Mercosur Residence Agreement: Simplified Work and Residence for South Americans

Last Updated on May 9, 2023

In 2009, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay implemented the Mercosur Residence Agreement to manage intra-regional migration throughout South America. The Agreement grants citizens of participating Mercosur sovereign member states and associated member states the right to reside and work in another member state for a maximum of two years.

Additionally, some member states have simplified work and residence permit processing times. Envoy Global’s Americas team offers employers valuable insights and assistance to leverage the immigration benefits of the Mercosur Residence Agreement.

Mercosur Countries and Members 

Mercosur member states, including: 

  • Argentina.
  • Brazil. 
  • Paraguay. 
  • Uruguay. 

These four members have agreed to grant equal rights to citizens of other member states who are employed in their respective countries, allowing them to work under the same labor laws and practices. However, each member state maintains sovereignty and determines how the rules of the agreement apply. 

Mercosur Associated Countries and Members 

The associated member states of Mercosur include: 

Bolivia is in the process of accession to the Agreement.  

Some Mercosur member states and associated members have not signed or ratified the agreement, which means it is not legally binding on those countries. They may have their own rules and regulations for the temporary residence of citizens from other Mercosur member states. 

Latin American countries and insight into their level of involvement in the Mercosur Residence Agreement.
Citizens of participating Mercosur sovereign member states and associated member states are granted the right to reside and work in another member state for up to two years.


Usually, citizens of Mercosur member states can enter another member state without a visa if they can demonstrate their citizenship in another member state. In some cases, travelers must demonstrate proof of holding no criminal history. Citizens from many countries can travel to a Mercosur member state without showing proof of employment or employer sponsorship before their trip.

Some member states of Mercosur, such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay, offer benefits to Mercosur citizens, such as reduced application wait times and exemption from the need to obtain sponsorship from a company for work authorization. Moreover, Mercosur citizens become eligible to apply for permanent residence after two consecutive years residing in a member state. 

Mapping the Future of the Mercosur Agreement

In recent years, efforts have been made to expand the Mercosur Agreement to include other South American countries, regional groups, the U.S. and the European Union (EU).  

In 2019, the EU and Mercosur member states agreed to allow EU citizens to participate. Still, they have not ratified or officially put it into force. The COVID-19 pandemic created some economic challenges for Mercosur member states. 

How to Capitalize on the Conditions of the Mercosur Residence Agreement 

Map of the Mercosur residence agreement states and information on the permissions granted to citizens of the states.
Citizens of member states are granted equal rights as the citizens of the Mercosur state they’re employed in, and they can work under the same labor laws and practices of said state.


Envoy Global assists employers in navigating the complex immigration process for employees who are citizens of Mercosur member states and employers in member states.  

We provide guidance on the requirements and benefits of the Mercosur Agreement and help to assess employee eligibility. Envoy’s Global Account Managers will also be your go-to resource for proactively tracking expansion options under the Agreement. Our platform will help your company and employees comply with all Agreement requirements.

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Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.