- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Uruguay. You should exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia, and monitor the media and other sources for information on local travelling conditions.
- In Montevideo, petty crime, including pick-pocketing and bag snatching, is common. There is often an increase in petty crime during the summer months in beach resort areas.
- Australia has a Consulate in Montevideo, headed by an Honorary Consul, which can provide limited consular services (not including the issue of passports). Full consular services are available from the Australian Embassy in Argentina.
- See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
- organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
- register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you in an emergency
- subscribe to this travel advice to receive free email updates each time it's reissued
- follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Entry and exit
Australian tourists may be eligible to enter Uruguay without a visa for visits up to 90 days. Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Uruguay for the most up-to-date information.
Children under 18 years of age travelling alone or with one parent may be required 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 further advice.
If you are travelling to or from Uruguay via the United States you will need to meet US entry/transit requirements. You should check your visa needs well in advance of travel with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the United States. See also our travel advice for the United States of America.
A valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required for all travellers who enter or transit through Uruguay from a country or region listed by the World Health Organization as endemic for yellow fever. As the quarantine requirements for yellow fever vaccination differ between countries, we recommend that you check the yellow fever entry requirements for all countries you intend to enter or transit by contacting their foreign missions in Australia. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia and carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
Petty crime, including pick-pocketing and bag snatching, is common. In Montevideo, travellers should be particularly careful in Plaza Independencia, La Ciudad Vieja and Avenida 18 de Julio which are frequented by foreigners. Travellers should avoid the Cerro neighbourhood and walking alone in the downtown and port area. Petty crime also occurs in towns bordering Brazil.
During the summer months (December to March), there is an increase in the number of petty street crimes and residential burglaries in beach resort areas such as Punta del Este.
There have been reports of smash and grab robberies from cars stopped at traffic lights. You should keep windows closed and doors locked at all times and avoid leaving cash, valuables or bags on display.
Be cautious when using ATMs, and try to avoid using ATMs on the street. Don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
Civil unrest/political tension
Demonstrations and large public gatherings have the potential to turn violent. You should avoid all crowds, protests and demonstrations where possible and refrain from approaching any demonstrations with cameras and/or communication devices. Monitor the media for developments and follow the advice of local authorities.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.
Money and valuables
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
Driving standards in Uruguay are poor and traffic can be disorganised. Many vehicles are poorly maintained and traffic regulations are routinely ignored. Exercise caution when travelling by motor vehicle. Toll roads between the major cities are well maintained, however, the condition of roads in Uruguay varies.
The use of dimmed headlights is required when driving during the day.
Land crossings between Uruguay and Argentina can be subject to blockades, particularly on the bridges connecting the two countries. Local transportation services are occasionally disrupted.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Uruguay.
Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.
When you are in Uruguay, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that might appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Uruguay are severe and penalties include imprisonment and heavy fines.
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.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
See our Dual nationals page.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
The standard of medical facilities provided in private hospitals in major urban centres is reasonable; however, facilities 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.
Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, hepatitis A and rabies) are prevalent. In rural areas, we recommend you boil all drinking water or drink bottled water with intact seals, avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
HIV/AIDS is also a significant risk in Uruguay. You should exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
Where to get help
Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance.
The telephone number in Montevideo for emergency assistance is 911. Elsewhere in Uruguay, dial 02-911 to connect with the Montevideo central emergency authority. You should obtain 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.
If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.
The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas.
Australia has a Consulate in Montevideo headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular assistance which does not include the issue of Australian passports.
Australian Consulate, Montevideo
Cerro Largo 1000
Telephone: (59 8) 2901 0743
Facsimile: (59 8) 2900 5241
You can obtain full consular services from the Australian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Australian Embassy, Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
Telephone: (54 11) 4779 3500
Facsimile: (54 11) 4779 3581
Facebook: Australia in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay
See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you are travelling to Uruguay, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
The rainy season is from December to March. Flooding can affect travel, particularly the accessibility and reliability of public transport. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan your travel accordingly
Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links: