Getting a vehicle through customs and out of port in Montevideo, Uruguay

If it’s before 5pm you can go back to the Buquebus entrance, right past the door of customs (where you went before), and ask to be let in to go to the “Salón de Pasajeros” of the Buquebus building.

You have to go to the entrance with the turnstile gate, where it might get a bit tricky. All locals need an “Orden de Trabajo” or some other identification to get past this point. You can only get the “Orden de Trabajo” after you have been to the “Salón de Pasajeros”! I could not convince the person at the entrance and hence was sent in circles several times, which probably added 8 kilometers of extra walking and 2 wasted hours to my endeavour). I also read somewhere, that you can apply in advance (in writing) to get an entry permit for port, but I have no contact details for this.

Your reason to go to the “Salón de Pasajeros” is that you need a seven digit “Numero de Viaje” to proceed. The process here differs significantly from what’s familiar to locals (and the security guards), because locals get this number from customs in the main building, (then their “Orden de Trabajo” in the main ANP right after they have paid), whereas tourists like you and me get it from a customs officer in the Buquebus terminal.

customs offices inside Buquebus

customs offices inside Buquebus

The office issuing the number in the Buquebus terminal is behind immigration within the duty free zone, but this area is more or less securely locked and difficult to get into. There are more customs offices on the top floor of the “Salón de Pasajeros”; to find them head from the entrance to the corner diagonally to the right, next to last little glass box shop. Hidden in the corner is a small white door with a bell (timbre), which you have to ring. Ask for assistance, and if the guy issuing the “Numero de Viaje” isn’t away for lunch (as happened to me) somebody will call him or take you to his office. In my case this customs officer, although well into his late 50s or early 60s, didn’t know the process either and wanted to send me back to main customs, so I had to remain insistent until he called somebody for help, who then had to guide him on the phone through all steps – my luck!

office issuing Orden de Trabajo

ANP office issuing Orden de Trabajo

Important hint: if you happen to deal with anybody fairly competent along the way, be it at the transport companies involved, at customs, or at ANP, get their name and phone number! I had a whole list of phone numbers in the end, and whenever I was stuck I made the person in front of me ring the relevant contact number I had. This helped several times… I also used an official customs officer during several steps, who wasn’t on counter duty (I met him by going into the wrong door), but spoke good English, assisting me with finer details; I asked all these people for their phone numbers too.

With the “Numero de Viaje” secured you’re almost done! From here onwards it gets easier. You walk for several blocks westwards (or inland) through the port, between rows of containers on your left, some storage units on the right, and lots of smelly trucks in between, until you reach a 3 storey dirty beige building with a row of trees in front. Next to this building is a round red brick tower with the ANP emblem on top (though: this is facing the main road). Enter through the main door and walk up two flights of stairs to enter the office 206 on the east side of the building. Here somebody will finally issue your “Orden de Trabajo”, which you’ve been asked for several times before. But this person can only do so with a valid “Numero de Viaje”.

Got everything?! Good! You can finally go and retrieve your vehicle from the storage depot. In my case this was ATM, who were another 4 (or so) kilometers down the port towards the west. I walked outside the port, always following the wall until I reached the next main entrance gate, opposite the shiny glass high-rise, which looks a bit like a sail (free trade zone). After Dubai it seems that now every port needs a building like this… Walking through port would have been shorter (as I found out later), but a zigzag between truck traffic. ATM is on a dirt lot straight down the entrance road, a bit to the right from this port entrance.

The ATM office is in a yellow painted shipping container. If you’re lucky like me they check all papers and say “perfecto”, you receive your keys and go to your vehicle. This might be a good time to check for obvious damage, and scrutinise all locks for signs of attempted break-ins.

our truck in port storage yard

our truck in port storage yard

Finally you’re sitting behind the wheel, key in the ignition, and the last tension “will she start?”
Happily you rev the engine and roll slowly eastwards, because there’s still one more step to complete. You have to go back to the Buquebus terminal, drive into the gated parking lot and park at the back of the building. Find a customs officer, in my case the same one as previously, and have your “Salida Temporia de Vehiculos” filled in. This is the same document you will normally receive when entering via any land border, and you need to guard this as well as your passport! With this paper you are permitted to leave the vehicle in the country for 12 months. In my case it was a quick affair, no check of the vehicle, only a transfer of numbers (cross check, if everything is okay), and then they wished me a good journey.

