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Uruguay

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Uruguay. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the media and other sources for information on local conditions.
  • In Montevideo, petty crime, including pick-pocketing and bag snatching, is common. Petty crime increases during the summer months in beach resort areas. See Safety and security.
  • Australia has a Consulate in Uruguay, headed by an Honorary Consul, which provides limited consular services (not including the issue of passports). The Australian Embassy in Argentina provides full consular assistance to Australians in Uruguay. See Where to get help.

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination's entry or exit requirements.

Visas

Australian tourists can enter Uruguay without a visa for up to 90 days. Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. For up-to-date information contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Uruguay. 

Other formalities

Children under 18 years of age travelling alone or with one parent may need to provide a letter of consent from the non-travelling parent(s) to the Uruguayan authorities. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Uruguay well in advance of travel for advice.

Yellow fever vaccination isn't required for entering or leaving Uruguay, but it's required for other countries in the region. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website.

If you're travelling to or from Uruguay via the US, you will need to meet US entry/transit requirements. Check your visa needs well in advance of travel with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the United States.

More information:

Passport

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia. Your passport must have at least one blank page at the time of your arrival in Uruguay.

Carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep your passport in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The currency of Uruguay is the Peso (UYU).

Safety and security

Crime

Street crime, including pick-pocketing, bag snatching and petty theft, occurs. Smash and grab robberies from cars stopped at traffic lights also occur. During summer (December to March), there are more petty street crimes and residential burglaries in beach resort areas, such as Punta del Este.

Protect yourself.

  • Be cautious when using ATMs and try avoid using them on the street.
  • Avoid carrying excess cash.
  • Avoid wearing expensive watches, jewellery and cameras.
  • Keep car windows closed and doors locked at all times.
  • Avoid leaving cash, valuables or bags on display in cars.

In Montevideo:

  • Be particularly careful in Plaza Independencia, La Ciudad Vieja and Avenida 18 de Julio.
  • Avoid the Cerro neighbourhood.
  • Don't walk alone in the downtown and port area.

Civil unrest and political tension

Demonstrations and large public gatherings can turn violent.

  • Avoid crowds, protests and demonstrations.
  • Don't approach demonstrations with cameras and/or communication devices.
  • Monitor the media for developments.
  • Follow the advice of local authorities.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Local transportation services can be occasionally disrupted.

Road travel

Be careful when travelling by motor vehicle. Driving standards in Uruguay are poor and traffic can be disorganised. Many vehicles are poorly maintained and traffic regulations are routinely ignored.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you're three times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Uruguay than in Australia.

By law, you must use dimmed headlights when driving during the day.

Toll roads between the major cities are well maintained. The condition of other roads in Uruguay varies.

Driver's licence 

You can drive with an Australian driver's licence in Uruguay for up to a year from your date of entry.

Car rental companies will allow you to rent a car only if you are over 21 years of age. You must have either an Australian driver's licence or an International Driving Permit. Residents need to get a Uruguayan driver's licence.

More information: Road safety and driving 

Air travel

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Uruguay.

More information: Air travel

Cruise travel

Montevideo and Punta del Este are popular destinations with international cruise lines.

If you take a cruise:

  • ensure your valid passport has the necessary visas
  • check the on-board medical facilities are adequate for your needs
  • understand the costs of on-board medical treatment
  • take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance appropriate to your circumstances. Ensure your insurance covers medical evacuation and overseas hospitalisation costs.  Speak with your travel insurance provider if you have any pre-existing conditions.

More information: Cruises 

Accessibility

People with disabilities may find accessibility standards and accommodation very different than in Australia. Uruguayan law has anti-discrimination legislation which includes persons with disabilities, however it's not effectively enforced. Access to buildings, footpaths and road crossings may be difficult.  

More information: Travelling with a disability

Laws

Local laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

More information: Arrested or in prison

Drug laws

Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Uruguay are severe and include imprisonment and heavy fines.

It is illegal for tourists and other visitors to the country to buy or possess marijuana. Although Uruguay established a system for the legal production and sale of marijuana in 2013, the system is reserved for registered Uruguayan citizens and permanent residents.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws

Uruguayan customs authorities strictly enforce regulations concerning the import and export of items such as precious jewels, gold, firearms, antiques, medications and business equipment.

Photographing airports, military establishments, police stations and government buildings is prohibited.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you can be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

LGBTI travellers

Homosexuality is legal in Uruguay.

Anti-discrimination laws, which include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, have existed since 2003.

In 2008, Uruguay became the first South American country to recognise same-sex unions. Same-sex marriage was legalised in 2013.

More information: LGBTI travellers

Dual nationals

Dual citizenship is recognised in Uruguay. Contact the Embassy of Uruguay in Australia before you travel for up-to-date information relevant to your personal circumstances.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy
  • that you're covered for the whole time you'll be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

Medication

Take prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, your dosage and that it's for personal use only.

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor. You could be arrested or have your medicine confiscated if you bring in restricted medication or don't have correct documentation. This includes countries where you are only transiting and don't leave the airport, as well as your final destination.

Before you leave Australia, check your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and any restrictions that apply.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is a significant risk. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Other diseases and health issues

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, hepatitis A and rabies) are common.

  • Boil drinking water or drink bottled water in rural areas.
  • Avoid ice cubes in rural areas.
  • Avoid uncooked and undercooked food.

Medical facilities

The standard of medical facilities in private hospitals in major urban centres is reasonable. However, facilities in public hospitals in the rest of the country can be limited.

Treatment at private clinics and hospitals is expensive.

Hospitals often require upfront payment or confirmation of medical insurance prior to commencing treatment, including emergency care.

Natural disasters

It rains throughout the year in Uruguay. Floods may disrupt local transportation and damage roads.

  • Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan your travel accordingly.
  • If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

More information: Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS)

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be first to contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer or airline.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Firefighting and rescue services: 911 (Montevideo) or 02-911 (outside Montevideo).
  • Medical emergencies: 911 (Montevideo) or 02-911 (outside Montevideo).
  • Criminal issues, contact police:  911 (Montevideo) or 02-911 (outside Montevideo).

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

You can report a crime online, but you must have the report signed at a police station within 48 hours of submission for it to be legally valid.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for information about what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia has a Consulate in Montevideo headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular assistance and doesn't issue Australian passports.

Australian Consulate, Montevideo

25 de Mayo 455 – 2° Piso
11,000 Montevideo, URUGUAY   
Phone: (+59 8) 984 51451
Email: ausconur@gmail.com

For full consular services, contact the Australian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Australian Embassy, Buenos Aires

Villanueva 1400
(C1426BMJ)
Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA   
Phone: (+54 11) 4779 3500
Fax: (+54 11) 4779 3581
Website: argentina.embassy.gov.au
Facebook: Australia in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay
Twitter: @EmbAustraliaBA

Check the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you're unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or 1300 555 135 from within Australia. 

Additional information