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12/22/2015 14:58 EST

Hello, I am retired receiving a monthly pension. I have an 8 year old daughter. It is only her and I. I do not have much in resources or savings. However, I desperately want to relocate to Uruguay. Although I have done much research I also understand how very little I know. I have never been anywhere other than a few states along eastern us. Needless to say, I have my fears. I will not go into great detail (unless asked) as to why I wish to move but I think it is probably for the same reasons many of you have. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I hope to make friends and connections so we are not completely alone upon arrival. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. Thank you all so much.

12/22/2015 16:40 EST


As many here will tell you, Uruguay is not a cheap country and inflation is running around 10% a year.

We were asked to show $1500 US a month of income for immigration and friends who applied more recently were asked to show $2000US a month.

There are cheaper options than here if you need to watch your pennies, what makes Uruguay sound appealing?

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12/22/2015 19:19 EST

Thank you. I am excited to be here.
Although finances are of course always an important factor it is not my driving force. I net more than 1500 but not quite 2000. If I had to show a 2000 income I would not be able to. I have wanted to move out of the US for many years but I just never really did much research or pursued any further than the thought. After the past several years and much new found knowledge of the world around me I started doing some research to relocate. I had definitely decided on a country south of the equator. I researched several south american countries and found that Uruguay seemed to have much of what I am looking for....the political system as of now at least, more organic farming, slower paced communities, fascinating culture, and appeared to be within my budget. Only so much can be found online. So, I greatly appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me. Out of curiousity....what are some cheaper case they require 2000.

12/22/2015 20:09 EST

Rural areas will be cheaper. There's no hard and fast number for how much they'll ask from you. But if you live in a cheaper area, they're likely to consider that when looking at your income.

You should have a look at the Rivera area. The cost of living is considerably cheaper there.

It's also possible to live here without doing the residency process at all. In that case, it doesn't matter what your income is. Although you might have some problems here and there with things like getting a cell phone contract (but pre-paid phones are no problem), and it fixes some other problems besides the income letter.

You'll find that a lot (but not all) of us here agree with your reasons for leaving.

12/22/2015 21:03 EST

I think Ecuador has much more organic farming than here. They have laws preventing farmers using chemicals and if they have an outbreak of something then they have to get permission and then buy the product through special outlets.
At least this is what we were told on my recent trip there.
Lots of chemicals used here.

12/22/2015 21:07 EST

I am always advising people that for some reason cannot fulfill immigration requirements to live here as a tourist which is totally legal and you can even work but with a kid I don't think it is a good idea though. How can you register the kid in school? and it is illegal to have a kid that does not go to school.

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12/22/2015 22:55 EST

I'm just a seeker of information like you, so I speak with relatively little authority here. Still, I think (someone please correct me if this is wrong) that living in Uruguay on a tourist visa might have a real downside for you beyond the one that Carlitos mentioned. That's the fact that you wouldn't be able to take part in Uruguay's national health care system.

As I understand it (again, corrections welcome), you and your daughter can get fairly economical health coverage as soon as you both apply for residency. (This is very different from most European nations, where you often can't join their health systems until you're a full citizen.)

It appears to me that Uruguay's intermediate level health plan costs about as much per year as a typical retiree's private health insurance policy in the US costs per MONTH.

I'm no expert on this by any means, though.

> I do not have much in resources or savings.

I personally wouldn't try the move in that situation, but my risk tolerance might be a lot lower than yours. Heck, people worldwide migrate to escape intolerable situations with nothing but the clothes they're wearing, so who am I to say?

Many times personal finances are a private matter, and that's as it should be (IMO). However, if some folks here would be willing to post about how much it cost them to make the move - especially doing it on a shoestring - it might help others determine whether they can handle it.

> I have never been anywhere other than a few states along eastern
> us. Needless to say, I have my fears.

I don't think you need to be afraid, but you DO need to be flexible.

The US is an outlier in the world. It's a big country with wide open spaces. There are exceptions, but much of the rest of the First World operates on a much smaller scale - houses, stores, roads, vehicles, appliances. Some things we take for granted in the US are either not available or are prohibitively expensive elsewhere. It all takes some getting used to, especially if you've never travelled outside the US before.

(For perspective, BTW, Uruguay is about the size of Washington State.)

On the other hand, a lot of the things we're (encouraged to be) afraid of as Americans are either not issues elsewhere, or they're simply not afraid of them.

