International Travel and COVID-19

Before travelling:

If you have not completed a COVID-19 vaccine series, you should continue to avoid non-essential travel to all destinations.

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Uruguay Travel Advice

Last updated: ET

Latest updates: Thorough review and update of the entire travel advice content

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Risk level

URUGUAY - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in Uruguay.

Montevideo - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Montevideo due to crime.

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Safety and security

COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions

COVID-19 preventative measures and restrictions are still in effect in some destinations.

These could include:

  • curfews, movement restrictions, or lockdowns
  • mandatory mask use
  • required proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result to access public and private services and spaces

Before travelling, verify if specific restrictions or requirements are still in effect.

Foreign Representatives in Canada

Crime

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs. It’s more common in Montevideo and towns on the border with Brazil. However, during the summer (December to March) tourism season, criminals tend to move to tourist destinations such as:

  • Punta del Este
  • Rocha
  • Colonia del Sacramento

Criminals may be on foot or on motorcycle. Those using motorcycles often work in pairs. The driver will approach the target at a traffic light, parking lot, ATM or hotel, while the other thief steals their wallet, purse or cell phone and escapes quickly.

  • Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times and ensure that the original is stored in a safe location
  • Keep bags and valuables out of sight in your vehicle
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence
  • Carry only small amounts of cash
  • Use ATMs located inside a bank or business

Montevideo

Be cautious when walking at night in downtown Montevideo, including in well-travelled areas. Petty crime, muggings and armed robbery are more common in:

  • 18 de Julio Avenue
  • La Ciudad Vieja (the Old City)
  • Plaza Independencia
  • Puerto de Montevideo (the port area)

Always exercise a high degree of caution in the following critical neighbourhoods:

  • 40 Semanas
  • Barrio Borro
  • Bella Italia
  • Casabó
  • Casavalle
  • Hipódromo
  • La Teja
  • Malvín Norte
  • Marconi
  • Tres Ombúes
  • Villa del Cerro
  • Villa Española

During the summer months, the tourist police patrol the following Montevideo neighbourhoods, where most hotels are located:

  • El Centro
  • La Ciudad Vieja
  • El Cordón and El Parque Rodó
  • Pocitos
  • Punta Carretas

There is an increased presence of uniformed police officers on foot in areas where tourists are concentrated. Authorities have also increased the number of patrol cars in residential areas.

Burglaries

Burglaries occur in both occupied and unoccupied residences, even during the day. Houses are more vulnerable than apartments.

  • Keep doors and windows locked
  • Don’t open your door to people you don’t know

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone should be cautious, particularly in the critical neighbourhoods of Montevideo mentioned above.

Safe-travel guide for women

ATMs

  • Be particularly cautious when using ATMs
  • Use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur regularly in Montevideo and are generally peaceful.

However, even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • 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)

Swimming

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides occur.

Some beaches have lifeguards and warning flags during the summer. However, rescue services may not be consistent with international standards.

  • Consult residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
  • Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities

Water safety abroad

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety vary greatly throughout the country.

Accidents causing fatalities are common due to:

  • hilly terrain and winding roads
  • poor lighting, lane markings and paving
  • lack of stop signs and traffic lights at many intersections
  • poorly maintained cars

The main toll road to Punta del Este is in good condition and well-marked. However, accidents increase on this and other main highways in the summer, during Carnaval in mid-February and during Easter week.

Drivers often don’t respect traffic laws.

Gas stations may be scarce in rural areas. If you’re driving long distances:

  • plan accordingly
  • fill up in cities and make sure to have enough fuel to reach your destination

Public transportation

Taxis and ridesharing services

Taxis are equipped with a thick glass partition installed to protect drivers against crime. Injuries may 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.

Several ridesharing services are available. They are monitored to ensure that they meet safety standards equivalent to those applied to taxis.

If you use a trusted ridesharing app, confirm the driver’s identity and the licence plate before getting in the car.

Buses

Bus travel in Montevideo and around the country is safe and reliable.

