Moving to Uruguay? Bring This, Not that. . .

Guest Post by Scott Lilly

So you’ve decided to move to Uruguay. You have a residency helper, your paperwork is all ready to go, and you’ve put your house up for sale or given notice that you’re moving out of your apartment.

Now, as you look around your home, you’re wondering what to take with you, and what to leave.

Personal items

In general, clothes available in Uruguay are not very sturdy. You can get the well known name brands, but they are expensive. I’d especially recommend you bring good shoes with you. The pair I bought in Uruguay had a hole in the sole within a month or two.

What you shouldn’t bring are leather items, like jackets. As a big cattle country, leather products are easily available at reasonable prices in Uruguay. If you want more fashionable clothes, you can always take an inexpensive ride to Buenos Aires on the Buquebus ferry, and get the latest styles at good prices.

For the women, pick up a little bit extra of your favorite makeup. It might take you a while to find something comparable.

Computer and electronics

Electronics are very expensive in Uruguay. You have the choice of either getting low-quality items, or paying very high prices for high-quality electronics. You’ll really notice the 60% import duty when you price computers and cell phones.

If you’re bringing your computer, get everything you think you’ll ever need for it and bring all of that with you. Before you leave for Uruguay, upgrade your memory, get an external hard drive (or two) for backups, and pick up a few USB thumb drives. If you think you might want an ebook reader, like a Kindle or Nook, get it now.

While you’re at it, get a good unlocked quad-band cell phone. You’re supposed to declare it with Customs when you bring it in. If you forget to do that, you may have trouble getting a SIM card with Antel, the government-run phone service. However, you can get service from Claro or Movistar (the competing cell phone services in Uruguay) without any problems.

Pick up the latest digital camera and a few extra memory cards before you leave. If you plan on driving, you might want to get a good GPS unit too.

Food and kitchen

The food in Uruguay is very good, but there isn’t much variety. Many of the items you’re used to from home, just aren’t available, or are very difficult to find.

Some things that many expats in Uruguay mention missing are; Peanut butter, Hot sauce, Asian spices and sauces, and cranberries (dried, so you can get them through Customs).

If you’re a home chef, bring your own pots and pans. Most of what you find in Uruguay is thin and cheap. Bring your good knives and other kitchen tools with you too.

Vitamins

Vitamins are almost treated like medicine in Uruguay. If you run out and ask a friend from back home to mail you vitamins or other supplements, your package may be stopped by Customs and you might be told that you need a prescription to import them.

Household items

If you’re applying for permanent residency, you can bring in a container of household items and not pay any duty for it.

Appliances need to be 220 volts, and 50 hz. If you try to use a transformer with 120V/60hz equipment, it will probably wear out faster than normal. You also need to worry about the different plugs. There are four “standard” types of outlets in Uruguay, and who knows what combination you’ll have in your home in Uruguay.

For those who love high thread count sheets, along with down comforters and pillows, bring a couple sets with you.

Miscellaneous

Bring a few of the latest hot novels with you. Even if you have a Kindle, it’s nice to have a paperback book to take with you to the beach. You’ll also be able to find a home for it with other expats looking for something to read in English.

What else?

If you forget anything, don’t worry. You’ll be able to find something in Uruguay that will work, at least temporarily. Buenos Aires is right next door, in case you need to do more serious shopping.

Also, once you get to Uruguay, you’ll probably meet other expats and start to develop an informal network of people who will bring something back from their trips home.

When Scott Lilly arrived in Uruguay, he had to visit the ATM 214 times (no, that’s not a typo) because he didn’t plan ahead properly. He wants to help you avoid the mistakes he made! He has a website where he provides tips to help yo plan your move to Uruguay.

Comments

  1. wow, 214 trips to the atm?! that’s crazy. thanks for the head’s up. i’d definitely bring some book and high thread count sheets with me were i to move to uruguay.

    • Those daily ATM trips were painful.

      Once you get overseas, the small annoyances that never get resolved (like uncomfortable sheets or cheap shoes) are the ones that start to wear on you. I think that’s how the “honeymoon” period ends. At a certain point, you just reach your limit and start to become terminally grumpy.

      If you can avoid as many of those problems as possible, it will take a little stress off you and let you focus on the more important things like learning the language and culture.