12/22/2015 23:20 EST

Really? It is my understanding that hormones, antibiotics, fluoride, etc. are not used in Uruguay. Of course some chemicals are used in processed foods, which, is why I grow my own. Thank you for your information, I will do more research on that particular topic. Of course, I do have other reasons as well. Not to mention Ecuador is not really not as far beneath the equator as I would like. Thanks Morell

12/22/2015 23:23 EST

I was of the understanding that homeschooling was legal in Uruguay.

This is why I got on this forum. Knowledgeable folks like yourself. I greatly appreciate your feedback.

12/22/2015 23:44 EST

Not to mention the super low cost of living.

12/22/2015 23:46 EST

No home schooling allowed??

12/23/2015 05:34 EST

We signed up with Medica Uruguaya using our passports from Canada.

They did not ask if we were applying for residency, I do not think there is any requirement for that to belong to a Mutualista.

The free healthcare here is intended for the unemployed and poor and is very basic and slow and the facilities are in poor shape in most places. I do not think you could use as a tourist.

12/23/2015 05:49 EST

Morell is right, you don't need to be a resident to sign up with a Mutualista.
Another thing is you need to be resident to be able to possibly think about being a citizen. In the case of the failure of the us currency or something major like that, you don't want to be a tourist you want to be as local as you can. And to apply for citizenship you need to speak spanish.

12/23/2015 06:46 EST

Brian, I have always needed a cedula to turn on power (UTE) and water (when in the city). Can that be circumvented?

12/23/2015 08:26 EST

All of your comments are very helpful and thought provoking thus far. I very much appreciate all your input.

I must say though, I am not looking to receive any handouts. I currently carry BCBS health insurance, which, cost me more than my rent. I can't say I am real happy with my coverage despite the caliber of the company here. I have been sorely disappointed with the big corporations and as many of you may well know, the US claims a superior medical industry yet that is very far from true. Nonetheless, I do not know much about Uruguay health plans but have read that many just pay out of pocket as needed. That may or may not be realistic but certainly a thought I intertained. I am tired of paying extreme amounts of money to make others rich while the products and services are down right insulting. I do understand that to some degree that happens everywhere but here from my perspective it is an epidemic.
Let me clarify, when I stated I did not have resources or savings I did not mean I was destitute. I carry my own weight and do not receive any state assistance in this country. I just don't have a huge savings and am without a strong network of family, friends, etc. that are in a position to help me if I fail in my goals.

I am merely looking for a better quality of life that I do not believe is available here anymore and maybe never was. I have very strong political and moral views that are definitely not represented in communities around me. I currently homeschool my daughter and intend to despite where we go as I am very well versed on public least here that is.

I can see the pros and cons of both citizenship and 90 day visas. I think ultimately I would agree with one comment referring to the instability of my native country and the need to fully integrate wherever I go.

My daughter and I are currently learning Spanish....she is much better than I. :)

12/23/2015 08:47 EST

I have private health insurance coverage and it costs me about $75 USD a month for myself and a little less for my daughter (age costs more). I have been extremely happy with the coverage but the bureaucacy is daunting. Patience is a virtue. Speaking Spanish is huge here.

12/23/2015 11:30 EST

We have acquaintances with a six year old. If they want residency, the child MUST attend school. They were told the only exception is if the child has some type of disability making them unable to attend. In that case the instruction MUST be in Spanish.

Immigration require the school to verify the child is attending. School age here is from three years.

They had wanted to home school but he will be starting school here in March I heard. Most kids only go from either 8.00 am to noon OR 1.00 pm to 5.00 pm.

12/23/2015 12:16 EST

Okay, thank you. That is definitely need to know infornation. I did read article 68 of the Uruguay Constitution and the HSLDA but of course I am very aware that my interpretation of a given constitution does not guarantee me the rights therin.

12/23/2015 13:15 EST

I recall a Uruguayan explaining that the Constitution gives the broad rights but then they pass laws defining those rights more specifically.

The Syrians that came here a while back would not send their daughters to school until neighbours complained to the authorities and then they were made to send them.

The Government has started cutting Family Allowances to families where the children are not attending school.

12/23/2015 16:48 EST

>but with a kid I don't think it is a good
>idea though. How can you register
>the kid in school? and it is illegal to
>have a kid that does not go to

Many people in the US are doing even public school online now. This would work just fine from here.

It's also common in the US to homeschool your kids. I know it's technically illegal here, and school attendance is required for residency. But there are legal ways around it. And I'm not sure uruguayan schooling laws apply to tourists who stay here for an extended amount of time.

12/23/2015 16:59 EST

>Really? It is my understanding that
>hormones, antibiotics, fluoride, etc.
>are not used in Uruguay.

