Expats moving to Uruguay will find themselves in one of the smallest countries in South America. With a national population of just under 3.5 million people, most of the country's citizens live in the capital, Montevideo.
Uruguay has traditionally been more affluent than other Latin American countries and doesn't experience some of the serious economic inequalities. The country's economy has shown significant positive growth in recent years. This has opened up more job opportunities for both locals and expats.
Most expats working in Uruguay are employed in the diplomatic or financial services. Montevideo attracts expats looking for work in the agricultural, construction and aviation industries. Coastal towns like Punta del Este offer employment opportunities in the services and tourism sectors. A significant number of expats also move to Uruguay to teach English.
Despite having a lower violent-crime rate than its neighbours, street crimes are still common in Uruguay, particularly in Montevideo. Expats should keep a watchful eye on their valuables when outdoors and on public transport.
Healthcare in Uruguay is of a high standard and reported to be among the best in Latin America. Everyone is entitled to medical care via the national healthcare system, including foreigners. Most expats opt for private coverage through a private hospital or health co-operative.
Uruguay has a good education system. Ppublic schools offer free education from kindergarten to secondary school. Classes are taught in Spanish. Therefore expats generally prefer to send their children to an international school. There are a number of these to choose from, mostly in Montevideo.
Spanish is the official national language of the country. Uruguayan Spanish has some modifications due to the considerable influence of Italian immigrants over the years. Even expats who are able to speak Spanish may take a while to adjust to the dialect. Although most Uruguayans are able to understand English, they may not necessarily speak it fluently. Expats should attempt to learn at least some Spanish, particularly if doing business in Uruguay.
The reasonable cost of living, favourable tax laws, affordable and good healthcare and high quality of life have attracted many European and North American expats. Who are particularly drawn to the Punta del Este and Costa de Oro coasts. Expats who make an effort to learn the language and build a life in Uruguay will find a beautiful and hospitable country to call home.
Capital city: Montevideo
Neighbouring countries: Argentina is one of the two countries that border Uruguay and is situated west of the country. Brazil borders Uruguay to the north and the east of the country.
Geography: Uruguay is a small country with a warm, temperate climate. The terrain mainly consists of plains and rolling hills with fertile farmland along the South Atlantic coastline.
Political system: Presidential republic
Major religions: Christianity (Catholicism)
Main language: Spanish
Money: The currency of Uruguay is the Uruguayan Peso (UYU). One peso is divided into 100 centésimos.
Electricity: 220 volts, 50 Hz
Internet domain: .uy
International dialing code: +598
Emergency contacts: 911
Transport and driving: Cars drive on the right-hand side
"When you move to a place, consider it your home, regardless of how long you plan to stay. Consciously or unconsciously holding the thought that “this is not home” will only make everything more difficult. Accept; be here now!" American expat Doug shares his thoughts on living in Uruguay.
Are you an expat living in Uruguay?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Uruguay. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.