    • Mack, there ´s a store called “Home Goods” that sells the best sheets you can afford in the USA, egyptian cotton. The prices are only a little higher, it´s not worth to carry them from the USA. As for books, if you own a Kindle you can download wirelessly from amazon as I do. Otherwise “Jenny” bookstore has a whole section on the newest books in english. You don´t need to carry a whole library with you. uruguay is a civilized country and you won´t be disappointed. Good luck!

      • Raymond Quiachon says:

        Hola Karin:
        Saludos desde USA. He viajado Centro America extensivamente y ya hace varios anos que decidi vivir fuera de Los Estados Unidos. Uruguay ha sido unos de los paises que he investigado. De hecho pienso ir en Mayo 2014 y alquilar por seis meses para orientarme del pais. Soy retirado con pension y seguro social la cual me obsequia un ingreso comodo. Lei los blogs y otras redes sociales. Me impresionaste con tu franquesa y tambien Amy Gilmartin. Mi idea al llegar es quedarme con una persona o familia de Couch Surfing o Family Interchange hasta que encuentre apartamento. Se que tendre que sutirlo pero no me molesta ya que vivi en Mexico y Gustemala y eso tambien es el Mondi de Operandi. Si sabes de familias o organizacion que auspicia quedare muy agradecido. Cualquier otra informacion que puedas brindar y me sea de beneficio tambien te lo agradesco.
        Espero tu repuesta ansiosamente.
        Ray

  2. Wow, Uruguay sounds a bit like the Wild West still!

    • The big problems in Uruguay are that they don’t manufacture much (most of their industry is agricultural) and that they have very high import taxes. It also seems like most Uruguayans would rather buy cheap items, even if they have to be replaced more often. So high quality goods are very expensive, if you’re able to find them.

      But if you have the money to spend, you can live very nicely (and modernly) in Punta del Este, or some of the newer buildings in the pricier neighborhoods of Montevideo. Of course, if you’re willing to adapt to the local goods and habits, you can live in Uruguay for less (although, Uruguay isn’t cheap). You just need to be willing to give up some of the things you may have grown accustomed to having in your home country.

    • Lynne, fortunately it is not like that – Uruguay it is a wonderful country, civilized and safe. There is not even the dreaded mosquito plague that carries Dengue fever and that sometimes makes it appearance in Paraguay where Scott is living now! :) And you do get most everything here – dried cranberries excluded! But the Expat group from Piriapolis is organizing a “cranberry crusade” asking our friends and relatives in the USA to send us the prized berries to make a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner to share, complete with cranberry relish…. so even this we shall have this year! Cheers!

  3. I have a friend who is thinking of retiring in Uruguay and I shall send this article to her.
    I lived the expat life in Belize, so I enjoy these expat articles.

  4. Actually from what I understand it’s a very civilized, safe country with a high literacy rate. But they do raise a lot of cattle there. :-)

    • yes it is very civilized! And there are lots of options to eat out, to dress, and to have a life almost identical to the USA. The only thing: it´s difficult to get dried cranberries. And electronics are indeed expensive! :)

  5. I’m a serial expat now living in Moldova and we’ve been thinking of checking out Uruguay for a more permanent perch.

    I have a Nook here and love it, but be aware that with a Nook you cannot upload new books from just any country because of international license agreements. The people who sell you the Nook at Best Buy and other places do/may not know or understand this. At least in my case that was so.

  6. Hi Scott,
    good to hear from you again! But I am sorry I have to disagree on a few things though. Firstly, regarding restaurants and food, the choice here is immense. I wrote myself an article on the Paradiseuruguay blog on going out to eat in Montevideo and I listed all kinds of restaurants, from Mexican to Indian, from French to Nouvelle Cuisine. It is just a matter of choice. Also there is bad quality but also excellent clothing here, the same as in Buenos Aires or the USA. Many international brands, like Zara, Levi´s, etc. sell at every mall. As for houseware items, there are all qualities in all pice ranges, just like in the USA. I agree electronics are very expensive, and it is wise to bring them from abroad. But if you forget anything, you will be able to get it at Rondeau street, though the prices will indeed be steep. Montevideo is a vibrant and energetic city, you just need to go out and look for the places. Maybe it´s because yu only stayed six months here and you moved mostly in the expat group that you couldn´t experiment the city in its fullness. Best regards from Montevideo!