Hormones and antibiotics are generally not automatically given to livestock except for chickens. The feed contains both, but not arsenic like in the US. I believe cows are only given antibiotics when they're sick. I've heard both that uruguayan dairies do and don't use bovine growth hormone. I'm still not sure which is the truth. Probably some do and some don't.

They're just starting to do feed lots here. They advertise it at the butcher like it's a good thing. :-/

They probably fluoridate the city water, and they definitely fluoridate the table salt here. It's possible to buy salt without it. Bottled water is not fluoridated here, but is in Brazil so be careful if you visit border towns.

Four years ago when we arrived, Ingredient lists on foods were simple and clear, and the people were much thinner. Now, they read like a spanish version of the same chemical nightmares we get in the US, with some chemicals even totally left out of the spanish version. And surprise, surprise, people are blowing like balloons. Of course, it's because they're not exercising enough don't ya know.


12/23/2015 17:03 EST

>I was of the understanding that
>homeschooling was legal in

It's technically illegal. Sometimes, a group of families get together and form their own "private school", then homeschool their kids.

As an american, you'll fall through the cracks. If you're doing the residency process, you'll have to show that they're in school. You could send them to the local public school for spanish exposure (and not much else). It's only half a day. After you get residency, no one will check anymore. And if they do, you want them to be taught in english.

If you don't do the residency process, no one will ask you about it. And even if they did, you can say you're going back any minute and don't want them to get out of sync with the US schools. And the law still probably doesn't apply to you in this case.

12/23/2015 17:07 EST

Hey Crazy, I understand what you are saying, We spent some time in a farm in PA whose children were educated in home, and I like the idea and all this but if a neighbor or anyone denounces y0u for having children that don't go to school than all the 90 days tourist blabla goes to space. There will be conflict between laws and all this will go to the media and it would be a good situation risking the kid to go to inau. I am not say it will happen I am saying that it might happen. it is too risky.

12/23/2015 17:08 EST

>The free healthcare here is intended
>for the unemployed and poor and is
>very basic and slow and the facilities
>are in poor shape in most places.


>I do not think you could use as a

I know that you can. We had some friends come down to try out Uruguay to see if they wanted to stay. They ended up not staying. But while they were here, their son stepped on a palm frond at the beach and ended up with a 3/4" long spike in his toe. It went in and broke off so that it couldn't be removed. I took them to the public hospital in Las Piedras. They saw them in about 20 minutes and a nice girl shot him up with a local anesthetic and removed the spike. Total cost to them: $0.

Ah, but this may only apply to kids. I'm not sure what would happen to adults. They might charge you or not admit you at all. I suspect if you had a serious problem, you could get it handled.

There are private out of network dentists who charge a reasonable fee (ridiculously low by US standards) for dental work. I bet there are doctors who do the same. Not sure what happens if you need an ER though.

12/23/2015 17:14 EST

>Hey Crazy, I understand what you
>are saying, We spent some time in a
>farm in PA whose children were
>educated in home, and I like the idea
>and all this but if a neighbor or
>anyone denounces y0u for having
>children that don't go to school than
>all the 90 days tourist blabla goes to

I wonder what the law actually says about this. What if you're visiting your friends here for two weeks, then planning to go back to the US. It's summer vacation in the US so all the kids are in school here. The neighbor does a denuncia, then what happens? I'm leaving in a few days? I guess if you have a plane ticket you could show them that. But I can't imagine the police taking that seriously.

>There will be conflict between laws
>and all this will go to the media and
>it would be a good situation risking
>the kid to go to inau. I am not say it
>will happen I am saying that it might
>happen. it is too risky.

Not sure what inau is... The government taking your kids away?

Sounds like a long shot I think. The law is probably full of scary language like you're describing. But I bet it's never actually done, especially to foreigners. Have you heard of this ever actually happening to someone? Are there statistics for this?

12/23/2015 17:17 EST

Glad it went well.

There was an expat in Atlantida who did not have health insurance here and had a major cardiac problem. After a short stay in the public hospital she was told she needed to go back to the US as they would not continue to treat her here. She did go back.

