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Monday, November 25, 2013

Uruguayan Citizenship/ Ciudadanía



Dear D and S,
Since you are the first expat couple that I actually know of who got their Uruguayan citizenship, I do have a few questions.

I want to hear your story but these few questions (8) can help me get started.



#1 Did you use a facilitator, to help you navigate or go through the hoops, ropes and steps?
Absolutely. I think you'd be nuts (especially in Montevideo) to try to do on your own. It - as everything - is easier in Maldonado; we have friends who got theirs there (first I know). Using an attorney's office, we didn't have to worry about getting our own docs notarized, translated, etc. as they can do that in-house.

#2 Did it cost you the fabled 10's of thousands of dollars to achieve or were there just ordinary fees like filing, etc... involved?
Our cost for the citizenship assistance was (USD) $1,200 each plus vat (total $1,317.60, but it should have been $1,500: they honored the price Juan Fischer stated at the Phyle meeting where we learned of this), plus 90% of the $600 on deposit to cover notary and translation costs. I guess the cost to start now for a couple would run $3,600. Still a bargain.

#3 What sort of information and paperwork do you feel they needed from you, to help them say, "yes". 
All the usual suspects as the base requisites. The "feel" leads into the next question.

#4  Did you need to establish any paper trail, like gym memberships to prove you were really here and involved?
Absolutely. In our experience, proving here matters more than involved. This is the most crucial set of records to be building if citizenship is an eventual goal: regular dentist/doctor visits seem to satisfy them best (Uruguayos love going to the doctor, apparently). Passport, regular ATM withdrawals, Tienda Inglesa points, and your peaje records are all irrelevant. You also need two Uruguayan citizens over 26 as testigos (I think you know that word ;-) who have known you for three years.

#5 Where did you go to file your request. US Embassy and/ or immigrations, etc..???
Has nothing to do with either; all done through La Corte Electoral. They apparently look down their noses at Migración: 1) eligibility to apply starts 3/5 years from the date you arrived in UY with the intention of living here (not when Migración got around to issuing a cédula) and 2) they don't accept passport or Migración records as proof you've been here (which I find strange). The US Embassy would come into play only were you to choose to renounce US citizenship.

#6 Did you feel like your US citizenship was in jeopardy at anytime?
The USA does not have any restrictions on dual citizenships (if it did, half the "leadership" in DC would have to hop a plane to Tel Aviv tomorrow). However, were the US to decide to nullify my passport like they did with Edward Snowden (not that they have cause), I would just pull out my Uruguayan one and be on my way. Which begs the question "why?" but since you didn't ask that, I'll pass: it's a rabbit hole ;-)

#7 How long did it take before you knew that it was going to actually happen? In other words, was it just a simple matter of filing for it, then waiting several months to be served a notice to take the oath or was it touch and go with a lot of wondering if it would actually work out? 
We were finally sure two weeks before we actually got our Cartes de Ciudadanía, 14 months after starting the process. Many trips to the court, always with the friendly people at Fischer & Schickendanz. The court made "some" demands (Denise adds, "these no doubt would vary from case to case and person to person"). There is no oath, nor any meeting with a judge.

#8 When will you eventually get a Uruguayan Passport? 
I'm going tomorrow to apply. I imagine it takes a month or so after that.

To clarify, though we conflate a passport with citizenship, and may want citizenship for the passport, it has no connection with the process of becoming a citizen. I suspect many of your readers in the States don't even know why someone would want a second citizenship. "Our mutual Canadian friends", aren't interested (though I would recommend it, because it's so easy (for now) and why not?). Whether you want to get into the "why" discussion, as I said, is a whole other ball of wax.


Denise addsYour right, citizenships and passports are not synonymous. Most US citizens go through their whole life without applying for a USA one. Only those who travel outside of the US do so. Just as many Uruguayans might not have a Uruguayan one either, although I suspect many probably do have an Italian one. 

