Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.
Business dress and appearance, as well as one’s general approach to business relations, should be conservative. Many businesspeople orient themselves more towards European markets and may be less enthusiastic to engage with U.S. companies. Many Uruguayans, however, are positively disposed towards the United States and they value its high-quality products. An advance appointment for a business visit is usually necessary and considered a customary courtesy. Punctuality is generally observed in business settings and business is discussed after social niceties. Business breakfasts, cocktails, and lunches are common. Dinners are common for closing a business agreement.
As of May 2022, Uruguayan borders are open for international visitors. Those who are vaccinated against Covid-19 with an approved vaccine or who have had the disease, do not need a COVID test to enter the country. Travel circumstances and requirements may change so please check the Embassy website prior to making travel arrangements to ensure a smooth arrival into Uruguay.
For general travel advisories, please check:
U.S. citizens need a valid American passport, but Uruguay does not require visas for temporary visits of less than 90 days for holders of tourist passports. Those traveling on diplomatic or official passports must have a valid visa in addition to the passport. View additional information on U.S. visas. Business and tourist stays are limited to 90 days and may be extended for an additional 90 days.
Visa applicants should visit the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay.
Uruguay’s local currency is the Uruguayan peso; as of May 2022, it traded at approximately 41 pesos to the U.S. dollar. Purchases of large items such as real estate and automobiles are always quoted in dollars, as are appliances and many types of household goods and services.
Most shops and restaurants accept credit and debit cards. Credit and debit card payments for certain tourist services, such as restaurants, or car rentals, receive a 9 percent reduction in the 22 percent value-added-tax. Other kinds of credit card payments receive a 2 percent reduction of the value-added-tax. Argentine and Brazilian currency is accepted mainly in border towns. Uruguay maintains a long tradition of not restricting the purchase of foreign currency or the remittance of profits abroad. Since 2002, the peso has floated freely, albeit with periodic intervention from the Central Bank aimed to reduce volatility against the dollar. Foreign exchange can be readily obtained at market rates and there is no foreign currency black market. Most U.S. ATM networks are easily accessible and will provide U.S. dollars or local currency. Traveler’s checks are not common.
Uruguay has a fixed line telephone density of almost 80 percent, one of the highest in Latin America. However, mobile communications are rapidly replacing fixed line communications. Telephony is fully digitalized and only state-owned ANTEL can provide basic telephony, although eight other companies compete with ANTEL for international calls. There are three cellular providers with GSM/GPRS, TDMA, and/or CDMA services. The state-owned company ANTEL has 51 percent of the mobile contracts followed by Movistar and Claro. Uruguay has some of the highest internet speeds in Latin America due to its widely spread fiber optic networks. In February 2022 it reported a median download speed of fixed internet connection of 73.65 Mbps., having increased 65 percent from the previous year. Regarding mobile internet service, the median download speed is 29.76 Mbps, 12 percent higher than in 2021. Wi-Fi internet connection is accessible for free in major hotels, airports, cyber-cafes, shopping centers, and some public parks.
American Airlines is the only U.S. carrier with direct non-stop flights between Montevideo and Miami, but it operates only from December to March. United Airlines services Montevideo daily with “codeshare” flights on Copa Airlines via Panama. Delta bought a 20 percent LATAM stake in October 2019 and now connects Uruguay and the United States via Santiago or Sao Paulo. Internal transportation is mainly by car or bus. Within Montevideo, bus and taxi services are extensive, safe, and inexpensive. Uber and Cabify are widely used in Montevideo and are regulated by government.
Car sharing is available in Uruguay, but it has not been extensively used. Toyota launched the first car-sharing system in Uruguay in 2019 through an App called Kinto, with hybrid cars available.
Spanish is the official language. Although many in the business community speak English or other languages, interpreters are commonly used during business meetings or meeting with governmental entities. English is spoken by 54 percent of the population, followed by Portuguese, which is spoken by around 30 percent of the population.
There are no major health hazards. Uruguay enjoys high standards for food and drinking water. For current health advisory updates, please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Local Time, Business Hours and Holidays
Uruguay observes standard time (GMT-3). Uruguay does not observe daylight saving time.
Normal business hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Banks are usually open from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Stores are generally open on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Shopping centers open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Local Holidays for Calendar Year 2022
Jan. 1 New Year’s Day
Jan. 6 Three King’s Day
Feb. 28 - Mar. 1 Carnival (40 days before the beginning of Tourism Week)
Apr. 11 – 17 Tourism Week (dates vary from year to year)
Apr. 19 Landing of the 33 Orientals
May 1 Labor Day
May 17 Battle of Las Piedras
June 19 José Gervasio Artigas’ Birth
July 18 Constitution Day
Aug. 25 Independence Day
Oct. 12 Day of the Races
Nov. 2 All Souls Day
Dec. 25 Christmas Day
Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings
There are no restrictions on the temporary entry of business-related equipment such as laptops. Refundable deposits on some equipment may be required and are payable at entry.