Customs regulations and required documents
Personal effects import regulations
Uruguay has a liberal import policy. There is no quota system. License is required for the import of products such as medical equipment, chemicals, cattle, sugar, cereals, meat and flour. All importers should nevertheless be registered with the Central Bank and declare all their imports by filling an import declaration. Recording Certificates are valid for 180 days. A deadline for customs clearance of the goods is fixed.
Only commercial firms, industrial firms, or individuals listed in the registry of importers may legally import products into Uruguay. A pro-forma invoice is required to start the import procedures, and importers must use an agent to handle their customs entries. Required documents are: commercial invoice, transportation document, and certificate of origin. However, the country may require other certificates depending on the type of product (HS Code).
The Mercosur common external tariff applies to ad valorem CIF value of imported goods. This customs policy may be subject to exceptions based on the type of goods. It is also important to mention that re-exporting within a Mercosur member country does not give rise to an exemption from custom duties: For instance, if you export a product to Uruguay, and sell it to Brazil later, you would have to pay Uruguayan customs fees, and later Brazilian customs fees. To avoid such a situation, it is highly recommended to use free zones.
The import of sample is tax free if the value of goods in customs doesn’t exceed USD 100 for each delivery.
Only commercial firms, industrial firms, or individuals listed in the registry of importers may legally import products into Uruguay. A pro-forma invoice is required to start import procedures, and importers must use an agent to handle their customs entries. The agent is in charge of issuing a customs import declaration and sending it electronically to the National Customs Directorate, before the cargo arrives to Uruguay. Required documents by the National Customs Directorate are: commercial invoice, transportation document, and certificate of origin. The importer also commonly requests a packing list, identifying where different units are located within the shipment. The country may require other certificates depending on the type of product (HS Code).
Uruguay applies the Harmonized Customs System (SH)
Uruguay applies the harmonized Customs System, based on the World Customs Organization‘s system. Customs duties are calculated Ad valorem on the CIF value of the goods. However, Uruguay applies some minimum price for textile and clothing imports. Importers have to pay the difference between the amount of the invoice and the minimum price. The custom duties are payable on that minimal price. Uruguay is not part of the WTO.
Uruguay is a member of the MERCOSUR (Mercado Comun del Sur, gathering Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay and Uruguay), aimed at creating a free trade zone, a common external tariff and a free circulation zone for goods, services, capitals and persons. Customs duties between member countries were theoretically abolished in 1994, with nevertheless a lot of exceptions, according to the “adaptation regime” (Regimen de adecuacion).
The common external tariff (CET) does ot concern all products, currently: only 75% of the tariff lines benefit from a single tariff. The goods still outside the system, for the 4 countries are: equipment goods, IT, telecommunications, cars and sugar sectors.
Uruguay’s tariff structure comprises 19 rates that range from 0% to 35%. The World Trade Organization reports that Uruguay has defined tariff rates, allowing 1,674 items to enter at a zero percent tariff rate, and applies a mean (simple average) tariff of 11 percent to the rest. The products subject to a tariff of more than 20% are: sunflower and cardamom oil; soybean oil, margarine, and other fixed vegetable fats and oils; milk and cream; mozzarella; cane or beet sugar; fruit and nuts; rubber-soled footwear; and motor vehicles for the transport of passengers and goods. Most of these products are on Uruguay’s national list of exceptions to the CET or are products for which the CET has been temporarily modified. Uruguay’s tariff structure is available at its Ministry of Economy webpage: Here. Uruguay applies preferential tariffs on some imports, such as equipment for agriculture and hotels, capital goods, and on goods for projects that have been declared of national interest. These goods are also eligible for tax exemptions.
Occasionally, the government bans imports of certain food articles and pet food containing prohibited ingredients, or which originate from areas prohibited by the World Health Organization.
Uruguay completely prohibits certain products, such as: paint with excess lead, organic chlorine-based insecticides, potassium bromate for food, used cars, asbestos or products containing asbestos, certain insecticides-herbicides.
The government eliminated import quotas in the mid-1970s and substantially reduced non-tariff barriers, including reference and minimum import prices, in the 1990s. It eliminated reference prices and a few remaining minimum export prices in 1994 and 2002, respectively.
Uruguay applies non-automatic import licensing to certain products, such as motor vehicles, sugar, acetic acid, textiles, shoes, and steel for structural uses. Importers should request licenses prior to the product’s arrival in Uruguay to avoid demurrage costs at points of entry. I license is valid for 60 days (90 days for motor vehicles) after approval.
Wedding Trousseau / Gifts
Document showing that at the time of the marriage one spouse was residing in the country and the other abroad (duty-free import)
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PASSPORT VALIDITY:Must be valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:No, for stays less than 90 days. A visa is required when traveling on a diplomatic or official passport
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:$10,000.00; any amount greater must be declared with Uruguay’s customs authorities
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:$10,000.00; any amount greater must be declared with Uruguay’s customs authorities