    • Hi Karin, Thanks for sharing your Uruguay knowledge as well. How long have you been there?

      • I´ve been living permanently in Montevideo now over a year… almost 14 months to be exact! But I am argentine so I have been travelling and spending my summer vacations in Punta del Este ever since I have memory, hahaha!!! I really like Future Expats articles but this one unfortunately does not reflect at all what Uruguay and living here really is – if you are interested I can give you some pointers especially as to what it is to really settle down here (not spending just a few months over here) and slowly becoming a local, moving also outside the expat community. I am also a contributing writer at paradiseuruguay.com if you would like to check it out. Cheers!

    • For expats who aren’t worried about a budget, you can certainly find many things in Uruguay. However, if you’re trying to keep your expenses down, you should consider bringing certain things from home. For instance, in the US you can buy a sturdy pair of Wrangler jeans for $15 from Target. In Uruguay, a pair of jeans made out of much thinner denim cost me 700 pesos (about $38, at today’s exchange rate).

      As far as the choice of restaurants, I guess that all depends on what you’re looking for. I only found two Korean restaurants in the ten months I lived in Montevideo. I found than that during my first month in Paraguay. In the States, I was used to driving a block and passing six restaurants of six different nationalities. That would be extremely rare in Uruguay.

      When considering any country, think about the things you do and buy on a regular basis. Then find out how much they’ll cost you there. Make a list and bring it with you if you take a scouting trip to the country. You might be pleasantly surprised, or you might be shocked – depending on the country and what you’re looking for.

      • Dear Scott, I suggest if you ever come back here you read first my articles on going out and eating out in Montevideo that you can find on paradiseuruguay.com so that this time you will convince yourself that there is indeed other places other than the now defunct Feligreta and Fellini´s, hahaha! :) About the jeans, I disagree – you only have to know where to go. There are excellent outlet stores in the Cordon area where the Wrangler´s will cost you even less than 15 dollars – sturdy and freshly imported from the USA. Contact me next time you´re here and I´ll give you the adresses. Hope you´re having a nice time in Paraguay and that this time you finally found a home that will last longer than 6 months. Cheers my friend!

      • Maurice says:

        Wow Scott, Thanks for the hundred dollar tip !
        When considering any country, think about the things you do and buy on a regular basis. Then find out how much they’ll cost you there. Make a list and bring it with you if you take a scouting trip to the country. You might be pleasantly surprised, or you might be shocked – depending on the country and what you’re looking for.
        :) Maurice

  7. Travekinbg Man says:

    I thought uruguay might be a good place to live but it is very third world and no one speaks English unless you plan to live in the capital at four star hotels. Everything is very expensive there- the old guidebooks and relocation services lie about that. There are a lot of third world inconveneinces and problems that most Americans would not tolerate well. The bloom is off this rose for me.

  8. How is the best way to get ones US Mail? Is there private mail companys?

    • Bo, I just saw this, hope you or others are still interesting. Mark Mercer from Uruguay Expat Life http://UruguayExpat.Info.

      Of course you can get US Mail delivered here via Correo Uruguayo, its Uruguayan equivalent and partner in the International Postal Union. Even Express Mail and Priority Mail.

      It’s about a dollar or so for an international airmail US stamp for a regular envelope, arrives in about 10 days. I get stuff from Florida that way, including my US ballot for the election – and a stupid amount of campaign mail the candidates sent me. Express mail, for about $38 US for a flat rate envelope, gets in Uruguay in about 3-5 business days. Priority mail is $16.95 for the Priority Mail flat-rate envelope, timing somewhere in between the regular and the Express. Might be the sweet spot on price. That is if you have people like family or friends at the address you use as your USA address pack it up and remail it to you.

      There are services like Miami-Box and MyUS that give you a street address (with a Suite number, as if you are a business or residence in a subdivided building), and then remail or express to Uruguay on regular schedules you can control. Obviously there are fees. They are handy for buying things in the USA, with their Florida addresses as your shipping address at Amazon or whomever and on your US plastic cards. But may vendors will ship to here for a fee that may be less. Under a recent law, individuals can get up to 5 packages a year duty free if the value of each is under $200 US. Maybe you can’t buy a laptop that way but you can buy a replacement battery. Plus under that same law “content” such as books, movies, music, is free of duty and doesn’t count against those five.