I had heard that some people were required to leave port via one of the large vehicle scales, I asked if this was the case and was told only rarely, so I was allowed to drive out through the main Buquebus entrance and join the traffic of Montevideo on Rambla 25 do Agosto.

Appendix: the next day I met some travellers from Berlin, who had arrived as passengers with their camper on the same ship. For them the process was easy-peasy: drive your own camper off the ship, hand your documents to an agent (no extra charge), receive your “Salida Temporia de Vehiculos”, and within less than 2 hours you can drive out of port. Most importantly: no landing charges, no fees to Uruguayan port authority, no running around. The monetary savings easily equals the price of a passenger voyage for one person from Europe to Uruguay!

Do you have any questions? Or what was your experience to get your travel vehicle released from the port?
Please use the ‘Comments’ below to let us know!

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Disclaimer: this information is current as of May 2014 and for RoRo-shipped (Roll on – Roll off) vehicles only. I read several times that to retrieve container shipped vehicles you need to hire an agent (agent fees seem to vary from $350-600). I cannot guarantee that proceedings will not change again in the near future. Also keep in mind: you might have to deal with different shipping companies, in which case all address related information regarding shipping and storage companies might be different too.

Several readers recommend Eduardo Kessler as custom agent for clearing containers; you can engage his services for RoRo landed vehicles too!
Eduardo Kessler
Piedras 509 of. 106
Montevideo

 
UPDATE February 2016

Angelo Magrino, one of our readers, sent us several small updates. Thank you!
All information as copied from his comments:

The “Certificado de Llegada” now costs 178 pesos, to be paid cash. You must have the Uruguayans pesos in your pocket and the address is still the same: Direccion Nacional de Migracion, Misiones 1513. I went at 11:30 and in 30 minutes I did everything.

The new address of the KMA, agent of Grimaldi, where you have to pay the “Descarga” (for my Defender it was 599 usa dollars cash) and hand over the 5 copies of the BoL is as follows:
25 de Mayo 713, Piso 9
Montevideo,
Tel: +598 2909 1412.
Upon the receipt of the 599 usd is written where your vehicle is parked (but I saw that all the vehicles arrived and those departing were in the same parking lot) in my case: UTILAJE DEP. 23 and their offices are in a double 40″ yellow container.

Not sure if the fee payable to the Administracion Nacional de Puertos in Rambla 25 de Agosto No. 160 (a few hundred meters from Aduana) depends on the weight and value of the vehicle. Entering the large hall you have to go to the last office on the far right. Here they told me to write the value in US dollars of my vehicle and put my signature. I wrote 10,000 dollars, but nobody asked me the weight and no one wanted to see the documents of my vehicle. Another overlander, with a different car than mine, declared $ 7,500 and paid the same: $ 426 cash . There is no written my name or the license plate of my vehicle on the two receipts of $ 426. Here I’m talking about cars, not trucks or camping cars.

Juergen

webmaster, main photographer & driver, second cook and only husband at dare2go.com. Freelance web designer with nearly 20 years of experience at webbeetle.com.au

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49 Responses

  1. Ivo says:

    Hi! I’m shipping my car from uk to Uruguay, do you know how they calculate the fees? My car it’s a mini MPV not a campervan or a 4×4 and I purchase for £360 so I guess it will be very cheap on arrival. I hope as I’m running on a short budget…

    • Juergen says:

      Hi, there! I your case you should seriously look into shipping in a SHARED 40-foot container (= 2 cars in one container, possibly plus 1-2 motorbikes)! Landing charges for 40-foot are almost identical to 20-foot containers, and always lower than RoRo (roll on – roll off). Sometimes there are people sharing containers through forums or this Facebook group. Otherwise a shipping agent might be of help too. And remember to set the value of your car very low in all paper work! Happy journey.

