Uruguay

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Wednesday, 02 July 2014.   This advice has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Uruguay.

Uruguay overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Uruguay.
  • Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • In Montevideo, petty crime, including pick-pocketing and bag snatching, is common.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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Entry and exit

Australian tourists may be eligible to enter Uruguay without a visa for visits up to 90 days. Travellers should consult the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Uruguay for information.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. 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

We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Uruguay. Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.

Crime

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.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

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.

The telephone number in Montevideo for emergency assistance is 911.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.

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.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out whether your ATM card will work in Uruguay.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

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. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Australian Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

Driving standards in Uruguay are poor and traffic can be disorganised. Exercise caution and common sense when travelling by motor vehicle. Toll roads between the major cities are well maintained, however, the overall condition of roads in Uruguay varies.

The use of dimmed headlights is required when driving during the day and extra care should be taken when driving at night as many cars are poorly maintained and traffic regulations are routinely ignored.

Australians intending to travel from Uruguay to Argentina by road should monitor local media as land crossings can be subject to blockades, particularly on the bridges connecting the two countries. Local transportation services are occasionally disrupted.

Airline safety

Please refer to our air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

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.

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 convicted offenders can expect lengthy prison sentences 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.

Dual nationals

Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

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 and it is recommended that you consult your doctor or travel clinic about pre-departure vaccinations. In rural areas, we recommend you boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, 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

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
(11.100) Montevideo
Uruguay
Telephone: (59 8) 2901 0743
Facsimile: (59 8) 2900 5241
E-mail: ausconur@gmail.com

You can obtain full consular services from the Australian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Australian Embassy, Buenos Aires

Villanueva 1400,
(C1426BMJ)
Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
Telephone: (54 11) 4779 3500
Facsimile: (54 11) 4779 3581
Website: www.argentina.embassy.gov.au

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.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

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 Parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.