12/23/2015 17:31 EST

This was posted a while back on the Uruguay Expat group

Sending a child to school is not a grey area in Uruguay. It is established by law. It is compulsory (obligatorio) ever since Jose Pedro Varela promoted the school system as we know it here, based on accessibility to public schools which should also be law. Ever since, our education is compulsory. The only option is for people to go to a private school for other reasons, such as religion. Even these schools are very closely monitored. Now, you may choose to live here and not abide by the law, because the consequences may not affect you. That is a personal choice. There are some benefits that are not provided if children are not sent to school and so on. Not worth going into too much detail. I have devoted my life to education. Started here, where I was initially educated, got my teaching qualification here and then worked for many years both in England and the States so I know all three systems inside out. I repeat, education here is not optional. This is a link to the main legislation regarding this topic here. In 1998, education was made available to the under 5 (it used to be compulsory for those 6+) and if you read the legislation, you will see that it already established a time frame of 4 years maximum to make sure this provision was in place so as to make it compulsory from 2002 latest. Furthermore, from 2007, this was extended to children 4 and above, from which time every child 4 and over should attend school. Now, this being Uruguay, the implementation of such legislation is another totally different matter and it usually means taking away benefits, which may not affect most expats who may therefore choose to break the law on this one. If you were ever to home school, I guess you would have to apply for very special permission. But that is only a guess. In Uruguay, "hecha la ley, hecha la trampa".

12/23/2015 18:48 EST

Besides, let me go into a very controversial matter, What would be the drawback of send your kids to the school here, they will learn spanish super fast, they will integrate with the Uruguayan culture and they will help you to understand this country.

12/23/2015 19:43 EST

I do not know that it would be a drawback. I am still trying to learn about Uruguay. I agree that my daughter could benefit greatly learning the culture and language. Both of which I would be challenged to teach. What I do know is here in the US the public school system is a joke. It is set up to create mindless drones. In fact, if one does their research they will find much of what is taught regarding US history is a lie or severly distorted. Sad really. Not to mention I prefer to teach my child about spiritual, moral, and socially ethical matters...not the federal government. I prefer they stick to the three r's. Nonetheless.......
It very well may be that the schools in Uruguay are great and care about teaching children.
These are some of the answers I seek and do research on so that I make a well informed decision regarding such life changing events. Every aspect of my daughters life and well being is top priority for me so I do nothing haphazardly merely assuming others have her best interest in mind.

12/24/2015 00:05 EST

Hi Morrell - Whomever you are posting for on this thread, please tell that person she is welcome to email/contact me. I am also from the U.S. & have 2 kids & could offer some information that I believe would be helpful. I will pm you my info.

12/24/2015 00:58 EST

And with all due respect, It begs the question why would you want to go through these heartaches and with a small child? I can see and understand you want to be there but the answers to your questions keep coming back unfavorable. You are a brave lady and if you still consider its worth it and continue working to resolve all the issues I applaud your resolve and bravery.
I personally would not try to circumvent the law in any country no matter the condition. We are considered only a guest in any country outside of ours and will be treated as such unless we obtain residency or citizenship. And why would you not won't to integrate into their society, laws, customs and language if you plan to remain there for a long time or for ever?
It takes a lot research and education to make an educated decision of where to go and even then its very difficult because its a major life event.

I know what you are going through because I'm on the same boat and have been educating myself with the help of the good folks on this forum as well as a few visits to the UY consulate and some of my UY friends here in the US. And finally before I decide I plan to visit the country and spend 2 months there to get to know the people and their culture and see if we are a match.. I also have the advantage that I have visited over 12 countries and have now all the information required to compare them and have reduced my choice to 4 countries including UY which I still need to visit.
I recommend you move slowly and think each issue through carefully and their consequences presently and in the future both for you and the child before you make a decision.
Good luck and holler if I can be of any help since we are both on the same boat.

12/24/2015 01:03 EST

Probably no stats Brian but would you be willing to volunteer your small child to go through something like this just to find out? We keep forgetting we are just guests until we become more linked by residency or citizenship until then anything is possible and specially to FOREIGNERS.

12/24/2015 01:08 EST

>Not sure what happens if you need an ER though.<
I think you do.

12/24/2015 01:13 EST

Good point Carlitos specially if you want to live in the country for a long time.

12/24/2015 08:57 EST

Hmm, I never said anything about circumventing the system. I never eluded to not wanting to integrate into the country, the community. I am taking my time learning and researching all I can so I make a decision that benefits my family and will be a good fit. My family and I obey the laws here and have no intention of changing that fact or disrespecting another countries laws and regulations. I carry health coverage here and will continue to ensure we have health coverage at my expense. I am within my legal right to homeschool here and will continue to see my daughter has the best education within the letter of the law regardless of where we are. What heartaches?? Just because I have a child does not mean I am forbidden to move or relocate her. I am also unsure how it is unfavorable.....possibly because assumptions are made.