  2. Flavio says:

    hola los dos. thank you for the helpful instruction to get the vehicle out of the port of montevideo.
    I`ll ship my campingbus in october 2014 and the estimated arrival date is friday the 21. november 2014. is the port on saturday and sunday open or are the offices only from monday to friday open? then it would make sense to arrive on the weekend in montevideo and start the procedure after the weekend.
    cheers

    • Juergen says:

      All offices in Montevideo have “normal opening hours”, which means they are closed on weekends!
      One other warning: don’t believe the estimated time of arrival; the Grande Benin, where our truck was on, was delayed by over 10 days! The first delay happened in Brazil (3 days), and then the vessel came very slowly South, finally anchoring for several days just outside Montevideo in a holding location. Reason was that the Zarate dock was full, hence next I was able to watch online as the ship went upriver the Parana to unload in Argentina. Only after that it arrived to dock in Montevideo. To follow the voyage use http://www.marinetraffic.com/

  3. Rebecca Todd says:

    Hi Juegen,
    We’re finally in MV waiting for our ship and van to arrive, hopefully at the weekend, and I’ve been reviewing your helpful blog. Could I ask, did you buy local Mercosur insurance from an agent in MV? We’re on a mission to get insurance sorted out while we wait (and go to Spanish school in the mornings!)
    It would be great to meet up on the road somewhere – I noticed you’re also a member of the Silk Route Network. We’re newbies to the overland game – although I did a transafrica truck trip when I was a student 20plus years ago, it’s not quite the same as doing it yourself!
    Many thanks for sharing some of your experience!
    Rebecca

    • Juergen says:

      Hello, you two! Sorry for my late reply, I was offline for over 24 hours…

      First of all please let me explain that, as far as I understand, my explanation about retrieving a vehicle from port only applies to RoRo-shipped vehicles; for container shipped vehicles you need to use an agent (from all I have read on various forums).
      For insurance in Montevideo I unfortunately don’t have an address, I was counting on getting mine in Buenos Aires from Speiser Seguros (which didn’t work out, long drama story I won’t bore you with…). His policies are from Allianz, so if you can find an Allianz office/agent in Montevideo you should be a step further. Some travellers report as well, that they were able to get coverage from Mapfre . I got mine finally through a friend in Jujuy/AR.
      Please note: it seems all insurances need at least 10-14 days to issue final policy! My friend Alberto simply emailed mine once he had it.
      Yes, it would be great to meet up along the way. Mostly you can find our current location on our Facebook-Page , and we try to keep the right sidebar of our blog updated. Happy travels!

  4. Mitchell says:

    Do you know the process of buying a car outside of Uruguay and importing into Uruguay?

    • Juergen says:

      No, sorry, I don’t. In general I know that (almost) all countries in South America have relatively tight restrictions on importing any used vehicle; Paraguay is probably the most lenient. If you’re talking about buying another traveller’s vehicle: most people drive these on the previous owner’s registration with an authorisation set up through a notary.

  5. Kajetan says:

    Hello Juergen,

    first of all I would like to thank you for this great website and the manual how to get vehicles out of customs in Montevideo. Today we released our car and it was actually pretty easy with this manual.

    My impression today was that authorities in Montevideo are used to this process now, so everything went really fast and even all people could tell you what to next. As you said, with some basic Spanish it is not a problem to release the car and all people are really helpful. So it took us less than one day for the whole process – although customs could not use their computers for two hours due to technical reasons which brought some delay for us.

    Thank you and travel safely!

    • Juergen says:

      Blush! Thank you for the praise. My Spanish was rather ‘rusty’ at that point, I hadn’t spoken a word in close to 5 years.

  6. Wim Klaassen says:

    Dear Juergen,
    Your information is great! Thanks a lot. We will be shipping our VW camper (in container) to Montevideo and will be travelling most countries in South America. We are not sure whether we need for some/none a Carnet de Passage et Douane. Do you have any information about it?

