Uruguay has a strict legal regime to prevent children being abducted by a parent or third parties without permission. The regime frequently causes problems for foreigners who are not familiar with such controls and also not infrequently for Uruguayans who are unfamiliar with the process and do not know what documents are required and when.
Who needs a travel permit?
The law states that all minors (under 18)
- Of Uruguayan nationality OR
- Foreigners with permanent residence granted or applied for OR
- Who have been living in the country for a year or more
must get a permit to travel abroad unless they are travelling with both parents. Note though that in this last case the parents must get a fresh copy of the minor's birth certificate as registered at the Uruguayan Civil Registry (a process which itself takes about 30 days), in order to show that the child really is theirs. The copy must be less than 30 days old to be valid.
- Book a date to apply via the tramites.gub.uy website
- Get a new copy of the child's birth certificate (less than 30 days old).
- Valid ID cards or passports of both parents and the minor in a good state of repair (NB: the Immigration Office are getting very difficult about the state of repair of the old style ID cards)
- If minor is using a foreign passport issued in Uruguay, this must also be presented.
Child travelling without either parent:
Both parents must personally attend at the Immigration office and sign the permit.
Child travelling with one parent:
Only the parent not travelling must attend at the Immigration Office, but both parents' ID must be shown and that of the minor.
Child whose parents are deceased:
A special authorization from a Judge will be needed.
Child with one deceased parent:
The surviving parent must attend and have a copy of the death certificate of the other parent.
Child with a guardian:
A permit is not needed to travel with the guardian. If not travelling with the guardian, the guardian will have to attend and take a certified copy of their appointment.
The adopting parents must attend and take an updated birth certificate which should contain a marginal note confirming the adoption details.
Is it possible to avoid the need for a travel permit?
Yes! If the minor is Uruguayan and has a Uruguayan passport this acts as a permit from both parents to travel without restrictions. Uruguay passports for minors are issued for a standard period of 3 years.
Travel Permits Validity and limitations:
- Permits are valid for one year.
- Permits can be restricted to travel to a particular country/countries.
- Permits can specify with whom the child is allowed to travel.
- Permits can be for one trip or for multiple trips (subject to the 1 year limitation).
- In the case of minors who have applied for permanent resident status but it has not yet been granted they must also get a reentry permit from the Immigration Office.
The current cost of a travel permit for one trip is UY$244 which is approx. U$S7.
Make sure you book a date over the internet sufficiently in advance of the travel date
and that you have all the documents that will be required. The advantage of the internet pre-booking system is that queuing is now minimal and the whole process should not take more than 30 minutes. Ensure that you have registered the child's birth certificate at the Civil Registry well before any planned date of travel!
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.