      Me, I buy local, often at the permanent and floating ferias, but also at the stores on the shopping streets, and at times like today, at the very “northern-like” shopping malls, like Costa Urbana Shopping, Montevideo Shopping, Portones Shopping. And at the hypermarket like Tienda Inglesa if I want that “weird cross of a Super Walmart and a Target” feeling. I have my daughter, whose address I use in the USA, do my mail triage, tell me about some stuff, scan others, and once a month send a Priority or Express Mail packet down here. But so far no US purchases through the mail. The November care package took care of getting my my replacement Visa Debit card for a US money market account with expiring cards.

      Sending things back? A regular mail stamp is about 37 pesos (not quite two dollars at current rates). Fedex is about 42 dollars. Uruguayans and some “professional expats” swear by DHL but since DHL has entirely pulled out of the USA, I consider it the worst way to send to or from the USA. since they then have to hand off to either the US Postal Service or to UPS at the first DHL international gateway airport. Longer time, lousier and pricier service.

      Summary: We get mail, have somebody trusted receive and send your mail if it’s just routine stuff. Otherwise, sign up with one of those forwarding companies like MyUS or Miami Box. For urgent stuff, use FedEx. Problem solved. Hope this helps people out!

      Thanks,
      Mark

  9. Can someone who has moved from the US to Uruguay speak to the process of actually moving your stuff? My husband is Mexican and while researching a possible move to Mexico we found it most practical to hire a multinational moving company to take everything you feel worthy of bringing from door to door. Uruguay is more than double the distance that we would be looking at if we moved to Mexico. How exactly does that work? Does it make more sense to leave most of what we have behind and start over, including furniture?

    • Carrie, Mark Mercer from Uruguay Expat Life UruguayExpat.Info here. Here’s my take on it; there are certainly others.

      Don´t pay a lot of attention to these “what to bring” lists. And don’t bring a lot. Uruguay is not a “third-world” country in terms of the stereotypes. Sure, we have dirt roads in the outskirts of my suburban Montevideo beachside resort town – and the state telephone monopoly is laying fiber-optic cable for ultra-highspeed internet along those roads! Yes, electronics are expensive compared to the USA, but remember that the price here includes all taxes. Depending on where you are in the USA you can easily have 10-12% combined city, county, state sales tax added. Yes a lot of the rest of the price increase is the IVA (the tax) and the underlying duty on imports. So what? That is what helps pay for the many excellent government services. That is what helps provide low cost universal healthcare. excellent education and a well-trained workforce with business-friendly growth opportunities. If you are moving here, and want to engage in the Uruguayan economy, perhaps one should consider supporting it.

      As others during the lifespan of this comment thread have posted, you can get just about anything here. There are thin pots and pans. There are also really good ones. It is a beef country, don’t you think we have really good kitchen knives here to cut the beef?

      You are in for an easy $10,000 US to send a container to Uruguay from the USA, before any in-Uruguay costs, once you truly factor in all the in-USA and packing costs, container delivery, drayage, longshoremen fees, all the rest – whether you bundle it all up or try to self-contract it. The author of the post, Scott, is totally wrong saying that “If you’re applying for permanent residency, you can bring in a container of household items and not pay any duty for it.”

      No. If you already HAVE final status as a permanent resident, they you can bring that in duty-free. If you are applying, even if you have your initial provisional cédula of national identity and are a “residente en trámite”, in processing, you have to pay a bond to customs for their valuation of your goods, and only when your residency is final, do you get it refunded with a bunch of paperwork. That final status can be well over a year, even though you can get your provisional status at your first appointment, a few months after your first walk-in visit to Migraciones. Or if you are like me and Lisa Marie who took the effort, you can get it the very same day as your walk-in visit months before your first appointment. But you still will be paying that bond.

      Do you really need to bring so much of your past life with you to Uruguay? Do you really need to hold yourself apart as an “expat” with “expat things” with the view that “Uruguay products are not what I want?” Do you have enough “stuff” that a container, the dollar cost, the hassle cost, the ecological cost of shipping all that is truly worth it?

      Take a bunch of suitcases. Pay some extra baggage charges. Pack them with CDs or DVDs if you have “content” you want to keep that isn’t digitized or in the “cloud”. Put in a few hardcopy books if that is how you have them, otherwise use your Kindle or Nook, and get a VPN/Proxy service so that your internet connection can appear to be back in the USA when you want to avoid the geoblocking of Google Books, Barnes & Noble, Hulu or NetFlix. Bring your good laptop computer. If you must, pack a really good desktop computer into a suitcase and buy an new monitor, or combo monitor/TV here.