So without too much ado, I should and need to ask a 9th question for the blog, on why you applied for a second citizenship.       

     #9 How about giving our readers a brief reason "why" you or anyone else might want a second citizenship to go along with their native one.

One reason is to have a second passport, and the Uruguayan one is pretty good, with visa-free travel to about 60 countries, and no "reciprocity" fees to visit Argentina and Brazil.

Safety too: thirty years ago, living in Europe, I'd hear "we like you Americans but we don't like your government." I think it's mostly still the case that Americans as individuals are well received, but the US government has been working overtime to create a host of new enemies since, and I can foresee traveling with a US passport becoming more problematic. Even in 1979, living outside London and finishing my first teaching job, I loved the idea of going overland to India for $100 (using Lonely Planet's first book, the pink saddle-stitched "Across Asia on the Cheap" published a few years before), but blowback earlier that year, from the US meddling in Iran decades before, meant I couldn't travel there, an essential part of the route. (I did get as far as eastern Turkey.)

Again specific to Americans, opening a foreign financial account is increasingly difficult. It's easier for financial institutions to turn away American clients than comply with the onerous and expensive IRS reporting requirements. And it's a very good idea to have assets outside the US, especially if you live there.

Finally, most people consider it extreme, but a second citizenship and passport is essential for renouncing the first. As the US government agencies become increasingly draconian, it's not hard to imagine that having even a modest financial account outside the US would require a CLN (US Certificate of Loss of Nationality) to open or retain. In other words, you wouldn't have to prove you were Uruguayan, you'd have to prove you were NOT American. At that point, I expect new barriers to renunciation would arise. After all, it was only a little over a year ago that the State Dept. suddenly announced a new $450 renunciation fee for what had always been free. Who's to say they wouldn't make it $4,500, or...?

I expect Americans will always be able to open an account at the Banco República (BROU), but even that has gotten tremendously more complicated since we did it four and a half years ago.

A las órdenes, D and S



To D and your wife S; I want to say, Thanks and Congratulations on your new dual citizenship! I appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions. This will be a great blog post, a true, real life success story.

Thank you muchísimo
Denise Glass 

11 comments:

Femur said...

Mind to clarify this?
"half the "leadership" in DC would have to hop a plane to Tel Aviv tomorrow"

Paola Zacapa said...

"half the "leadership" in DC would have to hop a plane to Tel Aviv tomorrow"

PRO Uruguay

Greetings from Uruguay Urlaub

Denise said...

Dear Femur and Paola,(and any others)!

SORRY, but the political views are definitely NOT mine. I just included what was written back to me, in answer to the questions, I asked about dual citizenship. I believe the writer was saying, in a SNIDE WAY, that HE FEELS, many of the leaders in the US government could also be of and have foreign ties hence dual citizenships and yes, it suggests Israel or Jewish influence. Some people, as we know, just can't help but having various "Conspiracy theories". Actually , I think that any Jewish readers should be "smiling" right now on how much credit and power and influence is "purported" to be owed to them down through all the years and governments!

Again, the political commentary is NOT MINE but due to "Freedom of speech" I did not want to tie his hands in answering me but wanted his reasons for getting dual citizenship. I simply recorded his reasons as he wrote them to me.

Now, if you can excuse me, for some reason, I suddenly want a bagel and a smear. Does anyone know of a bakery that sells them?

Anonymous said...

