How to get an Uruguayan Visa in Rio de Janeiro (Philippine Passport Holders)
My friends were like, “What?! You need a visa for Uruguay?!” I know right. I am back in the game — the game of chasing visas and this is one of the reasons for my recent travel burnout. After successfully paving the South American continent by land, ending in Brazil, I honestly didn’t have any idea where to go next.
Geographically, what would make sense is Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina and in these three countries, I need to obtain a visa to be able to enter. So far, Uruguay was the easiest to get through so I put it in first priority. I heard fantastic stories about the country and it’s the less-traveled side of South America. So, why not? There’s no rush, right?
Uruguay Visa for Filipinos requirements
First, it seemed easy because they are only asking for three things:
- A 3×4 or 4×4 photo
- Hotel reservation confirmation
- Visa payment of R$93 (U$D39.99)
They didn’t even ask for my passport. After submitting these requirements, they made a file on their database, had me sign it, and asked me to come back after 30 days to stamp my passport with the visa.
Since they asked me to come back after 30 days, I figured I still have time to do other stuff so I volunteered in Santa Teresa for two weeks. I love Rio de Janeiro but I feel like I needed to do something different just to overcome the travel burnout.
And so, I came back after 30 days — fresh, energized and ready for a new adventure just to find out that the visa hasn’t been approved yet. I have already arranged my volunteering schedule in Uruguay and my host family have prepared everything for my arrival. I also got accepted in a 2-week teaching program in Montevideo which unfortunately got cancelled because I couldn’t make it on time. Was this my fault? No.
When you’re applying for a visa in Uruguay, the hostel that you made reservations with has to get in touch with the consulate and confirm your reservation. Unfortunately, mine didn’t. Right then and there, on that 30th day, I contacted the Couchsurfing community in Montevideo and asked for help. They immediately called my hostel and luckily, they responded to the consulate’s request right away. They also sent me a very apologetic e-mail so I let it pass. The consulate told me that I need to wait another week for the visa to be approved.
Another week? Can I still take this? I mean, can I still afford to stay in Brazil? It’s getting really expensive to live in Rio de Janeiro and I have no idea how the hell I am surviving. Okay, one more week it is.
9+1 =10; 8+2 = 10; 6+4 = 10; and so on. There’s a lot of equations that lead us to answer the sum of 10. Meaning, there are a lot of options I can consider in continuing my travel in South America.
I gave an ultimatum: “If the visa doesn’t arrive in a week, I will go back to Peru and just enjoy my life there. After all, the people I call family live there.” So, I contacted everyone in Peru, ignored the plans to go to Uruguay, and started budgeting for my route. I had to do the Brazil-Bolivia and Bolivia-Peru route again but who cares! I need to get out of here even if it will take me 5 days to get to Cusco. It’s not that bad for I already did it once. But at the back of my head, I wish, maybe, just maybe, I can go somewhere new.
The 7th day came. Still no word from the consulate. Everything was set — I am going to Peru. I already booked a ticket to Sao Paulo that day and didn’t bother contacting the consulate of Uruguay in Rio de Janeiro. At 16:00, while I was packing my things, I received this e-mail:
What?! You can’t be serious! I am already leaving for Peru! I immediately took a bus and went to the consulate. It was 20 minutes away and I replied to the e-mail saying “please wait for me. I will be there in 20 minutes.” When I arrived, the doors were already closed. It was a Friday and you know what that means. My heart skipped a beat again. WTH!!! I rang and rang and rang their intercom until everything was quiet for three seconds. The doors opened! Oh my God, this lady is scaring me! She got my passport, stamped it, and just like that, I was good to go.
I had enough stress for that day but I took the bus back at my friend’s house smiling and just being grateful. I wanted to shout “Thank You, Universe!” but I shouted in my mind instead. It is true — the Universe was never ever kidding.
Today, I am in Foz de Iguazu, Brazil and slowly crawling my way to Uruguay. I will arrive there on Saturday for my birthday! You can see real-time updates on my Facebook page. ?