Changes in Uruguay's Immigration Office - Actions Aimed at Speedier Residency Approval

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay-- Update on Uruguay's residency process. By  Montevideo Attorneys, Mark Teuten and MarĂ­a Victoria Angulo Braun.

A surge in applications for residence in Uruguay, combined with a more rigorous examination of submissions, created a backlog—increasing the average time frame for final approval.

In response, Uruguay’s Immigration Office is changing internal procedures for handling permanent residence applications. The hope is these changes will lead to shorter waiting periods for applications to be granted.

Those following Uruguay’s immigration process may recall Law19.254 of October 2014. It created a fast track procedure for applicants from Mercosur countries. Instead of their applications going through the Immigration Office, they now go through the Foreign Office.

By removing this workload from the Immigration Office, it’s anticipated the backlog of pending matters will be reduced.

Now, as of January 1st, 2016, the Director of the Immigration Office has made a change intended to further reduce waiting periods: Instead of all applications going through the legal department for examination (which is where the current backlog stems from), applications will be studied directly by the administrative staff.

If there is no objection then they will go straight to the Director and then on to the Interior Minister for a final signature, as per the administrative resolution granting residence.

The only applications which will go to the legal department are those where the documentation is not straightforward and needs some real study.

So for example, for those whose source of income is a job within Uruguay, which is easily verifiable, there should be no problems. Likewise, we understand that when a pension is used as the source of income, this should not need to be studied by a lawyer. For others, every effort should be made to ensure that the documentation filed in this respect is as clear and complete as possible.

The new system will benefit applicants as of January 1st, 2016. So for those already in the pipeline, the benefits will be less noticeable. Although it is hoped that the legal department will have more time to deal with the files that are left over—so there should be an improvement here as well.

Over the last few years, the average waiting period for full residence approval has been 18-24 months—occasionally a bit less depending on the particular circumstances and how documents were filed, etc.

Officials have told us that they hope to be able to process applications under this new system in six months. The six-month estimate may be rather optimistic, but even double that time would be a vast improvement on the current situation.

For more information: 
Mark Teuten
Teuten Abogados
Zabala 1542 Esc.301
Montevideo – Uruguay
CP 11000
Tels: (+598) 2915-4684 or (+598) 2916-1664

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