    Wim

    • Juergen says:

      Hi, Wim! Please note: as far as I know for container arrival in Montevideo you need to engage a custom agent to get it out of port. You certainly do NOT need a Carnet de Passage for any country in Latin America; save yourself the hassle and expense!

  7. Wim Klaassen says:

    Dear Juergen, we will ship our VW Camper to Montevideo in the weeks to come! It will be in a 20ft container en we would need a Clearing and Forwarding Agent. Would you know, or another traveller in your network, have experience with a reliable Agent or have heard of an Agent which performed well?

    Wim

    • Juergen says:

      Sorry but I can’t help with that. Though: I recall that there was a discussion on the PanAmerican Travelers Association group on Facebook (you have to be a member – I recommend this anyhow!) quite some time ago, where people recommended custom agents in Montevideo. ‘Group Search’ on Facebook is less than perfect, but I guess if you only enter “Montevideo” you will find it eventually…

  8. jan says:

    hi, i would like to ship my camper from europe to montevido. could you please sent mi some contact where or with who did you deal?who can i contact?
    thank you
    jan

  9. Wim klaassen says:

    Dear Jan,

    We are just now awaiting our VW Camper to arrive in Montevideo. Our clearing agent is Eduardo Kessler, . His office is in Piedras 509 of. 106, Montevideo

    The vessel has not yet arrived, it delayed because of a strike in the Montevideo port. Eduardo has been very attentive and nice to communicate with. Up till now are our experiences positive about him/his company.

    Wim

  10. Angelo Magrino says:

    Hello Juergen, many thanks for the manual how to get vehicles out of customs in Montevideo. I will ship my L. Rover Defender on RoRo Grimandi from Antwerpen. You think is the safe way? Use a container cost about 2.300 euro and for clearing in Montevideo around 2.400 euro. Ship the car on the RoRo cost 1.750 euro ( big van to 25 cum ) and about 900 usd in Montevideo. People said that in Dakar port your car can be “open” by somebody! Of course my car will be prepared for that and no stuff on the front seats area. About seabridge, when I asked to them a quotation they said that my car should be a “camping car” and completely empty, no personal belongings! Very strange.
    Good luck, Angelo.

    • Juergen says:

      Hi, Angelo. Sorry for taking so long to reply. We’re currently in Argentina and internet access seems to be always a “challenge” here.
      To your concerns: for legal reasons, shipping agents will always tell you that your vehicle has to be empty, because no insurance will cover loss from inside.
      The real world: it all depends on the individual vessel and captain of it! Some captains are running “a tight ship”, put extra fencing around travellers’ vehicles or store them on a deck which remains safely locked during unloading in Africa, others seem to care less. On many occasions people travelling with their vehicles stand guard during the unloading in African ports; sometimes captains don’t allow passengers in the vault whilst in harbour.
      I would certainly not leave any valuables in the vehicle. A temporary installed secure divider wall between front seats and rear of your vehicle might help to deter a quick grab for your possessions in the back section. In this case you have to make sure that your front door keys don’t open the rear doors as keys remain in ignition; maybe install a second set of locks on all doors.
      I hope this helps. Best of luck!
      Juergen

  11. Adriaan Krabbendam says:

    Thank you for your very detailed (and humorous) description!
    Our Landcruiser is due to arrive in the second week of octobre in Montevideo. As it is sealed in a container, we probably need an agent. Again, thanx a lot.

    • Juergen says:

      Thank You! I suggest to use Eduardo Kessler [address link] as a customs agent; everybody recommends him as efficient and not expensive.

    • Jeff Yaeger says:

      Any update on how the shipping went? What differences were there by going via container? Where did you get your MERCOSUR insurance in UY?

      Thank you

      I’m shipping into Montevideo in Dec 2015

      • Juergen says:

        Hi, Jeff. Our truck doesn’t fit into a container, so that’s no option. For a recommended agent to process a container arriving in Montevideo please see the previous comments, where I passed on the recommendation of Kessler (?name? – with contact details). Unfortunately for insurance I have no recommendation, I initially went through Roby Speiser in Bs.As. Good luck with everything.

