Who can buy Real Estate in Uruguay – physical or legal persons
In some South and Central American countries, there are limitations for foreigners. Foreigners can not buy a borderline property or coastal properties. In Uruguay, there are no such limitations.
The Uruguayan government is and has been very open towards foreigners who are investing in local Real Estate. Buyers from all over the world have the same rights as Uruguayan citizens. They are granted the same economic advantages when they acquire Real Estate in Uruguay. It makes no difference if the physical or legal person is Uruguayan or not, resident or not. They are all treated the same.
In Uruguay, you can buy Real Estate as an individual, national or foreigner, or also through commercial companies. Local or foreign corporations and companies have the same legal protection of the Uruguayan State. Typical are local commercial companies like a Sociedad Anónima (S.A. whose shares must be registered ) or Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada (S.R.L.) among others.
To buy Real Estate in Uruguay, a foreigner must only present their passport or identification document. They do not have to be a resident in Uruguay. However, a buyer has to comply with the latest banking regulations and provide proof of funds and fill out some compliance forms. A foreigner can even buy from abroad, using a power of attorney. A power of attorney is authorizing a person residing in the country, to represent them in the signing of the deed.
Both national and local citizens, as well as foreigners, can buy all types of real estate, urban property like apartments or condominiums, houses, land, lots, shops. They can buy on beaches or lakes, and also rural fields or farms, lots, land or subdivisions.
There are two restrictions in the case of agricultural properties. Agricultural properties must be acquired in the name of a physical person or by a company with named partners or limited companies with named shareholders. It doesn’t matter if national or foreign, resident or not. Any agricultural property of over 500 hectares in size must first be offered to the I.N.C. (Instituto Nacional de Colonización). The I.N.C. is a public body in charge of encouraging the growth of the rural population. The I.N.C has the option of purchasing the land at the same price.
How to Acquire Title
The way of acquiring the title of real estate, according to Uruguayan Law are the Purchase, Exchange, Donation, Succession due to Death and Prescription.
The legal regime of property in Uruguay is of absolute certainty and security for legitimate businesses. The property is accredited by a Property Title that in most cases must be instrumented in a public deed authorized by a Notary Public and in others (Succession or Prescription) through Judicial Judgment.
In all cases, it consists of the data of the owner (s) and the description and complete demarcation of the property (standard, plan, registration in Cadastre, etc.). Every title deed is registered in the Registry of Real Property, a public body under the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Please see also our page on what to know when buying Real Estate in Uruguay.
Ralph Haverkate, Broker