Tres Cruces bus service (in Spanish)

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements

Most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory due to COVID-19. These measures can be imposed suddenly and may include:

  • entry or exit bans
  • quarantine
  • mandatory proof of vaccination or COVID-19 testing
  • suspensions or reductions of international transportation options

Foreign authorities might not recognize or accept proof of vaccination issued by Canadian provinces and territories. You may need to obtain a translation, a notarization, an authentication, or the legalization of the document.

Before travelling:

  • verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any restrictions or requirements related to this situation
  • consider even your transit points, as there are transit rules in place in many destinations
  • monitor the media for the latest information
  • reconfirm the requirements with your airline or tour operator

The situation could disrupt your travel plans. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance to change your travel plans.

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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 the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

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.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

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 foreign representative for your destination.

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Visas

Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days
Business visa: not required for stays up to 90 days
Student visa: required

If you plan to stay longer than 90 days in Uruguay, you must ask migration authorities for an extension to your stay as a tourist or for business once you are in the country.

You may also get a student visa while you are in Uruguay, but must get proof of acceptance from your educational institution before your arrival in the country.

National Migration Directorate - Government of Uruguay (in Spanish)

Children and travel

Learn about travel with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

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.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Hepatitis A

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

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.

Influenza

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

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.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.

 

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre

*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/Water

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

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

Insects and Illness

In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), chikungunyadengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness)West Nile virus , yellow fever and Zika virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Chikungunya

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.

Dengue
  • In this country, risk of dengue is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • 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.

Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

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.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

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

COVID-19 - Testing

Contact local health authorities, or the nearest Government of Canada office abroad to find out where you can get a COVID-19 test.

Health care is very good. Service is available throughout the country.

You may have to pay upfront or confirm your insurance information before receiving treatment.

There are 3 private hospitals in Montevideo offering 24-hour emergency services and accepting tourists without insurance coverage:

  • British Hospital
  • Sanatorio Americano
  • MP Medicina Privada

Fees must be paid in cash or by credit card before leaving the hospital.

Emergency services are also available at the public hospital, Hospital de Clínicas.

Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.

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.

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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.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Although Uruguayan citizens and permanent residents can register to purchase cannabis, it’s illegal for tourists and other visitors to purchase it.

Useful links

Imports and exports

Customs authorities may strictly enforce regulations concerning the import or export of items such as:

  • precious jewels
  • gold
  • firearms
  • antiquities
  • medications
  • business equipment

Driving

You may drive in Uruguay with your valid Canadian driver’s licence for up to 6 months.

By law, all vehicles must be equipped with a safety kit, including:

  • pylons
  • safety vest
  • flares
  • fire extinguisher

These are usually provided in rental cars.

It’s illegal to turn right on a red light.

There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving

Dual citizenship

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

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Uruguay.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Uruguay, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Uruguayan court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Uruguay to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Money

The currency is the Uruguayan peso (UYU).

Some businesses also accept US dollars and Argentine pesos.

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Natural disasters and climate

Droughts, floods and very strong storms with high winds occur year round.

Flooding

Heavy rains sometimes cause flash flooding and landslides. Roads could be blocked and essential services could be disrupted.

Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

Latest forecasts - Instituto Uruguayo de Meteorología (in Spanish)

Forest fires

There is a risk of forest fires during the summer months (December to March). The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.

In case of a significant fire:

  • stay away from affected areas, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
  • follow the advice of local authorities

 National emergency system – Government of Uruguay (in Spanish)

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 911
  • medical assistance: 105
  • firefighters: 104

Consular assistance

Due to the ongoing pandemic, our consular services could be limited. Contact us by email or telephone before visiting our offices.

Montevideo - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressPlaza Independencia 749, oficina 102, 11100, Montevideo, UruguayTelephone(598) 2902-2030Emailmvdeo@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/uruguay/FacebookEmbassy of Canada to UruguayTwitter@CanEmbUruguay

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.

Disclaimer

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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