  12. Adriaan Krabbendam says:

    I know. I have contacted him.

  13. Wim klaassen says:

    Hi Jurgen and Jeff!

    Eduardo Kessler did clear our VW Camper from Montevideo customs! I would like to profoundly recommend him: despite of a strike in the port he managed to get it out in 1,5 days!!, has been very communicative and pleasant to work with and his fee is very reasonable! His email:
    Wim

    • Juergen says:

      One more report to recommend Eduardo Kessler for custom clearances in Montevideo!
      [Please find his contact details in one of the comments above!]
      Thanks for that!

  14. Frank says:

    In terms of the above comment “Most importantly: no landing charges, no fees to Uruguayan port authority, no running around” in the case where the RoRo is accopanied by a passenger; does anyone have confirmation that this is still the case? As the Seabridge website says “In addition, in South America a high fee (minimum $ 900) is charged and must be paid locally.”
    Grateful if anyone has any recent experience.

    • Juergen says:

      Frank, to your comment/question: as far as I knew for Montevideo this has always been true. No additional landing charges! You only have to fill in one paper, wait an hour or so, and then you receive your temporary import permit and can drive off the ship and out of the port. That’s it! I didn’t reply earlier because I knew that yesterday we would meet up with Germans (wu-tour.de) who only came off the second last Grimaldi boat which arrived a little over 2 weeks ago in Montevideo; they confirmed this.

  15. Christian Erb says:

    Just make sure that when you ship the car to Montevideo that it is not IMO marked which means dangerous goods due to the inflammable of gasoline or the explosives in the airbag or the battery.
    Cost of liberating an IMO Container are 1500 Dollars more and in my case it was a big problem to get the car out of customs November 2016. Of course my shipping company in Hamburg said it s standard procedure every used car is considered as IMO but only Montevideo Port makes problems receiving an IMO Container which is considered dangerous and they store it separately from others. Just another way to rip you off!
    I finally got my money back from Hamburg Süd, but I had to pay in order getting my car out of port every additional day cost you more money. I waited nearly 3 months to get my money back.
    About insurance: don’t do it Uruguay do it in Argentina. It’s cheaper and in Argentina the car is insured for all neighboring country so you get insurance for Chile Paraguay Bolivia on top to Uruguay.

    • Juergen says:

      That’s something I didn’t even know about. Terrible story!
      Re. insurance: all countries here sell so-called MERCOSUR policies, which cover Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, and Bolivia (but apparently only the first 30 days in Bolivia). We got our last one in Chile from Magellanes (owned by the German HDI) – this was cheaper than any policy we bought previously in Argentina. Getting insurance in Uruguay can be a headache as most companies refuse foreigners, but there are some contacts listed on the Facebook PanAm group .

  16. Eric Doyle says:

    Hi! I tried to post earlier and I don’t think it worked, but apologies if I double post! We had to leave our beloved Mitsubishi Delica in Uruguay last autumn, after spending most of the year travelling around SA. We have to have it out of the country by mid-March, and are hoping to ship it roro to basically anywhere in the US. However, we are having a hard time finding any information about how long we will have to be in Uruguay to get everything sorted out! We were thinking of booking a two week trip, but are not sure if this will be long enough to get a place on a boat, etc. Do you have any information that could help us out? It is licensed in Canada, and is definitely old enough to be imported to the US, if either of these things is important! Thanks!! Your website is really great!

    • Juergen says:

      Eric, we got both of your questions… I will answer once – and unfortunately not much.
      I really don’t have much of an idea about RoRo-shipping to the USA. Grimaldi doesn’t go there, only Brazil, North-West Africa, and Europe. But don’t despair! Ask the question on the Facebook PanAm Group or other travelers who have recently shipped: Carpe Viam (the makers of iOverlander) or Heather & Scott. I’m sure they will know more. All I know: everybody ships from Zarate in Argentina to the USA, not from Montevideo. Good luck!

