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COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Effective date: March 13, 2020
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel.
URUGUAY - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Uruguay.
Safety and security
COVID-19 – Preventative measures and restrictions
Preventative measures and restrictions are in place.
You must wear a face covering in public.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including those related to physical distancing
- Avoid crowded areas
Street crime such as pickpocketing, armed robbery and muggings occur in the capital city, Montevideo, particularly:
- 18 de Julio avenue
- La Ciudad Vieja (the Old City)
- Plaza Independencia)
- Puerto de Montevideo (the port area)
Criminals may be on foot or on motorcycle.
Thieves will snatch and grab from and break into vehicles while driving. Be sure to keep bags and valuables out of sight in your vehicle.
- Avoid Montevideo’s Villa del Cerro neighbourhood
- Be cautious when walking downtown, including in well-travelled areas
- Avoid showing signs of affluence
- Carry only small amounts of cash
- Carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times and ensure that the original is stored in a safe location
During the summer (Canadian winter) months, the tourist police patrols the following Montevideo neighbourhoods, where most hotels are located:
- El Centro
- La Ciudad Vieja
- El Cordón and El Parque Rodo
- Pocitos, Punta Carretas
There is an increased presence of uniformed police officers on foot in areas where criminal activity is concentrated. Authorities have also increased the number of patrol cars in residential areas. The clearly marked patrol cars are equipped with cellular phones, and the phone numbers are painted on the vehicles.
Petty crime also occurs in towns bordering Brazil.
Several ATM explosions have taken place since the beginning of 2018. They occurred mainly in Montevideo and Canelones, but other cities have also been affected.
- Be particularly cautious when using ATMs
- Use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
Demonstrations occur regularly in Montevideo.
Before travelling by road from Uruguay to Argentina, monitor local news reports to confirm that there are no scheduled blockades or demonstrations on the bridges connecting the two countries. Demonstrations occasionally disrupt local transportation services.
Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Exercise caution and common sense when travelling by motor vehicle.
The accident rate is high due to several causes:
- roads are often winding
- the terrain is hilly
- most intersections do not have stop signs or traffic lights
- many cars are poorly maintained
- traffic regulations are routinely ignored
Buy gas near cities because the next station may be far away.
The main toll road to Punta del Este is in good condition and well-marked.
Exercise caution when choosing taxis in Montevideo. When possible, select one with three-point seat belts in the back seats or insist on sitting in front next to the driver. Taxis are equipped with a thick glass partition installed to protect drivers against crime. About three injuries a day occur as people are thrown against the partition when the driver brakes suddenly or is involved in an accident. Injuries can be severe even in minor collisions.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
In an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory. While some countries have started to ease some of these measures, most remain in place.
Before travelling, verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any specific restrictions or requirements related to this situation. Consider even your transit points, as many destinations have implemented strict transit rules which could disrupt your travel.
These could include:
- entry bans, particularly for non-residents
- exit bans
- quarantines of 14 days or more upon arrival, some in designated facilities, at your own cost
- health screenings and certificates as well as proof of adequate travel health insurance
- travel authorization documents to be obtained before you travel
- border closures
- airport closures
- flight suspensions to/from certain destinations, and in some cases, all destinations
- suspensions or reductions of other international transportation options
Additional restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can also suspend or reduce flights without notice. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult for you to return home. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
- Monitor the media for the latest information
- Contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel plans
- Contact the nearest foreign diplomatic office for information on destination-specific restrictions
Foreign diplomatic offices in Canada – Global Affairs Canada
COVID-19 – Border closures
Uruguayan authorities have closed all borders until further notice.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Uruguayan authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for the expected duration of your stay in Uruguay.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Not required
Business visa: Not required
Student visa: Required
Canadians can stay in Uruguay without a tourist or business visa for 90 days. Once in the country, it is possible to ask immigration authorities for an extension.
You can get a student visa in Uruguay, but students must get proof of acceptance from the educational institution before arrival in the country.
When leaving Uruguay, you must pay an airport tax of approximately US$25. This tax is either included in the price of the plane ticket or charged in cash.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - January 16, 2021
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), chikungunya, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), West Nile virus , yellow fever and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, dengue fever may occur sporadically. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, numbers have been steeply rising again.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
Medical services and facilities
Three private hospitals in Montevideo offer 24-hour emergency services:
- British Hospital
- Sanatorio Americano
- Hospital de Clínicas
The hospitals accept tourists without insurance coverage. Fees must be paid in cash or by credit card before leaving the hospital.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
It is illegal for tourists and other visitors to buy marijuana. Only Uruguayan citizens and permanent residents can register to purchase marijuana.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Imports and exports
Customs authorities may strictly enforce regulations concerning the import or export of items such as:
- precious jewels
- business equipment
There is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol.
The use of cellular phones while driving is prohibited.
You should carry an international driving permit.
More about the International Driving Permit
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Uruguay.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Uruguay, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
The currency is the Uruguayan peso (UYU).
Major hotels and restaurants accept credit cards.
Natural disasters and climate
Droughts, floods and very strong storms with high winds occur year round.
Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 911
- medical assistance: 105
- firefighters: 104
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Embassy of Canada to Uruguay, in Montevideo, is limiting in-person services. If you need consular assistance, contact the Embassy by email or telephone.
Montevideo - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Uruguay in Montevideo and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
You may make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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