|Still current at: 07 January 2011
Updated: 15 October 2010
Safety and Security - Terrorism
There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. For more general information see Terrorism Abroad.
Safety and Security - Crime
Street crime exists in Montevideo, but is usually restricted to handbag snatching and pick-pocketing. Mugging and robberies (occasionally armed) do occur, but increased police patrols in Montevideo’s port and old town areas have helped reduce street crime. Where possible, you should consider keeping valuables in a hotel safe, and exercise caution when withdrawing money from ATM's. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing ostentatious jewellery.
There have been recent reports of so called 'express kidnappings' - short-term, opportunistic abductions, aimed at extracting cash from the victim. Victims of express kidnapping are normally selected at random and held while criminals empty their bank accounts with their cash cards. Once the ransom is paid the victim is usually quickly released. Some thefts have also taken place when withdrawing cash from ATMs. You should be alert at all times. Avoid isolated or poorly lit areas at night.
Passports should be left in a hotel safe or security box except when being used for identification purposes such as purchasing expensive items or cashing travellers’ cheques. Keep a photocopy of the details page of your passport with you at all times.
For general information for different types of travellers see our Your Trip page.
Entry Requirements - Visas
British passport holders do not require visas for entry into Uruguay and can usually stay for up to three months. You can apply to the Dirección Nacional de Migración if you find it necessary to extend your stay for a further three months. You can obtain further information from their official website - Dirección Nacional de Migración (in Spanish). If you wish to take up residence in Uruguay you will have to apply to the Immigration authorities for a Residence Permit. For further information on entry regulations in Uruguay check with the Uruguayan Embassy in London.
Entry Requirements - Travelling with children
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that the Uruguayan Immigration authorities will require evidence of parental responsibility from the non-travelling parent (Permiso de Menor) if you are travelling with children who have dual nationality (British and Uruguayan nationality). For information on exactly what will be required by the immigration authorities contact the Uruguayan Embassy in London.
Medical and dental treatment can be expensive.
Dengue Fever is common to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year. In 2007 there was a marked increase in the number of reported cases of Dengue Fever across the region and the Ministry of Health increased the alert status in March 2009 because of a number in cases in neighbouring Argentina.
There are occasional reports of Hepatitis A outbreaks.
In the 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 10,000 adults aged 15 or over in Uruguay were living with HIV; the prevalence rate was estimated at around 0.6% of the adult population. This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. See our HIV and AIDS page.
You should seek medical advice before travelling to Uruguay and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) and NHS Scotland’s Fit for Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
See also our Travel Health page.
Forest fires can break out during the summer (December to March) in dry areas.
General - Insurance
You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. See our Travel Insurance page.
If things do go wrong when you are overseas see iyr When Things Go Wrong page.
General - Registration
Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.
General - Customs control
Strict customs controls prohibit visitors from importing animal and dairy products, fruit and vegetables. All baggage is normally x-rayed and may be searched on arrival.
General - Money
Credit cards are widely accepted in most major towns, but this is not the case everywhere. UK cash cards can be used in some ATMs in Montevideo and Punta del Este, but.
General - Consular Assistance Statistics
Around 21,000 British nationals visit Uruguay every year (Source: Uruguayan Government figures). Most visits are trouble-free. 14 British nationals required consular assistance in Uruguay in the period 01 April 2009 – 31 March 2010 for the following types of incident; one death; one psychiatric; two detainees; one hospitalisation; four self-help. During this period assistance was also requested with regard to lost or stolen passports (5 cases).