Retirement in Uruguay: A Guide for American Emigrants

Retirement does not have to mean settling down in your home country. For those looking for a new adventure, Uruguay could be the perfect place to retire. With its affordable cost of living, rich culture and history, Uruguay is an ideal destination for American expats looking to enjoy their retirement. In this guide, we’ll go over the different aspects of retiring in Uruguay, including the benefits, tips and advice you should know before you head out.

Old couple enjoying the sunset in front of the ocean uruguay
An old couple enjoys the sunset at the sea in Uruguay.

Cost of living in Uruguay is worthwhile

Nestled in a rich and vibrant culture, Uruguay offers an amazing array of amenities, most notably a stable economy, mild climate, safe drinking water, affordable health care, picturesque beaches, low taxes, and an almost negligible crime rate. Even more impressive, even compared to other South American countries with already low expenses, costs in Uruguay are still comparatively lower than in the United States and some parts in Europe.

How good that as a retiree in Uruguay you can find quality housing for your budget! Considering the lifestyle and location, you should aim for about $3,000 to $4,000 per month to live more than comfortably.

Discover unique and budget-friendly communities in Uruguay! Montevideo may be the second most expensive city in Latin America, but you are sure to find rural areas that offer incredible housing options for all different tastes. Discover exceptional rural towns and lower your housing costs – the possibilities are endless! Many retirees choose the Punta del Este and surrounding areas for its beauty and to feel being permanently on vacation and to be amongst an International community. 

An overview of Uruguay’s unique health care system

Retirement can be a stressful affair, especially when it comes to health care. Thank you to the exemplary healthcare system in Uruguay, you do not have to worry about that, because the country offers comprehensive and quality medical care to each of its residents!

Uruguay’s exceptional advantage – membership in a private hospital system known as Mutualista – provides its members with access to world-class health services, from regular doctor visits to highly critical emergency room care. Punta del Este is a good example of a well-equipped city that offers world-class public and private health services to its citizens and visitors.

Be sure to heed the warning that Uruguay is not a medical tourist destination. For those traveling to the country, medical care can be particularly costly. Fortunately, expatriates and locals need not worry, as there are long-term health care plans that ensure their well-being and are very affordable.

Understanding the visa laws

Uruguay offers a number of visa options, but today we will look at the world of retirement visas. With this visa, you can take your vehicle with you without paying taxes, and you will receive a Uruguayan passport. No income is required to apply, but the entire process can prove to be quite lengthy and it is recommended to consult first with an Immigration specialist.

To obtain a permanent residence permit in Uruguay, you must apply to the Immigration Department. Applying for a residence permit and visa can be a lengthy process, with some people having to wait up to two years for their papers to be approved. However, you do not need a special visa to begin full-time residency in Uruguay and the temporary residency can usually be obtained within 10 business days if all documents are filed correctly and is valid for 2 years. 

How to Purchase Best Property in Uruguay?

Buying a property in Uruguay is a simple process. The average price for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is US$3’000 per square meter and outside the center is about US$2’000 per square meter. The average cost of an apartment in Montevideo, the most expensive city in the country besides Punta del Este, is still more affordable than New York City – about US$15’000 per square meter on average.

Montevideo and Punta del Este, the two most desired cities for foreigners’ in the country, could offer retirees a stunning and safe place to be where the cost of living is at least 25% lower than Miami – and without giving up the cosmopolitan feel!

Uruguay has become a beacon of stability in South America and has become a real center for buying real estate. In the last decade, many Americans and Europeans have staked their claim to real estate in Uruguay, resulting in a huge demand for housing!


Uruguay’s territorial tax system is an incredible boon to its citizens. Residents do not have to report their many types of income, such as pensions, social security contributions, rental income and capital gains – what a tremendously liberating feeling that must be.

Unfortunately, despite the financial benefits of moving to this country thanks to its tax laws on worldwide income, it does impose taxes on interest and dividend payments. So, as a resident, you have to pay a flat 12% tax on earned income.

With the implementation of this decree, Uruguayans can no longer evade their taxes by keeping their savings outside the country. As a result, they will have to pay 12% taxes in a jurisdiction outside Uruguay or face large back taxes if they do not meet the criteria. Due to their retirement status, many individuals are not affected by this tax. However, those who live and earn income in Uruguay must comply with the provisions of the Individual Income Tax (IRPF). This is an unavoidable reality that cannot be ignored and a local accounting firm can help and provide guidance.

If you want to retire in Uruguay, discover the wonders of this land paradise with Team Haverkate! Discover the perfect community for you, land on properties that suit your tastes, and immerse yourself in a life like you have never experienced before. Discover the secrets of life in Uruguay today and begin a journey like never before!

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