12/24/2015 09:21 EST

For the record: Homeschooling does not mean a child is cut off from the community or their peers.

12/24/2015 16:47 EST


12/24/2015 17:27 EST

Apparently the mentality in Uruguay by the non-natives is no different than here. Can take a person out of the crap but not the crap out of the person. So sorry to see that!!

12/24/2015 18:20 EST

Not sure exactly what you are referring to but I think people are just trying to say Uruguay is not necessarily the right spot for everyone. It can be an expensive mistake, if you change your mind.

12/25/2015 06:05 EST

I loved the article thanks for that.

12/25/2015 09:47 EST

That article was one of the first I saw in the search results when I started looking for information on Uruguay. It hasn't scared me off. I'm not sure what that says about me. :)

FWIW, we saw the same odd disinterest in local seafood in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ocean is all right there, and yet not much good fish is on offer in the restaurants. All the supermarkets sell IMPORTED fish, too. Go figure.

As for red tape, try France some time. =:|

12/25/2015 09:51 EST

I think some of it was a little overboard. Abitab lines can be quite short and no standing in line growing a beard. Banks and ATMs are usually crowded to a stunning level at the first of the month. I saw lines going around the block and wondered if concert tickets were on sale. Nope, just people get paid the first of the month and they all want their money that day. Wait a week and no problem.

12/25/2015 10:33 EST

Merry Christmas everyone,
I follow your wonderful messages from the U.S. soon to be living in UY. Thank you for all your thoughtful messages and words of advice.

Read the article from Global Post and will say we had different experiences during our visit in UY. However, during our search for places to raise a son and live, many considerations were examined. Namely I did not compare UY with the U.S., but rather compared UY to other South American and Central American countries. I speak some Spanish and teach English so a Spanish speaking country was an important factor.
Anyway, my frame of reference for deciding on UY was not U.S. focused, but keenly aware of global economic politics.

I found good bilingual schools, not only in the publicized Montevideo area, but in the outskirts, near the coasts, where we will live. Students spoke impeccable English in these schools (secondary schools). We found an excellent transportation system, good food and lovely people. We even found nice homes by the coast and realtors who spoke English. Yes, there are many other things that we may miss terribly but we needed to consider the whole country and not just it's pieces. As a dear friend in UY told us "There is no Utopia". Best wishes to all as we continue to follow. We truly look forward to meeting everyone when we settle.

12/25/2015 18:09 EST

Excellent, honest and to the point. Thanks Morell as usual right on. Great post and a service to educate those that are basing their decisions on those irresponsible publications that paint UY as the ultimate paradise.

And as you say its an expensive experience to reverse. To those wishing to expat, for whatever reason, I recommend to prepare in order to be ready when you want to leave or have to. A second passport comes to mind as part of the preparation as well as a foreign bank account.

12/25/2015 18:14 EST

sorry to disagree I lived in PR for 15 yrs and ate plenty of FRESH fish. You just need where to go. I also went on many fishing trips and the fish of many varieties is plentiful.

12/25/2015 18:51 EST

I love it when people express an interest in moving to and residing in a foreign country then claim an entitlement to be exempt from legal requirements in their new found home.

Why do you want to shield your daughter from the public schools? Enough people in the US want to hide their children from the 21st century by "homeschooling" them.

Good luck.

12/27/2015 09:49 EST

While I do not live all year in Uruguay, I do spend many months there. My first question would be to ask if you speak Spanish.
I have moved all over the world with children, and your daughter will learn, but you will need to be fairly proficient to deal with all the paperwork in UY.

1/4/2016 23:04 EST

Carlitos is right, however in the case of your 8year old daughter, she can be enrolled in a bilingual school (English/Spanish) which would be great if she hasn't quite got or developed yet any Spanish language skills, they tend to be private and they also tend to have scholarships/bursaries for special cases and as a single parent new in the country they might be inclined to consider granting you one. You will find the Uruguayans very welcoming and open, they are very warm and generous in spirit and will try and help you where they can. I would also consider teaching English in your case, they are always desperate for native speakers and that way you can supplement your income, of course there will always be a greater demand in the capital (Montevideo) but if you are after a beautiful lifestyle, quieter towns then I would suggest Colonia which is heritage listed and is very tranquil, safe and just divine.... as for the money requirements, I suggest you go and try and stay long term as a tourist and see once you are there how to go about changing your visa status, one thing though they are very strict now with people leaving every 1/3 months to neighbouring countries for visa runs and they might deny you re-entry. Good luck with your moving plans, at least Uruguay is a great choice, have you considered Lima, Peru?

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