Uruguay - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.

Last published date: 2021-11-08

Business Customs

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.

Travel Advisory

For travel advisories, please check:

As of July 2021, Uruguay borders remained closed for international visitors unless an exception is requested submitting an online formal request at the following website: https://www.gub.uy/tramites/autorizacion-ingreso-uruguay. Travel circumstances and requirements may change so please check the website prior to making travel arrangements to ensure a smooth arrival into Uruguay.

Visa Requirements

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.  For more information, please check the following website:  https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas.html.  Business and tourist stays are limited to 90 days and may be extended for an additional 90 days.

Visa applicants should go to the following links.

  • State Department Visa Website:  https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas.htmlU.S. Embassy in Uruguay, Consular Section:  https://uy.usembassy.gov/visas/

Currency

Uruguay’s local currency is the Uruguayan peso; as of September 2021, it traded at approximately 44 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.

Almost all 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. 

Telecommunications/Electronics

Uruguay has a fixed line tele-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 54 percent of the mobile contracts followed by Telefonica and Movistar.  Uruguay has some of the highest broadband internet speed in Latin America, with an average download speed of 9.16 Mbps.  Internet is accessible for free in major hotels, airports, cyber-cafes, shopping centers, and some public parks.

Transportation

American Airlines and Eastern Airlines are the only two U.S. carrier with direct non-stop flights between Montevideo and Miami although American Airlines is currently only operating between December-March. United Airlines services Montevideo daily with “codeshare” flights with 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.  As of July 2021, these flights are running intermittently depending on flights restrictions from other international airports.  The Uruguayan Government has not applied any restrictions to international flights.

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 has recently begun in Uruguay. Toyota Mobility Services launched the first car-sharing system in Uruguay in 2019 through an App, with hybrid cars available. 

Language

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.

Health

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 at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices

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.  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 2021

Jan. 1      New Year’s Day

Jan. 6      Three King’s Day

February 15-16 Two days for Carnival (6 weeks before Holy/Easter Week)

Apr. 1-2 Holy Week / Easter (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  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 is payable at the point of entry.

Travel Related Resources

  • Embassy in Uruguay: https://uy.usembassy.gov/

  • Ministry of Tourism:  https://www.turismo.gub.uy/index.php/en/