For years, Uruguay has always been a country full of exciting business opportunities, and this year will be no different, as the global mindset of investors continues to shift towards Latin America. In the past decade, Uruguay has had robust economic growth led by private consumption and exports, resulting in annual average growth of 5.2%. In fact, it was the rise of foreign investment from 2009 to 2013 that led Uruguay to have the 2nd largest FDI/GDP ratio in South America.
Additionally, and particularly remarkable, the Uruguay government has put efforts into positioning Uruguay as the gateway to trading with other MERCOSUR economies. The country has a favorable legal system, an investment climate does not discriminate against foreign investors and governmental initiatives that encourage innovation. For instance, the National Agency for Investigation and Innovation, a state-run organization, hosts conferences and events for the startup community all around Uruguay.
Uruguay is fast becoming one of the key investment regions in Latin America…
Register a Business in Uruguay
To be able to register a business in Uruguay, the following information is required:
- Resolution of the company to be established.
- The indication of your office address (‘domicilio fiscal‘) in Uruguay.
- Identification of the person/s who will administer or represent the company in Uruguay.
- The company name must be established.
- Information relating to the shareholders, including their names, marital status, nationality among others.
Key Steps in the Registration Process
- Appointment of an agent or legal representative to carry out the business registration.
- Start of the procedure on the ‘One-Stop Shop‘ (Empresa en el día) platform.
- The public notary will deliver an official certificate that can be collected in the National Registry of Commerce (Registro Nacional de Comercio).
- The company will need to register with the national tax authority and then obtain the companies tax identification (“RUT”).
- The company must subscribe the initial company capital.
- Finally, the business must open a corporate bank account to deposit the required capital.
- The company can begin commercial operations.
Opening a company through the ‘Company in a Day‘ platform
The Uruguayan government has established a platform, which enables companies to set up and register a corporation or limited liability company (S.A. or S.R.L) online in approximately 24 hours after the application has been submitted. Upon completion of the required steps, the applicant must present themselves in the offices of ‘Empresa en el Día‘ and carry out a one-hour face-to-face interview to finalize the process.
Minimum Statutory Requirements in Uruguay
As in all of Latin America, corporate entities in Uruguay must meet some minimum statutory requirements to remain compliant and in good standing with the local authorities. These requirements include the following:
- Legal Representative/Local Director: The company must have a Board of Directors or a Company Administrator. The nationality of the board directors is not limited to Uruguayan nationals; foreign individuals may be appointed. However, corporations in Uruguay need to have a local director, who must be an Uruguayan national.
- Fiscal/Legal Address: All companies in Uruguay must register a fiscal/legal address during the company incorporation process. This address must be domiciled in Uruguay and will be used for all official correspondence.
- Tax Declarations Requirements: Uruguayan corporations are required to prepare and present monthly and annual declarations with the national tax authority. It is highly recommended that a local expert manages these tax declarations in order to ensure that they are completed correctly. This same expert can also assist with company bookkeeping and financial report.
Regarding obtaining a permanent residency visa, it is necessary to gather and present the following documentation:
- Official document with which you entered the country: Any foreigner bearing temporary immigration status in the country may request to change their status to legal residency.
- Health card issued in Uruguay: This must be issued by the Health Department of Uruguay or by other authorized medical institutions. This health card must identify the individual’s purpose for applying for legal residency in Uruguay.
- Judicial Certificate: This should be issued by a governmental institution where the applicant lived for the past five years prior to entering Uruguay.
Professional Notes: All foreign documentation must be legalized by the Uruguayan Consulate in the country of origin and with the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Relations. Individual income must be presented on a monthly basis and the status of a permanent resident will be lost if and when the resident is absent of the country for more than 3 years.
- The process will begin online through the website of the National Directorate of Migration (Dirección Nacional de Migración).
- On this platform, the individual must schedule an appointment and pay a visa processing fee established by law.
- Following on from this, the individual must go to the National Directorate of Civil Identification (Dirección Nacional de Identificación Civil) for the processing of the temporary Uruguayan identity card (Dirección Nacional de Identificación Civil).
- When the individual has been officially notified by mail that legal residency status has been obtained, he/she must register their birth certificate (Certificado de Nacimiento) which has to be apostilled in the Civil Registry (Registro Civil).
- Finally, the individual must go to the National Directorate of Civil Identification, to collect their Uruguayan identification card.
Do You Need Local Support in Uruguay?
If you are thinking about expanding your operations to Latin America, then Uruguay could be the right fit for your business. Uruguay, while often getting overlooked for its powerful neighbors (Argentina and Brazil), provides an attractive commercial environment for investors of all sizes. The government has implemented policies to ensure Uruguay is an open-market economy, facilitating investment in the region for foreign individuals and companies.
It can be challenging to expand your business to a foreign country without a complete understanding of corporate compliance and statutory requirements. In this article, the key steps in the business registration process have been identified. If you are ready to start your own business in Uruguay and need additional information, then reach out to the experts at Biz Latin Hub. Get in contact with a member of our team today at [email protected] and see how we support you and your business in Uruguay.