Uruguay Residency Process – slower, not harder. Unless you don’t really want to live here.

Uruguay Residency Attorney Mark Teuten

Our friends at Paradise Uruguay just published this from one of the better-known Uruguay Residency Attorneys, Mark Teuten.  Check out the rest of the article at the Paradise Uruguay Blog: Uruguay Residency Process Taking Longer.

Some Fair Use excerpts…

Recent information made available from the Uruguayan Immigration Office shows that 2012 was a record year for the number of applications filed: 5347.

I’m happy to say that Lisa and I were two of those 5347 applications filed last year.

At the same time only 2426 applications were granted, so the backlog is still growing and applicants can now expect to be waiting 2 years for their application to be granted.

Nope, we’re not any of those 2426. Though we only began the official process mid-2012, so wouldn’t expect to be yet. Even if we had all our paperwork up to date, which we don’t for a few reasons, like getting a RealJob and then deciding to go back to freelancing (changed the “moda de vida”), Uruguay changing from the “Legalization” system for documents to the Hague Treaty on Apostiles on the very day our freshly-ordered NYC marriage certificate finally arrived at the Consulado-General of the ROU in NYC, so now I have to get a new one with a NYC, then New York County, then New Your State set of certifications but none by Uruguay…

Not really the fault of Migraciones. Mostly circumstances and timing. They were (relatively) cool about it when we last visited to update them on some of what we had already done, like having Uruguayan birth certificates (I beat the Apostile switchover on those for getting Legalization in the originating country by the Uruguayan consulate, and then did all the dealing with a Public Translator, Legalization in-Uruguay at the MRREE, filing with the Registro Cívil, and then getting the actual partidas, all by my Do-it-Myselfdom. Oh, and note the order I did them, note the Translation before in-Uruguay Legalization, note the lack of “Legalization of the Translation” that some other websites think you need because they aren’t run by people who understand logic… If you get the Public Translation doe in Uruguay, it doesn’t need to be Foreign Ministry “Legalized” because it was done in-Uruguay.)

Teuten makes another important point: The Uruguay residency requirements haven’t changed, but it is harder to get residency. Why? Because Uruguay is getting damn tired of people wanting “residency” without actually wanting to be residents in Uruguay. Can’t say that I blame Uruguay. I frankly find highly distasteful the “get another flag to plant for when it all falls apart” attitude of too many in the “expat business”, and I’m not fond of the websites that tell you to make your appointment with Migraciones in advance so that you can “fly in, fly out” after turning in your paperwork. Frankly, don’t come here. Go somewhere else. We want people who want to engage in the vibrant, growing, on the verge of “First World” but definitely not “Global North”-corrupt, Oriental Republic of Uruguay itself. Not those who want to “bug out”.

Rent a home, buy a home, live here, for Pete’s sake, if you’re telling our new country that you want to live here. We did a 2-week “Reality Check” trip, followed by a 2-month (turned into 3) “Test Drive” of daily life here, followed immediately by a 1-year rental commitment on our home, with at least one of us continually resident in Uruguay from Sept 1, 2011 onward, before ever starting the “Residency Process” in mid-June 2012. We had our rent, electric, phone bills, supermarket loyalty points cards (the “Green Stamps” of the 1960s US are alive on cards here, another post someday…) and all the trappings of being fully in a location, before we even walked into the door at Migraciones. Which might be why they gave us our initial Certificado de Llegada, approval for a Resident-in-Processing ID card, the day we walked in, with practically none of the “official” paperwork!

So check out the Paradise Uruguay blog and  Attorney Mark Teuten’s article, even though we at Uruguay Expat Life are in the “Do It Yourself Uruguay Residency” camp, both personally, and as our recommendation for most intelligent proactive non-rich people with a preference for controlling their own destiny. That DIY-manifesto said, Mark Teuten, along with his best-known competitor Juan Fischer, are in-country here in Uruguay, know the legal and regulatory terrain, and are reasonably-priced as “turn it all over to the lawyers” approaches go. Plus they both are, by their actions, believers in “gift culture” because they both give lots of meaningful, actionable, current, and free-as-in-beer free information.

We are not making any endorsement nor any review, but dealing with either of those firms probably is a viable alternative to DIY (or a better choice than DIY for some), and it has worked for many. Unlike our opinion of that law firm in San Francisco, CA, USA area which wants many thousands of dollars paid to their USA staff to have US attorneys review your Uruguay processing – none of which happens in the USA, and none of which payment covers their charges in Uruguay. That’s just a waste of money. Uruguayan residency processing is done entirely inside of Uruguay, you do not start it in your home country. So pay a law firm in Uruguay, for services in Uruguay, if you want to use a lawyer for Uruguay Residency Processing. 


  1. The Mark Teuten guest post at Paradise Uruguay may or may not have been a paid placement over there.
  2. The mention and reblog of it here is purely because we think, in this particular instance, it’s very relevant to our own Uruguay Expat Life audience. Which skews a bit differently than Paradise Uruguay’s (we don’t sell/agent real estate, we’re into Do-It-Yourself Residency with you being your own General Contractor, using only specific professionals as required (Public Translator, Escribana/escribano, Interpreter, and that’s pretty much it.) rather than using a lawyer.
  3. Paradise Uruguay’s audience, and its publisher, have more money than we do because after all, we are here in part due to our Falling Off the Hemisphere… so we don’t usually swim in the same economic pool, so to speak.
  4. Uruguay Expat Life site co-owner, Lisa Marie Mercer, has written paid articles for Paradise Uruguay. She’s also written them for International Living. It’s not like we don’t know the people further up the ladder…
  5. We really don’t dislike lawyers. Mark’s son is in Law School.

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Mark Mercer

Site co-owner Mark Mercer. AKA Marcos Cristoforo Mercer, AKA the Fuzzy Wanderer. Expat from USA living in Uruguay as of mid-2012, after "test-driving" it for a few months in 2011 and early 2012. Married to Lisamaria, AKA well-known travel and fitness writer Lisa Marie Mercer. Follow Mark on Twitter @mcmxs and his many other sites, which you can find at http://about.me/MarkMercer. I write and engage about many of my other interests, on Google+ at https://google.com/+MarkMercer

2 thoughts on “Uruguay Residency Process – slower, not harder. Unless you don’t really want to live here.”

  1. Applied in 2009…still waiting. We are living here, full time, using one of the recommended atty’s… am glad at least someone is saying the truth- it is NOT fast…but it is obviously not all bad, as we are still here! Thanks for being “real”.It may save a few some frustration, time, and UY dealing with people not really wanting to be here. UY is often “pushed”, not that it is not worthy, but do not leave the boarder if what you want is the same and you will be disappointed with “less” or different. If patience is your lesson in life, tho, you may find yourself here.

    1. Thanks UY1, and apologies for not seeing your comment right away.

      Yes, getting the process started is quick enough, but the completion appears to take a while. I’m fine with them weeding out the “2nd flag” people and just focusing on the folks who want to become part of this country.

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