American / Isreali Dual Citizens in the American Government (2009)

Attorney General - Michael Mukasey
Head of Homeland Security - Michael Chertoff
Chairman Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board - Richard Perle
Deputy Defense Secretary (Former) - Paul Wolfowitz
Under Secretary of Defense - Douglas Feith
National Security Council Advisor - Elliott Abrams
Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff (Former) - “Scooter” Libby
White House Deputy Chief of Staff - Joshua Bolten
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs - Marc Grossman
Director of Policy Planning at the State Department - Richard Haass
U.S.
Trade Representative (Cabinet-level Position) - Robert Zoellick
Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board - James Schlesinger
UN Representative (Former) - John Bolton
Under Secretary for Arms Control - David Wurmser
Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board - Eliot Cohen
Senior Advisor to the President - Steve Goldsmith
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Christopher Gersten
Assistant Secretary of State - Lincoln Bloomfield
Deputy Assistant to the President - Jay Lefkowitz
White House Political Director - Ken Melman
National Security Study Group - Edward Luttwak
Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board - Kenneth Adelman
Defense Intelligence Agency Analyst (Former) - Lawrence (Larry) Franklin
National Security Council Advisor - Robert Satloff
President Export-Import Bank U.S.
- Mel Sembler
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families - Christopher Gersten
Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for Public Affairs
- Mark Weinberger
White House Speechwriter - David Frum
White House Spokesman (Former) - Ari Fleischer
Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board - Henry Kissinger
Deputy Secretary of Commerce - Samuel Bodman
Under Secretary of State for Management - Bonnie Cohen
Director of Foreign Service Institute - Ruth Davis

SOURCE

--------------------------------

"[Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon reportedly yelled at Peres, saying "don't worry about American pressure, we the Jewish people control America." 3 October 2001

--------------------------------

"The Israelis control the policy in the congress and the senate."

-- Senator Fullbright, Chair of Senate Foreign Relations Committee: 10/07/1973 on CBS' "Face the Nation".

SOURCE

Wally said...

While Denise and I are politically neutral, the previous comment does present some interesting information, so we have decided to publish it. It would seem to shed some light on comments about why "half the leadership" of Washington might have to hop a plane to Tel Aviv if dual citizenship were abolished.

Mark Mercer said...

Congrats on getting citizenship! You're now the 2nd couple we know of locally who have done so. Looking to follow in your footsteps in a few more years.

Excellent post with good explanation of what's involved. Further evidence that those doctor and dentist visits are real important - will have to make sure we save all our receipts going forward. Glad to know that our Tienda Inglesa and Disco Tarjeta Más Puntos help!

Michael Smith said...

I have read many of your posts and would really enjoy seeing some information about what it really costs to live in Uruguay?

Food
Electricity
Gas - Propane or Natural Gas
Gasoline
Property Tax
Other Taxes aside from VAT
Wood (I notice you heat with wood)
Healthcare $128 per person
Security
Internet
Telephone
Cell Phone

How did you find your home? Are there real-estate agents in Uruguay? Or, were you able to look for land and homes online?

How are real-estate transactions handled? I assume you had your attorney handle the transaction since any documents would need to be translated and verified.

Michael Smith said...

I have read many of your posts and would really enjoy seeing some information about what it really costs to live in Uruguay?

Food
Electricity
Gas - Propane or Natural Gas
Gasoline
Property Tax
Other Taxes aside from VAT
Wood (I notice you heat with wood)
Healthcare $128 per person
Security
Internet
Telephone
Cell Phone

How did you find your home? Are there real-estate agents in Uruguay? Or, were you able to look for land and homes online?

How are real-estate transactions handled? I assume you had your attorney handle the transaction since any documents would need to be translated and verified.

Wally said...

Michael- most of your questions have been answered extensive and in detail in past posts of the blog. It is searchable and you can look back and find that information, easily.

Michael Smith said...

Sorry about that... I thought I did a pretty good job of reading through the blog, but I see my reading was not so good. I did a few searches and as you said, many of my questions have long since been answered. Sorry! Your blog has been most informative and enjoyable to read.

Anonymous said...

@Mark Mercer you don't need receipts from dentist and doctor visits. They will provide records when the time comes. Also, read more carefully: your Tienda Inglesa and Targeta Más points are WORTHLESS for this process.

Also, getting a passport takes about a half hour. An expedited option exists for getting an appointment sooner than a month or so out.