      I have a great pair of Uruguayan shoes, nice leather, made here, approx US $75. Yes the $20 US Chinese ones aren’t as good. The US $15 “American Sport” running shoes are a great knockoff of much more expensive Asics, and probably are made in the same factory but without all the “intellectual property” fees.

      If you really want the container, a good mover or moving coordinator can put all that together. I do some work for a Boston-area independent moving coordinator who primarily sells boxes to the local trade. But he moved me with all arrangements from Boston to Colorado, and he could have moved me from Colorado to Uruguay. He did recently move someone, with a container and all, door to door from Beacon Hill in Boston, to Montevideo, Uruguay. Discountpacking.com, I can put you in touch with him.

      But really, think about if it is worth it. We have a friend who moved from Florida to Uruguay. Actually, back to Uruguay. She left in the 1970s and returned a couple of years ago. She brought a whole container, including her big US-style gas guzzling SUV. She told us that she wished she had not sent the container at all.

  10. I am going to Uruguay to live for over a year. I want to be able to talk with my children and grandchildren on the phone frequently. What is the thing to get before moving to Uruguay? I don’t think Vonage works.

    • FutureExpat says:

      As long as you have either a cable or DSL internet connection Vonage will work. It’s what we’re using in Panama, with our Florida number. We just took the Vonage box with us when we moved, then plugged it in and we had US phone service. Or you could look into Magic Jack.

  11. I’m currently in Brazil but quite fancy Uruguay for retirement. Interesting article and similar advice I’d give to anyone coming to Brazil. I found in Uruguay slightly more food products I knew and much lower prices. I liked the border towns (Uruguay/Brazil) that were all duty free shops:)

  12. Hi, it may sound like a dumb question, but what about ordering things from sites like Amazon and having them shipped to Uruguay? Is this a way to get the things you want or are the shipping costs too high?

    • FutureExpat says:

      Hi Ellen,

      I don’t know what systems are in place, but I’m sure they exist. Amazon won’t ship directly to another country, so you’d have to set up an arrangement with a friend, relative, or a service of some sort. We have an account in Panama with Mailboxes, Etc. They provide an address in Miami, and from there they transport it to Panama and deliver it to our local store. We pay a monthly fee, which covers 2 kilos of shipping per month. Above that we pay per GRAM, so it can get expensive fast. There are other ways to ship internationally, but you’d really need to research the Uruguay end of things.

  13. Hello everybody!

    I’ve just found this article about my country and I found it really interesting, I couldn’t stop reading until the end!
    I must say that I agree with most things you’ve written.. having travelled to the US and lived there for long periods has given me a different perspective on both my country and the US.
    Although it is true that many things are more expensive or some others are just not available, we’re not definitely just a “third world country” as such.

    For instance, the state provides free education for everyone, including University… and most of the times the public (and free) universities are the most prestigious ones. Also, private health care is provided for workers and their families. People who don’t work have free health care provided by the state, not only doctor’s appointments but also medication and even surgeries… It never happened to me, but from what I’ve heard going through surgery in the US can cost quite a lot, even if you have health care…

    Nowadays you can get many products from around the world, the US, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc, in some big supermarkets like the ones mentioned (Tienda Inglesa, Hipermercados Devoto, or Geant). They will be hard to find on a local supermarket, but there are plenty of these chains of supermarkets around Montevideo and in other states. Also, Amazon or E-bay will ship to Uruguay, and you can even find sellers with free shipping. I’ve done it thousands of times and the goods purchased always get here, sometimes with a little bit of delay, but they reach their destination!

    Many people speak English nowadays, specially young people. There are a ton of teenagers taking international English tests as it is required to have an English certificate for any kind of work. And of course, we live in a globalized era, most movies or series we watch come from the US… even if you don’t travel you’re always exposed to English language and culture.

    Living here is expensive, at least for the middle-class and lower class people. The food is expensive and so are clothes, fuel and electronics. But it will always depend on the salary you earn and the things you’re used to buying.

    The streets are safe, there are no frequent kidnappings or serial killers and that kind of thing (which I belive we’re too little to have).

