Retiring in Uruguay: a complete guide

1 min readLast updated May 31, 2024by Unbiased team

Explore the process of retiring in Uruguay and what it takes to settle in this popular South American country.

Summary 

  • Uruguay is the safest country in South America and has a low cost of living compared to the US. 

  • You need between $1,500 and $2,500 per month for a comfortable retirement in Uruguay.  

  • Retiring in Uruguay offers US expats tax advantages due to its taxation system. 

  • A financial advisor can help you plan for retirement and ensure you have enough money for your future.   

What are the pros and cons of retiring in Uruguay? 

With its scenic rolling hills, robust infrastructure, great medical care facilities,  and rich cultural activities, retiring in Uruguay is an attractive option for many seniors. But what sets retirement in Uruguay apart from other countries? Here are some pros and cons:  

Pros 

  • Low cost of living: The cost of living in Uruguay is estimated to be as much as 28% lower than it is in the US, making retirement in Uruguay a financially advantageous decision.  

  • Safe and politically stable: Uruguay has a stable government system and a low level of violent crime, making it the safest country in South America.  

  • Subtropical climate: Because Uruguay is in a temperate zone, neither winter nor summer is too extreme, creating a balanced subtropical climate that is pleasant year-round.  

Cons 

  • Public transport is limited: Taxis, buses, and trains are available in Uruguay, but they are less efficient than US transport services.  

  • Imported goods are expensive: Even though the cost of living in Uruguay is lower than it is in the US, this most applies to local produce. Buying imported food and products that may feel more familiar to US seniors can be difficult to find and expensive to pay for.  

  • Geographic isolation: Traveling to and from Uruguay internationally can be pricey and time-consuming, making it difficult for people who retire in Uruguay to easily see family.  

What are the best places to retire in Uruguay? 

Uruguay offers a range of great housing options, from modest countryside living to luxurious cosmopolitan villas not unlike those found in Miami.  

Some of the best places to retire in Uruguay are: 

  • Montevideo: The capital of Uruguay is home to the largest population of expats in the country and offers amazing modern and traditional architectural options. Access to public transport, healthcare services, world-class cuisine, and imported products is high in this vibrant city.  

  • Punta Del Este: Just off the coast of Uruguay is Punta Del Este, a paradisiacal beach town bustling with both locals and expats, especially in the summer.  

  • Atlantida: This quieter, more rustic town is just a short drive away from Montevideo yet offers just as many amenities and essentials as a city. Nature is lush, South American culture is more present, and people who retire here rave about the coastal views.  

At what age can you retire in Uruguay? 

Uruguayans can retire at age 63 or 65, depending on how many years of contributions they have made.  

Expats generally need to reach 65 before they retire since they are unlikely to have given enough, or any, years of Social Security contribution. 

What is the average cost of retirement in Uruguay? 

You need to earn a minimum of $1,500 to retire in Uruguay. 

However, you are likely going to need more than that to live comfortably through your retirement in this country.  

Average monthly spending should come to around $2,500 per month or more for couples.  

Do you pay taxes after retirement in Uruguay? 

This country’s tax system is territorial-based, which is advantageous for those emigrating to Uruguay.  

A territorial tax system means that the government only taxes income sourced within the country itself, so any foreign benefits or pensions you receive from the US will be tax-free.  

However, Uruguay does impose a flat tax rate of 12% on passive income from capital gains (such as royalties, rental income, or investment profit), regardless of where it comes from.  

What programs are there for emigrating to Uruguay? 

Uruguay offers a retirement visa for international seniors.  

This is the best program to use if you want to emigrate to Uruguay successfully. This program, also known as the Pensionado program, is specifically allocated for expats who want to retire in Uruguay and other South American countries.  

What visas do I need to retire in Uruguay? 

You need the Pensionado visa to retire in Uruguay.  

The Pensionado visa permits you to enter the country and put forward your application for permanent residence within six months of living there.  

To apply for the Pensionado visa, you will need to provide proof of your retirement, proof of a monthly income (at least $1,500, more if you have dependents), evidence of the purchase of real estate or other public securities that amount to at least $100,000, and a clean criminal record.  

What are my healthcare options in Uruguay? 

Uruguay offers an excellent public healthcare system that citizens and expats can benefit from.  

If you retire in Uruguay, you can participate in the system for around $70 monthly.  

A popular decision for US expats is to supplement their medical security by paying for a Mutualista membership, which is a world-class private healthcare service that costs around $100 per month.  

Is Uruguay a good place to retire? 

Yes, Uruguay is a good place to retire if you appreciate vast natural beauty, don’t mind being a few leagues away from home, and are open to embracing a rich and colorful culture with access to great public services.  

It is tax-advantaged and offers excellent housing and expat communities to enjoy.  

Get expert financial advice 

Uruguay is a scenic and solid country in which to enjoy your senior years. Its many advantages make it an attractive option for those looking for a lower cost of living while still enjoying good medical care and ample housing opportunities.  

To find out more about planning for a secure retirement, get matched with a financial advisor at Unbiased.  

Writers

Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.