Arrest of a U.S. Citizen

Arrest or Detention of a U.S. Citizen

While traveling to or residing in Uruguay, U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of Uruguay. If arrested in Uruguay during their stay, U.S. citizens must comply with local legal proceedings, which can be very lengthy and different from those in the United States. In any case, it is important to declare U.S. citizenship for local authorities to notify the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible.

Once notified by Uruguayan authorities, U.S. Embassy consular staff will contact and/or visit a U.S. citizen while in detention. Consular staff will provide U.S. citizens with a list of local lawyers and a basic outline of the legal system in Uruguay.

Consular Officer’s Role

One of the most important duties of the Department of State and Embassies is to assist citizens who have been detained or imprisoned abroad. Consular Officers cannot provide legal advice or counsel, or intervene in a legal proceeding.

Consular Officers may offer detainees the following services:

  • Visit detainees at the detention facility.
  • Communicate with relatives and/or friends and request financial or other type of aid at the explicit request of the detainee pursuant to the Privacy Act.
  • Make sure the detainee is treated fairly and humanely.
  • Request a loan from the U.S. Government for medical care and food if the local government cannot offer these services to the prisoner.