    The lifestyle is much simpler here, but we are moving towards a better future, having free WIFI on many restaurants or public areas, and the fiber-optic cable for ultra-highspeed internet is getting to the most remote parts of the country.

    Many companies have come to settle here, as it’s a quiet place to work, no wars, the government doesn’t set any obstacles for them and only a few strikes during the year (mainly concerning teachers’ salaries or other underpriviledged workers).

    So, all in all, if you’re not willing to leave your comfort zone and give up a few things, I wouldn’t recommend you to come. But if you are willing to, this place has lots of things to offer.

    Anyone who’s coming in the future and would like someone get advice, or just talk to in English, get in touch with me and I’ll be more than happy to help you!!!

    • Caroline says:

      Hello Gigi,
      My boyfriend and I are moving to Uruguay (Montevideo for work and Canelones/Ciudad De La Costa area for living) in just three weeks. I would love to get in touch once we arrive. I am sure that we will have lots of questions and would love to meet new people as quickly as possible!

    • I have searched over 87 countries and have found that Uruguay is the best country for our family. We are looking to move down there within 2-3 years. We will not have jobs that I know of, unless self employed. We really want to open a bed and breakfast. I was even thinking of getting a teaching certificate to maybe work as a teacher. I don’t know what is available to us. Our family lives a very simple life. We actually just purchased a 2nd car, we live in the basement of my childhood home. We don’t spend money on partying, we are very open to new ideas, adventures, etc. I want to home school our children but I don’t know what the laws there are. I have no idea how to get the information I need. If we could become chat buddies, that would be great, and very helpful, like I said, we don’t know anyone there at all. I don’t know if we are even going to visit before moving there. I love risk, I love adventure. The way I see it, it seriously can’t be worse than here. I have posters, calendars, articles, etc about Uruguay. One of them actually has my personal goal written across the top…. be living here by 2017.

      • HI Kelsey. I was born in Uruguay but I have been living in Canada for the last 23 years. I am thinking about moving back to retire in a couple of years.
        Life in Uruguay is very different from life in North America.
        In your case, I would ne concerned about sources por income. How are you going to make a living? Is it going too new enough? Things are not cheap, salaries not that high.
        Good luck!
        Nando

  14. Hi! I have a friend moving to Uruguay in a couple of weeks, and I want to get her a going-away present. I realize that she won’t have much room to take anything I get her, so I was thinking about a gift card to a Wal-Mart or Home Depot type of place–or a restaurant? Are there any stores or restaurants that you know of in Montevideo that would be easy for me to do that with? Another option, I suppose, is just a Visa gift card, which I suppose she could use anywhere? Any thoughts? Thank you…

    -SarahH

  15. judith moy says:

    Hello,
    You say living there for lower and middle class is not so cheap. This is all relative, yes? I have read at internationalliving.com that one can rent a decent 1 bedroom apartment for $500-600 per month? Would you agree that is accurate? What about utilities anddo most such flats also have running water and air conditioning or overhead fans? One can’t always know what to believe from websites/publications that ask hundreds of dollars to attend an informative seminar on secrets to inexpensive living in another country. I would appreciate your opinion. Thank you.
    Judith from VA

    • FutureExpat says:

      Hi Judith,

      You’re absolutely right to be skeptical. I haven’t lived in Uruguay myself, so can’t address your question. I’m hoping one of our folks with experience there will weigh in.

  16. Hello, I am planning to visit my relatives in Montevideo soon. I may look into retiring there also one day in the future. For now, my immediate question is what gifts to bring. My cousin is a 67 year old female, and I also want to bring gifts for her grandchildren – two 14 year old girls, an 11 year old boy and a 6 year old boy. Two of the grandchildren reside in Brazil, and two live in Montevideo. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I am visiting from the US, and will be traveling for over 15 hours with layovers.
    Thank you! Email: Robind58@yahoo.com

  17. Lillie Grace says:

    I am moving to Montevideo in January and I was wondering when I come if I can bring my iPhone into the country and have it work with a SIM card bought in Montevideo is that how it works?

    • FutureExpat says:

      Hi Lillie,

      Your iphone must be unlocked for you to do that. If it’s unlocked, then yes, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. I traveled back and forth between Panama and US several times with my unlocked Android phone. Just swapped SIM cards before landing, and had service immediately when I turned my phone on at the airport.

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