  17. Anna says:

    Hi, thanks a lot for the detailed information how to get the vehicle out of the port. we shipped our van last year and everything went fine. now its time to ship our van back. unfortunatelly the schedule of the ship changed, so the ship is now leaving one week later than our flight. Grimaldi doesn’t have any information on how long we can leave the van in the harbour or how much it will cost. Do you have any experience with the shipping from montevideo to hamburg?
    thanks a lot for your help, anna :)

    • Juergen says:

      Sorry, but I don’t! We’re still in South America, in Uruguay right now. Maybe contact the shipping agent, recommended in several comments (Eduardo Kessler), if he knows of a secure way to deal with your dilemma. Otherwise you might have to change flight dates… [I shouldn’t really say this here, it’s like rubbing salt into a wound, but you should always expect that ships leave later than scheduled. Hence give yourself some leeway with flight bookings…]

  18. Angelo says:

    The “Certificado de Llegada” now costs 178 pesos, to be paid cash. You must have the Uruguayans pesos in your pocket and the address is still the same: Direccion Nacional de Migracion, Misiones 1513. I went at 11:30 and in 30 minutes I did everything.

    The new address of the KMA, agent of Grimaldi, where you have to pay the “Descarga” (for my Defender was 599 usa dollars cash) and hand over the 5 copies of the BoL is as follows: 25 de Mayo 713, Piso 9 Montevideo, Tel: +598 2909 1412. Upon the receipt of the 599 usd is written where your vehicle is parked (but I saw that all the vehicles arrived and those departing were in the same parking lot) in my case: UTILAJE DEP. 23 and their offices are in a double 40″ yellow container.

    Not sure if the fee payable to the Administracion Nacional de Puertos in Rambla 25 de Agosto No. 160 (a few hundred meters from Aduana) depends on the weight and value of the vehicle. Entering the large hall you have to go to the last office on the far right. Here they told me to write the value in US dollars of my vehicle and put my signature. I wrote 10,000 dollars, but nobody asked me the weight and no one wanted to see the documents of my vehicle. Another overlander, with a different car than mine, declared $ 7,500 and paid the same: $ 426 cash . There is no written my name or the license plate of my vehicle on the two receipts of $ 426. Here I’m talking about cars, not trucks or camping cars.

    • Juergen says:

      Thank you so much for these lengthy updates, Angelo!

      I have merged all your comments into one and have added them to the bottom of the post! This way they should be easier to find for others who want to use this information.

      Angelo, if you’re still in Uruguay and would like to meet up (we will be here until mid March or so) please don’t hesitate and contact us. Right now we’re camping north of José Ignacio at Laguna Garzón – a lovely spot!

  19. Rikki and Mike says:

    What a great wealth of information, thank YOU for the time and effort put into this. At the end of the year or start of next we are interested in having our 40′ Fifth Wheel shipped over and are wondering if that is even possible, obviously with all the fixings inside, posts pans, blankets, couch, tv, etc … we’d like to spend time looking for property and traveling and would love to have our house on wheels with us so that we don’t have to buy everything again whilst we are there for an extended stay… Thank you for your time again and if you can not answer this it is understandable …I hope you are enjoying the wonderful March perfection !!

    • Juergen says:

      I can only assume: when my Grimaldi vessel arrived they also unloaded a huge camping trailer. And if people go traveling it’s rather normal that they carry all equipment inside the RV. The other thing I read only recently is that immigration laws in Uruguay are fairly lax as they want more people. So if you think about settling here you should apply early! That article mentioned that you receive your ‘cedular’ (Uruguayan ID card) at the time of application, not at the time of approval. And the article also mentioned that you can bring in all personal possession tax free; that people prefer to buy furniture cheaper in their home country and ship it, rather than to rely on the local market. So do your research ahead of time. My final observation: cost of living is high in Uruguay, but the people are lovely and relaxed. And remember: local electricity is 240 Volt/50Hz, in the US you have 110 Volt/60Hz!

