persons, the term is 5 years.

  6. Marriage certificate, if applicable.

  7. Proof of no criminal record.

  8. Proof of no serious diseases from the local private hospital.

Uruguay can also ask to confirm the applicant’s political views. The country does not tolerate violent ideas that can harm the democratic values or any Uruguayan citizen.

How to get Uruguay citizenship: a step-by-step procedure

Obtaining Uruguay citizenship takes 3 years for married couples and 5 years for singles. The main requirement is to live in Uruguay for 6 or more months during 3 or 5 years.

1

1 day

The Due Diligence Check

Immigrant Invest lawyers conduct a preliminary Due Diligence check. Only a passport is needed. Due Diligence reveals possible problems and reduces the risk of refusal to 1%.

2

Up to 1 month

Getting a visa to Uruguay

A tourist visa or any other short-term visa is needed to enter Uruguay.

No visa is needed if the country of origin is the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, or Japan.

3

Up to 1 month

Collecting, apostilling and translating necessary documents

The Immigrant Invest lawyers assist in preparing the necessary documents for a residence permit or permanent residence and citizenship later on.

4

1 day

Booking a medical test appointment

Applicants should pass a quick medical procedure to get proof of their wellness. The lawyers will book an appointment with one of the certified private clinics.

5

1 week

Submitting the application

The lawyers of Immigrant Invest will assist you in submitting your documents in person at the National Migration Office in Uruguay.

If there are children in the application, both parents must be with them on the day of the application.

6

10+ days

Getting a residence permit card

Cédula de identidad is issued for 2 years. It is a permanent residence permit. Permanent residence in Uruguay is obtained in 4—8 months if an investor spends most of the time in the country.

7

3 or 5 years

Obtaining citizenship

Once the term ends, an investor can collect their passport in Uruguay.

Key Takeaways

  1. There are two types of citizenship in Uruguay: natural and legal. Natural citizenship is granted by birth, and legal citizenship can be obtained by naturalisation.

  2. Investors can get a Uruguayan passport by naturalisation after obtaining a residence permit.

  3. Tax or legal residents of Uruguay need to spend 3 or 5 years in the country to qualify for citizenship.

  4. To get a passport, applicants must reside in Uruguay for 6 or more months a year for 3 or 5 years.

  5. Foreign spouses of Uruguayans obtain citizenship in 3 years by naturalisation.

  6. Children and grandchildren of people born in Uruguay can become natural citizens by birth once registered in Uruguay.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How to get Uruguay citizenship by investment?

    Investors can become tax or legal residents of Uruguay and obtain citizenship by naturalization in 3 or 5 years.

    The naturalisation term is 3 years for married couples and 5 years for singles. The main advantage of getting citizenship in Uruguay is that applicants wait from the day they enter Uruguay to apply for a residence permit, not the day they get their residence.

  • Is it easy to get PR in Uruguay?

    Uruguay welcomes expats. You are granted permanent residency if you meet all the requirements and spend most of your time in the country.

  • Can foreigners work in Uruguay?

    Foreigners with permanent residence can work in Uruguay. Rantier visa holders or those who participate in the program for financial independence cannot be employed in Uruguay.

  • Is Uruguay a good country to immigrate to?

    Living in Uruguay as an expat has several benefits. For example, dual citizenship is allowed in Uruguay. It is an option if you plan to get a second passport without revoking the first.

    A Uruguayan passport allows visa-free travel to 117 countries.

    Citizens of Uruguay enjoy the benefits of public healthcare and can seek medical treatment for free in both public hospitals.

  • Can I speak English in Uruguay?

    90% of Uruguayans speak Spanish, but most of the population of Montevideo can also speak English. However, it can be a challenge to communicate with locals in rural areas since they speak Uruguayan Spanish.

  • How easy is it to get citizenship in Uruguay?

    If a foreigner meets all the requirements, they will eventually get citizenship in Uruguay. They should reside in the country for 6 or more months during 3 or 5 years of naturalisation.

  • Does Uruguay have birthright citizenship?

    Yes, Uruguay recognizes two types of citizenship: by birth and naturalisation. The first type of citizenship, or ciudadanos naturales, is acquired by birthright in the country. The second type of citizenship, or ciudadanos legales, is available to foreigners who undergo the naturalisation procedure.

  • Can you get dual and multiple citizenship in Uruguay?

    Only second citizenship is allowed in Uruguay. There is no need to give up the first passport to get a Uruguayan one unless the country of origin also allows multiple citizenship.

    Since Uruguay recognizes legal citizenship for foreigners, there are certain conditions to satisfy to maintain this type of citizenship. For example, if you have obtained a Uruguayan passport by naturalisation, you can lose the privileges it grants once you get another passport by investment.