Uruguayan citizenship law is based on a mixture of ius sanguinis and ius soli and has been largely shaped by its nature as a country of immigrants. Currently, an individual may acquire Uruguayan citizenship if born in Uruguay, regardless of the parents’ nationality or citizenship status. Citizenship may also be acquired by means of descent, if born outside Uruguay to a Uruguayan natural citizen up to the second degree of consanguinity. In order to do so, however, such a person must acquire domicile in Uruguay. Either of these forms are referred to in the Uruguayan Constitution as “Natural Citizenship”.
It is also possible to acquire Uruguayan citizenship by law, for which applicants must meet the following qualifications: good character; own a business or practice any profession in the country; and show proof of lawful residence in Uruguay for at least five years, or three years if the applicant has family established in the country. Although it is not quite common, one may also acquire Uruguayan citizenship by a gracious concession of the Uruguayan General Assembly, if a person serves the country significantly or demonstrates any outstanding merit. When someone fulfils any of the aforementioned conditions, such a person may acquire “Legal Citizenship”.
It is allowed for both natural and legal citizens to hold a dual or even multiple citizenships. Thus, foreign nationals who acquire a Uruguayan Legal Citizenship are not required to renounce their original nationality, whereas natural citizens are not required to register or justify their dual or multiple citizenship status.
However, if a Uruguayan legal citizen moves to another country, such a person would lose the acquired legal citizenship and all rights derived therein. Although natural citizens would not lose their citizenship should they move to another country, they do lose all derivative rights, which may be retrieved upon returning to Uruguay.