  20. Anne Finch says:

    Really appreciate your effort in giving all this information.
    We are travelling from Australia to Montevideo and have many comments by agents that it is so expensive to ship without a carnet??
    Are one of the charges a temporary import Permit related to the value of the vehicle? Would they check if we grossly undervalued it?
    Do you see many Aussie/Kiwi overlanders?
    Shipping by 40′ container in July so a lot to organise.
    Thanks so much

    • Juergen says:

      Hi, Anne!
      1.: our article is for RoRo shipped vehicles only! To clear a container shipped vehicle you will need an agent (recommendation, Eduardo Kessler, mentioned several times in the post).
      2.: as I mentioned I reduced the value of our truck to an unrealistic sum (I actually changed the figure on the form in the presence of the port officer) because it saved me money. I don’t think people will check much…
      3.: if you are only planning the Americas, eg Patagonia to Alaska, you do not need a Carnet de Passage! It might realistically complicate things since many custom officers don’t know what to do with it. So save yourself the expense, particularly in Australia where they are outrageously expensive.
      4.: we haven’t met many Aussies. Germans, French, some Dutch, some others – no Aussies I recall… Flighlesskiwis are the only ones I know of right now.

  21. Dieter says:

    Hi Juergen, we have arrived in Montevideo, awaiting our vehicles to be cleared which we shipped in a 40ft container from South Africa. We have shipped on a carnet – just because it makes it easier to ship from South Africa and later back -not because it is needed here. We have taken out vehicle insurance via Clements in the USA. The insurance that is discussed in your blog for Mercosur, is that a compulsory type for these countries which we should take out in addition? I do not see any reference to anybody having worried driving out of Montevideo port because of any insurance.

    • Juergen says:

      I didn’t have any issue driving out of Montevideo’s port without any insurance. At the time I was prepared to insure with Speiser in Buenos Aires. The trouble started when I rolled off the Buquebus ferry, coming from Colonia del Sacramento into Buenos Aires: customs didn’t let me enter without a Mercosur insurance! First they insisted on sending me back (nightmare idea: I arrive on the next ship back in Uruguay, first question will be “Why are you back so soon?”). I finally convinced them that I had the best intention to buy a policy the next morning in Bs.As.. So we agreed on a lock-down of the vehicle in the terminal, which is Buquebus property and was costing me some 80 Pesos for the night). But I couldn’t sleep in the truck and had to find a hotel on short notice – in the middle of night. I heard of similar checks on other borders into Argentina. The next day, with a cover note from Speiser, I could retrieve the truck. [A story I only published on Facebook at the time.]
      So: if your insurance is covering you for Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil (the Mercosur states) = all well! Otherwise try to get it beforehand.

  22. Matthew says:

    Hi Juergen, i want to ship my car to Uruguay too, I am from USA and i worry about the license plate, can we drive a car with a plate from Colorado, in my exemple? Do you had issues about your car? you kept the key with you or you have to leave it with them? My car is a VW GTI 2010, I wanna go to Brazil after visit Uruguay and Argentina, is that ok too? Thank you!!

    • Juergen says:

      No problems with your plates as long as you have all your documents. Yes, you’ll have to leave your key. In our case no issue since the living quarters and storage are totally separated from the driver’s cab and have different locks; otherwise it’s really not a good idea to leave anything in the vehicle! I had a few small things of no value in the driver’s cab, like a ballpoint pen, a large cardboard piece to cover the windshield, a weak rubber strap – all gone when I received the truck! Go to Brazil, we loved it (we just spent half a year there)! I’ll have a post up soon encouraging overlanders to spend more time in Brazil…

  23. Simon says:

    Hello Juergen,
    thank you a lot for preparing all the information in a very suitable way. In January 2017, I took my car according to your explanations out of the harbour of Montevideo without having an agent. I paid not more than 100 USD, because I reduced the value of my car to not more than 3000 USD. Another German stated his car with only 2500 USD and had to pay only 40 USD.
    Some little details have changed, but I think they are more or less the way you described. It is a very good explanations to get the car outside of the harbour.
    Saludos Simon

    • Juergen says:

      Thank you, Simon, for the confirmation that most of my post is still correct and current.
      Enjoy your trip through South America!

      Greetings from Peru!

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